Comparing The Chase Sapphire Preferred & Citi ThankYou Premier

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Update: This offer for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Yesterday a new 50,000 point sign-up bonus was introduced on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which is an excellent credit card with a reasonable annual fee. One of the other best mid-range credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, so in this post I wanted to look at how the two cards compare. There’s not a single correct answer as to which card is better, so I wanted to compare some aspects of it, and then everyone can decide for themselves which card makes more sense for them.

Comparing sign-up bonus

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. On top of that, you can earn 5,000 additional bonus points if you add an authorized user and have them make a purchase within that same timeframe.

Meanwhile the Citi Premier is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months.

Winner: The Sapphire Preferred has a slight advantage, both because you can get 5,000 points for adding an authorized user, and also because I value Ultimate Rewards points slightly more than ThankYou points.

Comparing annual fees

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier have a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first 12 months

Winner: Tie

Comparing return on spend

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel.

Meanwhile the Citi Premier offers 3x points on travel and gas, plus 2x points on dining and entertainment.

Winner: The Citi Premier has the advantage here, as it offers an additional two points per dollar spent on gas, plus an additional point per dollar spent on travel and entertainment, compared to the Sapphire Preferred. While I value ThankYou points slightly less than Ultimate Rewards points, that doesn’t make up for the Premier’s superior bonus categories.

Travel protection

When it comes car rental collision damage waiver coverage, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers primary coverage both in the US and abroad, while the Citi Premier offers primary coverage abroad, and secondary coverage within the US.

As far as other travel protection goes, there’s a lot to this, so the best card depends on exactly what kind of coverage you’re looking for. However, both cards offer trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 when you’re delayed by at least 12 hours.

Winner: The Sapphire Preferred offers better car rental coverage, while the travel protection offered by the two cards is roughly comparable.


Both cards offer great travel protection

Card eligibility & approval odds

The sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t available to current cardmembers of this card, or previous cardmembers who have received a new cardmember bonus for the card within the past 24 months. Furthermore, those who have opened more than five new card accounts in the past 24 months generally aren’t going to be approved for this card.

Meanwhile the sign-up bonus on the Citi Premier isn’t available to those with a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months. In other words, it’s fine if you have one of those other cards, but you just can’t have opened or closed it in that time period.

Winner: Generally speaking the Citi Premier is easier to be approved for, since the Sapphire Preferred isn’t available to those who have opened more than five cards in the past 24 months. However, for some the Premier may be more difficult, since you can’t be approved for it if you’ve opened or closed the Citi Prestige in the past 24 months.

Value of points

Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou have transfer partners, and also let you redeem points as cash towards the cost of an airline ticket.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase (if you also have the Sapphire Reserve, they can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each). On top of that, these points can be transferred to the following partners (along with the ratios and how long they usually take):

Ultimate Rewards Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000Instant
British Airways Executive Club1000 : 1000Instant
Korean Air SkyPass1000 : 1000Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 12 to 24 hours
Southwest Rapid Rewards1000 : 1000Instant
United MileagePlus1000 : 1000Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000Instant
IHG Rewards Club1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
Marriott Rewards1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
Ritz-Carlton Rewards1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
World Of Hyatt1000 : 1000Instant

Meanwhile Citi ThankYou points earned through the Citi Premier can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare. On top of that, these points can be transferred to the following partners (along with the ratios and how long they usually take):

Citi ThankYou Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000~ 3-6 days
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
JetBlue TrueBlue1000 : 500Instant
Malaysia Airlines Enrich1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Qatar Privilege Club1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Thai Royal Orchid Plus1000 : 1000~ 3-6 days
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000~ 1-2 days
Hilton Honors1000 : 1500~ 12 to 24 hours

Winner: I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, while I value Citi ThankYou points at ~1.5 cents each, so on a per point basis I think Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable. This is because Chase has superior transfer partners. Furthermore, you can potentially get 1.5 cents per point of value by having the Reserve Card, or at a minimum, can redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards several types of travel purchases, rather than just airfare.


Both Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou are transfer partners with Singapore KrisFlyer

Ability to maximize value of points

The Citi Premier is the all around best Citi card when it comes to maximizing your points earning potential. So there’s not another card you can supplement it with that will greatly increase the number of ThankYou points you can earn.

Meanwhile there are several no annual fee cards that can help you increase the number of points you can earn in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can have the following three no annual fee cards that earn points that can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio in conjunction with the Sapphire Preferred:

  • The Chase Freedom® Card offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter; the card has no annual fee
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers 1.5x points on everyday spend; the card has no annual fee
  • The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers 5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each anniversary year on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services, plus 2x points on the first $25,000 spend in combined purchases each anniversary year on gas stations and restaurants; the card has no annual fee

Winner: While the Citi Premier as such offers better bonus categories, there are more opportunities to maximize Ultimate Rewards points thanks to the great no annual fee cards that help you maximize your return on spend.

Bottom line

Both theChase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier are among the best cards with annual fees of under $100. Which card is better really depends on your specific spend patterns. and what you’re looking for out of a card. Both cards have fantastic sign-up bonuses an the first year’s annual fee waived. The Premier offers a slightly better return on spend, while the Preferred offers slightly more valuable points, and more opportunities to earn points with other cards as well.

Of course you can also get both cards, given the great sign-up bonuses and potential to maximize points with both issuers.

Which do you prefer — the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Premier?

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Comments

  1. If you downgrade a Prestige to Premier, would any TY points earned on Prestige expire or would this allow me to keep them alive without transferring them speculatively? About to call recon on Prestige but ready to cancel and transfer my balance if needed next week. Thank you in advance.

  2. Chase doesn’t have price rewind.
    I don’t know how you value Chase so high. If you transfer points to IHG you only get 0.06 cents or 0.08 with Marriott. The value is only 1 cent each program until transferred. Then the true value of points are known.

  3. I have lots of cards and points. After CITI screwed me out of points on their checking account deal a year or so ago -never again. Even with a screen print they would not honor their deal. I tend to ignore people that say things like “Never again with that company”…. but here I go… never again.

  4. Transfer to Flying Blue from Citi is not instant. It has been 3 days and still no transfer.

  5. @Marshall, IMO the best value outta the UR points is to transfer to United or to Marriott for that valuable Hotel + Air package. Neither transfer partner is available on TYP cards. Also, not all your TYPs are created equal – some (through Prestige) are more valuable than others (through checking account).

  6. I’ve spent probably 300k points from these two currencies in the last year, and I’ve loved three things about them:

    1. Chase transferring to Hyatt is fantastic. It’s the only CC rewards–>hotel currency that makes sense and I love them for that feature.

    2. Citi’s points being worth 1.6c each toward American flights…but this dies in 4 days, so that’s gone. I’ve been able to fly my family and/or myself all over the place for “free” on cheap fares using this perk.

    3. Chase points being worth 1.5c each toward any flight. Since 2 is dying, this becomes a much bigger deal (well, after I burn through 260k Amex points before that 50% rebate dies…)

    So, Chase wins for me. Yes, I know the biggest “value” is flying in 1st class internationally, but with a 5.5 year old and a 2.5 year old, flying from Texas to Disney on either coast is just what’s in the cards for the most part. There’s no point in dragging them on a plane for 8+ hours to see something they won’t care about and won’t remember anyway, all the while spending a fortune of points on the experience. Some day…

  7. I found Citi transfers to Singapore instantly. Also, Citi offers more generous trip cancellation coverage than Chase (higher maximum benefit per trip). This saved my bacon last year.

    I use my Citi Premier card all the time and have pretty much left my Sapphire Preferred in the drawer over the past year.

    It seems that all of the bloggers love the Sapphire Preferred. I’m assuming it offers them a higher kickback than Citi Premier.

  8. Applied and approved through your link for the Premier. I can’t believe I’ve never had this card.

  9. I just transferred 55,000 points to Flying Blue in increments of 5,000 and the transfer was instant but the one I transferred 3 days ago for 75,000 is still pending. Transfer to Hilton was also instant. I was given an option of either 75,000 points (have to wait one more week) or a statement credit upto $1,800 instead of 75,000 points if I purchase air tickets using my Citi card.

  10. Chase wins hands down for me.

    Citi was a nightmare to deal with when a flight I purchased through the travel center was canceled by the airline. Price Rewind in practice was also not worth it. Only time I used it successfully was when I submitted a $40 refund on a lawnmower purchased from a major retailer. Price Rewind did not find it despite it being listed in at least two weekly circulars and online. I would not have gotten it if I hadn’t manually submitted it.

    Chase also has a higher cash back rate and can be used to redeem small amounts of (<1000) leftover points.

  11. “However, for some the Premier may be more difficult, since you can’t be approved for it if you’ve opened or closed the Citi Prestige in the past 24 months.”

    I would change that sentence, as it’s not that you would necessarily wouldn’t get approved for the card, but you wouldn’t be eligible for the signup bonus.

  12. If you currently have a Chase Fairmont Visa &/or Citi Hilton Honors Visa, you will soon be converted to one or both cards detailed above & may not have to choose/research (or 5/24 be a barrier to entry).

  13. If you currently have a Chase Fairmont Visa &/or Citi Hilton Honors Visa, you will probably soon be automatically converted to one or both of the cards detailed above & may not have to choose/research (or 5/24 be a barrier to entry).

  14. love that you can now transfer TY points to Turkish Airlines. anyone knows if he 2x perk at restaurants with Citi TY Premier is valid worldwide or only in the US?

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