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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Citi Strata Premier Card [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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Whether you’re ready to select a rewards-earning credit card for the first time or you’re planning to add a card to your current collection, our article today will be of interest.

We’re looking at 2 very popular cards that work well for the frequent traveler for both earning rewards on travel purchases and providing good value options at redemption time.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card are seasoned cards with proven value, but one may be a better fit for your particular spending mix and travel goals.

Join us as we look closer at the attributes of these travel rewards cards, including earning potential, redemption value, and the benefits and protections you’ll find on each card.

It’s an interesting comparison of 2 cards that have many similarities, but in the end, your priorities will determine which card offers the better value for you.

Let’s get started.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Citi Strata Premier Card — Overview

When comparing 2 dynamic travel rewards cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi Strata Premier card, there’s a lot of information to process. A side-by-side comparison helps bring all of the information together so you can easily compare the key features and benefits of each card.

Here’s how our 2 cards compare in each category:

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BenefitChase Sapphire Preferred® CardCiti Strata Premier℠ Card
Welcome BonusEarn 75,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
Earning
  • 5x points on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal and Lyft (through March 2025)
  • 3x points on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery stores
  • 2x points on all other travel
  • 10% points bonus on total spending at card anniversary
  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel, other hotel purchases, restaurants, supermarkets, gas, and EV charging stations
  • 1x points on other purchases
Redemption Options
  • Redeem for travel for 1.25 cents per point via the Chase travel portal
  • Transfer to airline and hotel partners
  • Statement credits, gift cards, shopping with partner retailers, experiences
  • Transfers to all Citi travel partners
  • Citi Travel Center bookings
  • Statement credits
  • Cash-back/direct deposits to Citi bank account
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise
  • Charitable donations
  • Amazon.com purchases
Travel Benefits and Protections
  • Up to $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit when booked via Chase Travel
  • Primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance services
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit on eligible reservations booked through thankyou.com
  • Trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost or damaged luggage insurance
  • World Elite Mastercard travel perks
  • Take 3 rides with your card in a month and earn $5 in Lyft credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
Shopping Benefits and Protections
  • Chase Offers
  • DoorDash DashPass, Instacart benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Citi Entertainment
  • Citi Merchant Offers
  • DoorDash and ShopRunner benefits
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits
  • Cell phone protection
Annual Fees and Authorized Users$95 annual fee; no charge to add authorized users$95 annual fee; no charge to add authorized users

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

The initial welcome bonuses offered on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card provide a valuable opportunity to jumpstart your rewards earning.

But welcome bonus opportunities can be fleeting, as you’ll have an initial window after card approval in which to meet minimum spending requirements to qualify for the bonus.

You’ll also find that bonuses fluctuate, so always check for current offers before applying.

Additionally, the value of the welcome bonus will differ depending on the redemption options you select — we’ll talk more about those redemption options shortly.

But first, here’s a snapshot of current welcome bonuses for our 2 cards, the associated minimum spending requirements, and our estimated value for each one.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred card welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Citi Strata Premier card welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card both offer welcome bonuses earned after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first few months after card approval. While welcome bonus values on our featured cards are similar, the actual value of any welcome bonus will depend on how you choose to redeem your rewards. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points vs. Citi ThankYou Points

Beach
Rewards points earned on your card can be redeemed for unique travel experiences. Image Credit: Asad Photos Maldives via Pexels

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns Ultimate Rewards points while the Citi Strata Premier card earns ThankYou Points. While these reward currencies differ, you’ll experience accelerated earnings in bonus category spending on both cards and have several similar redemption options.

Let’s look closer at each card’s earning possibilities and the choices you’ll have at redemption time.

Earning Potential

Both cards feature robust earning levels on travel purchases, select everyday spending, and at least 1x earnings on all other purchases.

Here’s how our 2 cards compare in the earnings category:

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Earning CategoryChase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti Strata Premier Card
Travel
  • 5x points on travel via Chase Travel
  • 5x points on Lyft (through March 31, 2025)
  • 2x points on other travel
  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel and other hotel purchases
Additional Bonus Categories and Earnings
  • 3x points on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery stores
  • 10% points bonus on total spending at card anniversary
  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas, and EV charging stations
All Other Purchases1x points1x points

It’s worth noting that Chase defines online grocery stores with the following clarification:

“The online grocery (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs) category includes purchases for grocery pickup and delivery that are placed online with grocery stores, specialty food stores, or delivery service merchants that classify as grocery store merchants (excluding membership and subscription fees). Meal kit delivery services are included.”

Citi clarifies its supermarket category with this statement:

“You won’t earn three points for purchases made at general merchandise/discount superstores, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food/convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionery stores, and meal kit delivery services. You also won’t earn three points for purchases made at online supermarkets if the merchant does not classify itself as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant code.”

Bottom Line: While both cards offer great earning potential, the Citi Strata Premier card may have the edge for earning on everyday purchases, such as at supermarkets, gas stations, and on dining. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card edges out on travel purchases if you can utilize the Chase travel portal and on general travel purchases that fall outside of air travel and hotels. 

Earning Examples

Couple grocery shopping at supermarket
Selecting a card that earns points on your largest purchases will accelerate your earnings. Image Credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS via Adobe Stock

The better card for earning points will depend on your spending mix. Let’s look at a couple of annual spending mix examples to illustrate the difference in earnings:

  • $5,000 on air travel and hotels
  • $7,200 at supermarkets
  • $3,600 on dining out

Let’s assume 50% of the travel was purchased via the Chase travel portal on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and 50% was not. With 5x earnings on $2,500 (12,500 points), 2x earnings on the other $2,500 (5,000 points), 1x earnings at supermarkets (7,200 points), and 3x earnings on dining (10,800 points), you would earn a total of 35,500 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $710 by our valuation).

We’ll assume that 50% of the hotel purchases ($1,250 in this scenario) were made through CitiTravel.com for our Citi Strata Premier card example. Thus, you’d earn 10x on $1,250, 3x on the additional $1,250 of hotel spending, and 3x on the remaining $2,500 spent on air travel. This is a total of 23,750 ThankYou Points. Next, you’d earn 3x points on grocery store purchases (14,400 points) and also 3x points on the restaurant purchases (10,800 points), adding a further 25,200 points, bringing the grand total in this scenario to a whopping 48,950 ThankYou Points (worth about $783 by our valuation).

Let’s look at another annual spending mix example:

  • $10,000 on airfare and hotels
  • $3,000 at online grocery stores
  • $1,200 on streaming services
  • $2,400 at gas stations
  • $4,000 on dining

Once again, we’ll assume the airfare and hotels purchased with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card were 50% on the Chase travel portal. This would result in 5x earnings on $5,000 (25,000 points), 2x earnings on $5,000 (10,000 points), 3x on online grocery store purchases (9,000 points), 3x on streaming (3,600 points), 1x at gas stations (2,400 points), and 3x on dining (12,000 points). The total earnings would be 62,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,240 by our valuation).

Moving onto the Citi Strata Premier card, we’ll also once again assume that 50% of the hotel purchases were made through CitiTravel.com, so $2,500 in this scenario. You’d earn 10x points on $2,500 in hotel spend (25,000 points), 3x points on the other $2,500 in hotel spend (7,500 points), 3x points on $5,000 in airfare purchases (15,000 points), 1x points on streaming services purchases (1,200 points), 3x points on gas station purchases (7,200 points), and 3x points on dining purchases (12,000 points).

In total, Citi Strata Premier cardholders would earn a total of 67,900 ThankYou Points (worth about $1,086 by our valuation). Note that some online grocery stores could code as regular grocery stores and earn 3x versus 1x.

These examples are only meant to illustrate how spending mixes can affect your ultimate earnings. Additional non-bonus spending was not considered, and actual real-life spending mixes will differ.

Earnings are just a piece of the value proposition, as the actual value of your rewards will surface at redemption time.

Let’s look at the choices you can expect to have when redeeming rewards with each card.

Redemption Options

Cancún
Receive the best potential value for your rewards by transferring to airline partners. Image Credit: jdross75 via Shutterstock

The value you receive at redemption time will depend on how you redeem your points. You could redeem your points for a gift card, for example, or transfer points to a travel partner and have the potential of receiving much greater value.

We like that points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card are flexible and transferrable, making these rewards more valuable than fixed-value rewards such as airline miles or other rewards that have limited redemption options.

Here are the redemption options you’ll find on our featured cards:

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Redemption OptionChase Sapphire Preferred CardCiti Strata Premier Card
Travel
  • Redeem for 1.25 cents per point via Chase Travel
  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners
  • Redeem for 1 cent per point via the Citi Travel Center
  • Transfer points to airline and hotel partners
Additional Redemption OptionsStatement credits, Pay Yourself Back (rotating categories, including charitable donations), cash-back, gift cards, shopping at Amazon, Apple, or other partner retailers, experiences
  • Transfer to Sears Shop Your Way
  • Statement credits, gift cards, shopping at Amazon, Best Buy, Expedia, and other partner retailers
  • Donate to charity

Hot Tip: Watch for periodic transfer bonuses — both Chase and Citi offer occasional transfer bonuses that allow you to receive additional bonus points when transferring your rewards to various hotel or airline programs. Transfer bonuses have included a Chase 50% bonus when transferring points to Marriott Bonvoy and a 30% bonus when transferring to British Airways. Citi examples include a 25% bonus to Air France-KLM Flying Blue and an offer of a 25% bonus to Avianca LifeMiles. 

Redemption Examples

While Ultimate Rewards points and ThankYou Points are unique rewards currencies, redeeming points for travel by transferring to airline or hotel partners generally results in the best potential value, regardless of which points you’re using.

Let’s look at some examples of how you can redeem these rewards for good value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase offers a unique opportunity to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to the World of Hyatt hotel loyalty program, where you may find great potential value such as the Category 8 Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort for 35,000 to 45,000 points. Check out our list of amazing Hyatt redemptions offering great value for your points.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and using those miles to book British Airways flights can be one of the best ways to get to the Caribbean from the U.S.

Citi ThankYou Points

Transferring ThankYou Points earned on the Citi Strata Premier card to Air France-KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer program for flights to Hawaii can be a good use of your points. Points transfer nearly instantly at a ratio of 1:1 and can be used to book with Flying Blue’s partner, Delta Air Lines. A business class flight from the U.S. mainland may be secured for just 30,000 miles.

See our list of dozens of ideas on the best ways to redeem your ThankYou Points.

Bottom Line: While there are several redemption options available for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card, the best value can generally be found by transferring points to airline or hotel partners to book award flights or free hotel nights. 

Travel Benefits and Protections

Travelers in Airport
Travel rewards cards can offer benefits and protections that can deliver savings or insurance coverage during your travels. Image Credit: Skitterphoto via Pexels

Earning potential and redemption options may offer sufficient overall value to warrant selecting a specific travel rewards-earning card. However, benefits and protections may save you money or provide needed protection during your travels, therefore creating additional value to consider.

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card come with these distinct travel benefits:

  • Luxury Hotel Benefits — The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers access to elite-style benefits via the Chase Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection. Benefits include daily breakfast for 2, complimentary Wi-Fi, an onsite amenity, room upgrades, late checkout, and early check-in (when available). The Citi Strata Premier card offers the same benefits via the Mastercard Luxury Hotel and Resorts Portfolio.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees — Both featured cards travel well, with neither card charging foreign transaction fees.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi Strata Premier card each come with a long list of travel benefits and protections — let’s take a look:

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections — Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver — Pay for your entire rental with your card, decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive coverage for theft or damage to the rental car. Coverage is primary, which means you do not have to file a claim with any other insurance prior to card coverage kicking in.
  • $50 Hotel Statement Credit — Book a hotel via the Chase travel portal and receive up to $50 as a statement credit each card anniversary year.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — Should your trip be canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason, you could receive up to $10,000 per person, a maximum of $20,000 per trip.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — If your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or overnight, receive up to $100 per day, a maximum of 5 days, for incidentals.
  • Roadside Dispatch — Get help when you’re stranded with 24/7 roadside assistance. One flat-rate fee for each service call can include towing, jumpstart service, changing your flat tire, lockout service, fuel delivery, and standard winching. Terms and limits apply.
  • Baggage Insurance — Receive up to $500 for incidentals if your luggage is delayed 6 hours or more and up to $3,000 if your luggage is lost or stolen.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance — Make a single call for assistance 24/7 for legal or medical referrals, translation services, help with emergency transportation, and more. Cardholders are responsible for the cost of services received.

Additional Travel Benefits and Protections — Citi Strata Premier Card

  • $100 Hotel Statement Credit — Save $100 annually on eligible reservations booked through thankyou.com
  • Rideshare Benefits — If you use the Citi Strata Premier card to book 3 Lyft rides in a month, you’ll get $5 in Lyft credits in that month
  • Cell Phone Protection — Access cell phone protection with the Citi Strata Premier card, which reimburses up to $600 per claim with a $50 deductible per claim and up to $1,000 in coverage every rolling 12-month period. You can be approved for up to 2 claims per rolling 12-month period.
  • Rental Car Insurance — Your Citi Strata Premier card equips you with MasterRental coverage (secondary coverage) for rental cars
  • Trip Delay Insurance, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, and Baggage Insurance

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Saving money is always a good thing, and having purchase protection can help make things right if something goes wrong.

Here are the shopping benefits and protections you’ll receive with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi Strata Premier card:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Chase Offers — Log into your online Chase account and check out the list of savings offers available for specific card purchases.
  • Shop through Chase — Earn up to 25 points per dollar spent when shopping via the Chase shopping portal.
  • Purchase Protection — Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive coverage for theft or damage for 120 days from the purchase date. Coverage is limited to $500 per item and  $50,000 per year.
  • Extended Warranty — Eligible items with manufacturer warranties of 3 years or less will receive an additional 1 year of extended warranty. Coverage is limited to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • DoorDash DashPass — Receive a complimentary DashPass subscription. If activated by December 31, 2023,  the subscription is active through December 31, 2024. If activated during the 2024 calendar year, the subscription will be valid for 1 year from the date of activation.
  • Instacart+ Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 6-month Instacart+ membership plus a $15 quarterly credit.

Citi Strata Premier Card

  • Citi Merchant Offers — While not as robust as Amex Offers or Chase Offers, you may find some local dining or shopping offers in addition to national merchant offers.
  • World Elite Mastercard Shopping Benefits — Receive shopping benefits such as discounts at nearly 100 retailers and free 2-day shipping with your complimentary ShopRunner membership, a 3-month DoorDash DashPass trial membership, Lyft and Fandango discounts, and more.
  • Purchase Protection — Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive protection for 90 days from the purchase date for damage or theft. Coverage limits are $10,000 per incident, $50,000 per calendar year
  • Extended Warranty — Pay for at least part of an eligible item with your card and receive up to 24 months of additional extended warranty coverage added to the manufacturer’s warranty, up to a maximum of 7 years total. There is a $10,000 maximum coverage per item.

Please keep in mind that all of these benefit and protection descriptions have been abbreviated and do not include any terms and conditions that may apply. Each card’s Guide to Benefits should be your reference for full descriptions, additional benefits/protections that may be available, and any terms and conditions that apply.

Annual Fees and Authorized Users

If you’re paying an annual fee on a rewards-earning card, receiving value beyond the expense of that annual fee is important.

The same is true regarding any fees charged to add authorized users to your card.

Here’s how our 2 featured cards compare regarding annual fees and the cost to add additional users:

  • Annual Fees — Both featured cards charge a modest annual fee:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred card – $95 annual fee
    • Citi Strata Premier card – $95 annual fee
  • Adding Authorized Users — Neither card charges an annual fee for adding additional users.

Bottom Line: Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi Strata Premier card keep the cost of being a cardholder low with each card charging just a moderate annual fee. Plus, neither card charges for adding additional users. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to overall value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Citi Strata Premier card are pretty well-matched. But, there’s additional value to consider when redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel.

Each of our featured cards offers excellent potential earning power on everyday spending — and which card is right for you comes down to small differences in preferences and habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Citi Premier card?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a better travel rewards card than the Citi Premier card due to its long list of travel benefits and protections and the greater value of using points to purchase travel.

The Citi Premier card does offer higher earnings on everyday purchases, though.

The better card for you will depend on how your spending mix matches the bonus category rewards offered by each card, how you will redeem your rewards, and whether travel benefits and protections are important to you.

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card have lounge access?

No, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card does not offer any airport lounge access. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which includes lounge access to more than 1,300 properties worldwide.

Which are better, Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Citi ThankYou Points?

The better rewards currency will depend on the redemption option you select. If you purchase travel via either card’s proprietary travel portal, Ultimate Rewards points can be worth 1.25 cents per point versus 1 cent per point for ThankYou Points.

Transferring points to hotel or airline partners could result in similar values, regardless of which rewards currency you use. The list of partner hotel loyalty programs and airline partners does differ between Chase and Citi, however.

Fortunately, rewards earned on either card are flexible and transferrable, which results in several possible redemption options.

What are transferrable credit card rewards points?

Transferrable rewards points can be transferred to travel partners’ loyalty programs and be used to purchase award flights or free hotel nights. These points are more valuable than rewards points or miles that have fixed redemption options, such as airline frequent flyer miles.

For example, with an airline’s frequent flyer miles, you may be locked in at redemption time to just that specific airline or partner airline. With transferrable rewards points, you have the flexibility to select any airline transfer partner, hotel partner, or other redemption option that fits your specific travel goal.

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About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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