Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Kellie Jez
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The Citi Premier® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are 2 popular credit cards for travel rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is generally the more popular choice and comes jam-packed with benefits, but you shouldn’t write off the Citi Premier card, especially if you have an aversion to high annual fees.
So if you’re considering adding either the Citi Premier card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card to your wallet, you’ll want to read this guide in detail before making your decision.
Short on time? Check out this table of benefits and costs associated with the Citi Premier card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card:
|Citi Premier® Card
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®
|Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel portal through June 30, 2024.
|Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
|Travel Benefits and Protections
|Shopping Benefits and Protections
|No additional annual fees for authorized users
|$75 annual fee per person
These currencies can be used in different ways — for example, you can transfer Chase points to United and book award flights on United, but Citi points can’t easily be transferred to United.
Generally speaking, Chase points are more valuable than Citi points.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a much heftier annual fee but offers greater benefits and protections overall than the Citi Premier card.
We recommend accessing the Benefits Guides for these 2 credit cards so you have all of the relevant information about benefits.
Getting a credit card welcome offer is designed to give a boost to your points balances with a small spending requirement.
Both of these cards offer consistently solid welcome offers:
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are both examples of transferrable currencies, also known as flexible rewards currencies.
Citi maintains a unique list of airline and hotel partners, and Chase does the same. For example, Chase is partnered with United, while Citi is partnered with Avianca LifeMiles. Also, Chase is partnered with World of Hyatt, and Citi is partnered with Choice Privileges. The point here is that Citi and Chase can both be utilized for sensational value as long as you’re savvy about how you use your points.
Here’s how quickly you can earn points with either card:
|Citi Premier Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
10x points through March 31, 2025
|Peloton Equipment and Accessories Over $250
|10x points (through March 31, 2025)
|Rental Cars and Hotels Purchased Through Chase Ultimate Rewards
|Chase Dining Purchased Through Ultimate Rewards
|Flights Purchased Through Chase Ultimate Rewards
|Other Travel Purchases
Even if you’re comparing 3x Chase points to 3x Citi points, you’ll usually come out ahead by picking Chase points on an apples-to-apples comparison.
In fact, we value Chase points at around 2 cents apiece, while Citi points are worth around 1.6 cents each. So a 3x multiplier on Chase points is worth a 6% return on spending, while a 3x multiplier on Citi points is worth a 4.8% return on spending. Also, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card maxes out at 10x points, which is worth an astonishing 20% return on spending.
However, the Citi Premier card outperforms the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at grocery stores and supermarkets.
As we’ve discussed at length, the flexibility of Chase and Citi points is the main reason why they are valuable currencies to hold.
For example, if you have Chase points, you can choose between transferring them to Hyatt to book luxury hotels around the world or transferring them to Singapore Airlines to book high-end flights like Singapore Airlines first class.
Similarly, Citi points can be transferred to airlines and hotels, but with a different list of partner airlines and hotels.
Also, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can get some solid redemption value outside of transfer partners in 2 additional ways:
In both of these ways, you’ll get 1.5 cents per point of value. You can also redeem Chase points for lesser value through gift cards, statement credits, Amazon.com, Apple products, online shopping, and so on.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card sets itself apart from the Citi Premier card in a couple of ways, but statement credits is one of those major ways.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a travel credit of up to $300 every cardmember year, and it’s extremely easy to use. Also, it has a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 4 or 4.5 years, respectively. The application fee credit also be used for NEXUS.
Meanwhile, the Citi Premier card has an up to $100 annual hotel savings benefit whereby you can get $100 off of a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) for reservations booked through thankyou.com, once per calendar year.
One of the clearest areas where the Citi Premier card lags behind the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is in travel benefits and protections.
We’ll show you the differences in this section.
One of the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card that can’t be ignored is the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership that’s afforded to cardholders.
This membership gets you complimentary lounge access for yourself and up to 2 guests (additional guests beyond that cost $35 per person per visit), including access to the new Chase Sapphire Lounges by The Club.
Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card allows cardholders and 2 guests access to Chase Sapphire Terrace locations. Currently, there’s only 1 location which opened in March of 2023, at Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Texas.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t offer any airport lounge benefits.
The Citi Premier card offers access to the Mastercard Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection of 3,000+ properties offering complimentary breakfast for 2 daily, amenity credits of up to $100, and more.
It also offers an annual hotel savings benefit that gets you up to $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more excluding taxes and fees when booked through thankyou.com. This benefit is applicable up to once per calendar year.
One of the features we love the most about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership, which is valued at $199 per year.
Cardholders get 10x points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025) and 2 years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access (when activated by December 31, 2024), which comes with these perks:
If you’re a frequent rideshare user, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is awesome.
The Citi Premier card offers World Elite Mastercard benefits with Lyft, which gets you a $5 credit once per month when you take 3 rides with Lyft in a month.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers some of the best primary rental car insurance from a credit card — you’ll get up to $75,000 per rental in coverage. Just decline your rental car company’s collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver (CDW or LDW), pay for your reservation using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and you’ll have coverage. Just keep in mind that you don’t get liability coverage at all.
The Citi Premier card does not offer any rental car insurance.
If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason such as death, accidental bodily injury, or sickness, you can use the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to claim up to $10,000 per person and up to $20,000 per trip in reimbursements.
The Citi Premier card does not offer trip interruption and cancellation coverage.
Trip delay reimbursements can be yours with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card on eligible delays due to covered hazards for more than 6 hours (or requiring an overnight stay). You can get up to $500 for each ticket purchased.
The Citi Premier card does not offer any trip delay reimbursement insurance.
If your baggage is delayed, you can file a claim using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get up to $100 per day for up to 5 days on eligible delays of more than 6 hours.
Unfortunately, the Citi Premier card doesn’t cover baggage delay insurance.
Lost luggage is one of the most inconvenient potential outcomes of traveling — when you’re traveling on a common carrier (like a commercial airline) and your luggage is lost, you are eligible for up to $3,000 per person per trip in reimbursements with a sub-limit of $500 for jewelry and watches and a sub-limit of $500 for cameras and other electronic equipment.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t have lost luggage reimbursement, either.
With your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you are eligible for up to $1,000,000 in travel accident insurance.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t offer travel accident insurance.
When you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll get access to 4 free service calls per year with a maximum value of $50 per service call, which covers the following:
Coverage includes both the U.S. and Canada.
The Citi Premier card does not offer this benefit.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll get access to the Travel and Emergency Assistance Services hotline, which can help you get legal referrals, emergency consulate or embassy appointments, passport replacements, and emergency cash advance services.
The Citi Premier card does not offer travel or emergency assistance.
Another great feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the emergency evacuation benefit that covers up to $100,000 in expenses.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t offer this benefit.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll get up to $2,500 in coverage for emergency medical and dental expenses, as well as up to $75 per day for 5 days at a prescribed hotel.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t currently offer this benefit.
Hot Tip: Make sure to check out our full list of travel insurance benefits for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for more details on these coverages.
In this section, we’ll walk you through what you can expect in terms of shopping-centric benefits with both the Citi Premier card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Both the Citi Premier card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer complimentary ShopRunner membership. Citi Premier cardholders can enroll through March 31, 2024, thanks to the card’s World Elite Mastercard standing, and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can enroll through August 31, 2023.
One of our favorite benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the complimentary 12-month Instacart+ membership plus a $15 monthly credit when you activate your Instacart+ membership by July 31, 2024.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t offer any benefits with Instacart.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also offers a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for at least 1 year with a $5 monthly credit when you activate your DoorDash DashPass membership by December 31, 2024.
The Citi Premier card gets 3 free months of DashPass, plus $5 off every month when you use your card at checkout until September 30, 2023 (valid in the U.S. only). This is thanks to its World Elite Mastercard status.
The Citi Premier card offers purchase protection thanks to its World Elite Mastercard benefits for eligible incidents within 90 days of the original purchase and up to $10,000 per item ($50,000 per calendar year).
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s purchase protection also covers up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per calendar year, but its policy is valid for up to 120 days after the purchase date, instead of 90 days.
The Citi Premier card offers an extended warranty by virtue of the fact that it’s a World Elite Mastercard product — you can extend your manufacturer’s warranty for an additional 24 months for a maximum of 7 total years from the purchase date. This coverage is capped at $10,000 per item.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card can extend eligible warranties by 1 additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the few credit cards with return protection, which is essentially a shopping benefit you can use if you attempt to return an item to the original merchant and the merchant doesn’t accept the return. If that happens and you attempt your return up to 90 days after the date of the original purchase, you can get up to $500 in return protection reimbursements per item.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t offer any return protection.
The Citi Premier card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card both have no foreign transaction fees.
In our final section, we’ll walk you through the major costs associated with holding each card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s annual fee is $550, while the Citi Premier card has a $95 annual fee.
The Citi Premier card doesn’t have any additional annual fees for adding authorized users.
Authorized users on the Citi Premier card more or less enjoy the same benefits as the primary cardholder with the exception of the $100 annual hotel savings benefit. Only 1 is offered, although stays booked by the authorized user can certainly count toward it.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has an additional annual fee of $75 for each authorized user.
Any authorized users on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will enjoy the same benefits with the exception of:
However, authorized users will get travel insurance, access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, their own Priority Pass Select membership, and other benefits.
Well, there you have it! The Citi Premier card offers excellent rewards for a card with a mild annual fee, though the benefits are definitely on the lighter side.
On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a very substantial annual fee, but awesome rewards and ongoing benefits to sweeten the deal for you.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is considered to be the more prestigious credit card, but the Citi Premier card might be the perfect fit for you if you want a credit card that earns you lots of travel rewards points for everyday spending without worrying about large annual fees.
If you have great credit and haven’t opened many cards in the past few months, you should have a good chance at getting approved.
The Citi Premier card is absolutely worth keeping for the right customer. If you want lots of rewards without needing all of the bells and whistles of luxury travel benefits, this could be the card for you.
The 2 cards are difficult to compare since they have different price points, benefits, and rewards structures.
For the cost-conscious person who wants to take advantage of rewards, the Citi Premier card probably makes the most sense.
But if you can utilize all of the benefits from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it’ll pay for itself in spades.
While the card carries a hefty annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the premium Ultimate Rewards card and offers benefits such as lounge access, an annual travel credit, and a TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, or Global Entry application fee credit.
The card earns 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and dining through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x points on airfare through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and 3x points on all other travel and dining.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.