Citi Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
As far as travel cards with a $95 annual fee go, it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card when it comes to ongoing value.
Not only does the Sapphire Preferred earn rewards from more travel categories and offer better travel redemption options — including a 25 percent travel redemption value boost through Chase Ultimate Rewards — but the Preferred card benefits are also more valuable. While the Sapphire Preferred card’s up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards falls short of the Premier card’s $100 discount on a hotel stay of $500 or more, the card stands out for its top-shelf travel insurance and an account anniversary bonus that matches 10 percent of your previous year’s rewards.
However, the Citi Premier’s 3X bonus categories can make a stronger case for everyday spenders. Although the Sapphire Preferred’s 3X points on select streaming services is useful, the Citi Premier’s 3X supermarket category isn’t tethered to online grocery shopping. Many cardholders will also probably find the 3X gas station category more valuable than the Chase card’s streaming service rewards.
With this in mind, the Sapphire Preferred is a much better option for frequent travelers, but the Citi Premier may be more lucrative for cardholders more focused on earning rewards on everyday spending.
Citi Premier Card vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
If you prefer the Citi Premier card’s previous rewards on transit and entertainment, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express includes 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3 percent back on transit in addition to its other stellar bonus categories.
The Blue Cash Preferred may also be a more valuable pick if you aren’t planning to take advantage of transfer partners and tend to lean on grocery purchases. In fact, the Blue Cash Preferred’s 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) is perhaps the best rewards rate for groceries available.
The Blue Cash Preferred offers potentially more annual credits as well with up to $84 per year toward Disney Bundle streaming services ($7 per month on a $12.99 or more monthly payment) and another up to $120 per year toward an Equinox+ fitness subscription (up to $10 per month; enrollment required). However, these brand-specific credits may not be as practical as the Citi Premier card’s annual $100 hotel credit toward a stay of $500 or more.
Depending on your spending habits, the Citi Premier card’s broader category coverage may offset the Blue Cash Preferred card’s supermarket and streaming focus, especially if your dining and travel expenses outweigh your supermarket expenses or your grocery budget well exceeds $6,000 per year.
Best cards to pair with the Citi Premier Card
Other Citi credit cards are usually the best match for the Citi Premier. The most flexible option is probably the Citi® Double Cash Card since you can convert the up to 2 percent cash back (1 percent at purchase, then 1 percent upon payment) it earns on all purchases to ThankYou points. These are normally “basic” points, but they’re transformed into full-fledged ThankYou rewards when they’re redeemed with your Citi Premier card.
Citi’s rewards card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, also happens to be one of the best partners for the Citi Premier. Its unique rewards program earns an incredible 5 percent cash back in your top spending category each billing cycle (up to $500, then 1 percent back). Since it only earns rewards in one of 10 categories, the Citi Premier covers some of the costliest categories — like dining, groceries, gas and travel — and allows you to earn stellar rewards in rarer categories like transit, select streaming services and live entertainment. Even better, because the Citi Custom Cash earns “basic” ThankYou points that can go toward cash back, you can pool your points with the Citi Premier instead and redeem them for a higher value with transfer partners.
If you make a lot of small purchases at supermarkets and gas stations, then the Citi Rewards+ card will also make a great no annual fee partner. It only earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in purchases each year (then 1X points), but it rounds up all of your rewards to the nearest 10 points on each purchase. Plus, you can get a 10 percent bonus on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year.