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Card Comparisons

Citi Prestige vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

The choice may come down to transfer partners and personal preference

Summary

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Citi Prestige® Card offer a similar combination of rewards and travel perks. We’ll help you decide which benefits suit your tastes.

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If you spend a lot of money on travel each year and find yourself traveling often, it’s smart to pick up a premier travel credit card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Citi Prestige cards both offer superior benefits such as annual travel credits, airport lounge access and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty partners.

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $450 annual fee, the Citi Prestige charges its own high fee at $495. Since neither card waives the annual fee the first year, you need to be sure you can get enough value in return before you sign up for either one.

If you’re ready for a premier travel credit card but unsure which of these two might be ideal for your wallet, keep reading to learn more.

Citi Prestige vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Citi Prestige
Citi Prestige® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Rewards rate
  • 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants
  • 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and dining (excluding purchases covered through $300 travel credit)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
Sign-up bonus50,000 points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months50,000 points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months
Annual fee$495$450
Credit requiredExcellentExcellent
Benefits
  • $250 flexible travel credit
  • Priority Pass lounge membership
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Transfer points 1:1 to 15 travel partners (no major airlines or hotels)
  • 4th night free at any hotel booked with the card, twice per year
  • $300 flexible travel credit
  • Priority Pass lounge membership
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Transfer points 1:1 to 11 travel partners, including United, Southwest and 3 hotel programs
  • 50% bonus on points redeemed through Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Travel insurance, including trip cancellation and primary car rental insurance

 

Choose the Citi Prestige if you …
  • Spend a large amount on travel
  • Book expensive hotels at least twice per year
Choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve if you …
  • Want to transfer your points to a hotel program
  • Redeem most of your rewards through a travel portal
  • Want the best credit card travel insurance

Both are good flexible rewards cards

When it comes to flexibility, both the Citi Prestige and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are solid options. Not only do both have a handful of transfer partners you can utilize to stretch your points further, but both let you book travel through their respective portals. As a bonus, you can also cash in rewards from either card for options like gift cards or merchandise.

We also like the fact that the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve each offer their own travel credit that is automatically applied to qualified travel purchases. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit is slightly higher at $300 (versus the $250 the Citi Prestige offers), both take the sting out of their respective card’s pricey annual fee.

Why choose the Citi Prestige?

Best card for travel spending

While both cards offer bonus points on travel, the Citi Prestige really takes it up a notch with its 5x and 3x earning categories. Not only does this card give you 5 points per $1 spent on air travel and dining, but you also get 3 points per $1 spent on hotels and cruises. If you happen to spend a ton of money on airfare or dining, you can use this card to earn considerably more points over time. In comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve only offers 3 points per $1 on travel and dining purchases.

Best card for paid hotel bookings

We the Citi Prestige’s lucrative earning structure for travel purchases, but it’s also a winner if you spend a lot of money on paid hotel bookings each year. Not only do you earn 3 points per $1 spent on hotels, but you can qualify for a complimentary fourth night free hotel benefit every year you have the card.

Why choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Best card for transferring points to hotels

If you are big on transferring points to your favorite hotel brand, you may love that Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you transfer points 1:1 to several hotel loyalty programs, including Marriott Bonvoy, IHG rewards and World of Hyatt.

Citi Prestige, on the other hand, doesn’t have any hotel transfer partners (although you can use your points to book hotels through the Citi travel portal).

Best card for booking travel through a portal

The Chase Sapphire Reserve really stands out for consumers who don’t want to deal with airline or hotel partners but prefer to book travel through a portal instead. Not only can you rack up points quickly by using this card for regular purchases and earning bonus points on travel and dining, but you get 50 percent more travel when you redeem points for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Redeeming points through a travel portal can be beneficial when you cannot find the award space you want on a flight, you prefer to stay in a smaller boutique hotel outside of the big brands or you don’t want to deal with the complexities of airline rewards programs. You can also use the Chase portal to book rental cars, experiences, vacation homes and more.

Best for cardholder benefits

Recently, Citi announced the removal of most of its cardholder benefits from its credit cards, including the Citi Prestige. As a result, the Citi Prestige will no longer include perks such as auto rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and lost baggage protection starting on Sept. 22, 2019.

In light of this news, the Sapphire Reserve has become a clear winner in terms of travel protections. Once you sign up for this card, you’ll receive an array of cardholder benefits and consumer perks such as trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and primary car rental insurance.

Check out Chase and Citi transfer partners before you decide

At the end of the day, the right card for you out of these two options may depend on the transfer partners you’re able to utilize. As we mentioned already, the Citi Prestige doesn’t have any hotel loyalty partners. They do, however, offer a broad range of airline partners that can be used to fly all over the globe.

On the other hand, Citi’s list of travel partners mainly comprises small, regional airlines and doesn’t include a large international carrier. With United MileagePlus and Southwest Airlines on the Sapphire Reserve’s list of travel partners, you may find it easier to transfer and use points.

Compare and contrast both card’s transfer partners before you decide which travel credit card is right for your wallet:

Transfer partners

Citi Prestige

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Air France/Flying Blue
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • JetBlue
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Aer Lingus
  • Air France/Flying Blue
  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United MileagePlus
  •  Virgin Atlantic
  •  IHG Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Also note that you can transfer Citi points to the Sears Shop Your Way program at a 1:12 ratio.

The bottom line

If you can’t decide between the Citi Prestige and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it helps to take a close look at their benefits and rewards. Since both cards offer similar perks, however, your decision may boil down to each card’s transfer partners and how they might fit into your regular travel plans.

See relatedHow does the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel credit work?Is the Citi Prestige card the best dining rewards card available?You splurged for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Now what?Is the updated Citi Prestige card worth it?

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