Credit-Card Face Off: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Vs. Citi ThankYou Premier Card

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There's plenty of competition among travel-rewards credit cards these days, which has led to a ratcheting up of both the sign-up bonuses and the perks associated with the cards. Among the cards that compete head-to-head are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, both of which feature hefty sign-up bonuses and plenty of perks.

Here's how these two popular mid-priced cards compare.

Annual Fees

As befits competing cards, the annual fees for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi ThankYou Premier card are the same: $95, waived for the first year, for both cards.

Earning and Redeeming Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders earn two points per $1 spent on travel and dining, one point per $1 for other spend; points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents apiece toward travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Citi ThankYou Premier card holders earn three points per $1 spent on travel and gas, two points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment, one point per $1 for other spend; points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents apiece toward airfare booked through the Citi ThankYou portal.

Transfer Partners

A key feature of both these cards is the transferability of points into a range of airline and hotel loyalty programs. But of course the cards' lists of transfer partners are different.

Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may be transferred, on a 1:1 basis, into the following programs:

  • Air France KLM FlyingBlue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Korean Air SkyPass
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World Of Hyatt

And ThankYou points earned with the Citi ThankYou Premier card may be transferred, usually on a 1:1 basis, into the following programs:

  • Air France KLM FlyingBlue
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinite MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hilton Honors

Sign-Up Bonuses

It's become customary for travel-rewards credit cards to be marketed with generous sign-up bonuses. And so it is with these two cards.

Both cards award new cardholders with 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months following account approval.

And the Winner Is ...

The two cards are very similar in many respects, with little to distinguish one from the other. The differentiator is likely to be in the relevance of the points-transfer partners.

For most consumers, the key attribute of these cards is their transferable points; the convenience afforded by that convertibility gives the points extra value.

Your mileage may vary, but for most U.S.-based travelers, whose award travel will be mostly domestic, the list of participating Chase Sapphire Preferred Card transfer programs is likely to be more compelling, including as it does the programs of both Southwest and United.

By contrast, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card list only includes one U.S. airline program, JetBlue's. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's partner list also allows points transfers into four major hotels programs (IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt) versus a single hotel transfer option with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card (Hilton).

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