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The Citi Prestige® Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are high-end travel options. The main difference between the two is the rewards rate you get on travel and dining purchases. With the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, you earn 5x points on airfare and restaurants, and 3x points on hotels and cruises, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points on travel and dining purchases.
However, the travel category under Chase includes a huge variety of purchases, such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, homestays, trains, busses and more. And the cool thing is these 3x points can be worth 4.5x if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
Both the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer a strong signup bonus. However, you’ll find different redemption value, depending on what you go for.
Citi Prestige® Credit Card: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months of card membership.
The value of points depends on what you redeem them for, meaning it can range from 0.5 cents per point to 1 cent per point. With a value of 1 cent per point, 50,000 bonus points are worth $500.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months of card membership.
Even though both cards let you earn the same number of bonus points, the Sapphire Reserve has a higher redemption value. Most redemption options will get you 1 cent per point, but redeeming points toward travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal will get you a solid 1.5 cents per point. This turns your 50,000 bonus points into $750 worth of travel.
With a 50% higher signup bonus value, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the better card for this perk.
Best for reward points: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
This is one of the features where it seems that both cards have a similar value. But when you look at the details, you’ll see that one card actually offers a better value.
Citi Prestige® Credit Card: Earn 5x points on airfare and restaurants, 3x points on hotels and cruise lines and 1x points on all other purchases.
This card earns 5x points on two travel categories, which is on par with most premium travel credit cards. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to beat the Sapphire Reserve in this category.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 3x points on travel purchases — airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages — 3x points at restaurants, 10x points on Lyft purchases until March 2022, and 1x points on everything else.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the winner in the reward category, not only because you get to earn 3x points on more categories than you could earn with the Citi Prestige card, but because the 3x points can actually be worth 4.5x when you redeem for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards program.
Best for hotel perks: Citi Prestige® Credit Card
As premium travel cards, both of these options come with hotel perks. But in this case, the Citi Prestige has the better perk. With this card, you get a complimentary fourth night at a hotel of your choice. But you have to book your hotel through ThankYou.com and you have to stay a minimum of four consecutive nights. You can earn the complimentary fourth night twice every year.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® only offers benefits at the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. This includes complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out. As far as value goes, this is not a match for the Citi’s complimentary fourth-night perk.
Other perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Being similar high-end travel credit cards, you can expect similar perks. But once again, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers slightly more in the form of travel protections and benefits. Of course, it’s best that you never use these perks, but if an unfortunate event occurs, you’ll be better covered with the Chase card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
$300 travel credit each year
$250 travel credit each year (supermarket and restaurant purchases count toward the credit until December 2020)
An additional $145 each year if you’re a Citigold member (have at least an average monthly balance of $200,000 in linked deposit, retirement and investment accounts) for a $395 total
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
$100 every four years
$100 every five years
Points transfer partners
Aer Lingus AerClub
Air France KLM Flying Blue
British Airways Executive Club/Avios
Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United Airlines MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
IHG Rewards Club
World of Hyatt
Purchase and travel protection
Extended warranty protection
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Auto rental collision damage waiver
Lost luggage reimbursement
Trip delay reimbursement
Emergency evacuation and transportation
Cell phone protection
Who should get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card?
Between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, the first is a slightly better card. But raw numbers often aren’t enough to decide between the cards. The Sapphire Reserve is a better choice for anyone looking to get a higher rewards value on travel purchases, and for those who want to step in the Chase Ultimate Rewards ecosystem. And if you combine your cards in a Chase trifecta, you can get a powerful rewards-earning combo.
Who should get the Citi Prestige® Credit Card?
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card could be a better choice for travelers looking to utilize points transfer partners. The Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers more foreign carriers and fewer popular US travel programs. This would be a benefit if you frequently travel abroad, but will likely leave the program less valuable for many US travelers.
These premium travel rewards cards could be a good choice for someone who can manage the annual fee and is looking to get luxury travel perks. For most consumers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will prove the safest bet. But if you’re travel savvy and enjoy Citi’s lineup of travel partners, the Citi Prestige® Credit Card can also offer a solid value.
If neither credit card jumps out at you, continue searching for a rewards credit card with a range of capabilities suited more toward your lifestyle.
Compare Citi Prestige® Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.
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