Citi Prestige vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

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The Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige cards have a great deal in common. Both cards offer similar sign-up bonuses, flexible rewards points that can be transferred to a myriad of travel partners, generous travel benefits, and a $450 annual fee. Ideally, you would diversify and keep a healthy stash of both Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points. But what if you can only have one of these two credit cards? Which one should you get? We’ll answer this by comparing the benefits of both cards:

Sign-up Bonus

Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 points after $4,000 spent within 3 months

Citi Prestige: 40,000 points after $4,000 spent within 3 months

The Citi Prestige has a a lower sign-up bonus than the Sapphire Reserve and Citi ThankYou points are also valued less (1.55 cents) than Ultimate Rewards (1.7 cents). Thus, the Sapphire Reserve wins this round.

Category Bonuses

Sapphire Reserve

  • 3x on travel and dining

Citi Prestige

  • 3x on air travel and hotels
  • 2x on dining and entertainment

When it comes to category bonuses, the Sapphire Reserve not only offers the same number of points on travel as the Citi Prestige, but those 3x points are extended to dining as well. Entertainment may not be a bonus category for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, but most of us will spend more on dining and travel anyway. The ability to get 50% more value out of your points through Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal redemptions is another advantage the Sapphire Reserve has over the Citi Prestige.

Transfer Partners

Sapphire Reserve

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG Rewards
  • Korean Skypass
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Citi Prestige

  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hilton HHonors (1:1.5)
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai
  • Virgin America (2:1)
  • Virgin Atlantic

Chase Ultimate Rewards may not have as many transfer partners as Citi ThankYou, but there is a great deal of overlap and a difference in quality. Hyatt, United, Southwest – these are all valuable transfer partners that are great for low redemption rates and zero-fuel charge awards. Sapphire Reserve takes this round.

Lounge Access

Both cards offer Priority Pass Select membership, making this round a tie.

Annual Travel Credits

Sapphire Reserve:

  • Annual $300 travel credit

Citi Prestige:

  • Annual $250 air travel credit

The Sapphire Reserve offers cardholders a $300 travel credit, which can be applied to nearly every type of travel charge.

Meanwhile, the air travel credit from the Citi Prestige is restricted to flight-related expenses, including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, etc. The Sapphire Reserve wins this round with a higher and more flexible travel credit.

$100 Global Entry/PreCheck Fee Credit

Both cards offer complimentary Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. Cardholders can claim this benefit once every four years by charging the application fee to their credit cards and receiving a statement credit. Thus, this is another round where the two cards are tied.

Hotel Benefits

Sapphire Reserve:

  • Exclusive benefits via The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

Citi Prestige

  • 4th night free

The Citi Prestige’s 4th night free benefit gives it a definite advantage over the Sapphire Reserve’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection access. Citi Prestige cardholders can save thousands of dollars with the 4th night free benefit, while the The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection merely offers benefits like room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out. Clearly, Citi Prestige wins this category.

The Sapphire Reserve comes out ahead of the Citi Prestige in most categories. As usual, you should make your judgment based on how much you value each category. Which is why I’d like your feedback:

How would you rank the Sapphire Reserve against Citi Prestige in these key categories?

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a travel hacker and travel rewards expert who earns over 1.5 million miles every year. When she’s not contributing to Frugal Travel Guy, she publishes her own points and miles blog, PointChaser.com. You can connect…
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank

Apply Now
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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: No
  • Card Type: Bank
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions – as long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


First 3 months

50,000

$4,000


Travel Purchases

2.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Coffee Shops Purchases

2.00

$1


Fast Food Purchases

2.00

$1


Alcohol & Bars Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

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