Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Which Card Offers Better Travel Rewards?

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Is one card better than the other in this Citi Strata Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred matchup? (Citi is a FinanceBuzz partner.)
Updated June 20, 2024
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Among the Citi credit cards lineup, the Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card is a mid-tier travel card that offers plenty of ways to earn rewards. Its closest competition within the Chase credit card lineup is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The Sapphire Preferred is also considered a mid-tier travel card, and it’s widely regarded as one of the best travel credit cards available. 

In this Citi Strata Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred comparison, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between these credit card offers so you can see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This will help you decide whether you should apply for one over the other.

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Citi Strata Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Citi Strata Premier is a great option for frequent travelers who want to earn travel rewards on a variety of different expenses. It offers many rewards categories for purchases, which makes it easy to earn the points you need for award travel or other redemptions. And because your rewards are part of the Citi ThankYou points program, you get a lot of flexibility with how you want to redeem your points.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you also get plenty of ways to earn points, as well as loads of benefits. Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include both travel and purchase coverages, plus the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with this card are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase travel portal.

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card
Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee $95 $95
Welcome bonus Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com after account opening Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Earning rate 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases
Redemption methods
  • Points can be redeemed for cash, statement credits, travel, gift cards, online shopping trips, and more
  • Points can be transferred to more than a dozen partner loyalty programs
  • Points can be redeemed for statement credits, electronic bank deposits, gift cards, travel, and to make purchases with participating merchants
  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal
  • Points can be transferred to 14 partner loyalty programs
Intro APR None None
Annual credits $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com
Up to $50 in annual statement credits for hotels booked through Chase Travel℠
Travel perks
  • Receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more once per calendar year
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption (Common Carrier)
  • Trip Delay
  • Lost or Damaged Luggage
  • Car Rental (MasterRental Coverage)
  • Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip in trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Up to $500 in baggage delay insurance
  • Up to $500 per ticket in trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
Other benefits
  • Exclusive access to purchase tickets to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more with Citi Entertainment
  • Damage and theft purchase protection
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • An annual points bonus equal to 10% of your previous year's total card spend
  • Chase purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Complimentary year of DashPass from DoorDash
Foreign transaction fee None None
Credit score needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Learn more Learn more

What both cards excel at

Both the Citi Strata Premier and Chase Sapphire Preferred are among the best travel credit cards, which means they’re designed to help people travel more while spending less. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why they might have a few similarities:

  • Redemption options: Travel rewards cards are meant to be used for award travel, but that doesn’t mean the available redemption options are always valuable. With either of these cards, you can get a lot of value from your points through their respective rewards programs. Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, cruises, and much more. Or if you don’t have any travel plans at the moment, you can always redeem your points for cash, statement credits, gift cards, or discounted shopping trips.
  • Costs and fees: Rewards and benefits are nice, but not if you have to pay high costs and fees. However, that’s not the case with the Citi Strata Premier or the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Neither card has foreign transaction fees, so don’t worry about racking up fees while you’re traveling abroad. Also, their annual costs aren’t outrageous. Both the $95 annual fee on the Citi Strata Premier and the $95 annual fee on the Sapphire Preferred can be offset by the rewards and benefits they offer cardmembers.
  • Sign-up bonuses: Sign-up bonuses immediately give cardholders the opportunity to earn a lot of points in a short time period. This makes it easy to book award travel soon after getting a card, which helps to offset any annual costs there might be. With the Citi Strata Premier, you can earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. With the Sapphire Preferred, it’s 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Purchase coverages: Both cards offer purchase protection and extended warranty benefits. These benefits can be helpful if your eligible purchases are damaged or stolen.

2 important differences between the Citi Strata Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

You may want a card that earns bonus points on certain purchases or you’re looking for specific benefits on your next travel credit card. By comparing the differences between the Citi Strata Premier and Chase Sapphire Preferred, it’s easier to see where one card might better suit you than the other.

1. Earning categories

Many travel rewards cards earn points or miles on travel-related purchases. With the Citi Strata Premier, you can earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases. 

With the Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.

Overall, each card’s bonus categories are useful, but the Citi Strata Premier takes the edge with how much you can earn in common spending categories. Having these categories makes it easier to earn more points on purchases you’re already making. 

This may lead to faster and more frequent points redemptions, depending on whether you choose to save your points for future trips or spend them.

For more details, read our full Citi Strata Premier Card review.

2. Transfer partners

Both the Citi Strata Premier and Chase Sapphire Preferred allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs, called transfer partners. This makes your points a lot more flexible because you get more opportunities to use them in different ways. For instance, a hotel or airline could offer a good deal when you book award travel through them directly. With a simple transfer of points from your credit card rewards program, you may be able to qualify for that deal.

Citi transfer partners aren’t necessarily better than Chase transfer partners, and vice versa, as it all depends on which partners offer you more value. Basically, the value you get depends on how you prefer to travel. Citi transfer partners include over a dozen top loyalty programs like Avianca, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Qatar Privilege Club.

On the other hand, Chase partners with a few major hotel brands and their loyalty programs, including IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. Chase also has a number of airline partners, such as British Airways Executive Club, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Which card should you choose?

There is no overall winner between the Citi Strata Premier and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, although the Sapphire Preferred does have the edge in certain categories. It has a low-cost $95 annual fee, so it shouldn’t take much to offset its annual cost, especially if you take advantage of the $50 annual hotel credit. The welcome offer alone should cover it for multiple years, and that’s without including the value of any benefits or additional rewards you earn.

You also get a 25% bonus on your points when you use them for travel redemptions through the Chase travel portal with the Sapphire Preferred, and its transfer partners are slightly more diverse than what you find with the Citi Strata Premier. Citibank focuses mainly on airline travel partners, whereas Chase has partnerships with both airlines and hotels.

Where the Citi Strata Premier does shine, though, is with its earning categories. With so many common bonus categories to choose from, it shouldn’t be hard to earn valuable Citi ThankYou points. The Sapphire Preferred has a few bonus categories, but they don’t match up with what the Citi Strata Premier has to offer.

FAQs about the Citi Strata Premier vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Is the Citi Strata Premier worth it?

The Citi Strata Premier card is well worth it if you need a travel rewards credit card with flexible points redemption options. Compared to other travel credit cards, the Citi Strata Premier may not have as many premium travel benefits, but it makes up for it with a wide range of ways to earn bonus rewards on your purchases.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred a good card?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel credit cards available. It has a low $95 annual fee, earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and comes with helpful benefits like travel coverage and purchase protection. In addition, you’ll also earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

What credit score do you need for the Citi Strata Premier?

To get approved for the Citi Strata Premier card, you’ll likely need an excellent credit score. Excellent credit typically starts around 800 on either the FICO Score or VantageScore models.

What credit score do you need for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

You’ll likely need a good or excellent credit score to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. A FICO credit score in the high 600s to the mid-700s is typically considered good, whereas credit above 800 is considered excellent.

Bottom line

When you compare credit cards, you inevitably end up looking at cards from major credit card issuers like Citibank and Chase. The better credit card between the Citi Strata Premier and the Chase Sapphire Preferred depends on what you’re looking for. Both cards have some similarities. They each earn valuable points that can be redeemed for award travel and provide helpful benefits as well.

Overall, the Citi Strata Premier offers more opportunities to earn bonus rewards, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a 25% bonus on travel redemptions. Solely based on the earning categories, the Citi Strata Premier might be your best option. But with a bonus for travel redemptions, and a $50 annual hotel credit, the Sapphire Preferred also has some huge positives. Still, the better card depends on your spending habits and what you’re looking to do with your points.

Great for Flexible Travel Rewards

4.9

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.