A couple years ago everyone went crazy over the Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa and the 100,000 point signup bonus. It’s a great credit card.
When I previously wrote about the best credit cards, I said the best cards to hold were:
- Either the Citi Prestige or Chase Reserve
- American Express Platinum
- Amazon Prime Visa
Now I more firmly believe that the Citi Prestige is better than the Chase Reserve and it’s what most people should use for everyday purchases.
At a high level the two cards are very similar. They both have a $450 annual fee, travel credits, lounge access, global entry, points you can transfer to other programs, and more. But here’s where the Citi Prestige stands out:
- 4th night free credit. If you book any hotel anywhere for 4 nights, you get the fourth night free. We used this 30 times on our year of traveling, saving us $10k. If you use this 1 or 2 times a year, that’s $200-500 right there.
- Extended warranty on all purchases. Chase gives you an extra year. Citi Prestige gives you 2 years. I’m using the Citi card to buy all our baby products, appliances, etc.
- Price protection. With many credit cards, if you find a lower price for an item within 90 days, they will refund you the difference. With Citi it’s 120 days, and it’s automatic. They scan popular websites for better prices. I bought a 4k TV and Citi refunded me $98 when they found a better price.
- Damage and theft protection. Most cards will refund you your purchase price if you lose or damage a purchase within 90 days. With Citi it’s 120 days. I broke my iPhone X screen a few months ago and Citi paid $303 to fix it. I don’t buy AppleCare.
- Travel protection. Many credit cards give you travel insurance, but Citi is more generous than the others. For example, if your flight is delayed by just 3 hours (vs 5 with Chase), you get $500 to use towards hotels, cars, food, or a warm jacket. Our flight over Christmas was cancelled in Philly. I wish I had used the Citi card for the flight. Same with baggage delays: 3 hours with Citi vs 6 with Chase.
Where is Chase better?
- Chase gives you 3 points per dollar on dining, vs 2 with Citi. (Both give you 3 points on travel)
- Chase lets you transfer points to United. Citi doesn’t have United as a partner.
- Chase gives you primary car insurance in the US, vs secondary with Citi. (Both are primary outside the US).
If you only travel on United, then maybe the Chase card is better for you. But generally speaking the added benefits of the Citi card make it the one to have.
What card do I use when making a purchase? I have the Citi Prestige, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum, and Amazon cards.
- If it’s a large purchase, I use the Citi card so I get the price, damage, warranty protection.
- If it’s a flight, I use Amex so I get the 5 points.
- For all travel and dining, I use the Citi card. In particular if I’m booking 4 nights at a hotel, I use Citi so I get a night free.
- For Amazon purchases, use the Amazon card for 5% back.
- For all other 1x point purchases, use the Amex Platinum since they are the best points.
Amazon purchases seem complicated. Tell me more.
It’s easy to say “use the Amazon card for all Amazon purchases” but that’s not actually the best way to go. The Amazon card doesn’t have great purchase protection, so you have to be a bit careful here.
If I’m buying something expensive from Amazon (like a stroller or any electronic), I’ll use the Citi card and NOT the Amazon card. I’d rather have the purchase protections than the 5% back.
Do I still have the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
I do now, but I’ll cancel it before my next annual fee is billed. I find it hard to get enough value out of it to keep it, given the other cards are so much better.