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If you like to fly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or one of the Citi AAdvantage credit cards can be a welcome addition to your wallet. You can spend less on flights and enjoy exclusive travel rewards. While both options are some of the best travel credit cards, each card caters to different travel styles. In this Sapphire Preferred vs Citi AAdvantage credit cards review, we’ll compare the Preferred to two co-brand American Airlines credit cards to find the right one for you.

Moon Palace Cancun Mexico TBEX. Credit: Johnny Jet

Sapphire Preferred vs Citi AAdvantage Review

Before we get into our review, let’s take a look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred, one of the best Chase credit cards. Then, we’ll look at the two American Airlines options we’ll be comparing today—the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

Best Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits

Before comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the best Citi AAdvantage credit cards, let’s quickly review some of the best travel perks:

  • Earn up to 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards® on purchases
  • 3x points on qualifying dining, online grocery orders, and select streaming services
  • Points are worth 25% more for award travel redemptions (1.25 cents vs. 1 cent)
  • 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
  • Up to $50 in annual statement credits for hotel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Bonus points on each account anniversary equal to 10% of total purchases for the year

The annual fee is $95, and there is no foreign transaction fee.

Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you like flexibility. While you won’t get free checked bags or priority boarding benefits, you can earn bonus points on any travel purchase. Additionally, the 25% travel redemption bonus and 1:1 point transfers provide more flexibility.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The bonus is worth $750 in travel bookings through Chase Ultimate Rewards or $600 in cash back and gift cards.

Does Chase Sapphire work with American Airlines?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct relationship between Chase Sapphire and American Airlines. Still, you can earn 5 Ultimate Rewards per $1 on American Airlines purchases booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will earn 2 points per $1 when booking travel directly through American Airlines.

The 25% travel redemption bonus also applies to award flights booked through the credit card rewards portal. American Airlines isn’t a Chase Sapphire airline transfer partner, but its domestic airline partners are JetBlue, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

Related: 48 Best Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select

The information for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is a consumer co-brand credit card with a similar annual fee and benefits as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select is a competitive option if you fly on the airline a handful of times each year and don’t need premium credit card benefits like Admirals Club lounge access.

Annual Fee

The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select annual fee is $0 for the first 12 months and then $99 on each renewal.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is $95 per year, including during the first year.

Neither charges a foreign transaction fee.

Signup Bonus

New Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can receive 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months. This bonus is worth at least $500 in-flight rewards, as AAdvantage miles are usually worth from 1.0 to 1.5 cents.

Related: Do American Airlines Miles Expire?

Travel Benefits

As this is a co-branded airline credit card, its benefits are optimized when flying on American Airlines.

  • Free first-checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to 4 companions
  • Preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • 25% discount on in-flight food and beverage purchases
  • $125 American Airlines flight discount after spending $20,000 during a card membership year
  • Redeem AAdvantage miles for American Airlines flights, upgrades, and with travel partners

Additionally, your card purchases earn AAdvantage miles:

  • 2x on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 2x at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1x on all remaining purchases

You will earn 1 Loyalty Point per mile earned on purchases to qualify for American Airlines elite status sooner.

Related: The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi AAdvantage Executive

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the crown jewel of the American Airlines credit card lineup. Many people apply for this card to get complimentary airport lounge access and more robust American Airlines flight benefits.

Its annual fee is $450 versus $95 for the Sapphire Preferred, but you receive a lot more benefits that can be worth it if you fly on American often. These lavish perks also make it an excellent premium credit card.

Further, Citigold customers can receive a $145 annual fee credit.

Signup Bonus

New Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® cardholders can earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus isn’t as valuable as the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s or many of the best credit card offers.

Earning American Airlines Miles

You earn 2x miles on American Airlines purchases and 1x for everything else.

In addition, you earn 1 Loyalty Point for every mile earned plus 10,000 additional Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 during the qualifying status year.

Air Travel Benefits

This card offers more air travel benefits than the Sapphire Preferred. It’s also a better option than the more affordable Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® when your travel party consists of up to 8 companions instead of 4.

  • Free first checked bag for you and up to 8 companions
  • Enhanced Airport Experience (priority check-in, airport screening (where available), boarding privileges for you and up to 8 people
  • 25% in-flight food and beverage discount
  • Free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100 every five years)

Airport Lounge Access

Free Admirals Club lounge access is arguably the best reason to apply for the Citi/AAdvantage Executive. While you don’t enjoy as many member benefits with partner lounges compared to buying an Admirals Club membership, this perk can be worth more than the annual fee.

However, for most people, this card’s complimentary membership is more than sufficient as you get unlimited complimentary visits for you and up to two guests. Your immediate family can also enter free of charge.

If you love airport lounges, this card is your best choice since the Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have lounge benefits.

Related: What Card Gets Airport Lounge Access?

Summary: Is the Sapphire Preferred or Citi AAdvantage Better?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is better than the American Airlines credit cards if you crave flexible benefits and redemptions, so you’re not bound to a specific airline. Its $95 annual fee is also affordable, and you can see if you qualify for the Sapphire Preferred.

If you’re subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, then one of the Citi/AAdvantage credit cards can be easier to qualify for. Additionally, choose one of these options to get specialized American Airlines perks.

Consider the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® for free checked bags, preferred boarding, and the opportunity to earn AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points on purchases. You may also enjoy not paying an annual fee for the first year (then $99 per renewal).

If you plan on spending time in an Admiral’s Lounge, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the clear-cut winner. Being able to enjoy free checked bags and an enhanced airport experience for up to 8 travel companions can be well worth having a premium travel credit card.

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