Amex Gold or Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Thank You Premier?


While we Warckens work for flight benefits, there are times when we’d like a confirmed flight, but obviously we’d rather not pay for one. With the exception of our no-annual-fee AAdvantage Aviator and annual-fee-but-lucrative-companion-fare Alaska Airlines cards, we’ve gotten rid of all our other dedicated airline credit cards in favor transferable point cards. All the big airline cards- American, Delta, Southwest, and United- earn 2 miles/$1 spent with their branded credit cards, and while they may offer additional benefits such as free checked bags and discounts on in-flight purchases, we’ve never flown with one airline enough to justify the annual fees associated with those cards. We use three transferable point cards, all of which earn at least 2 points/$1 on travel purchases, same as those airline cards, and we are much happier earning points we can use on multiple airlines and hotels, and in other ways aside from award flights and nights. I was just going over our card benefits to make sure the annual fees are still paying for themselves and started my own list to compare the three. Here’s what I came up with:



Amex Premier Rewards Gold 

  • Point earnings Membership Rewards Points 
    • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines 
    • 2x points on U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, restaurants, and travel purchased through 
    • 1x points all other purchases 
  • Point redemptions
  • Pay with Points at Checkout. Use points when you checkout online or on the go at over 10 merchants including Amazon, Expedia,, and more.
  • Go Shopping. Shop on for a wide selection of products and experiences from the latest tech to kitchen appliances and sports equipment.
  • Redeem for Gift Cards. Use points to get restaurant, retail, entertainment, travel, and American Express® gift cards.
  • Cover Your Card Charges. Use points to cover card charges on your recent statements. Just select the eligible purchases for which you want to use points for a statement credit.
  • Donate to Charity. Use points to donate to your charity of choice through the Members Give site. With 500+ charities, there’s a great range of causes you can support.
  • Book Travel. Use points for all or part of your flight, hotel, vacation, or cruise package on There are no blackout dates or seat restrictions. Earn miles and points just like if you’d paid cash, and earn 2x points for travel booked.
  • Transfer Points to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, in most cases 1:1.
    • AeroMexico
    • Air Canada
    • Air France/KLM
    • Alitalia
    • All Nippon Airways
    • Asia Miles
    • British Airways
    • Delta Air Lines
    • El Al Israel Airlines
    • Emirates
    • Etihad Airways
    • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Iberia
    • jetBlue
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic Airways
    • Choice Hotels
    • Hilton Hotels
    • Starwood Hotels
  • Share Points. You can’t transfer points between Membership Rewards members, but you can transfer your points to another person’s airline and/or hotel programs. 
  • Travel benefits
    • Roadside assistance
    • Car rental loss & damage insurance
    • Travel accident insurance
    • Baggage insurance plan 
  • Special offers Amex Offers & Benefits can be added to your card for automatic cash back and/or bonus rewards points for eligible purchases. This can easily offset the annual fee. 
  • Cardmember benefits
    • ShopRunner membership for free 2-day shipping 

    • Return protection 
    • Purchase protection 
    • Extended warranty 
  • Fees No foreign transaction fee, $0 annual fee first year, then $195. Includes $100 annual airline fee credit. Neither of us have been successful asking to have our annual fees waived, but with the annual airline credit and the lucrative Offers & Benefits, this card can pay for itself.


Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Point earnings Ultimate Rewards Points
      • 2x points on restaurants and travel- airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, public transit, tolls, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, parking lots and garages
      • 1x points all other purchases
  • Point redemptions 
  • Redeem for gift cards. Shop with your points and redeem for gift cards from a wide range of popular stores and restaurants. 
  • Get cash back. You can redeem for cash back and directly deposit it into most U.S. checking and savings accounts or choose to redeem for a statement credit. 
  • Shop With Points. Instantly redeem your points to pay for all or part of your eligible orders (including tax & shipping) when your Chase card is linked to 
  • Book travel. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel, and you’ll earn miles and points for flights and stays as though you’d paid cash.  
  • Transfer points to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, in most cases 1:1.
    • Aer Lingus
    • British Airways
    • Air France/KLM
    • Iberia
    • Korean Air
    • Singapore
    • Southwest
    • United
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • IHG Hotels
    • Marriott Hotels
    • Ritz-Carlton Hotels
    • Hyatt Hotels
  • Share Points. You may transfer unlimited points to *one* other Ultimate Rewards member with no restrictions. 
  • Travel benefits 
    • Trip cancellation insurance 
    • Auto rental collision damage waiver 
    • Baggage delay insurance 
    • Trip delay reimbursement 
    • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Special offers 
    • Earn additional points for purchases made through Shop Through Chase, their online shopping portal 
    • Use in conjunction with Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn up to 5% cash back on eligible categories 
  • Cardmember benefits 
    • Purchase protection  
    • Extended warranty 
  • Fees No foreign transaction fee, $0 annual fee first year, then $95. Neither of us have been successful asking to have our annual fees waived.


Citi Thank You Premier 

  • Point earnings ThankYou Points
      • 3x points on travel- airlines, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, gas stations, public transit, cruises, tolls, parking lots/garages, campgrounds and trailer parks, RV and boat rentals.
      • 2x points on restaurants and entertainment- live entertainment, live theatrical productions, concerts, live sporting events, movie theaters, amusement parks (including zoos, aquariums, circuses and carnivals), tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries), record stores, video rental stores and on-demand internet streaming media
      • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Point redemptions 
    • Redeem for gift cards.
    • Redeem for merchandise.
    • Shop with Points.
    • Statement credit. Redeem points for statement credits to cover recent dining, grocery, clothing, gas, utility, entertainment, and drugstore purchases.
    • Cash rewards. If cash is your favorite reward, redeem your ThankYou® Points for a $50 Cash Reward. There’s no annual dollar cap or limit to the number of cash redemptions you make.
    • Donate to Charity.
    • Shop Your Way. Transfer Your ThankYou Points to Shop Your Way® points to use at Sears and Kmart stores. 
    • Redeem for travel. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed through Citi Travel 
    • Transfer points to frequent flyer programs, in most cases 1:1
      • Air France/KLM
      • Asia Miles
      • Avianca
      • Etihad Airways
      • EVA Air
      • Garuda Indonesia
      • jetBlue
      • Jet Airways
      • Malaysia Airlines
      • Qantas
      • Qatar Airways
      • Singapore Airlines
      • Thai Airways
      • Turkish Airlines
      • Virgin Atlantic 
  • Share points. You may transfer points to any Thank You member, but those points expire in 90 days. 
  • Travel benefits
    • Worldwide car rental insurance
    • Trip cancellation and interruption protection
    • Trip delay protection
    • Baggage delay protection
    • Lost baggage protection
    • Roadside assistance
    • Worldwide travel accident insurance
    • Travel and emergency assistance 
  • Special offers You can call every month if you’re so inclined to see about any offers available on your account. I just called and got an offer to receive 1000 bonus points if I spend $1000 on the card in the next 16 billing cycles. I’ll take it! 
  • Cardmember benefits
    • Purchase protection
    • Return protection
    • Extended warranty
    • Citi Price Rewind. We’ll search for a lower price after you buy. If the same eligible item is found at a lower price on a retailer’s site within 60 days, you may receive the difference in price up to $500 per item, and up to $2,500 per year. 
    • ShopRunner membership for free 2-day shipping
  • Fees No foreign transaction fee, $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95. Greg and I have both called to have our annual fee waived, and have both been given an offer to spend $95 and receive a $95 credit. The cards live another year!


I called all three accounts to see how sharing points works between household members in case one of us wants to close our account. We’ve both been successful getting retention bonuses on the Citi cards, so we’ll keep them open another year. Since Greg can transfer his Ultimate Rewards points to me for free, before his annual fee is due we’ll transfer his entire balance and close his Chase Sapphire Preferred, saving the $95. The Amex Gold cards can realistically pay for themselves, so we’ll both keep our accounts open another year. Because of its transfer partners and ease of redemption we still prefer Ultimate Rewards and will use our Sapphires for travel purchases. Other future spending will be divided between:

                           Spend                                 Redeem

Amex                 Airline                                 1. Book travel  2. Transfer to travel partners

Chase                Travel                                  1. Transfer to travel partners  2. Book travel

Citi                     Gasoline                             1. Book travel  2. Transfer to travel partners


If you’re debating between cards, or wondering where to spend on what category, hopes this helps you as much as it helped me.

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