|by Jason Steele|
In the high end credit card market, the Citi Charman Card and the Visa Black card share the same price range in terms of annual fees. The Citi Chairman American Express Card will set you back $500 a year, while the Visa Black is only slightly less expensive at $495. Let’s see how they compare:
|Features||Visa Black||Citi Chairman|
|Type of Card||The Visa is a standard credit card. You are free to carry a balance at their standard interest rate, 14.99%. This rate more than doubles to their “penalty rate” of 30.24% if you should miss a payment.||The Citi Chairman is an American Express card issued by Citibank. It offers an 11.24% variable APR that is tied to the Prime rate.|
|Rewards Program||They offer a 1% cash back as a statement credit towards any expense. They do offer airline ticket awards for 25,000 points for tickets up to $500 in value.||Citi Chairman earns Thank You points from Citibank. They can be redeemed for a variety of travel or merchandise option, generally at about 1 cent of value per point.|
|Concierge Services||Visa provides a 24 hour concierge services for personal, business, and travel needs.||Citi Chariman offer 24/7 Chairman personal service concierge to assist with dining, shopping, or travel reservations|
|Special Card||Visa Black offers a unique, carbon fiber card.||Citi Chairman is a black plastic card. Oddly, it does not display the American Express logo.|
|Airport Lounge Access||Visa Black offers membership in the Priority Pass program. You get four annual complimentary entries into a member lounge, and then you must pay $27 per visit.||Citi Chairman offers Priority Pass as well.|
|Companion Airline Tickets||Visa Black does not offer any companion tickets at this time.||Citi Chairman offers limited companion tickets on Virgin Atlantic, as well as discounts on select carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Korean Air Lines, and Singapore Airlines.|
|Airline Fee Credits||Visa Black does not offer any airline fee credits at this time.||Citi Chairman does not offer airline fee credits.|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||Visa Black has a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases processed outside the United States.||The Citi Chairman card has a 3% Foreign Transaction fee. Oddly, this only began as of January 1, of 2011. Previously, there was no fee.|
|Acceptance||Visa Black is accepted anywhere the Visa card is.||The Citi Chairman card is only accepted where American Express is. There are many occasions where Visa is accepted and American Express is not.|
|Complimentary Gifts||The Visa Black card offer’s its members complimentary luxury gifts such as cross pens.||The Citi Chairman card has no complimentary gift program.|
|Annual Fee||The Annual Fee for the Visa Black is $495||American Express Platinum has an annual fee of $500|
|Other Significant Amenities||Visa Black offers trip delay, interruption, and cancellation insurance.||The Citi Chairman card also trip interruption and cancellation insurance of up to $1,500|
How The Rewards Stack Up
The Visa Black card offers superior rewards when redeemed for airline tickets. In that case, they can be worth 2 cents per dollar spent on the card. The Citi Thank You system maxes out at a penny per point in reward value. Both of them offer a range of travel, shopping, and gift card redemption options in addition to cash or a statement credit.
As far as memberships go, the Citi Chairman card offers membership in Avis rent a cars elite club, as well as hotel upgrades in several smaller boutique chains.
Which Card Should You Get?
Like our earlier comparison between the American Express Platinum and the Visa Black, the difference between these cards comes down to intangible qualities of the concierge service. The Visa Black is the clear winner when it comes to reward value, but the Citi Chairman card holds some compelling benefits as well. Each card offers an entire array of travel insurance, purchase protection, and emergency assistance benefits. When it comes to choosing between the competitively matched cards, it will have to come down to your personal preference between the service levels offered by the two companies.