The Chiefs booked a home Super Rugby final when they held on to beat the Crusaders 20-19 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
The Chiefs will now play the winner of the Bulls vs Brumbies Semi-final at Waikato Stadium next Saturday in their second consecutive Super Rugby final.
Current Super Rugby champions the Chiefs hosted the 2012 Super Rugby final and beat the Sharks from South Africa 37-6.
The result means that the winner of the Bulls vs Brumbies match will have to travel from South Africa to New Zealand directly after the Semi-final.
No New Zealand team has ever lost a Super Rugby Semi-final match that they have hosted - a record that stretches back 15 matches.
The Crusaders went into the match as the favourites having won their last five matches and led 3-9 at half time but the Chiefs scored 17 unanswered points early in the second half to take the lead.
The Crusaders had opportunities to win the match but Dan Carter missed a penalty in the second half and also missed two drop goals. The Crusaders also chose to kick a penalty with five minutes on the clock when they could have gone for the line out and the victory.
The result will put Todd Blackadder's position under pressure as the Crusaders have contested in all of the play offs since their last title in 2008 but have come short each time.
The golden 10-minute spell which produced a 17-point burst lifted the the Chiefs from 3-9 down to a 20-9 lead before they grimly held out a late Crusaders charge in a match played at a frantic pace.
The Chiefs beat the Crusaders 20-17 on the same ground in the semi-finals last year.
But they had the better of the opening exchanges, finding holes around the side of the Crusaders ruck and spending long periods on the attack.
However, their efforts lacked accuracy and they were undone by a misfiring lineout and multiple turnovers.
The Chiefs had an opportunity to score early from a penalty but preferred to take play up to the Crusaders line in a move that ultimately saw them lose possession.
The Crusaders were after points and the first two penalties they received within Dan Carter's kicking range were both converted.
The Chiefs learned their lesson and when the Crusaders forwards were caught offside, Aaron Cruden put them on the board to trail 3-6 after the first quarter.
Carter landed a third penalty but missed a fourth as the Crusaders, with their high-paced game, began to spend more time inside the Chiefs 22.
With Kieran Read and George Whitelock heading a marauding pack they forced the Chiefs on to the back foot and by half-time led 9-3.
The Crusaders continued to run riot in the opening plays of the second half to keep the Chiefs scrambling but when Carter missed a second penalty the Chiefs discovered their second wind.
In the space of 10 minutes Cruden kicked a penalty, converted a try when one-Test All Black Lelia Masaga ran through the Crusaders pack, and then converted his own 40-metre runaway try from an intercept.
From six points down the Chiefs were suddenly 11-points up, only to find their recovery stymied by a classy try from a delicate run down the sideline by Israel Dagg.
Carter landed a fourth penalty to have the Crusaders behind by just one point with seven minutes to play but they were unable to score again despite dominating territory in the closing minutes.
Final Score Chiefs 20 (3) Crusaders 19 (9)
Tries - L.Masaga, A. Cruden
Pen - A.Cruden 2
Con - A.Cruden 2
Tries - I.Dagg.
Pen - D.Carter 4
Con - D.Carter
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2:Chris Pollock
TMO : Glenn Newman
1.Toby Smith , 2.Hika Elliot , 3.Ben Tameifuna , 4.Craig Clarke (c) , 5.Brodie Retallick , 6.Liam Messam , 7.Tanerau Latimer , 8.Matt Vant Leven , 9.Tawera Kerr-Barlow , 10.Aaron Cruden , 11.Asaeli Tikoirotuma , 12.Andrew Horrell , 13.Charlie Ngatai , 14.Lelia Masaga , 15.Gareth Anscombe
Replacements : 16.Rhys Marshall , 17.Ben Afeaki , 18.Michael Fitzgerald , 19.Sam Cane , 20.Augustine Pulu , 21.Bundee Aki , 22.Robbie Robinson.
1. Wyatt Crockett , 2. Corey Flynn ,3. Owen Franks , 4. Luke Romano , 5. Sam Whitelock , 6. George Whitelock , 7. Matt Todd , 8. Kieran Read (c) , 9. Andy Ellis , 10. Dan Carter , 11. Zac Guildford , 12. Tom Taylor , 13. Ryan Crotty , 14. Tom Marshall , 15. Israel Dagg ,
Replacements : 16. Ben Funnell , 17. Joe Moody , 18. Luke Whitelock , 19. Richie McCaw , 20. Willi Heinz , 21. Tyler Bleyendaal , 22. Adam Whitelock.