The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express® Gold Card are bloodthirsty competitors in the mid-range travel credit card market. And while they offer several comparable benefits and award valuable points that can be used in a similar way, these cards are completely different.
If you’re a traveler (or plan to be one in the near future) and have narrowed your credit card search to Amex Gold or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, take a look at each card’s welcome bonus first:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Earn 80,000 Reward Points by spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. Please note that the 80,000 points welcome offer will expire on May 31, 2022.
- Amex Gold – Earn 60,000 Reward Points by spending at least $4,000 on purchases within the first six months of opening an account.
With such great deals, any one of these cards could potentially cover hundreds of dollars in free travel. But after you’ve used those bonuses, which card is best for your lifestyle?
I have compressed your essential information into a short five minute read.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is for you if…
You don’t want to pay a big annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95. This fee is competitive with other mid-range travel credit cards, but as you’ll soon see, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card gives you superior bang for your buck.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review
You tend to book flights and hotels through online travel agencies.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® bonus points. You can redeem these points in several ways, each offering a different return percentage. For example, you can:
- Cash out your points at a rate of 1 cent each.
- Use your points to redeem your Amazon cart at checkout at a rate of 0.8 cents each.
- Transfer points to Hyatt for luxury hotel stays.
- Transfer your points to United Airlines for virtually free flights to virtually anywhere in the world.
On a secure site
One of the most popular ways to redeem points is to “purchase” a trip through the Chase Travel Portal. This is an online travel agency similar to Expedia or Orbitz where you can book flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises.
If you normally book your trip through an online travel agency rather than booking directly, you’ll love that you can use Chase Points to book your travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal.
By comparison, with the rewards you get from the Amex Gold Card, you will only earn 1 cent per point when you book the same trip through the Amex Travel Portal.
Thus, Chase Sapphire Preferred® card rewards are 25% more valuable to you.
You need reliable travel insurance
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card comes with some of the best built-in travel insurance of any card on the market. Here are some insurances that you will automatically receive by simply using your card to pay for your trip:
- Travel delay insurance If your flight is delayed overnight (or more than 12 hours), you can be refunded up to $500 per ticket for things like accommodation, food, toiletries and even clothing.
- Baggage Delay Insurance — If your baggage is delayed at your destination for six hours or more, you are eligible to receive up to $100 per day for up to five days on items such as clothing and toiletries.
- Primary rental car insurance — If you opt out of the car rental agency’s internal insurance, you will receive primary insurance in case of damage or theft of the rental car. Otherwise, it can cost $12+ per day, so it’s a big money saver for those who rent a car often.
Read more: Benefits and Rewards of Chase Unique Credit Cards
To quickly compare these insurance benefits with the Amex Gold Card:
- Amex Gold offers trip delay insurance up to a reasonable amount of $300 ($200 less than the Sapphire Preferred® card).
- Amex Gold does not offer baggage delay insurance.
- Amex Gold offers secondary insurance instead of primary insurance, which means that you will have to use personal insurance if you crash your car.
I have had a Chase Sapphire Preferred® card for many years and its travel insurance has saved me thousands of dollars.
Ready to get a card? Apply now for the 80,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred® bonus offer ending May 31, 2022.
The American Express® Gold Card is what you need if…
You spend a lot in supermarkets and restaurants
The Amex Gold Card earns 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants around the world, with spending up to $25,000 in a calendar year. This is a generous return on some of life’s most common purchases.
If you’re like me, you spend about $850 a month on these two categories of expenses. By using your Amex Gold Card for these expenses, you’ll earn 40,800 points annually on purchases you intended to make anyway. These points can be used in the same way as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and can be worth:
- $244.80 on discharge credit repayment (0.6 cents per point).
- $285.60 when paying for your Amazon cart at checkout (0.7 cents per point).
- $408 per trip when paying through the Amex Travel Portal.
- $700+ at Waldorf Astoria Orlando when transferring Amex points to Hilton.
- 3 one-way flights (or 1.5 round trips) to Ireland from the East Coast when transferring points to Aer Lingus.
Again, you will almost always get better value for your points by transferring them to partner airlines and hotels.
Do you eat out a lot?
The American Express® Gold Card comes with a $250 annual fee. That’s $155 more than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. But this price is better justified by the following annual report credits:
- Up to $120/year ($10/month) at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and select Shake Shack locations.
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash credits ($10 per month).
- The Uber Cash credits you’ll receive each month can also be used with Uber Eats, so even if you don’t use car sharing services often, you can still get some free food out of them.
Pair these credits with the fact that you’ll be earning 4 points per dollar per meal and you can see that this card was made for gourmets.
You maximize Amex offers
Amex offers are available on all American Express cards. These are targeted statements and bonus points for spending at certain sellers. Simply register your Amex Gold Card through your online account and you will be automatically rewarded for using them.
For example, I have an Amex offer to earn 4 bonus points per dollar in Buffalo Wild Wings (max 5000 bonus points). I just used it tonight and received 120 bonus points for a purchase I planned to make anyway.
Read more: Should I buy Amex cards?
I also have a $50 offer off the $250 spent on the Marriott. I already have a Marriott stay scheduled, so I’ll use my card for that and get $50 free.
Amex offers are constantly changing, but if you keep track of them regularly, you can easily offset the annual credit card fee and then some others. I have done this many times.
If you’re trying to diagnose the travel credit card that best suits your lifestyle, you’ll need to look into each card’s current benefits relative to its annual fee. If you save more money each year than you pay in fees, the card is no problem.
Although the redemption rate of Amex points is slightly different compared to Chase points, they are both arguably the two most powerful tools for earning free travel.
No matter what your wishlist looks like, these cards will help you make your wildest travel dreams come true.
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