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Two options stand out from the rest when it comes to premium credit cards. Chase Sapphire Reserve® as well as Platinum Card® by American Express offer the most benefits of any travel credit card and give you the ability to earn far more points for your spending over time.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
American Express Platinum Card
|Welcome offer||80,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months||100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first six months|
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum
Award flights and hotels
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Amex Platinum|
Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Amex Platinum allows you to earn 5x points on flights up to $500,000 per year booked by airlines directly or through American Express Travel, and 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
However, Chase recently added new card benefits to Sapphire Reserve by raising the reward rates for travel purchases. With Sapphire Reserve, travelers earn 10x more points on hotels and car rentals, and 5x more points on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards program. Note. You must use your $300 annual travel credit before earning points on their premium rates. Regular travel purchases will also give you 3X points.
While both cards prefer that you book through their issuer’s travel portals, Amex Platinum is a bit more restrictive as its 5X points only apply to prepaid hotels and exclude car rentals. Overall, Sapphire Reserve earns points across a wider range of categories at higher rates than Amex Platinum.
Points redemption value
|Amex Platinum||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|2.1 cents||2 cents|
Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
While on average Membership Rewards are worth slightly more than Ultimate Rewards (according to Bankrate), having a Sapphire back-up card will allow you to increase your rewards when they are redeemed.
Based on points alone, Chase Sapphire Reserve is by far the best option as the card gives you 50 percent more value when you use it to travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. This increased value makes your points equal to 1.5 cents each, so you can significantly increase them when you use the Chase portal to book flights, hotels, car rentals and more. In addition, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent when you redeem them for statements, cashback or gift cards.
On the other hand, Amex points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed through Amex Travel for airline tickets and only 0.7 cents per point when booking prepaid hotels, car rentals, cruises or travel packages. Similarly, you will only receive 0.6 cents per point when redeemed for statements.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Amex Platinum|
Winner: Amex Platinum
What Amex Platinum lacks in reward potential, it makes up for in credit and travel incentives. Known for its unique benefits, the Platinum Card easily offsets the $695 annual fee with credits alone.
First, you’ll automatically earn Hilton Honors Gold Elite Membership, which includes free Wi-Fi, late check-out, and room upgrades subject to availability (requires registration with the hotel program). You’ll also receive up to $200 a year in Uber credits that are distributed monthly. Other annual credits include: up to $200 hotel credit on qualifying bookings (minimum two nights stay) on Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection prepaid bookings, up to $200 in airline fees, $189 for memberships Clear and $100 or $85 for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck app.
The card also gives you access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world and provides you with various types of travel insurance, such as the highly sought-after cancellation or trip interruption insurance.
In addition to travel, the Platinum Card statement also covers lifestyle. It gives you up to $240 in digital entertainment credit when you use your card to shop at Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times (registration required). You can also sign up for up to $100 credit towards Saks Fifth Avenue purchases and up to $300 credit towards qualifying Equinox membership.
What card should you get?
Although Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum are the main travel cards of their respective issuers, they are quite different. The Sapphire Reserve is great for earning high-rate travel rewards, while the Platinum Card makes it valuable with multiple credit statements.
For example, you might choose Chase Sapphire Reserve if you dine out frequently and want to earn more points, or if you frequently fly Southwest or United Airlines. Conversely, an Amex Platinum card may be a better option if you shop frequently or are registered with Audible and the New York Times, or if you frequently fly with Delta Air Lines or obscure international carriers.
- If you want more transfer partners: It is common knowledge that the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has better transfer partners than the American Express Membership Rewards program. In addition, all Chase transfer partners allow you to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio, while only most Amex transfer partners do so. Also, keep in mind that Chase allows you to transfer your points to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, which is basically considered the most family-friendly frequent flyer program in the country.
- If you are a flexible traveler: We recommend Sapphire Reserve as it is more versatile. You can use the $300 travel credit you get with Chase Sapphire Reserve for any type of travel you charge your credit card. However, the $200 Amex Platinum Airline Fee credit is only for incidental travel expenses such as seat selection and checked baggage. Not only that, you must select one airline for your travel credit, so it only applies when you fly with that one airline. The credit will also not be renewed if you do not use it.
- If you like to travel in comfortA: The Platinum Card offers better lounge access than any other credit card, and this is especially true when compared to Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both cards give you a free Priority Pass Select membership that allows you to use over 1,200 airport lounges around the world. However, Amex Platinum gives you access to significantly more airport lounges, luxury ones like Delta Sky Clubs and Centurion Lounges.
There is no right answer for everyone when you compare Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum. The right card for you really depends on what cardholder benefits you will enjoy and how you plan to use your rewards.
Meanwhile, you should also look at the reward ratio of each card to determine which one can earn you more points at the end of the year. Both of these travel credit cards can be profitable on their own, but there’s a good chance that one of them will do more good for you over time.