The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
When it comes to the best travel credit cards, the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card frequently make the cut. Both cards feature flexible ways to redeem rewards, plus they come with much lower annual fees than top-tier premium travel cards. They also make it easy to boost rewards in everyday categories, like dining and travel, thanks to their generous earning rates.
But which of these flexible rewards cards is best for you? That really depends on which categories you spend the most in, as well as which transfer partners you want access to. Read on to learn our take on how these two cards stack up.
|American Express Gold Card
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Amex Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred highlights
Comparing the Amex Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be tricky since these cards both earn points in top rewards programs. However, depending on the bonus category, one card may offer more value than the other.
Welcome bonus winner: Amex Gold Card
While the Chase Sapphire preferred lets cardholders earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening, the Amex Gold Card offers the same 60,000-point bonus for spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening.
We give the Amex Gold Card a very slight edge here since you only have to spend an average of $1,000 per month for 6 months to earn the bonus, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred requires an average monthly spending of at least $1,334 for 3 months.
Rewards rate winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
While the Amex Gold Card boasts lucrative rewards rates in its own right — especially for foodies — the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s earning rates win in this category. Not only does the Chase Sapphire Preferred have broader and better bonus categories, but cardholders can earn unlimited bonus points in each.
After all, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, cardholders can earn 5X points on any travel booked through Chase Ultimate rewards plus 5X points on Lyft rides (2X points for general travel and 3X bonus points) through March 2025. Cardholders also earn 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 2X points on other travel; and 1X points on all other purchases.
Annual fee winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Amex Gold Card includes an annual fee of $250, whereas the Chase Sapphire Preferred will set you back just $95 per year. All things considered, the Chase Sapphire Preferred scores an easy win in this category.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither one of these cards charges foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. This is an important consideration for frequent travelers, and both cards are winners here.
Which card earns the most?
So, which travel credit card choice will leave you with more rewards in the end? Your own points haul will depend on how much you spend and which categories you spend the most in. Consider the spending example below and how it might look the same (or different) based on your spending habits.
Let’s imagine you have a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 kids. Additionally, say your average food spending is about $1,224.70 per month (or $14,696.40 per year) on a moderate-spending plan, which is fairly close to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report on the average cost of different food plans [PDF].
Let’s also imagine that you spend $300 per month ($3,600 per year) at restaurants, $3,600 per year on airfare and $2,400 per year on hotels and other travel. You also spend $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year) on miscellaneous purchases.
With the Amex Gold Card, you would earn a total of 98,386 Amex Membership Rewards points per year:
- 58,786 points at U.S. supermarkets
- 14,400 points on dining
- 10,800 points on directly-booked airfare or through American Express Travel
- 2,400 points on hotels and other travel
- 12,000 points on miscellaneous purchases
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you would earn a total of 96,889 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year:
- 44,089 points on online grocery services
- 10,800 points on dining
- 18,000 points on airfare booked through Chase
- 12,000 points on hotels and other travel booked through Chase
- 12,000 points on miscellaneous purchases
Why should you get the Amex Gold Card?
The Amex Gold Card’s earning potential may make it seem like a marginal winner, but there are more reasons to consider this card over the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Amex Gold Card comes with up to $120 in Uber Cash each year ($10 per month), which makes it among the best credit cards for Uber and ridesharing. Cardholders also receive a dining credit worth up to $120 per year, which is also extended in increments of $10 per month. This credit applies when you use your Amex Gold Card to pay for eligible purchases with Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations.
This card also comes with a hotel credit worth up to $100 when you book an eligible stay with The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. This credit is good for stays of at least two consecutive nights, and it can be applied to room upgrades upon arrival (if available) or eligible dining, spa and resort activities.
Other Amex Gold benefits include purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranty coverage, car rental loss and damage insurance, trip delay insurance, access to a Global Assist hotline, baggage insurance and a complimentary ShopRunner membership (enrollment required).
One of the more important reasons to consider the Amex Gold card is if you want to earn points in the American Express Membership Rewards program. You can use these points for merchandise, gift cards, statement credits and travel through the Amex travel portal. Membership Rewards points can also be transferred to Amex airline and hotel partners like Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, among others.
Why should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
If you’re intrigued by the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s rewards rates and earning potential, you should know there are even more reasons to sign up.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with several unique perks. Cardholders will get up to $50 in annual statement credits for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, a 10 percent anniversary points bonus (terms apply) and 25 percent more points value for travel redemptions through Chase.
Other benefits include a DoorDash DashPass membership for one year (offer expires Dec. 31, 2024), trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services, an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage on eligible items.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are notoriously easy to redeem, even for those who rarely travel. Redemption options include cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, Chase Experience events and travel. And remember, cardholders also get 25 percent more value when redeeming points for travel through Chase.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program also has its own unique list of airline and hotel transfer partners, which include Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt and more.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred requires applicants to have a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850) to qualify for the card. However, you may have a better chance of approval if you have a FICO score of 700 or higher.
The bottom line
Both the Amex Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth considering if you spend a lot on everyday purchases and you want flexible redemption options. However, the right card for you depends on which categories you spend the most in and how you plan to redeem your rewards.
That said, it never hurts to compare these cards with other top rewards cards, including other cards from Chase and American Express. With some research and comparison shopping, you may be able to find a card that can boost your rewards even more.