Key takeaways

  • If you’re looking for a premium travel credit card with transferable points, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express should be at the top of your list.
  • Both cards offer elevated travel benefits like airport lounge access, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and annual statement credits that can help make up for their annual fees.
  • Since many of the cardholder benefits from these two premium cards overlap, there’s a good chance you’ll want one of them but not both.

If you ask rewards enthusiasts which travel credit cards are most sought after today, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express are usually the ones that come to mind. Both offer stellar rewards, flexible redemption options and an array of luxury perks to help you upgrade your travel experience.

You’ll also have to fork over a hefty annual fee for each card — $550 for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and $695 for the Amex Platinum. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum can both be valuable in terms of their cardholder benefits and rewards programs, many of their offerings overlap (like airport lounge access and annual travel credits).

So, how do you decide between the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve? Read on to see which factors you should consider when deciding which travel credit card would leave you better off.

Main details

As you compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card from American Express, here are the main details to consider:

Cards Chase Sapphire Reserve The Platinum Card from American Express
Welcome bonus 75,000 points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening 80,000 points after spending $8,000 within 6 months of account opening
Rewards rate
  • 10X points on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards
  • 5X points on flights purchased through Ultimate Rewards (travel rewards kick in after earning the $300 travel credit)
  • 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases (travel rewards kick in after earning the $300 travel credit)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year)
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X points on car rentals and other eligible prepaid travel through American Express Travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases
Annual fee $550 $695

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum highlights

Both of these top travel credit cards come with flexible rewards programs and an array of important travel perks, but they’re not necessarily equal cards. Here’s how they compare:

Amex Platinum

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Tie

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Which card earns the most?

The main reason to sign up for either of these cards is to earn rewards and score important travel perks. But which credit card will lead to the highest return overall? That really depends on your spending style and how much you spend over the course of any given year.

While the Amex Platinum could be beneficial for someone who spends a lot on airfare and hotels (particularly when booked through American Express Travel), the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s rewards rates on purchases booked through its travel portal will likely push the earnings you could reap to the top.

Spending example

Imagine you travel a lot and charge most of your travel and personal expenses on a credit card each year. Here’s an example of what your monthly spending might look like if that were the case:

  • $2,000 on regular purchases (such as utility bills, groceries and gas)
  • $900 on airfare
  • $600 on hotel stays
  • $200 on rental cars

With this spending example, you would earn 14,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the month with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or 9,900 points for the month with the Amex Platinum. The chart below shows how those rewards rates break out by category:

Amount spent Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Regular purchases $2,000 2,000 points 2,000 points
Airfare $900 4,500 points if booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards 4,500 points if booked through American Express Travel
Hotel stays $600 6,000 points on hotel stays booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards 3,000 points if booked through American Express Travel
Rental cars $200 2,000 on rental cars booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards 400 points on rental cars booked through American Express Travel
Total: $3,700 per month 14,500 points 9,900 points

With this example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve leaves you ahead. It’s important to understand, however, that this card only gives you 5X points for airfare and 10X points on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Ultimate Rewards. This means you’ll have a lot less flexibility and potential to get a great deal, but the same could be said for the Amex Platinum, too.

Also, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 3X points on travel that’s not booked through the issuer’s travel portal. With the Amex Platinum, on the other hand, you only earn 5X points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and 2X points on other eligible prepaid travel through the portal. If you book hotels directly or through a third party travel booking site, you’ll earn just 1X points per dollar spent.

Why should you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is best for those who want to earn 3X points on all of their travel purchases and not just ones that meet specific criteria. And since you’ll get 50 percent more value when you use points for travel through the Chase portal, this card is also valuable for anyone who doesn’t mind incorporating the issuer’s portal into their travel plans.

Plus, because you’ll earn 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025), the Chase Sapphire Reserve would be worth it for anyone who uses this rideshare company frequently (especially for long and expensive rides).

Additional benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits include a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA PreCheck membership and a $300 annual travel credit. Plus, you can get a complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024) and special benefits with Instacart and Peloton.

You’ll also get a handful of important travel insurance benefits like:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waivers
  • Trip delay reimbursements
  • Lost luggage reimbursements
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage

Other benefits include purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty coverage.

Redemption options

When redeeming rewards for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get 50 percent more value out of your points. Other redemption options that apply include gift cards, cash back, statement credits, merchandise, experiences and points transfers to Chase travel partners.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this credit card, which typically means having a FICO score of 740 or higher.

Why should you get the Amex Platinum?

The Amex Platinum is best for frequent travelers who are able to book airfare and hotels through American Express Travel. This card is also ideal for people who want the broadest airport lounge access available, as well as those who frequently use Uber or Uber Eats.

Additional benefits

The Amex Platinum comes with many benefits and credits. Cardmembers can receive up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid bookings (via American Express Travel) at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties.

This card also comes with up to $200 in Uber credits per year, but you should know these credits are doled out in increments of $15 per month (plus an extra $20 in December) and they don’t roll over from month to month. You’ll also get up to $200 in annual airline fee credits good for incidental airline purchases, although you’ll have to select a single airline to apply the credit to at the beginning of each year.

Other credits include:

  • Up to $240 annually in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month)
  • Up to $300 in Equinox fitness membership credits per year (credited annually, see offer terms for details)
  • Up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases annually ($50 for January through June and $50 for July through December)
  • Up to $155 (plus applicable taxes) per year in Walmart+ membership credits

Additionally, the Amex Platinum offers up to $189 in credits for CLEAR Plus membership, plus up to $100 in statement credits to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership fees. The Amex Platinum also has a much broader airport lounge program than the Chase Sapphire Reserve: You’ll get the same Priority Pass Select membership, plus access to American Express Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Club when you fly with Delta.

To sweeten the deal further, this card provides automatic Hilton Honors Gold Elite status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. You’ll also get important travel card protections like trip delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and car rental loss and damage insurance.

Redemption options

You can use American Express Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through the American Express Travel portal, although you’ll only get 1 cent per point in value when you use the portal to book airfare. If you book hotels, cruises or rental cars through AmexTravel.com instead, you can expect to get 0.7 cents per point in value.

Amex credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points also let you transfer rewards to a range of hotel and airline partners, some of which overlap with Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also cash in your points for gift cards, statement credits and shopping with select merchants, though you’ll get less than 1 cent per point in value if you use one of these redemption methods.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for this credit card, which typically means having a FICO score of 670 or higher.

The bottom line

Of these two elite credit cards, which will leave you better off? The answer primarily depends on which categories you spend the most money in each month, which airline and hotel partners make the most sense for your regular travel plans and which card benefits you find the most valuable.

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s rewards rates outshine the Amex Platinum, and the benefits are comparable when you take into account the annual fees, even considering that the Amex Platinum offers more statement credit opportunities overall. Still, you should continue your research to see which of these cards might work better for your individual needs by using Bankrate’s card comparison tool. And don’t forget to also compare these cards to other top rewards cards, including other Chase credit cards and Amex credit cards.

Issuer-required disclosure statement

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.