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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.
That said, you’ll 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 card would work better for you.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve
|The Platinum Card from American Express
|80,000 points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
|80,000 points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
In this comparison of Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve, the winner is the Sapphire Reserve. Bother cards give you the opportunity to earn 80,000 points, but a few minor details set the bonuses apart.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve lets you earn 80,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. If you use these points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, your welcome bonus could be worth $1,200 instead of $800. This is because the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a 50 percent points boost for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The Amex Platinum offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Your points are worth 1 cent apiece when you book travel through American Express Travel, bringing the welcome bonus value to $800. The Amex Platinum does, though, give you an extra three months to hit your spending requirement compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
We would like to note that, according to Bankrate points valuations, Amex Membership Rewards points could be worth up to 2.1 cents each when transferred to high-value Amex partners. That means your welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,680. As for Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they could be worth up to 2 cents each when transferred to high-value Chase partners, which means your welcome bonus could be worth up to $1,600. That’s not much of a difference.
Rewards rate winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
The best travel card for earning ongoing rewards depends on which categories you spend the most in and how much you spend each month. With that in mind, the Chase Sapphire Reserve can boost your rewards earnings more than the Amex Platinum since the former offers higher rewards rates in numerous categories. Plus, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 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, 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases and 1X points on all other purchases.
The Amex Platinum provides 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 prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
Annual fee winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you’re looking to get more value from the money you spend, you should look for a card that offers more perks for a lower annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve once again pulls ahead in this category due to its $550 annual fee (compared to the Amex Platinum’s $695 annual fee). On top of that, the Chase Sapphire Reserve charges $75 annually for each authorized user. In contrast, the Amex Platinum charges $175 annually for up to three additional users and $175 annually for each user added after the first three.
Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit makes it easier to recoup most of the annual fee right away, since it’s automatically applied to your account for eligible travel purchases, effectively bringing the cost of the annual fee down to $250.
While it’s possible to get a lot more than $695 in value from the Amex Platinum, keep in mind that the travel credits for this card are harder to use. For example, the up to $200 in airline fee credits is only good for one airline, and the up to $200 in Uber credits are doled out in monthly increments of $15 per month ($20 in December). This kind of fine print makes it harder to offset the annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S.
Travel perks winner: Tie
Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum provide some of the best travel perks on the market. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel credits are broader and easier to earn than the Amex Platinum’s credits, the Amex Platinum evens the score with access to more airport lounges (including some of the poshest lounges available). Therefore, for this category, it’s a tie.
For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve issues a $300 annual travel credit for eligible travel purchases, a credit which is automatically applied to your account. The Amex Platinum, however, offers more specific travel-related credits:
- Up to $200 in airline fee credits per year for incidentals with a qualifying airline
- Up to $200 in credits per year for eligible, prepaid hotel bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties (via American Express Travel)
- Up to $200 in Uber credits per year for rides and delivery ($15 per month, plus $20 more in December)
- Up to a $100 credit per year on consecutive, two-night stays with The Hotel Collection brands
Both the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve include airport lounge access to help reduce the stress of travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Priority Pass Select membership gives you access to over 1,300 lounges around the world. In comparison, the Amex Platinum offers more extensive airport lounge access. It includes Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, Centurion Lounge membership and Delta Sky Club access when you fly Delta, among others.
It’s also worth noting that both cards offer up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. But the Amex Platinum takes it a step further with up to $189 in statement credits for Clear membership, which can help you speed through security checkpoints.
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 now top the earnings you could reap.
Imagine that you travel a lot and that you 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:
- $1,000 on regular purchases (such as groceries and gas)
- $900 on airfare
- $600 on hotel stays
- $200 on rental cars
- $200 on other (general) travel
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would earn 14,100 points for the month. That’s broken down as:
- 1,000 points on regular purchases (such as groceries and gas)
- 4,500 points on airfare (booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
- 6,000 points on hotel stays (booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
- 2,000 on rental cars (booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
- 600 points on other (general) travel
With the Amex Platinum you would earn 9,100 points for the month, which is broken down as:
- 1,000 points on regular purchases (such as groceries and gas)
- 4,500 points on airfare (booked through American Express Travel)
- 3,000 points on hotel stays (booked through American Express Travel)
- 400 points on rental cars (booked through American Express Travel)
- 200 points on other (general) travel
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. But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll still earn 3X points on travel that’s not booked through the issuer’s travel portal.
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).
Other Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits include a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and a $300 annual travel credit. Plus, you can get a complimentary subscription to DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024) and $10 in statement credits from Gopuff (through Dec. 31, 2023).
You’ll also get a handful of important travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, an auto rental collision damage waiver, a trip delay reimbursement, a lost luggage reimbursement and emergency evacuation and transportation coverage. Other benefits include purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty coverage.
When redeeming points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get 50 percent more value out of your points. Other redemption options 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.
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) and up to $155 (plus applicable taxes) per year in Walmart+ membership credits.
Additionally, the Amex Platinum offers up to $189 in credits for Clear membership, plus up to $100 in statement credits to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. 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.
You can use American Express Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through the American Express Travel portal, though you’ll generally only get 1 cent per point in value when you do. You can also transfer your points 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 usually 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
So, of these two elite credit cards, which will leave you better off, the Platinum Card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve? 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 and benefits outstrip the Amex Platinum. Still, you should do some research to see which of these cards might work better for your individual needs. And don’t forget to compare these cards to other top rewards cards, including other Chase credit cards and Amex credit cards.
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.