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Premium credit card comparison: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Capital One Venture X vs. Amex Platinum

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Despite charging annual fees of $395 or more, premium credit cards can be worth their weight in gold. After all, many of the top travel credit cards offer serious benefits like airport lounge access, fee credits for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry and automatic elite status with major travel brands.

In the meantime, the best travel cards offer generous bonuses worth $750 or more in travel right off the bat. These offers can help you get a good deal from a new credit card during the first year—all while giving you the chance to try out the card’s most popular benefits.

But, do you need several premium credit cards? Probably not. The fact is, many of the most exclusive credit cards come with redundant benefits you don’t need to duplicate by carrying several higher-tier card options.

With that in mind, it’s usually best to narrow your focus to a single premium travel credit card that lets you earn the way you want and redeem your points for maximum benefit. Top options include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. And it’s easy to see why.

While each of these cards lets you earn rewards in different programs (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One miles, respectively), all three of these cards offer superior travel benefits and rewards you can redeem for travel, gift cards, merchandise and more.

Premium travel credit card benefits guide

Which premium travel credit card should you invest in this year? The following chart lists each of these card’s earning rates, bonus offers and annual fees.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum Capital One Venture X
Welcome offer 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening 100,000 points when you spend $6,000 on your card within six months of account opening 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
Earning rate
  • 10X total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
  • 10X total points on hotel stays and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards
  • 5X points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases
  • 1X points on all other purchases

(Note, you will start earning travel-related rewards after earning your $300 travel credit)

  • 5X points on airfare and hotels booked directly or through the American Express Travel portal (on up to $500,000 per calendar year)
  • 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel
  • 1X points on all other purchases

 

  • 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X miles on airfare booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles on all other purchases
APR 17.74 to 24.74 percent variable 16.74 to 23.74 percent variable 18.49 to 25.49 percent variable
Annual fee $550 $695 $395

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Capital One Venture X highlights

As you can see, each of these elite credit cards offers a lucrative rewards rate and a pricey annual fee to match. Still, there are details that help each of these cards stand out, including their welcome offers, major cardholder perks and the way they let you redeem your rewards.

We compared each card and its unique offerings to see which one beats out the others in categories you care the most about.

Welcome bonus winner: Amex Platinum

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve welcome bonus of 60,000 points (after you spend $4,000 in the first three months) can be worth $900 if you redeem for travel through Chase, this bonus is not up to par with the other two.

The Amex Platinum offers 100,000 points with $6,000 spent on purchases within six months of account opening, whereas the Capital one Venture X requires you to spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening in order to earn 75,000 bonus miles.

Since the Amex Platinum requires a much lower minimum spending requirement, and since American Express Membership Rewards tend to be slightly more valuable than Capital One miles, we believe the Amex Platinum comes out ahead in this category.

Rewards rate winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve

When it comes to earning points, the Chase Sapphire Reserve wins hands-down in this category. This is mainly due to the sheer number of bonus categories you can earn bonus points in, but also since its categories are broad and easy to maximize.

Consumers who choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve can earn 10X points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards and 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards. Other rewards rates include 5X points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases, and 1X points on everything else. Note, again, that travel rewards will kick in after the $300 travel credit is earned.

By contrast, the Amex Platinum Card’s bonus categories are very specific. You can earn 5X points on airfare and prepaid hotels (up to $500,000 in spending per calendar year), for example, but only if you book directly with the airlines or through AmexTravel.com.

The Capital One Venture X also offers bonus points on airfare, hotels and car rentals, but you have to book travel through Capital One Travel to earn more than 2X miles per dollar spent.

Annual Fee winner: Capital One Venture X

The Capital One Venture X charges an annual fee of $395, which compares favorably against the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee and the $695 annual fee the Amex Platinum charges. Consumers who want a premium travel credit card with the lowest possible out-of–pocket cost can pick this card and receive excellent value right away.

After all, the Capital One Venture X offers a $300 annual credit for travel through Capital One Travel.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie

None of these cards charge foreign transaction fees, which means they all tie in this category. If you plan to travel abroad and want to avoid paying an extra fee for international purchases, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum or Capital One Venture X could work for your needs.

Which card earns the most?

Most people who choose a premium travel credit card travel often and have the opportunity to utilize their card’s most exclusive perks. However, it’s crucial to figure out which of these cards might help you earn more points or miles over time.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Capital One Venture X spending example

For the sake of an example, let’s say you travel fairly often but also use your credit card for your regular purchases and bills. In this case, your monthly (and annual) credit card spending could look something like this:

Credit card spending:

  • $24,000 per year ($2,000 per month) on regular purchases, including groceries and gas
  • $12,000 per year ($1,000 per month) on flights booked through a travel portal
  • $6,000 per year in restaurant spending ($500 per month)
  • $3,000 in cruises per year (one cruise per year, on average)
  • $2,000 per year spent at hotels and car rentals booked through a travel portal

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would earn 131,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year—24,000 points on regular purchases, 60,000 points on airfare, 18,000 points on dining, 9,000 points on cruises and 20,000 points spent on hotels and car rentals. Note that you only earn 3X points on travel after you earn your $300 travel credit.

With Amex Platinum, on the other hand, you could earn 114,500 Amex Membership Rewards points over the course of one year. First off, you would earn 60,000 points on airfare and 3,000 points on cruises. Let’s say your restaurant purchases qualify for Amex’s Shop Small rewards category 50 percent of the time. That’s $1,500 ($250 per month for six months) at a rate of 10X points, earning you 15,000 points. The rest of your restaurant spending would come out to $4,500 at a rate of 1X, earning you an additional 4,500 points.

Let’s also break your hotel and car rental spending down and say that you spent $1,500 on hotels through AmexTravel.com and $500 on car rentals. In this case, you would earn another 7,500 points on hotel stays and 500 points on rental cars. We are also adding in the 24,000 points you would earn on non-bonus spending.

With the Capital One Venture X, you would earn 146,000 miles during one year of membership—48,000 miles on regular purchases, 60,000 miles on airfare booked through Capital One Travel, 12,000 miles on dining, 6,000 miles on cruises and 20,000 miles on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One.

Obviously, this is a pretty big difference you would notice if you spent this much on travel and regular purchases throughout the year. However, like all rewards-related topics, there are still plenty of reasons why you might want to pick any of these cards.

Why should you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is best for consumers who want to earn 10X points on hotels and rental cars and 5X points on airfare booked through Chase, as well as 3X points on other travel and dining purchases. Since this card also offers 10X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 10X points on Chase Dining purchases, the value can be even higher over time.

And considering you get 50 percent more value out of your points when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, this card is also ideal for anyone who loves to book boutique hotels or various travel plans without dealing with complicated airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Additional benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers tons of benefits to be aware of, including a fee credit (up to $100) toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership (valued at $429) and a $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied to travel purchases made with your card.

Other travel-related benefits include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary auto rental coverage, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency evacuation coverage, travel accident insurance and more.

Meanwhile, this card also comes with a Lyft Pink membership that includes 15 percent off Lyft rides and priority airport pickups. A DashPass subscription is also included, which gets you unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee, plus reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year. Both memberships must be activated by March 31, 2022.

Redemption options

The Chase Sapphire Reserve lets you cash in points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and you’ll receive 50 percent more value out of your points when you do. Other redemption options include gift cards, cash back, statement credits and merchandise from Apple.com or Amazon.com.

The Ultimate Rewards program also lets you transfer your points 1:1 to the following Chase airline and hotel partners, which are frequently considered the best:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Air France / Flying Blue
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Recommended credit score

Applicants need an excellent credit score to qualify for this credit card, which usually means having a FICO score of 740 or higher.

Why should you get the Amex Platinum?

The Amex Platinum is usually best for frequent travelers who book airfare directly with airlines or book flights and hotels through AmexTravel.com. This card is also a solid option for anyone who wants the opportunity to visit American Express Centurion lounges in cities like Houston, Dallas and Hong Kong, as well as frequent flyers who want to visit Delta Sky Clubs when they fly with Delta.

The various annual credits this card offers can also make it a good value for specific types of spenders. For example, you may like this card if you spend a lot with Uber, Equinox or Walmart+ each year.

Additional benefits

While the $695 annual fee on the Amex Platinum is definitely steep, you can get significantly more value than that by keeping the card each year. In your first year of card membership, you can get Amex Platinum benefits that equal up to $2,074 in value. They include:

  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits
  • Up to $200 in credits annually for prepaid hotel bookings at Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties via Amex Travel
  • $100 credit on qualifying hotel purchases (per two-plus consecutive night stays with a brand in The Hotel Collection)
  • Up to $189 in CLEAR® membership credits annually
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash for rides and delivery annually
  • Up to $300 in eligible Equinox fitness membership credits per year (enrollment required)
  • Up to $155 per year in Walmart+ monthly membership credits
  • Up to $200 in airline fee credits annually for incidentals with a select airline
  • Up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases annually
  • Up to $100 in application fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (every four years)
  • $300 credit for each eligible SoulCycle At-Home bike purchase using your card through Amex’s provided link

You’ll also get access to Priority Pass airport lounges, Amex Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs when you fly with Delta.

As a cardholder, you’ll receive Gold status with the Hilton Honors program and Marriott Bonvoy, a baggage insurance plan, extended warranties, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, purchase protection and secondary auto rental insurance.

Redemption options

The Amex Platinum lets you redeem your American Express Membership Rewards for travel directly through amextravel.com, and you can expect to receive 1 cent per point in value for airfare and around .7 cents per point in value for hotel stays, rental cars, cruises and more. You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards, statement credits and merchandise, as well as for upgrades to business or first class on flights you already paid for.

American Express transfer partners let you transfer points at a ratio of 1:1 unless otherwise noted:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico (1,000:1,600)
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France / Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue Airways (250:200)
  • Qantas (500:500)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Choice Privileges Rewards
  • Hilton Honors (1,000:2,000)
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Recommended credit score

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

Why should you get the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card?

The Capital One Venture X charges just $395 per year, which is considerably less than the other two premium travel credit cards we profiled. This card also makes it easy to rack up rewards thanks to its easy-to-understand earning scheme that awards you 10X miles on airfare booked through Capital One, 5X miles on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One and 2X miles on all other purchases.

The myriad travel credits this card offers also makes it a better value.

Additional benefits

Cardholders who choose the Capital One Venture X can benefit from a $300 annual travel credit toward Capital One Travel purchases. Cardholders also get 10,000 bonus miles on their account anniversary, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and access to Capital One airport lounges where available.

Other Capital One Venture X benefits include up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, Hertz President’s Circle status, cellphone insurance and free authorized user cards.

Redemption options

Capital One miles can be used to cover travel charged to your card at a rate of one cent per mile. Other redemption options include gift cards, cash back, purchases made through PayPal or Amazon.com or travel through the Capital One portal.

Cardholders can also transfer their miles to the following Capital One transfer partners with transfer ratios of 1:1 (unless otherwise noted):

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France / Flying Blue
  • Accor Live Limitless (1,000:500 ALL rewards points)
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Choice Privileges
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air (1,000:750)
  • Finnair
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Wyndham Rewards

Recommended credit score

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

The bottom line

Any of these premium travel credit cards could work well for your spending style and travel needs, but you’ll want to look closely at each offer to find the best option for you. There’s no clear winner here, but each of these cards stands out in a few categories that could play a major role in your decision.

How do you decide? Take the time to compare these winning travel credit cards in terms of their earning rates, rewards programs and cardholder perks. In the meantime, check out other Capital One credit cards, Amex credit cards and credit cards from Chase. If you analyze each of these offers and compare them to other credit cards on the market today, chances are one will stand out as the best in your eyes.

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.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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