Each card’s benefits, earning potential, and redemption choices will be examined to see if paying a higher annual fee results in a better travel rewards card. To get the most out of your travel credit card, you need to pick one that makes sense for your wallet. Credit cards with the highest advantages and incentives will match your spending habits and provide you with the perks you value most.
Both American Express and Chase offer credit cards with travel incentives for people who travel a lot. There are a lot of parallels between their cards, but there are also a lot of distinctions. We’ll take a look at two popular cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Platinum Card® from American Express, to help you decide which is the ideal travel credit card for your needs.
This is where both cards excel
Both American Express and Chase credit cards are well-known for offering generous benefits to cardholders. As a result, both of these credit card offers excel in the following areas:
Bonus points on purchases
If you’re planning a trip and need a credit card that can help you earn points, these two cards are among the best travel credit cards. However, when comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the American Express Platinum, there are some major distinctions to be aware of.
From now until March 2022, the Chase Sapphire Preferred provides 5x points on Lyft rides and trips booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards, while also awarding 3x points on qualifying restaurant purchases as well as 1X point every $1 spent when making travel or streaming service purchases.
For qualified flights (up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel expenditures, Amex Platinum cardholders receive 5 points every $1 spent, and for all other eligible purchases, they earn 1 point per $1 spent.
Both reward schemes allow you to redeem your points in a variety of ways. Transfer them to airline and hotel partners, redeem them for statement credits, gift cards, and more using your card’s travel site.
Transferring points to airline and hotel transfer partners generally delivers the highest value for both Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with three hotels and 11 airline transfer partners. Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include United MileagePlus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, and World of Hyatt.
Similarly, the Amex Platinum has three hotel partners, but its 19 airline transfer partners give significantly more choice. Delta SkyMiles and Qantas Frequent Flyer are two of the transfer partners for Membership Rewards. Even with the $695 annual price, this is a tremendous deal.
Overlapping transfer partners include several airlines and hotels. Transferring points to Flying Blue, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Marriott Bonvoy are all possible using Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. Comparing the two cards, consider which airline and hotel reward programs you’d most like to join.
Non-fees for overseas transactions
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll like the fact that neither the Chase Sapphire Preferred nor the Amex Platinum charge international transaction fees. Customers can save as much as 3% on foreign purchases by taking advantage of this perk. With a card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees, you might save $90 if you spend $3,000 on a European vacation.
Spend a specified amount during the first three months after acquiring a new Chase Sapphire Preferred or American Express Platinum credit card to get a welcome bonus. In addition to the points you’ll earn from your purchases, you’ll receive these extras. Each card’s sign-up bonus will be examined in depth in the sections that follow.
4 key distinctions between Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred
However, even if the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred share many similarities, it is important to focus on the specifics when comparing credit cards. Taking a closer look at both of these travel reward credit cards, you may discover that one of them is more suited to your needs than the other.
After spending $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll get 60,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. When redeemed for gift cards or travel through the Chase travel portal, these points are worth one cent apiece or 1.25 cents each. There are 14 airline and hotel partners that allow you to transfer your points 1:1.
New Amex Platinum cardholders also receive a generous welcome bonus: a $200 statement credit. After spending $6,000 in the first six months, you will receive 100,000 Membership Rewards points. Depending on how you spend these points, they might be worth a lot or nothing at all. With American Express Travel, they’re only worth a penny apiece when buying or upgrading a flight.
When redeeming your points for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card provides the best sign-up bonus because your points are worth an additional 25% toward travel purchases.
With the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred, there is no contest in terms of airport privileges. When it comes to Amex Platinum perks, there is a huge range to choose from. Using the Global Lounge Collection provides access to more than 1,200 airport lounges throughout the globe. If you’re traveling with Delta, you’ll get access to the Delta Sky Club, the Centurion Lounge, and Priority Pass. Enrollment is required for some benefits.
The Amex Platinum is a better option than the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you care about airport privileges, as the latter does not.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum have significantly different yearly fees. Up to $50 in annual hotel credits can help offset the annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
A $695 annual charge for the Amex Platinum card is offset by more than $1,400 in credit value, making the net cost of the card zero. Even if you don’t spend all of your Amex Platinum yearly credits, you’ll still get a lot of bang for your buck. Examples of yearly credits include $200 from Uber (usable for trips or Uber Eats), $100 from Saks Fifth Avenue, $240 for digital entertainment, and $200 for airline expenses, to name just a few of the many available. Enrollment is required for some benefits.
A month’s worth of Uber credits costs $15, with an additional $20 available in December. You have to utilize or lose these credits; they don’t rollover. The Saks Fifth Avenue credit is divided into two $50 credits, which may be utilized between January and June and July and December respectively.
Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite membership are automatically granted to Amex Platinum cards. Contact American Express customer care and offer your hotel loyalty number to activate and enroll in this perk. You may create a free account at Hilton.com or Marriott.com if you don’t already have one.
Additionally, the Amex Platinum cardholders can take advantage of FH&R and The Hotel Collection advantages (THC). Free Wi-Fi, a unique amenity, and a room upgrade are all included in FH&R’s complimentary breakfast for two each day. A $100 resort credit and a free hotel upgrade are just two of the perks that THC guests enjoy.
When it comes to hotel benefits, the Amex Platinum card once again takes the cake. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a $50 yearly hotel credit, but that’s it.
What’s the value of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
When redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform, each Chase Ultimate Rewards point is worth between 1 cent and 1.25 cents. The Chase gateway gives you 25% greater value in travel redemptions, so 60,000 points may be exchanged for $750 in travel. Statement credit and gift cards can be redeemed for a penny each.
Transferring your points to Chase Sapphire Preferred transfer partners will increase the value of your points even further. Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Platinum are transfer partners of Air France KLM Flying Blue, for example. 53,000 Flying Blue miles may be earned by transferring 53,000 points to the airline.
For 53,000 Flying Blue points and $206 in taxes and fees, I got a one-way business class travel from Boston to Amsterdam in April 2020. If I had paid in cash, the identical flight would have cost $8,426. This is an example of the benefit of transferring points to airline partners in order to redeem for first-class travel.
Do you know how much 60,000 Amex points are worth?
Depending on how you use your 60,000 Amex points, you might get a different value. Shop online or buy American Express gift cards, and 60,000 points are worth $300 (0.5 cents each point). When you book flights, upgrades, and Fine Hotels & Resorts accommodations through Amex Travel, you’ll get $600 worth of value from your points.
Depending on the redemption, you may earn a much larger value when Membership Rewards points are transferred to airline and hotel partners.