Chase Sapphire Preferred versus the Amex Platinum – Which one belongs in your wallet?

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Two of the top travel credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginners and the Amex Platinum is a great choice you want a card with top-tier benefits and perks.

As you’ll see, the intro offers are excellent on both cards and they both earn enough rewards to justify keeping either card in your wallet. So let’s do a side-by-side comparison to see which card is a better fit for your travel style.

Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Amex Platinum

Card NameWelcome Bonus
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $600 in cash back or $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
The Platinum Card® from American Express60,000 Amex points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.
When you’ve got choices, you’ll want to know what’s behind each door. So let’s breakdown what makes these cards so special. (Photo by Chad Baker/Getty Images.)

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Amex Platinum

Best bonus

The Amex Platinum card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months from account opening. Occasionally, there are increased targeted offers (subject to change at anytime) available with the CardMatch tool and at times this card has had an introductory offer as high as 100,000 points.

The Sapphire Preferred card comes with a 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Both Chase points and Amex points transfer to a wide range of valuable travel partners and both of these welcome offers have similar spending requirements. So unless you’re targeted for a special increased offer, one isn’t notably better than the other.

Winner: Tie

Best earning rate

A big consideration when it comes to opening the right rewards credit card is, how many points will you earn?

The Amex Platinum card earns 5x Amex points on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) and on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel. Other than that you’ll earn one point per dollar on all other purchases.

With the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 5x Chase points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2x points on travel and dining worldwide and one per dollar spent on everything else.

At first glance the Amex Platinum’s 5x on airfare and hotels is eye-catching, but keep in mind the restrictions on that bonus rate. Only prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel qualify for the bonus and airfare booked through a third-party site won’t earn 5x points. Even though the Sapphire Preferred only earn 2x on travel, that bonus applies to a wider range of purchases and you’ll earn bonus points on dining. So in most cases, the Sapphire Preferred is a more rewarding card for purchases.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best redemption value

Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Amex Membership Rewards points are two of the best flexible bank points you can earn. And both points have similar redemption values.

You can redeem Amex points in a handful of different ways, but most of those options will get you a poor value for your points, except when using Pay With Points to book airfare and when you transfer Amex points to travel partners. The Pay With Points feature allows you to pay for airfare (booked through Amex Travel) with your Amex points at a rate of one cent per point.

But the best way to use Amex points is to transfer them to one of the Amex travel partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Choice Hotels
  • Delta
  • Etihad
  • Emirates
  • El Al
  • Flying Blue (KLM/Air France)
  • Hawaiian
  • Hilton
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Marriott
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Some of these transfer partners are much more valuable than others, but let’s look at one example of the incredible value you can get. ANA has an excellent award chart and you can redeem 85,000 miles for a round-trip business-class flight from the U.S. to Japan during the regular season. If you paid cash this same flight could easily cost over $8,000, which is a value of over nine cents per point!

You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back at a rate of one cent per point. You can also use Chase points pay for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and with your Sapphire Preferred each point is worth 1.25 cents. But again, transferring to travel partners is the best way to use Chase points.

Sapphire Preferred cardholders can transfer Chase points to the following airlines and hotels:

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Hyatt
  • Iberia
  • IHG
  • JetBlue
  • Marriott
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is partners with ANA and you can book round-trip first-class flights from the Central or Eastern U.S. to Japan for 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. At the time of writing, I was pulling up first-class flights from Chicago and New York to Tokyo for over $20,000 a ticket. If you transferred Chase points to book the same flight you’d be getting over 17 cents per point in value!

The value you get from either rewards program depends largely on which travel partnership you take advantage of and both programs have great sweet spots. You really can’t go wrong with either Amex points or Chase points.

Winner: Tie

Best travel protections

The Sapphire Preferred’s rental car coverage is primary, so you won’t have to file with your insurance company for damage or theft. (Image by Piyawat Nandeenopparit/Shutterstock.)

One of the most often overlooked perks to having a top travel credit card is the build-in insurances you can get with some cards.

Chase credit cards have some of the best travel protections and with the Sapphire Preferred you’ll get:

  • Primary car rental insurance for theft or collision to your rental (when you pay for the rental with your card)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption for covered incidents up to $10,000 per covered trip
  • Baggage delay insurance for up to $100 per day for a maximum of five days when your bags are delayed for six hours or more
  • Trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket for eligible expenses when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires and overnight stay
  • Lost luggage coverage of up to $3,000 per person per trip for checked or carryon luggage
  • Travel Accident insurance of up to $500,000 for death or dismemberment

Recently the coverages for some American Express cards was greatly improved and the Amex Platinum is one card that benefited from these changes. When you pay for your travel with the card you’ll get:

  • Trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 when your travel is delayed six hours or more for a covered reason
  • Trip cancellation/interruption coverage for up to $10,000 per trip (maximum of $20,000 per 12-month period)
  • Lost luggage coverage of up to $2,000 per person per trip for checked luggage and $3,000 per person per trip for carryon luggage

While the Amex Platinum’s coverages are better than they used to be, they still can’t hold up to what you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Just the Sapphire Preferred’s primary rental car insurance along can save you $100s.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has $95 annual fee and the Amex Platinum has a $550 annual fee (see rate and fees).

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Best foreign transaction fee

With both of these cards you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees.

Winner: Tie

Best benefits and perks

Beyond what we’ve already mentioned the only additional perk available to Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders is a DoorDash benefit. Through Dec. 31, 2021, cardmembers can register for at least a free year of DashPass. DashPass normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more with participating restaurants.

On the other hand, the benefits of the Amex Platinum are exceptionally valuable. Let’s start off with the card’s airport lounge access perk, which is the best lounge access you can get with a card. You’ll have access to the following lounges:

  • Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Amex Centurion lounges
  • Escape lounges
  • Delta SkyClub lounge
  • Airspace lounges

The card also comes with the following statement credits:

  • Up to $200 annual credit for incidental fees on your selected airline
  • Up to $200 in Uber credit per year ($15 per month, except December when you’ll get $35 in credit)
  • Up to $100 in credits for Saks Fifth Avenue (up to $50 from January to June and up to $50 from July to December)
  • Statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (worth up to $100)

Being an Amex Platinum cardholder also entitles you to Gold Hilton status and Gold Marriott Bonvoy elite status. You’ll also get rental car status with HertzNational and Avis.

Winner: Amex Platinum…and it’s not even close

Bottom line

When comparing the Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Platinum they are surprisingly evenly matched cards. The different difference comes down to whether or not you think the over-the-top benefits on the Platinum card outweigh its much larger annual fee.

It would be easy to justify having either card, the key is knowing your travel style and then picking the option that is the best fit for you.

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Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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