Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

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They’re the Earth’s two best credit cards for travel. Both are the crown jewel of its issuing bank. Both collect super valuable points that can be transferred to partners. Both give you free airport lounge access, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry, and hundreds of dollars in travel credit.

And both have big annual fees.

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), and so does the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. And while both the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth it (they can easily save you more than $550 on travel each year), there may not be enough room in one wallet for both. 

Several ongoing benefits overlap, so paying the fee on both cards each year isn’t wise for most of us. So which flagship credit card should you keep? (Hint: It’s the one offering an incredibly valuable increased bonus right now.)

Let’s take a look at the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs the Amex Platinum.

Fly to Maui and visit the famous black sand beaches along the Road to Hana with a welcome bonus from one of these cards. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Amex Platinum

FeatureChase Sapphire Reserve® The Platinum Card from American Express
Welcome bonus50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening75,000 Amex points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening

Plus earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership
Annual creditsAnnual $300 travel credit

Up to $120 in DoorDash credits, but it’s divided up over two years — you’ll get $60 in credits in 2020 and $60 in credits in 2021

Up to two years of DoorDash DashPass membership

Complimentary Lyft Pink membership
Up to $200 annual Amex Platinum airline credit for incidental expenses on your selected airline

Up to $200 in Uber credit per year

Up to $100 in credit for Saks Fifth Avenue

Up to a $200 statement credit on qualifying purchases made through Amex Travel

Terms Apply
Earnings rates3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel

3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining

3x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from Nov. 1, 2020 to Ap. 30, 2021

1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on everything else
5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on airfare. (Starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.)

5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel

1 Amex Membership Rewards point per dollar on everything else
Annual fee$550$550 (see rates and fees)
Additional travel perksAirport lounge access

Up to $100 in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credits

Primary car rental insurance

Trip delay insurance
Comprehensive airport lounge access

$20 per month in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (through December 2020)

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100)

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

Elite status with Hilton and Marriott

Elite Status with Hertz, National, and Avis

Travel insurance

Terms apply

These cards are absolutely worth opening and keeping for at least the first year (you can receive potentially $1,000+ from each card’s welcome bonus), but you’re probably not intent on keeping them both. 

Let’s take a look at key benefits to help you decide. Be sure to read our review of the American Express Platinum benefits and Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits for the total details.

Welcome bonus  (Winner: Amex Platinum)

Amex Platinum

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Plus you’ll earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership

We estimate Amex points value to be around 2 cents each, so the welcome offer alone is worth at least $1,500. That said, they can be worth more. The best ways to use Amex points are by transferring them to Amex transfer partners to use towards flights. For example, you could transfer 55,000 points to Air Canada Aeroplan and fly one-way in business class to Europe. That ticket could cost thousands of dollars otherwise!

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. We estimate Chase points value to be around 2 cents each, though they can be worth tons more if you know the best ways to use Chase points. You shouldn’t have trouble getting at least $1,000 in value from this intro offer.

For example, you can redeem your points through valuable Chase transfer partners like Hyatt for outsized value. I transferred my points to Hyatt for a free stay at the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara in Cancun. This room can cost upwards of $500, but only cost 25,000 Hyatt points.

Read our post on how to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for more details.

The Hyatt Zilara is one of the few five-star all-inclusive Hyatt hotels. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Earning rates  (Winner: Amex Platinum)

Amex Platinum

The Amex Platinum earns:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through Amex travel portal)
  • 5 points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked on the Amex travel portal
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else
  • Terms Apply

In addition, new cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first six months of card membership. That’s an outstanding earnings rate for popular bonus categories like groceries and gas.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns:

  • 10 points per dollar on all Lyft rides booked with the card through March 31, 2022
  • 3 points per dollar on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit)
  • 3 points per dollar on dining at restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide

Travel credits  (Winner: It’s a tie)

Amex Platinum

The Amex Platinum comes with the following credits annually (terms apply):

Pro tip: It’s possible to receive the up to $200 airline fee credit twice before you pay your second annual fee. The credit resets every calendar year, so if you apply in Feb. 2020, you’ll receive the credit this year and another credit in Jan. 2021, before your second annual fee comes round.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with:

  • $300 travel credit (to be used for any travel)
  • $60 in DoorDash credits each year (through 2021)
  • Up to $100 in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has fewer credits, but there are far fewer hoops to jump through to redeem them. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 credit automatically triggers to refund you for the first $300 in travel you spend each year. It couldn’t be easier. That’s why this category is a toss-up.

Lounge access  (Winner: Amex Platinum)

Amex Platinum

Amex Platinum lounge membership far exceeds any other credit card benefit. Not only do you receive Priority Pass membership, but you’ll also have access to Amex Centurion lounges (the best domestic lounges), Delta Sky Club (when flying Delta), Airspace Lounges, and more.

Pay particular attention to Centurion Lounges, which serve full meals and high-end drinks at no cost — they sometimes even offer a complimentary spa treatment! It’s exclusive to Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve (along with the Amex Platinum) provides a complimentary membership to Priority Pass, the largest airport lounge network in the world.

If you were to buy a comparable membership from Priority Pass, you would pay $429 per year. This is a huge benefit for anyone who travels frequently (especially overseas). Airport lounges offer free food and often free alcohol, saving you a lot of money in the terminal.

Additional perks (Winner: Amex Platinum)

Amex Platinum

Other perks, outside of annual travel credits, that come with the Amex Platinum include (terms apply):

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S (up to $20 per month on each, from May through December 2020)
  • Up to $100 in credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Elite car rental status with Avis, Executive status with National Car Rental and Gold Plus Rewards with Hertz
  • Automatic Hilton Honors and Marriott Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Along with the card’s annual credits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a complimentary Lyft Pink membership. Lyft Pink normally costs $19.99 per month and comes with benefits like:

  • 15% off all rides
  • Three free cancellations per month (if you rebook within 15 minutes)
  • Three free bike/scooter rides per month
  • Priority airport pickups
  • Waived lost and found fees

Cardholders will also receive up to two years of free membership to DashPass. If you use DoorDash with any frequency, you’ll appreciate this — lower service fees and free delivery on orders of $12 or more. Membership to DashPass otherwise costs $9.99 per month.

Overall, the Amex Platinum handily beats the Sapphire Reserve when it comes to the card with the best additional perks.

Travel insurance (Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve)

Amex Platinum

The Amex Platinum has baggage insurance that covers damaged, stolen or lost baggage up to $3,000 per person when you pay for the entire fare with your card. It also comes with access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline, which will help you with everything from lost passport replacement to emergency medical transportation.

You’ll receive trip cancellation/interruption coverage of up to $10,000 per trip ($20,000 per account per 12 months) for prepaid expenses when you can’t travel or your travel is cut short for instances such as illness, injury or jury duty. You’ll also have trip delay insurance of up to $500 per trip (max two claims per 12 month period). This is a nice addition, but it isn’t quite as extensive of a trip delay perk as what the Chase Sapphire Reserve provides.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with primary rental car insurance benefits, which can save you $15+ per day since you won’t need to opt into the rental agency’s in-house insurance. You’ll also receive baggage insurance benefits, reimbursed up to $100 per day for five days for delayed luggage and up to $3,000 for lost luggage.

Concerning trip delay insurance, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for you, your spouse or domestic partner, and any immediate family on your reservation. The benefit kicks in after a delay of just six hours (or if the delay requires an overnight stay). That’s half the time of most other trip delay coverages.

The trip interruption/cancellation insurance covers you for up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip) in prepaid expenses. You’ll even get emergency medical/dental benefits if you’re 100 miles or more from home on a covered trip — you can be reimbursed up to $2,500 for medical expenses if you or your immediate family member becomes sick or injured.

And in a worst-case scenario and you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick and need emergency evacuation you can be covered for medical services and transportation up to $100,000. The card also provide travel accident insurance for death or dismemberment of up to $100,000. It also has a very good roadside assistance perk.

Why you should get the Amex Platinum

The main reason you should consider getting the Amex Platinum now is because of its increased welcome bonus. 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points are worth at least $1,500. And possibly even more if you take advantage of Amex’s travel partners.

In addition to that, the ability to earn 10x points on groceries — which is a top expense for a lot of people — is incredible. Maxing out that bonus would net you another 150,000 Amex points!

The Amex Platinum is also good for anyone looking to make their travel experiences more comfortable. With benefits and perks like annual Uber credits, airport lounge access, elite car rental status, and more, you’re sure to save time and money and avoid common hassles associated with traveling.

Here’s our guide the Amex Platinum’s benefits.

Why you should get the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Gone are the days of the 100,000-point offer on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but you can still get tons of value from this card.

For starters, the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus is worth at least $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, get a $300 annual credit for travel purchases every cardmember anniversary. That’s $1,050 in value in the first year, which doesn’t include the card’s other money-saving perks.

This is a great card for anyone looking for a lucrative welcome bonus, easy-to-use annual credits, and a straightforward awards currency.

Overall Winner: Amex Platinum

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a fantastic card, but with the current offer on the Amex Platinum, it’s the hands-down winner — no questions asked.

FAQ

Does it make sense to have both the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

It depends. If you can make the most of each card’s benefits and perks to effectively reduce the cost of the annual fee, then yes, it may make sense to hold both cards. You’ll also have to look at your expenses and determine whether or not you can maximize the bonus categories each card offers — because they do overlap a bit. 

What it comes down to is whether or not the benefits and value you can from each card outweigh the cards’ annual fees. Do the math to see what makes the most sense for your particular situation.

What’s the difference between Chase Ultimate Reward vs Amex Membership Rewards?

Both Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are flexible points programs. They function in much the same way, with the main difference between the two programs being their transfer partners. 

For more detailed information, here’s an in-depth comparison of Amex Membership Rewards points vs Chase Ultimate Rewards.  

What are other premium cards to consider?

If you’re looking for a premium travel rewards card, you could also consider:

The information for the Citi Prestige and Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

These cards are considered “premium” cards because along with their heftier annual fees, they offer exclusive perks and benefits.

Bottom line

Given the increased welcome offer on the Amex Platinum, it beats out the Chase Sapphire Reserve as far as overall value is concerned — especially during the first year of card membership. 

But it’s worth noting that the Amex Platinum annual statement credits can be clunky and not very easy to use. Whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve statement credits couldn’t be easier to use. The factors listed above are the main considerations when deciding which of these cards to apply for (or keep). If you’re still trying to decide between the two cards, be sure to read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve review and American Express Platinum review.

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For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

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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