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American Express Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards

Which issuer's rewards will earn you more depends on how you spend – and how you like to redeem your points

Summary

American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards offer a variety of transfer partners, and there are many cards from Amex and Chase that allow you to earn points. Here’s how they compare.

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American Express and Chase are two of the largest credit card issuers in the U.S., and they each have their own proprietary and transferable currency.

American Express has Membership Rewards and Chase, not to be outdone, has Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transferable currencies can be a valuable type of mile or point to earn because they help protect you from devaluation.

If you have all of your miles or points in a single proprietary currency (think American Airlines AAdvantage miles or Hilton Honors points), then if that award chart changes, you could lose a big chunk of the value of your miles and points.

With a transferable currency, if one transfer partner’s awards devalue, you still have the option to transfer instead to a more advantageous partner.

In this article, we will take a look at both Amex and Chase rewards, then compare and contrast the two and decide which one is better.

Earning rewards

Amex points are called Membership Rewards and can be earned on the following credit cards:

American Express Membership Rewards cards

CardRewardsAnnual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, for first 6 months of card membership
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5 points per dollar on eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$550
 

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

  • 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through amextravel.com
  • 1.5 points per dollar on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 2 points per dollar on travel purchases made on amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$595
American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
$250
American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

  • 4 points per dollar on the two categories your business spends the most in each billing cycle (first $150,000 in purchases yearly)
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
$295
American Express® Green Card

American Express® Green Card

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, transit and dining worldwide
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
$150
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

  • 2 points per dollar on every purchase, up to $50,000 per year (1 point per dollar thereafter)
$0
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

  • 3 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)
  • 2 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • 50% bonus when you make 30+ purchases per month
$95
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

  • 2 points per dollar on U.S. supermarket purchases ($6,000 limit on purchases per year, 1% thereafter)
  • 1 point per dollar other purchases
  • 20% bonus when you make 20+ purchases in a billing cycle
$0

The proprietary currency of Chase-branded cards is called Chase Ultimate Rewards and can be earned as rewards on the following credit cards:

Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

CardRewardsAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 10 points per dollar on select streaming services (on up to $1,500, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 5 points per dollar Instacart delivery and pickup orders (on up to $3,000, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 5 points per dollar on gas station purchases (on up to $1,500, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 3 points per dollar on travel and restaurants (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$550
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*

  • 5 points per dollar on select streaming services (on up to $1,500, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 3 points per dollar on Instacart delivery and pickup orders (on up to $3,000, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 3 points per dollar on gas station purchases (on up to $1,500, through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$95
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases ($150,000 combined purchases yearly)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
$95
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
$0
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

  • 5% cash back on internet, cable and phone services and at office supply stores ($25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 2% cash back on gas and dining ($25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
$0
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back at restaurants and on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
$0
Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®*

  • 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories that you must activate each quarter (on up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back at restaurants and on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
$0

Amex points vs. Chase points: Redemption and value

With both American Express and Chase, you get the best value out of your points when redeeming for travel, especially when you transfer your rewards to hotel and airline partners.

Amex point value and transfer partners

American Express currently has 22 hotel and airline transfer partners, and you can often get outstanding value by transferring your Membership Rewards to these partners.

Besides transferring Membership Rewards to hotel and airline travel partners, you can also use your Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through American Express.

In most cases, you can get 1 cent per point on airfare and 0.7 cents per point on cars, hotels, vacations and cruises. The real benefit of using your points to book travel directly is if you have the American Express Platinum Business Card, where you get a 35% rebate on all points used to book directly at amextravel.com. This benefit is applicable on all flights with one specific airline and on business or first-class flights on all airlines.

See related: Best ways to spend Membership Rewards points

Chase points’ value and transfer partners

There are also two primary ways you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points – transferring to travel partners or booking directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

There are a few other ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards such as for statement credits, gift cards or merchandise, but those are mostly low-value redemptions.

Chase has 13 airline and hotel transfer partners, and most transfer at a 1:1 rate. In order to transfer Ultimate Rewards to transfer partners, you will need a premium Chase card (i.e. one with an annual fee).

You can also use your Ultimate Rewards points to book flights, hotels, rental cars and even experiences. The rate you get for your points depends on which Chase credit card you have.

With a no-annual-fee card such as the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, you will get 1 cent per point. With a premium card such as the Ink Preferred or Sapphire Preferred, you will get 1.25 cents per point and if you have the Sapphire Reserve, you will get 1.5 cents per Ultimate Rewards point on this kind of redemption.

See related: Best ways to spend Chase Ultimate Rewards

Comparing Amex Membership Rewards vs Chase Ultimate Rewards

Taking a look at American Express Membership Rewards versus Chase Ultimate Rewards, let’s review some of the advantages of both programs.

Amex Membership RewardsChase Ultimate Rewards
Get a 35% rebate on travel with the Business Platinum cardGet $300 in travel credits with Sapphire Reserve
More transfer partnersCan get more than 1 cent per point when booking direct travel
More cards to choose from with diverse earning categories for everyday spendingSubstantial sign-up bonuses that let you rack up points faster

So which one is better? As with most things in life, it depends. Take a look at the cards, benefits and transfer partners of the two types of rewards and see which one works best for you. Don’t forget, the ability to earn plenty of points based on the categories you spend the most on is just as important as redemption options.

*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Freedom has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. These cards are no longer available through CreditCards.com.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: November 25th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.50%
Cash Back
15.85%
Reward
15.75%
Student
16.12%

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