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), if that award chart changes, you could lose a big chunk of the value of your miles and points.
If one transfer partner’s awards devalue with a transferable currency, you still have the option to transfer instead to a more advantageous partner.
In this article, we will look at both Amex and Chase rewards and then compare and contrast the two and decide which one is better.
Amex points vs. Chase points: At a glance
Amex points are called Membership Rewards and can be earned on the following credit cards:
American Express Membership Rewards cards
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
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
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 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 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.
In mid-2020, Chase also introduced the Pay Yourself Back feature. With Chase Pay Yourself Back, you can get the elevated (1.25 or 1.5 cents per point) rate in additional categories besides travel. The eligible categories can change at any time.
Currently, through April 2021, Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardmembers can use Pay Yourself Back for grocery, dining and home improvement stores. Additionally, all cards that earn Ultimate Rewards can use Pay Yourself Back for charitable contributions.
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 Rewards||Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|Get a 35% rebate on travel with the Business Platinum card||Get $300 in travel credits with Sapphire Reserve|
|More transfer partners||Can get more than 1 cent per point when booking direct travel|
|More cards to choose from with diverse earning categories for everyday spending||Substantial 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.