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.
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 American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, then compare and contrast the two and decide which one is better.
American Express Membership Rewards cards
American Express’s proprietary currency is called Membership Rewards, and can be earned as rewards on the following credit cards:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Green Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- Blue from American Express card
- American Express EveryDay Preferred
- American Express EveryDay Card
American Express has 19 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 Ultimate 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 Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Freedom
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.
See related: Best ways to spend Chase Ultimate Rewards
Comparing American Express 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||Easier to get more and different cards (and with lower fees)|
|More transfer partners||Can get more than 1 cent per point when booking direct travel (with a premium card)|
|Blue Business Plus card gives 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent up to $50,000 per year||Better spending categories – 5x at office supply stores with Ink Cash, 3x on travel and dining with Sapphire Reserve, 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories with the Freedom after you activate the categories (all other purchases earn 1%)|
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. Hopefully, this article has helped things be more clear.