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Card Comparisons

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Do you prioritize affordability and flexible rewards, or do you value luxury travel perks?

Summary

When deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Platinum Card from American Express, it’s important to consider how much you travel and how important high-end perks are to you.

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If you spend a lot of time flying, it’s worth investing in an annual fee rewards card. Most fee-worthy travel cards are packed with so many high-value benefits that it’s relatively easy to recoup your investment.

The harder decision is narrowing down which travel card is best for you: Should you invest hundreds of dollars in a super-premium card that’s known for showering cardholders with luxurious free perks? Or would you be just as happy with a less expensive card that offers a more modest collection of traveler-friendly benefits?

The answer largely depends on how often you travel and how much you care about high-end perks, such as airport lounge access and spa credits.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. American Express Platinum

Two of the most well-known travel cards are The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The American Express Platinum card charges an eye-popping $695 annual fee, but it’s packed with valuable benefits that help make up for its expense. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, has an annual fee of just $95 and provides the average cardholder with more opportunities to rack up rewards. But its travel benefits aren’t nearly as generous.

If you’re trying to decide which side of the Chase Sapphire Preferred-versus-Amex Platinum fence you fall on, here’s what to think about when comparing the two offers:

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. The Platinum Card from American Express

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Rewards rate
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • 10 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months
  • 5 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines and American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus
  • 100,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 100,000 points when you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee$95$695
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)$491$1,402
Other features
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 12 months of complimentary DoorDash DashPass (must activate by Dec. 31, 2021)
  • Up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through Dec. 31, 2021)
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Up to $200 in annual airline credits for incidentals
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (up to $15 each month and $20 in December)
  • Access to exclusive American Express airport lounges and partner lounges
  • Up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit (after enrollment)
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
  • Up to $179 fee credit for Clear membership per year
  • Special perks at participating hotels, such as free breakfast, late check-out and early check-in when available
  • Platinum Card Concierge and Platinum Travel Service
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
Who should get this card?
  • Someone who wants a big sign-up bonus
  • Someone who doesn’t travel frequently
  • Someone who wants more flexibility with their rewards-funded travel
  • Someone who wants to enjoy more luxury or convenience when they travel
  • Someone who spends a lot on airline tickets

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Overview

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s bigger sibling — the Chase Sapphire Reserve card – is a more equivalent comparison in terms of the annual fee and top-tier features, the Sapphire Preferred can stand its ground depending on your travel needs. Its affordability is the biggest appeal, but the Sapphire Preferred blows many rival cards out of the water thanks to its sizable sign-up bonus and exceptionally versatile redemption opportunities.

In fact, you might want to lean toward the Sapphire Preferred if you want 1:1 cash back redemption as a back-up plan in case your travel plans don’t pan out. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s 25% point value boost toward travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal is an excellent plus when it’s time to finally book your trip, too.

Best for a big introductory bonus

When it comes to scoring a generous introductory bonus, both the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer tons of value.

That said, the Sapphire Preferred can offer a bit more bang for your buck. The American Express Platinum card gives cardholders 100,000 bonus points when they spend $6,000 in the first six months, which we estimate to be worth around $1,240. However, the cost of the card’s annual fee cancels out a lot of that value. On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card awards 100,000 bonus points when cardholders spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth an estimated $1,270), and it charges only a $95 annual fee.

Introductory bonus value

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
100,000 bonus points x 1.27 cent point value – $95 annual fee = $1,175100,000 bonus points x 1.24 cent point value – $695 annual fee = $545

The Amex Platinum’s card bonus, however, can be easier to obtain. To earn it, cardholders must spend $6,000 in the card’s first six months – which works out to approximately $1,000 a month for six months. With the Sapphire Preferred card, cardholders need to spend $4,000 in three months – spending around $1,333 a month for three months.

Monthly spend required to earn introductory bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardPlatinum Card from American Express
$4,000 / 3 months = $1,333$6,000 / 6 months = $1,000

In addition, some cardholders might qualify for an enhanced offer on the Platinum Card when they apply through CardMatch. Amex has been known to target certain applicants for up to 125,000 points when you spend $6,000 in the first six months. We recommend checking your prequalified offers in CardMatch before you apply either way, as the platform gives you a good idea of if you’ll be approved for either card, all with no harm to your credit score.

Best for flexible reward redemption

When it’s finally time to redeem your points, the Sapphire Preferred card offers more flexibility and convenience. For example, if you want to redeem your points for travel, you can book a flight or hotel using Chase’s online Ultimate Rewards Portal and earn a 25% redemption bonus.

If you don’t have enough points available to pay for a full flight, you can just use what you have and charge the rest to your card. Or, you can redeem your points for cash (at 1 cent each) and buy a ticket yourself. Additionally, Chase lets you transfer your points on a one-to-one basis to a wide variety of partner airlines as well as redeem your points for gift cards, cruises, rental cars and more.

American Express, by contrast, isn’t quite as flexible. With the Platinum card, you’re able to transfer points to a larger number of airline and hotel partners, but only some of those partners will transfer points on a one-to-one basis. You can also redeem your points for statement credits; however, the points will drop substantially in value.

For example, you can redeem 10,000 Membership Rewards points for $60 in statement credits. But if you use those same points for a flight, they’ll be worth at least $100.

American Express Platinum

Overview

If you’re an avid traveler and your definition of value focuses around access to the finer side of travel instead of economizing, then the American Express Platinum is the winner hands down. The Amex Platinum delivers a rich platter of elite perks on top of its superior airfare and hotel rewards rate. Considering the monetary value behind the variety of annual credits, exclusive airport lounge access and complimentary hotel elite statuses that the Amex Platinum provides, the annual fee is essentially an admission fee that you’ll recoup along the way.

Best for luxury travel perks and credits

Where the Platinum card shines is in its travel benefits. If you travel heavily and can afford to spend several hundred dollars upfront, a premium card such as the Platinum card will offer you more than enough value to make up for the annual fee.

But you have to actually use the benefits to make that three-figure fee worth it. Most of the Platinum card’s high-end benefits are travel perks that either cut the cost of travel or make your time at the airport or hotel more luxurious or convenient.

For example, you’ll get up to a $200 airline fee credit for airline incidentals, up to $200 worth of Uber Cash each year, an fee credit of up to $179 per year for Clear membership, free Wi-Fi access, a $200 hotel credit on eligible prepaid hotel bookings through American Express Travel, free room upgrades, free hotel breakfasts and more. You’ll also be given unlimited free access to some of the most lavish airport lounges in the world – a perk that’s worth hundreds of dollars just by itself.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, doesn’t offer any of those benefits. The most similar partner perk that the Sapphire Preferred carries that’s comparable to the Amex Platinum’s benefits is the Sapphire Preferred card’s 12 months of complimentary DoorDash DashPass. Meanwhile, the Amex Platinum carries 12 months of a complimentary Uber Eats Pass but the Sapphire Preferred also earns 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022).

Estimated value of free travel benefits

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
NoneUp to $200 airline fee credit + $200 Uber credits + $179 Clear membership credit + $200 hotel credit + $399 Priority Pass membership = $1,178

Best for airline tickets

The Platinum card also offers a more generous rewards rate on air travel and hotel purchases than the Sapphire Preferred card, making it a better pick for heavy travelers. Platinum cardholders get 5X points for every dollar they spend on flights booked directly with an airline or American Express Travel and 5X points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. By contrast, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders only earn 2X points for every dollar spent on travel.

If you fly internationally or across the country several times a year, you should be able to easily earn enough rewards to make up for the Platinum card’s annual fee – especially when you take into account the up-to-$200 airline fee credit. For example, if you spend $8,000 a year on airline tickets, you’ll earn $496 worth of rewards points using the Platinum card. With the Sapphire Preferred card, you’d earn just $203.

Value of rewards earned on $8,000 annual airfare spend

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
2X points x $8,000 x 1.27 cent point value = $2035X points x $8,000 x 1.24 cent point value = $496

Similarly, you can potentially earn more than $186 in rewards if you charge $3,000 in prepaid hotel stays booked through American Express Travel using your Platinum card. If you spend the same amount using your Chase card, you’ll only earn around $76 worth of rewards.

Value of rewards earned on $3,000 annual hotel spend

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardThe Platinum Card from American Express
2 points x $3,000 x 1.27 cent point value = $765 points x $3,000 x 1.24 cent point value = $186

Which is right for you?

The main difference between these two stellar credit cards lies in your approach to travel. If the American Express Platinum card’s steep annual fee is intimidating, you might want to occasionally redeem for cash back or you might not jet-set or hotel-hop enough to justify the expense, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be your speed. It’s hard to beat the Amex Platinum, however, if you’re looking for top-of-the-line perks and reimbursements to make travel a more convenient, luxurious experience.

Pros and cons

Chase Sapphire Preferred CardPlatinum Card from American Express
Pros
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Large sign-up bonus if you can afford to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Good rewards rate for travel and dining purchases
  • Can transfer points to select airline partners and convert to cash back at a 1:1 rate
  • Can partially pay for travel with points
  • No preset spending limit
  • Platinum Card Concierge and Platinum Travel Service
  • Large welcome bonus spending requirement spread across the first 6 months
  • Nearly $900 of recurring credits across purchases with airlines, Uber, hotels, Saks Fifth Avenue and more
  • Access to exclusive American Express airport lounges and partner lounges
  • Special perks at participating hotels, such as free breakfast, late check-out and early check-in when available
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer nearly as many ancillary benefits
  • Only travel and dining earn higher than 1X points after April 2021
  • You must travel a lot to make up for the high annual fee
  • Membership Reward points are less flexible to redeem and carry the most value for travel.
  • Only earns 5X points on airfare through the airline or American Express Travel and hotel bookings through American Express Travel

Bottom line

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is more flexible, affordable and accessible for the average traveler. If you don’t want to make a big commitment, but want to earn a sizable amount of rewards, this is a good card to use for travel.

The Platinum card’s supersized benefits, however, are hard to beat. If you crave more luxury when you travel – or if you just want to get more value from your flights – then the Platinum card is a satisfying pick.

See related: American Express Gold Card vs. The Platinum Card from American Express: Which is best?

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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