Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. American Express Premier Rewards Gold:

Which card is best for you?

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. AmEx Gold card

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Two of the best-known middle-of-the-road premium cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold stand out for their valuable rewards programs, abundant redemption options and generous bonuses. But the cards offer very different benefits. Deciding between the two comes down to what you’re looking for in a credit card and how much you’re willing to pay for extra services and perks.

The Premier Rewards Gold card offers world-renowned customer service and a large sign-up bonus that doesn’t require a ton of spending to get. But it also charges one of the highest annual fees around for a mid-tier rewards card.

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a tremendous amount of value for a card of its kind – including one of the best sign-up bonuses you can get without paying hundreds of dollars worth of yearly fees. But its rewards program is primarily tailored for frequent travelers and restaurant-goers and may be less appealing to cardholders who want to earn more for their everyday spending.

Here’s what else to consider when comparing the two cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. American Express Premier Rewards Gold

  Chase Sapphire Preferred card
Chase Sapphire Preferred card
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
Rewards rate
  • 2 points per dollar on travel and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with an airline
  • 2 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets
  • 2 points per dollar at participating hotels when you prebook 2 nights.
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Introductory bonus
  • 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months
  • 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months
  • Terms apply
Annual fee
$95, waived first year $195, waived the first year
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900) $412 $272
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 three months
  • Good rewards rate for travel and dining purchases
  • No travel blackout dates or other travel restrictions
  • No limits on the number of points you can earn
  • Can transfer points on a 1:1 basis to airline partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Can pay for travel with partial points
  • Can redeem points for travel, gift cards, cash back, experiences or merchandise
  • Points don’t expire
  • $100 airline fee credit
  • $75 hotel credit and a 2- point rewards bonus at participating hotels when you prepay for 2 consecutive nights
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Premium travel insurance and other benefits
  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • Points don’t expire
  • No travel blackout dates
  • Can transfer points to American Express travel partners
Cons
  • Spending threshold for the sign-up bonus is high and may be unaffordable for cardholders on a budget
  • Only travel and dining purchases receive a rewards bonus
  • Maximizing this card’s benefits can get complicated
  • Annual fee is expensive for what you get
  • The Gold card doesn’t offer as many complimentary perks as the Platinum card
Who should get this card?
  • Someone who spends a lot on travel
  • Someone who wants more flexibility with their travel purchases
  • Someone who wants a large sign-up bonus
  • Someone who wants more travel perks
  • Someone who wants to earn bonus points on everyday purchases
  • Someone who wants a more accessible sign-up bonus

Best for someone who spends a lot on travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred card

The Premier Rewards Gold card may offer a slightly higher rewards rate for airfare, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers more opportunity to collect bonus points while traveling – making it a more lucrative card overall. The Premier Rewards Gold card, for example, offers three points for every dollar you spend on airfare booked directly through an airline. But it doesn’t offer bonus points on any other type of travel.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, offers two bonus points per dollar on travel. However, a wide variety of travel purchases count toward the bonus, including cabs, hotel stays, train fare and more. As a result, you are likely to earn slightly more rewards by charging your vacation to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Points earned on a 4-night, $1,000 trip ($400 on flight, $400 on hotel, $150 on dining and $50 on cab fare)

Chase Sapphire Preferred card Premier Rewards Gold card
2,000 points 1,950 points

Consider, for example, how much you’d earn if you went on a four-day trip, spending roughly $1,000 overall: $400 on a flight, $400 for four nights at a hotel, $150 worth of restaurant purchases and $50 worth of cab fare. With the Premier Rewards Gold card, you’d earn a 3-point bonus on the $400 airfare and a 2-point bonus on U.S. restaurant spending, amounting to 1,500 bonus points (plus 1 point for every dollar you spend on other purchases). But you wouldn’t earn bonus points on anything else, unless you booked your stay at a participating hotel property: American Express cardholders earn 2 points on hotel purchases if they book at least two consecutive prepaid nights at a participating property.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, on the other hand, you’d earn an additional 2-point bonus on cab fare and hotel purchases (no matter which hotel you’re staying at) – on top of the 2 points you’d earn for your flight and restaurant meals. Your grand rewards total for one trip: 2,000 bonus points – 50 points more than what you’d earn with the Gold card.

Best for someone who wants more free travel perks: Premier Rewards Gold card

The Premier Rewards Gold card outshines the Chase Sapphire Preferred card when it comes to travel perks – especially when you’re in an airport or hotel. For example, the Premier Rewards Gold card offers a $100 airline credit that can be used toward baggage fees or and other incidentals, as well as a $75 resort credit at select properties that can be used toward massages, room service and more.

The Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer anything similar. Instead, you’d have to rely on your rewards earnings to book those types of purchases.

That said, the Sapphire Preferred card is a better value overall. For example, after the first year, it charges just $95annually, while the Premier Rewards Gold card charges more than double that: $195 annually, after the first year. That difference alone helps make up for the Sapphire Preferred card’s lack of an airline fee credit.

Annual fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred card Premier Rewards Gold card
$95, waived first year $195, waived first year

The Sapphire Preferred card also offers slightly better travel insurance, which can save you money if your travel plans go awry. For example, both cards offer premium insurance options, such as baggage delay protection. But unlike the Gold card, the Sapphire Preferred card offers primary rental car insurance, rather than secondary. It also offers trip delay reimbursement.

Best for someone who wants more flexibility with their travel purchases: Chase Sapphire Preferred card

In addition to better travel insurance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card makes earning extra travel points and booking free travel much easier. With the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card, for example, you must book your flights directly with an airline to earn a travel bonus. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, allows you to earn a bonus even when you book your travel through a third-party website.  

Chase also offers a large selection of free travel choices through its Ultimate Rewards portal and will award you a 25 percent redemption bonus anytime you book rewards-funded travel through the portal. Additionally, you can redeem your points for travel even if you don’t have enough points to pay for a full flight or hotel stay (you just cover the rest with your card).

Cardholders can also transfer your points on a one-to-one basis to a wide variety of partner airlines. The American Express Premier Gold Rewards card lets you transfer points on a one-to-one basis, too, but not all airline transfers can be made on a one-to-one basis.

Best for someone who wants to earn bonus points on everyday purchases: Premier Rewards Gold card

The Premier Rewards Gold card may offer more value, though, if you spend more of your money on everyday purchases, such as gas and groceries, than nights out and vacations. For example, if you typically spend $800 a month at U.S. grocery stores, $200 a month at U.S. gas stations and $150 a month at U.S. restaurants, you’d earn at least 2,300 points a month with the Premier Rewards Gold card. With the Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, you’d earn 1,300 bonus points for the same amount of spending.

Points earned on $1,150 spend ($800 on groceries, $200 on gas and $150 on dining)

Chase Sapphire Preferred card Premier Rewards Gold card
1,300 points 2,300 points

Best for someone who wants a big sign-up bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Although it doesn’t offer nearly as much value for everyday spending, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card does offer one of the best sign-up bonuses you can get on a credit card. Along with receiving 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, Chase cardholders have the option of supercharging their points with a 25 percent redemption bonus each time they book rewards-funded travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Best for someone who wants an accessible introductory bonus: Premier Rewards Gold card

The Sapphire Preferred card’s sign-up bonus can be difficult to obtain since it requires $4,000 in spending in just three months. If you break that down to roughly $1,334 a month, that’s a lot to spend on one card – especially if you rely on multiple credit cards. The Premier Rewards Gold card, on the other hand, only requires $2,000 in spending in the card’s first three months – a threshold that’s much easier to meet.  

Spend required to earn an introductory bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred card Premier Rewards Gold card
$4,000 $2,000

Which card is right for you?

Overall, we think that the Sapphire Preferred card is a better value. Along with offering an annual fee that’s roughly half the price of the Premier Rewards Gold card after the first year, its rewards program is often more generous – especially if you’re charging all or most of your travel and don’t plan to stay in an American Express partner resort. The Sapphire Preferred card also offers better travel protection and allows you to grow your rewards savings with a 25 percent redemption bonus each time you book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.

The Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t offer nearly as much opportunity to cardholders who rarely travel or eat out, though. So if you’re looking for a card to rack up points on everyday purchases, you’d be better off with the Premier Rewards Gold card.

See related: Chase Freedom vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Which card is best for you?, American Express Premier Rewards Gold vs. Platinum card from American Express: Which card is best for you?


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Updated: 07-18-2018