The Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Gold card are two of the most lucrative rewards credit cards out there. Knowing how to maximize the value you get from both of these cards will help you determine which is right for you.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card* and American Express® Gold Card are two of the most lucrative rewards credit cards available. Both cards earn flexible and transferable points – either Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. Both cards also offer solid welcome offers and earning potential, and each card can unlock powerful redemptions.
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. Let’s take a look at the Amex Gold versus Chase Sapphire Preferred and see which card may be right for you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold: At a glance
|Welcome bonus||60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months||60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
Both the Amex Gold card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offer the ability to earn valuable flexible points. American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points work in similar ways – the one you value most will depend on what other credit cards you have and how you typically travel. It’s fair to say that a Membership Rewards point and an Ultimate Rewards point have a similar, if not equal, value.
That being said, the category bonuses of the American Express Gold card are decidedly better than those of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, for most people.The Sapphire Preferred card only earns 2 points per dollar in the travel and dining categories, while the Gold Card earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com.
It is true that Chase’s definition of the dining and travel categories is less restrictive (dining and travel versus restaurants and only flights at amextravel.com). Still, once you consider that the Gold Card also gives 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases annually, then 1x), most people will likely earn more from ongoing spending with the Amex Gold card.
On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a welcome bonus that is much larger. At least for the first year, there’s no question that most people will earn more points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The only way you would earn more points with the Gold card during the first year is if you have a lot of spending, especially at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
Both Membership Rewards points earned with the Amex Gold Card and Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed in two major ways (at least for the most value per point). You can either transfer your points to hotel or airline partners or use your points to book travel directly.
Both American Express and Chase have a variety of hotel and airline transfer partners available. American Express has 22 different transfer partners, while Chase has 13 transfer partners. While the two brands share a few partners (Air France/KLM, British Airways and Marriott Bonvoy for instance), for the most part deciding which partnerships are worth more will depend on how you travel.
In most cases, both Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 to airline miles and hotel points, and both American Express and Chase offer periodic temporary transfer bonuses to various partners.
When it comes to redeeming points directly for travel, on the other hand, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are distinctly superior. You can book flights through amextravel.com at a rate of 1 cent per Membership Rewards point, but for other types of travel (hotel, car rentals, etc.), you will only get a value of 0.7 cents per point. Ultimate Rewards points redeemed by a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, however, get a value of 1.25 cents per point on airfare, lodging, rental cars and even some travel experiences.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred does not have very many noteworthy perks, other than its high welcome bonus and redemption options – but one nice benefit is its rental car coverage. The Preferred card offers primary rental car coverage, meaning you don’t have to file with your own insurance carrier first. Rental car coverage on the Amex Gold card is only secondary (after your own primary car insurance.)
The American Express Gold card has two big perks that come with having the card, that can boost its value. First, there is a $100 annual credit for airline incidentals. You choose one particular airline either when you sign up for the card or in January each year. Then, throughout the calendar year, you can pay for airline incidental fees such as bag fees, seat assignment fees or in-flight refreshments and be reimbursed up to $100.
It is worth noting that Amex recently announced that beginning January 2022, this benefit will no longer be available on the Gold Card. However, both new and existing customers will be able to use the airline credit through the end of 2021.
The Amex Gold card also offers up to $120 in dining credits throughout the year. You can get up to $10 in statement credits each month when you use your Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. (My wife and I like to go on a monthly date for a free piece of cheesecake, courtesy of American Express.)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with an annual fee of $95, while the Amex Gold card has an annual fee of $250. Neither card waives the annual fee for the first year – it will appear on your first month’s credit card statement.
While the annual fee on the Amex Gold card is (significantly) higher, it does also come with the potential to offset $220 of the fee with the airline and dining credits. However, keep in mind that statement credits are not the same as having a lower annual fee – most people would prefer to keep their hard-earned cash.
If you’re comparing the Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards, you can make a case for both cards in your wallet.
Foodies will love the high earnings on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets offered by the Gold card – one of our best cards for grocery spending.
On the other hand, the higher welcome offer, increased value in redeeming points and lower annual fee mean that the Sapphire Preferred will likely provide more value for most people, especially during the first year of having the card. Take a look at your spending and travel patterns and decide which card is best for you.
*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.