If you’re trying to decide between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum, you’ll need to find out all the details about their rewards programs and cardholder perks. At the end of the day, the best card for you will likely boil down to the transfer partners you want access to, as well as the benefits you prefer to have.
Two options stand out from the rest when it comes to premium travel credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer the most benefits among all travel credit cards and give you the chance to earn a lot more points on your spending over time.
But, how do you decide between the two? While both offer generous sign-up bonuses, the Amex Platinum has a spending promotion that might help you earn considerably more points in the first year. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve lets you earn rewards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards loyalty program, known for having better transfer partners.
In this comprehensive guide, we compare these two cards based on their perks and rewards. Either one can help you gain valuable benefits while you earn points for travel, but it’s likely one might be a better fit for your needs.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Platinum Card® from American Express
|Welcome bonus||60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months||75,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 6 months|
|Credit required||Good or excellent||Good or excellent|
|Choose the Sapphire Reserve if you …||Choose the Amex Platinum card if you …|
Why choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
There’s a reason the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top travel credit cards on the market today, although the benefits that stand out might depend on how you spend with a credit card, your travel preferences and the cardholder benefits you care about the most about. The following stand-out features are some of the main reasons to sign up for this card.
First off, the $300 travel credit you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be used toward any type of travel you charge to your credit card. However, the Amex Platinum’s $200 airline fee credit can only be used for “travel incidentals” like seat selection and checked bags. Not only that, but you have to select a single airline for your travel credit, so it only applies when you fly with one airline and it won’t roll over if you don’t use it.
Beyond the fact that the Chase travel credit is easier to use, the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal offers more ways to use your points for travel. Options include hotels, airfare, things to do (activities), vacation rentals, cruises and rental cars.
Meanwhile, American Express Travel only lets you book hotels, airfare, cruises, vacation packages and rental cars.
Better points value
If you plan to use your points to book travel directly, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve is easily a better option since you get 50% more value when you redeem for travel. This makes your points worth 1.5 cents each, so you can stretch them considerably further when you’re using the Chase portal to book airfare, hotels, rental cars and more.
Further, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent when you redeem for statement credits, cash back or gift cards.
In the meantime, Amex points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed through American Express Travel for airfare and just 0.7 cents apiece when you book prepaid hotels, rental cars, cruises or vacation packages. Likewise, you’ll only get 0.6 cents per point when you redeem for statement credits.
More rewarding for foodies
If you dine out often, you may be disappointed with the Amex Platinum since it only gives you 1 cent per point on dining. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3X points on all restaurant and travel purchases. Not only that, but you get a complimentary DashPass membership that comes with free delivery on DoorDash orders.
You can also qualify for a $60 DoorDash credit on your account through the end of 2021.
Finally, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a new program for foodies known as Sapphire Dining. This program lets cardholders redeem points for exclusive culinary events and experiences that aren’t available to the general public.
While American Express credit cards are more widely accepted than they used to be, Visa credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve enjoy broad availability in more countries around the globe. This means there’s a higher likelihood your Chase Sapphire Reserve will be accepted when you travel overseas, whereas you might run into merchants who will not take an Amex credit card.
Better transfer partners
While this category is definitely subjective, it’s widely found that the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has better transfer partners than American Express Membership Rewards. Not only that, but all Chase transfer partners let you transfer your points over at a 1:1 ratio, whereas most of the Amex transfer partners do. The following chart outlines which transfer partners each card has and their respective transfer ratios:
Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum transfer partners
While the Amex Platinum does have more transfer partners overall, most of their transfer partners are not especially useful unless you frequently travel internationally or have very specific travel plans. Meanwhile, Chase partners are more broadly usable, especially if you fly domestically or internationally with larger carriers like United and British Airways.
Also, be aware that Chase lets you transfer your points to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program, which is largely regarded as the most family-friendly frequent flyer program nationwide. This carrier lets you book inexpensive domestic trips with cash or points, and you can fly within the U.S. or to Mexico and select Caribbean destinations.
Why choose the Amex Platinum card?
There are plenty of reasons to opt for the Amex Platinum instead, although the factors that matter the most will vary from person to person. Here are a few areas where Amex Platinum could be the clear winner for your wallet.
Superior lounge access
The Amex Platinum card easily offers the best lounge access of any credit card, and that’s especially true when you compare it to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both cards give you a complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, which lets you use more than 1,300 airport lounges around the globe. However, the Amex Platinum gives you access to considerably more airport lounges and luxury ones at that.
For starters, carrying the Amex Platinum card lets you access the Centurion Lounges from Amex, located in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, New York and Hong Kong. Not only that, but you can also enter Delta Sky Clubs each time you fly Delta Air Lines domestically or abroad.
Better airfare and hotel rewards
If you spend a lot of money on flights and hotel stays each year, then you’ll definitely want to consider the Amex Platinum instead. Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve only gives you 3X points on travel purchases, the Amex Platinum lets you earn 5X points per $1 on up to $500,000 in flights booked annually with airlines directly or through American Express Travel, as well as 5X points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
If you spend $30,000 per year on flights and hotel stays, then the Amex Platinum would earn you 150,000 points annually on those purchases alone. On the other hand, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would only earn 90,000 points per year.
Then again, keep in mind that the travel category is broader for the Chase Sapphire Reserve since all travel purchases count, not just flights and hotels.
Travel purchases that earn bonus points
|Amex Platinum||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
Better everyday rewards for the first six months
If you want to rack up as much in rewards as possible, the Amex Platinum has a temporary bonus offer that can help you do just that. Once you sign up, you’ll earn 10X points per $1 on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases during the first six months of card membership. If you can max out this bonus offer, you would net an additional 150,000 Amex points in your first six months.
Better customer service
You also have the potential for a better customer service experience with the Amex Platinum, at least if you consider third-party rankings. American Express earned the No. 1 spot with 838 out of 1,000 possible points in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which compared credit card issuers based on factors like interaction, credit card terms, communication, benefits and services, rewards and key moments.
Conversely, Chase earned the fourth spot in the ranking with a score of 809 points.
More additional benefits
The Amex Platinum comes with some unique perks that can make it a better value if you use them. For starters, you’ll get automatic Gold elite status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors hotel programs when you’re a cardholder. You’ll also get up to $200 in Uber credits, which are doled out on a monthly basis.
You can also qualify for a $100 hotel credit on eligible reservations, as well as a $100 credit toward Saks Fifth Avenue purchases.
Which card is right for you?
While these two travel credit cards offer a similar suite of benefits, the right card for you will depend on how you plan to use it.
For example, you may want to go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve if you:
- Prefer flexibility in how you earn and redeem your rewards
- Dine out often and want to rack up more points
- Like Chase transfer partners better
- Need a card that is as widely accepted as possible
- Frequently fly with Southwest or United Airlines
- Have other Chase credit cards you can earn rewards with to pool in one account
Conversely, the Amex Platinum card could be a better option if you:
- Want the broadest airport lounge membership available
- Plan to spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations in the first six months
- Spend a ton on airfare and prepaid hotels each year
- Take a lot of Uber rides every month
- Fly with Delta Air Lines or obscure international carriers
- Have other Amex credit cards you can earn rewards with
There’s no right answer for everyone when you’re comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum. The right card for you really depends on which cardholder benefits you’ll use and how you plan to redeem your rewards.
Meanwhile, you should also look at each card’s rewards rate to determine which one might leave you with more points at the end of the year. Both of these travel credit cards can be lucrative in their own right, but there’s a good chance one of them will be a better value over time.