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American express platinum vs chase sapphire

american express platinum vs chase sapphire

Sometimes the credit cards that are available to anybody with good credit just aren't enough. Sometimes you want something with elite benefits. If you're a frequent traveler and have outstanding credit and a few other qualifications, you might be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the American Express Platinum card.

If you're considering both, which will give you the elite perks at the lowest price?

First, these two cards are not quite the same. Every American Express gold and platinum holder knows that they're holding a charge card – not a credit card. A charge card is paid in full at the end of each month; a credit card can hold a balance over multiple months or years.

American Express has a pay-over-time feature that makes it act like a credit card, but it's only for larger purchases. The APR varies but expect it to be on par with other cards with similar features. Your minimum payment will always be considerably higher because it's a charge card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Some of the benefits of this card are fantastic. Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants. Earn 1 point on all other purchases. Chase wants you to redeem your points for travel-oriented services through its partners. That's why it gives you 1:1 point transfers with leading frequent traveler programs. If you redeem 2,000 points, it's good for 2,000 miles or points with partner airlines and hotels.

Other perks include trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and – if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours – Chase will cover unreimbursed expenses up to $500 per ticket.

The APR comes in at 15.99% – toward the bottom of the range of most cards of its type – and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

But check out the sign on bonus. If you spend more than $4,000 in the first three months of having the card, you receive 40,000 bonus points. When you add an authorized user and he or she makes a purchase in the first three months, Chase gives you another 5,000 bonus points. There is also no foreign transaction fee.

One disappointing perk missing from this card is access to airport lounges. If you're looking for the elite treatment while waiting for your next flight, you won't get it with this card.

American Express Platinum

Whether or not it's deserved is debated by travel enthusiasts, but when you hold the American Express Platinum card, there's a level of prestige associated with it. But is the $450 annual fee really worth the perks?

Receive 40,000 membership rewards points when you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months. Those points can be used to pay for other charges or spent on travel packages. You will also receive statement credits of up to $200 per year to reimburse you for airline fees, along with a fee credit for TSA Pre – the program that allows you to bypass security lines.

When you travel you receive complimentary upgrades and special rates at more than 750 properties around the world, and concierge service that can help you land those hard-to-get tickets to the most popular events.

Your American Express Platinum card also comes with free access to airport lounges run by American Express, Delta and Airspace lounges.

And as with the Sapphire Preferred, there is no foreign transaction fee.

Each of these cards have many more perks than are listed here. Since the American Express Platinum card costs $450 annually, compared to the $95 you spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred (a fee waived in the first year), it had better be packed with extra perks.

The facts are that each of these cards has similar features. The major plus for the Platinum is airport lounge access and a more extensive network of travel upgrades and concierge treatment.

Unless you travel frequently and have enough free time to enjoy all the extra perks that come with the American Express Platinum (see Using Platinum Amex Benefits), it's difficult to justify the added cost.

Chase Sapphire v. Amex Platinum

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

Discover if the revered Amex Platinum is worth the annual fee for perks like airport lounges, or opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, now with an even more lucrative sign-up bonus and rewards program.

•Sign-up Bonus Requirement: 40,000 mile Signup Bonus with $3,000 spending in three months.

•$200 Airline Credit

•Amex Centurion Lounge Access

•Priority Pass Select (good for the Alaska Airlines Boardroom and many lounges in Europe, but only for the cardholder, reduced fee for guests.)

•Delta Lounges (good only for the cardholder when flying on delta, reduced fee for guests.)

•Starwood and Hilton Elite Status

•Rental Car Elite Status

•Amex award winning customer support

•Amex Offers (defray annual fee)

•No Foreign Fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred

•Sign-up Bonus Requirement: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months.

•2X Points on Dining and Travel

•Ability to transfer in points earned with Chase Freedom

•Hyatt as a very lucrative travel partner

•No Foreign Fees

Although Amex has premium lounge access, an airline credit to reduce the annual fee, and the prestige of the card, if you do not travel often, the Chase Sapphire Preferred saves a significant amount of money on the annual fee while offering a competitive awards package. The 2X points on certain categories makes Chase a versatile option for travelers, particularly because Visa is offered so widely abroad. That said, the Amex is still the original “gold standard” (pardon the pun) in travel credit cards if you are going to utilize its many features and offerings.

[100k ENDS TODAY] Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Citi Prestige vs. Amex Platinum

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

The sign up bonus that currently comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card when you apply online, 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 on the card within three months of opening it, will drop to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards for the same spending requirement this coming Thursday, January 12 . If you want the 100k bonus, apply by Wednesday, January 11!

Chase, Citi, and American Express all offer premium credit cards with $450 annual fees and major benefits like airport lounge access and statement credits to offset airline fees and the cost of Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

The banks designed the cards to compete with each other, so it’s only fair to line up the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and American Express Platinum side-by-side and see which one is the best.

I’ll break down the comparison by:

  • value of points
  • sign-up bonus
  • category bonuses
  • lounge access
  • statement credits
  • other benefits
  • annual fee

I’ll foreshadow a little bit by saying that right now the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the clear best card for most people. If its sign up bonus comes down, though, the race will be a lot closer. Although many of the benefits of the three cards are similar, there are subtle differences in the programs that could make a huge difference to you, so the better card depends heavily on your travel habits and preferences.

Note: I am using the standard personal American Express Platinum Card as “the Platinum Card,” since the other two cards are personal cards. There is also a Business Platinum Card with a 100,000 point sign up bonus at the moment.

The American Express Platinum earns Membership Rewards, which I value at 2 cents each. The Citi Prestige Card earns ThankYou Points, which I value at 1.8 cents each. The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Ultimate Rewards, which I value at 2 cents each.

Membership Rewards can be transferred to 4 hotels and 18 airlines, those pictured below plus Etihad.

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

There are frequent transfer bonuses especially to Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, and British Airways Avios.

Citi ThankYou Points transfer to 13 airlines and one hotel:

Citi has offered transfer bonuses to Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin America.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to seven airlines plus Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton points, all at 1:1 ratios.

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

The 38 total airline transfer partners (27 unique) are way too many to analyze in this post, but generally most people would prefer Chase’s because of United, which offers a very strong program for redemptions worldwide in economy and Business Class. The other strongest Chase partners are Korean and British Airways.

Amex’s partners are the second best and strong options include Aeroplan, Singapore, Delta, and during transfer bonuses, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Citi’s are clearly a half-step behind the others. In fact, my favorite Citi transfer partners are Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France, all three of which are also transfer partners of Chase and Amex.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • Amex Platinum: 40,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months (although the Mercedes Benz version of the Platinum card consistently offers 50,000 Membership Rewards for spending $3,000 in the first three months, and has pretty much the same benefits package)
  • Citi Prestige Card: There are two public offers at the moment:
    • 40,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
    • 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points for spending $5,000 in three months. If you don’t see this offer automatically when you pull up the application page, try opening it in an incognito window or a different browser. I have seen both the 40k and 50k offer via this method.

Multiply the points by your value of the points to figure out how much more valuable the sign up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is than the other cards’ bonuses. The bonus on the Sapphire Reserve is worth $2,000 after spending $4,000 to me. The bonus on the Amex Platinum is worth $800 after spending $3,000 to me. The bonus on the Citi Prestige Card is worth $950 after spending $5,000 to me.

This is a huge win for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x on dining and travel, 1x on everything else
  • Amex Platinum: 5x on airfare directly from the airline or through American Express Travel, 1x on everything else
  • Citi Prestige Card: 3x on Air Travel and Hotels, 2x on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment, 1x on everything else

Which card’s category bonuses are best for your spending depends on how much you spend in each category and how much you value each type of points.

  1. Look up your spending for the last year.
  2. Run that spending through the category bonuses listed above to figure out how many points you’d get with each card.
  3. Multiply the number of points times your valuation of each point.
  4. The card with the biggest number (which is the dollar value of the points it earns) wins.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: Priority Pass Select
  • Amex Platinum: Priority Pass Select + American Express Centurion Lounges + Delta SkyClubs (with same day Delta flight)
  • Citi Prestige Card: Priority Pass Select
  • Guest Policy for Priority Pass Lounges:
    • Chase: unlimited free guests
    • Amex: no free guests
    • Citi: your spouse and children or any two people as free guests

Priority Pass lounges are usually decent places to have a light meal, work, and relax. Here are reviews of two typical Priority Pass lounges (1, 2).

Each of the cards gives identical access to the cardholder at 900+ Priority Pass Select lounges around the world, but guest access differs dramatically.

  • Chase allows unlimited free guests.
  • Citi allows you to bring in your family (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18) or up to two guests for free.
  • American Express makes you pay $27 for guests into Priority Pass clubs.

Beyond Priority Pass, the Platinum card offers free access to Delta SkyClubs when you have a same day Delta flight, but you can’t bring in any free guests.

The Platinum Card also allows access to seven Centurion Lounges in the United States, which are some of my favorite domestic lounges and several steps above the typical Priority Pass lounge. You do get free guests at Centurion Lounges (spouse, domestic partner, children under 18 OR up to two guests).

Which lounge benefits you like more completely depends on your travel style. If you fly where there is a Centurion Lounge or fly Delta a lot, you’ll like the AMEX Platinum.

If you travel with your family or co-workers a lot, you’ll love the free access they get to lounges with the Prestige or Sapphire Reserve.

Most people who are paying the $450+ annual fee year after year for one of these cards are primarily doing it for the lounge access, so think carefully about which set of lounge access works better for you.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: $300 per calendar year for travel. $100 once every four years for Global Entry
  • Amex Platinum: $200 per calendar year for airline fees (shouldn’t but often does work for airline gift cards). $100 once every five years for Global Entry.
  • Citi Prestige Card: $250 per calendar year for airline feesor airline tickets. $100 once every five years for Global Entry

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the clear winner in the statement credit contest. Its travel credit is larger and much more flexible. Your first $300 in travel purchases each calendar year are automatically offset by statement credits. Travel includes flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, tolls, parking, taxis, and so much more.

The Citi Prestige’s credit is the next best. You get $250 that can be used toward airfare or any other charge that shows up as being from an airline.

The worst credit is from the AMEX Platinum, which makes you designate one airline on which to receive fee credits. You can also buy gift cards with the credit, which is specifically disallowed in the terms but totally works.

Most importantly, all three benefits reset after your December credit card statements. So if you get one of the cards in October, you can max out the first credit in two months and get a new credit to max out for 10 months before your next annual fee is due.

These statement credits make all three cards a great idea for at least one year, since you can get two calendar year credits in the first year of cardmembership plus the Global Entry credit. You’ve already more than offset the big annual fees on the cards.

All three cards offer tons of other benefits like purchase protection, trip insurance, and concierge services. They are highly similar in these areas, and I don’t use these benefits much. Read the terms and conditions on either card for full lists.

There is some differentiation though. The Amex Platinum offers free Hilton Gold, free SPG Gold (and thus free Marriott Gold) elite statuses while you hold a Platinum card. The Citi Prestige Card offers the 4th night free on hotel stays booked through its travel provider.

Which benefits you more depends–again–on your travel style.

The annual fee on all three cards is $450; you pay it with your first statement, and again 12 months later if you don’t cancel the card.

All three cards are clearly worth paying the annual fee in year 1 because of their sign up bonuses and the ability to get their fee credits twice in the first year of having a card. Whether either card is worth holding past year 1 depends on your travel habits and how much you use the card for spending and its benefits.

To get the Amex Platinum’s bonus, you must have never had the Amex Platinum before. (The Business Platinum and other personal Platinums like the Mercedes-Benz version are all separate products, and you can get the bonus on each one once.) The only exception is if you received a targeted offer for the Platinum and it is totally free of any language in the terms and conditions about never having had the Platinum card in order to be eligible.

To get the Citi Prestige’s bonus, you must not have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

The clear winner is the Sapphire Reserve for its bigger bonus and better statement credits. If all three bonuses were closer, it would come down to your spending patterns (which category bonuses maximize them?), which transfer partners you preferred, and whether you’d use the Centurion Lounges or other benefits Prestige’s fourth night free of the Platinum’s SPG Gold status.

Hopefully I’ve laid out how to think about each card’s benefits, but the actual thinking is left to you.

DON’T FORGET that the sign up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 100,000 Ultimate Rewards, is dropping to just 50,000 Ultimate Rewards for the same $4k minimum spending requirement this coming Thursday, January 12. If you want the 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus, sign up by January 11!

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Card Is Better?

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

American express platinum vs chase sapphire

Last year, Chase released the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It came with a huge 100,000 sign up bonus and offers 3x points on travel and restaurant purchases.

Ever since that release, American Express has been in catch-up mode.

They’ve revamped their Amex Platinum Card (Personal and Business), with the goal of being able to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

So how do the benefits stack up? Is it worth it to get the Amex Platinum?

Amex Platinum Card Features 2017

  • $200 in credit toward aircraft costs each timetable year
  • Only qualified aircrafts are available for this benefit
  • Does not include genuine airfare

Qualifying Airlines for $200 Airline Fee Credit:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines and US Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways
  • United Airlines

This benefit is similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but the Reserve offers $300 in travel credit annually.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve

You will get one point for each dollar charged for an eligible purchase on your Platinum Card from American Express.

  1. Make an eligible purchase on your Platinum Card to earn 1 point
  2. Get 4x additional points (total of 5x points) for each dollar you spend on amextravel.com : scheduled flights, prepaid hotel purchases (including The Hotel Collection), travel packages (flight + hotel packages)
  3. You must reserve and charge the travel purchase with the same eligible Platinum Card to be eligible for the 5x Membership Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve shocked the world when they released the card with 3X on flights. This is Amex’s counter-punch. 5x on flights is HUGE. I book all my flights with my Amex Platinum now.

Amex Business Platinum Card 50% “Pay With Points”

This was one of the best new features that American Express rolled out to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Unfortunately it looks like it’s ending way too soon!

Basically you would get 50% of your points back if you book a business or first class flight when redeeming on Amextravel.com. You also get 50% of your points back with your preferred airline (the one that receives the $200 bonus).

I’ve used this already 3 times and love it. It’s allowed me to accumulate status much faster, because the purchases count as cash, allowing you to earn miles on purchases instead of just redeeming points.

This feature is now to be phased out according to this schedule:

  • The Amex Business Platinum Card Pay With Points benefit will be reduced from a 50% refund to a 35% refund (meaning you’re getting 1.54 cents per point of value, rather than 2 cents per point)
  • There will be a cap of 500,000 rebated points per year
  • The rebate is already taking 6-10 weeks to post, rather than just a day, as was the case before

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers just 1 point per mile, which is useless and you should never use your points this way. If you do want to use your points this way, let me know and I’ll buy them for cash at $.012 per point.

Centurion Lounge Access and More

If you have access to Centurion Lounge, you have access to the following:

The Centurion Lounge can be found here:

  • Dallas Fort Worth
  • Houston Intercontinental
  • Las Vegas
  • New York – LaGuardia
  • Miami
  • Seattle-Tacoma
  • San Francisco

Chase doesn’t even come close in this department. I’ve been to the Centurion lounge at LGA and it’s awesome. They had a surprise wine and cheese tasting (which compelled me to buy 4 bottles of wine it was so good).