Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which premium card is best for you?

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the best premium travel rewards cards. While each comes with a high annual fee, both cards offer more than enough perks and rewards to make up for the upfront cost, including limited-time benefits geared toward those who aren’t traveling right now. Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure that the perks match up with your lifestyle.

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express are currently offering excellent welcome bonuses:

Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve bonuses

The Platinum Card® from American Express: The Platinum Card® from American ExpressChase Sapphire Reserve®: Chase Sapphire Reserve® after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

The cards have a lot in common, but there are also distinct features unique to each of them. Here’s a guide to help you compare the The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve and decide which card is best for you.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Card comparison

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

$550 (See Rates)Welcome bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve® after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of account opening

Rewards rate

10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the $300 travel credit)

10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

5x total points on air travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the $300 travel credit)

3x points on other travel and dining

1 point per dollar on everything else

5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)

5x points on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases*

Card benefits

Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Primary car rental insurance

Complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar car rental agencies

Emergency medical/dental coverage

Medical evacuation/transportation insurance

Trip interruption/cancellation

Trip delay insurance

Baggage delay insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott**

Airport lounge access (Priority Pass**, Centurion lounges, and more)

Perks through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program

Secondary car rental insurance

Trip interruption/cancellation

Trip delay insurance

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Statement credits

Up to $300 in statement credits each cardmember year toward travel purchases (through December 31, gas and grocery purchases also qualify)

Up to $120 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through December 31, 2021

Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership when you activate by March 31, 2022

Complimentary year of DoorDash DashPass membership (activation required by December 31, 2021)

Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits**

Up to $100 in annual shopping credits at Saks**

Up to $200 in annual Uber credits**

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Up to $300 annually (up to $25 per month) in Equinox credits**

$179 per year in credits for CLEAR membership**

Up to $200 in credits per year toward prepaid hotel bookings through Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection

Up to $240 in annual credits (up to $20 per month) toward eligible digital subscriptions***

$12.95 in credits each month toward Walmart+ membership**

$300 statement credit toward a purchase of SoulCycle At-Home Bike online

Foreign transaction fee

No

No (See Rates)Review

Chase Sapphire Reserve card review

Amex Platinum card review

*(Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership)

***Eligible digital subscriptions include Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, and Peacock**

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the The Platinum Card® from American Express both have high annual fees, but they have several significant differences.

One key difference is that the The Platinum Card® from American Express earns points in the Amex Membership Rewards program, which has 18 airline transfer partners and three hotel transfer partners. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which has 10 airline partners and three hotel partners. The two cards have different bonus categories as well.

Also, while both the The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer Priority Pass airport lounge access, the The Platinum Card® from American Express’s access is limited to airport lounge locations, while Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can use Priority Pass to get food and beverage credits at participating airport restaurants.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Welcome bonuses

With either card, you can earn a ton of extra points when you open a new account and meet the requirements.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account openingThe The Platinum Card® from American Express has a welcome offer of 60,000 points after your spend at least $5,000 in your first 3 months of account opening.

Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards points are transferable – which is the most valuable type of points – although there are some other ways to use them, too. For example, you can redeem points for statement credits or use them toward travel booked through each card’s travel website – however, Chase will value your points at a higher rate in these scenarios than Amex will. Because of that, even though the Amex bonus is higher, I’d consider them a tie on value.

Read more: Amex and Chase points are the two most valuable types of credit card rewards – here are their biggest differences

If we consider the welcome bonuses as equal, there are two other things to consider: First, do you think you’ll spend $6,000 in the next few months? If not, you might want to go for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has a lower spending requirement of $4,000, but you’ll only have three months to meet it.

Second, do you already have a stock of either rewards currency from another card? Since you can pool points from different cards in the same rewards program, it could be worth opening another card from that issuer so you can build up your balance.

Winner: Tie

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Travel and shopping credits

Both cards come with generous travel and shopping credits that go a long way toward offsetting the annual fee. Of course, you’ll still have to pay the fee upfront before making some of it back from the credits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a straightforward and easy-to-use $300 travel credit. The first $300 you spend on travel-related purchases every cardmember year is credited back to your account. The travel category is expansive, including everything from subways, taxis, parking, and tolls to airfare and hotels. When you subtract that credit from the annual fee, the card effectively costs $250 per year.

Read more: Some people are balking at the higher annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but I’m keeping my card for 3 reasons

Due to the pandemic, Chase added the ability to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual travel credits toward gas and grocery purchases in 2020, and that’s now been extended through December 31, 2021.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also gives you up to $60 in statement credits for DoorDash in 2021. DoorDash is a food delivery service like Seamless or Grubhub, and if you can put this benefit to full use, it effectively reduces the card’s annual fee to $190.

The The Platinum Card® from American Express, meanwhile, has several different credits – including several that were recently added:

Up to $200 in annual credit toward prepaid hotels booked through Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel CollectionUp to $179 per year in credit toward CLEAR membership (expedited security screening at select airports and stadiums)Up to $240 per year in digital entertainment credits, broken in up to $20 per month chunks (Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, and Peacock subscriptions qualify)Up to $300 per year in Equinox credits, split into up to $30 per month (also valid for on-demand fitness classes through the Equinox+ app)$12.95 (plus taxes) in credit each month toward Walmart+ membership$300 credit when you purchase a SoulCycle At-Home Bike

Read more: Amex Platinum cardholders can now get statement credits at 2 more places: Walmart and Soulcycle

Other benefits include up to $200 in airline fee credit each calendar year. Every January, you pick one airline for that credit to apply toward. While the credit doesn’t cover airfare or airline gift cards, it covers incidental fees like checked bags, seat assignments on basic economy tickets, change fees, and more.

Cardholders also get up to $200 in Uber Cash credits each cardmember year, which is broken down into monthly chunks. Each month, cardholders receive $15 in Uber Cash to use on Uber rides or for Uber Eats. In December, that’s boosted to $35.

Read more: The Amex Platinum increased its annual fee to $695 – are the new benefits worth it?

You can get up to $100 in Saks shopping credits each calendar year, broken into two chunks: You’ll get up to $50 during the first six months of the year, and another $50 during the second.

When you subtract all of these credits, you can offset the Platinum card’s entire annual fee and then some. And since the airline fee is each calendar year, you can actually collect it twice if you open your card mid-year and maximize the credit before and after January of that first cardmember year.

Many of the Amex Platinum’s benefits require activation, so be sure to check this list of things to do when you receive your card to avoid missing out on perks.

Winner: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Airport lounge access

Both cards come with a Priority Pass Select membership, which grants access to a network of more than 1,300 airport lounges all around the world. However, if you’re mostly flying within the US, you may be better off with the The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Read more: I pay $550 a year for my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and it gives me a perk so valuable I won’t travel without it

That’s because many Priority Pass lounges within the US are in international terminals. Fortunately for domestic flyers, the Platinum Card also comes with access to Amex’s proprietary Centurion Lounges, which can be found at some of the busiest airports in the US – plus Hong Kong – with more locations on the way. In addition, cardholders can enter Delta Sky Club lounges whenever they’re flying with the airline.

Winner: If airport lounge access is important to you, especially when flying within the US, or if you frequently fly Delta, the The Platinum Card® from American Express is the clear winner.

Rewards on everyday spending

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most rewarding cards out there for your everyday spending. You’ll earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the $300 travel credit) and 3x points on all other travel and dining, and both of those categories are defined fairly broadly, with the dining category including things like bars, cafes, and in many cases, bakeries and ice cream shops.

You’ll also earn 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022, as part of the latest batch of new card benefits.

Read more: How to use the Amex Travel Portal to book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more – and make the most of your Membership Rewards points

The The Platinum Card® from American Express, meanwhile, earns 5 points per dollar on flights purchased directly through the airline or through Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotel reservations made through the Amex Travel portal. That’s useful if you fly a lot, and you can book your own work travel, but tough to maximize otherwise.

Winner: Unless you spend more money on flights than other travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® wins this category. Earning 3x points on your commute, lunch, and drinks after work makes it easy to stockpile a ton of points quickly.

Other travel benefits

Both cards come with other benefits, too, which are worth considering. While these are generally discussed less often, they’re still valuable features of the cards.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes:

Primary car rental insuranceTrip cancellation and interruption insurance (covering you for up to $10,000 per ticket if a trip is canceled or interrupted due to things like illness, personal sickness, etc.)Trip delay insurance (which reimburses up to $500 per covered ticket when your travel is delayed 6+ hours or overnight)Baggage delay coverageVarious purchase and shopping protectionsBaggage loss and damage coverageTravel accident insuranceUp to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global EntryA year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership (activate by March 31, 2022)

The The Platinum Card® from American Express, meanwhile, offers:

Gold elite status at Marriott and Hilton hotelsTrip cancellation/interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per ticket if a trip is canceled or interrupted due to things like illness, personal sickness, etc.)Trip delay coverage (up to $500 per covered ticket when your travel is delayed 6+ hours or overnight)Various purchase and shopping protectionsConcierge serviceBaggage loss and damage coverageUp to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

These perks are all potentially useful, and even though they differ between cards, both offer strong options. The The Platinum Card® from American Express recently added trip delay and cancellation coverage, though the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out for offering primary car rental insurance – which means you can waive the insurance offered by a car rental company and still be covered for damage and loss through your card before your personal car insurance kicks in.

Read more: 4 credit cards with the most comprehensive travel insurance – from trip cancellation to lost luggage

The The Platinum Card® from American Express’s hotel elite status, meanwhile, can get you a ton of valuable extras during hotel stays.

Winner: Tie – it depends on which benefits are the most important to you.

Bottom line

The best option for you depends on the benefits you care about. If you want complimentary hotel elite status, statement credits for things like Uber, Saks, and digital subscriptions, and as many airport lounge access options as possible, the The Platinum Card® from American Express is likely a better fit. If you prefer to keep it simple with a core set of travel protections and strong rewards for dining and travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a great choice.

No matter which card you choose, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express are excellent cards that come with a ton of value.

Related Content Module: More Credit Card Coverage

Read the original article on Business Insider

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