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

By October 12, 2021DeFi
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Table of Contents

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  • Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Card comparison
  • Welcome bonuses
  • Travel and shopping credits
  • Airport lounge access
  • Rewards on everyday spending
  • Other travel benefits
  • Bottom line
  • 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:

    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 Platinum Card and Sapphire Reserve and decide which card is best for you.

    Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Card comparison

    Chase Sapphire Reserve®

    The Platinum Card® from American Express

    Annual fee

    $550

    $695 (See Rates)
    Welcome bonus

    50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

    100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership

    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 restaurants worldwide and small businesses, on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership)

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

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

    One key difference is that the Platinum Card 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 Platinum Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer Priority Pass airport lounge access, the Platinum Card'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®

    Apply Now

    Annual Fee

    $550

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.65 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.

    It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Annual Fee

    $550

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    A tooltip

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.65 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.

    Featured Reward

    A tooltip

    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

    50,000 points

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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
  • Pros

    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining

    Cons

    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    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 opening
    • The Platinum Card has a welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.

    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

    Apply Now Rates & Fees

    Annual Fee

    $695

    Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

    Credit Score

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.75 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.

    It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Annual Fee

    $695

    Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

    Credit Score

    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star

    4.75 out of 5 Stars

    Editor's Rating

    A tooltip

    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.

    Featured Reward

    100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership

    Intro APR

    N/A

    It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
  • Pros

    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber

    Cons

    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards
    • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
    • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
    • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
    • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
    • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
    • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
    • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
    • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
    • $695 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    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 Platinum Card, meanwhile, has several different credits — including several that were recently added:

    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: Platinum Card

    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 Platinum Card.

    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 Platinum Card 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 Platinum Card, 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:

    The Platinum Card, meanwhile, offers:

    These perks are all potentially useful, and even though they differ between cards, both offer strong options. The Platinum Card 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 Platinum Card'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 Platinum Card 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.

    David E. Slotnick

    Senior Reporter

    David is a Senior Transportation Reporter for Business Insider. He primarily covers airlines and air travel. A native New Yorker and avid photographer, David previously covered travel, credit-card rewards, and frequent-flyer programs. Before joining Business Insider, David was a freelance writer and editor — before that, he worked in public affairs. He earned his bachelor's degree from Muhlenberg College and his master's from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram, or send him an e-mail at dslotnick@businessinsider.com.

    Read more Read less

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    For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

    **Enrollment required.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. Read our editorial standards.

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