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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.
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® from American Express and Sapphire Reserve and decide which card is best for you.
Card comparison: Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
*(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**
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.
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 60,000 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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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
. In December, that’s boosted to $35.
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.
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.
Rewards on everyday spending
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most rewarding cards out there for your everyday spending. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel (after earning the travel credit) 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.
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
Winner: Tie — it depends on which benefits are the most important to you.
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.