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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the most popular travel rewards cards on the market. Both cards offer a variety of benefits, but they serve different purposes. Matching up the two cards is a bit like comparing a reliable, mid-priced Samsonite bag with a Louis Vuitton leather duffle.
For most people, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a better starting point in the travel rewards market. (There's a reason NerdWallet describes it as "nearly a must-have for travelers.") It offers higher rewards earnings on everyday purchases, and those rewards carry a 25% higher redemption value when used to book travel through the Chase travel portal. That's a lot of value for a modest annual fee of $95. The Platinum Card® from American Express is marketed as a premium travel card. Its rewards earning rates focus on select travel spending, and it carries more luxury benefits, including lounge access, high-end fitness, shopping and hotel credits. However, those premium benefits come with a premium annual fee of $695 — a hard cost to justify for many people.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison so you can decide which card is right for you.
Earn 60,000 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®.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).
3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.
3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
Through March 2025: 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft.
Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
5 points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.
2 points per $1 spent on other eligible travel booked through AmEx.
1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Terms apply (see rates and fees).
A $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.
Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year.
1:1 transfer partners, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, Marriott and Hyatt.
$200 annually for airline incidentals, like bag fees, on one designated airline when you enroll.
$200 annually for prepaid hotel bookings through American Express Travel at more than 2,000 hotels. (Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties.)
$189 annually for Clear membership.
$100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck when charged to your card.
1:1 transfer partners, including Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
Access for you and 2 guests to over 1,400 lounges worldwide from partners including Priority Pass and Plaza Premium Group. Terms apply.
Access to over 40 American Express Centurion and Escape lounges. Terms apply. Fees may apply for guest access.
» SEE: Best travel rewards cards
Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is better for most people
Lower annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card packs a lot of punch in terms of travel rewards value, all with a manageable $95 annual fee. Compare that with The Platinum Card® from American Express’s eye-popping $695 annual fee — an intimidating figure for many travelers. While the Amex Platinum does advertise a wide range of travel and shopping credits to offset that fee, taking full advantage of those benefits can be burdensome.
More value, more dometic transfer partners
When using your points to book travel through the issuer's portal, Chase Ultimate Rewards® are more valuable. Points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are worth an impressive 1.25 cents per point. That’s an outsized value compared with the American Express travel portal, where Membership Rewards points are redeemed at one cent per point on flights and certain hotel bookings. Other hotel bookings made through AmEx carry a value of 0.7 cent per point.
Plus, Chase’s transfer partners include several well-known domestic airlines and hotel brands, offering easy accessibility for points redemption. American Express offers more transfer options than Chase, and savvy travelers can find outsized value for their points. But AmEx's transfer partners are primarily foreign airlines, making Membership Rewards points more challenging to transfer for U.S.-based domestic travelers.
Better earnings rates on everyday spending
Both cards earn 5x per $1 spent on travel booked through their travel portals, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the clear winner for everyday spending. It earns 3x on dining, streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), while the Amex Platinum earns 1x in each of those categories. Terms apply.
Why you might want The Platinum Card® from American Express
In this category, there’s no competition. If airport lounge access is a high priority, you'll be best served by The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers no lounge access, the AmEx Platinum is known for its top-notch airport lounge benefits, including access to over 1,400 lounges in more than 500 airports worldwide. Those include more than 40 American Express Centurion and Escape lounges, and additional access through partners like Priority Pass and Plaza Premium Group. Terms apply.
Booking with the airline
When it comes to booking flights, experienced travelers know that the way you book can make a big difference in the ease of changing or canceling your plans. So while both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Amex Platinum offer 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked through their respective travel portals, The Platinum Card® from American Express has a leg up in offering that same earnings rate for flights booked directly through the airline. Terms apply.
The Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, offers the 5x points rate only if you book your flights through the Chase travel portal. That can pose a problem in the event of a weather delay, cancellation, or any other trip interruption.
The prestige factor
Both cards are metal, but The Platinum Card® from American Express carries a certain luxury gravitas that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can’t compete with — and doesn’t try. That prestige has some cash value, too. When used correctly, the card’s luxury perks add up quickly to help offset its eye-popping annual fee. When you enroll, those include statement credits of up to $300 per year toward an Equinox gym membership, $50 twice per year at Saks Fifth Avenue, $200 per year in Uber cash ($15 per month plus an extra $20 in December), and $200 a year for prepaid hotel bookings through The Hotel Collection or Fine Hotels + Resorts properties, just to name a few. Terms apply. However, if these benefits don’t match your lifestyle, you’ll be paying mostly for the cachet of pulling the famous platinum card out of your wallet. Only you can decide how much that prestige is worth.
Which card should you get?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the best travel rewards cards on the market, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great choice for travelers who want a card with a low annual fee and great rewards for everyday spending. The Amex Platinum may be the better choice for frequent travelers who value lounge access and luxury benefits — but given the card’s steep $695 annual fee, it's important to make sure you can take full advantage of all those benefits before you sign up.