AmEx Points vs. Chase Points: Which Is Right for You?

These two rewards giants have a lot to offer — so much so that you might want to earn both.

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Nerdy takeaways
  • Both Chase and AmEx points are worth about the same when transferring to partners.

  • Certain Chase cards offer a higher baseline value.

  • Hyatt, Southwest and United loyalists should choose Chase, as these brands aren't transfer partners of AmEx.

  • Cash-back enthusiasts will prefer the Chase ecosystem to AmEx.

  • Advanced points nerds tend to collect both currencies instead of picking one.

Nerdy takeaways
  • Both Chase and AmEx points are worth about the same when transferring to partners.

  • Certain Chase cards offer a higher baseline value.

  • Hyatt, Southwest and United loyalists should choose Chase, as these brands aren't transfer partners of AmEx.

  • Cash-back enthusiasts will prefer the Chase ecosystem to AmEx.

  • Advanced points nerds tend to collect both currencies instead of picking one.

American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards® are two of the most popular and well-established transferable points programs in the points and miles world.

However, when comparing AmEx points versus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which comes out on top?

Whether you're just starting to collect points and miles or are debating a change in strategy, it's worth considering which is the better points program to focus your attention and loyalty. We compare what you need to know in this deep dive on AmEx points and Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.

An overview of AmEx points vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Both Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners or redeemed for travel through each individual program's online travel-booking portal. Both programs also offer other non-travel redemption options, but these generally provide lower value.

Here are the key differences between AmEx and Chase Ultimate Rewards® points:

  • Number of transfer partners. AmEx leads the way with 20 airline and hotel partners versus Chase's 14 transfer partners. That means more access to airline sweet spots for AmEx points collectors.

  • Redemption rate for travel purchases. Chase offers certain Sapphire and Ink cardholders the opportunity to redeem points for travel at 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point. Meanwhile, AmEx travel redemptions generally top out at 1 cent per point (unless you know where to transfer them, which can get you a baseline value of up to 2 cents per point). The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Business Gold Card offer a points bonus for eligible airfare points redemptions that can boost the effective redemption rate as high as 1.54 cents per point. Terms apply.

  • Redeeming points for purchases. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are more valuable when using points to pay for purchases. You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for at least 1 cent per point to cover card charges and up to 1.5 cents per point through the Pay Yourself Back feature. Meanwhile, AmEx point redemptions top out at just 0.7 cent per point when paying with points at checkout at select retailers.

  • Cash out/statement credit rates. Chase lets cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards® points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point. AmEx points can be redeemed to Cover Your Card Charges at a rate of just 0.6 cent per point, remitted as a statement credit.

  • The quality of the portal. In next-level points nerdiness, we dived deep to analyze and compare the online travel portals of Chase and AmEx, as well as Citi Thank You and Capital One (two other heavy hitters in the transferable currency space). The Chase portal beat AmEx's at nearly every turn.

AmEx Membership Rewards points

Membership Rewards points are the points earned on American Express cards — excluding airline and hotel co-branded cards. Cardmembers can redeem Membership Rewards points in a variety of ways, from gift cards to paying with points at checkout with certain online retailers. However, the most valuable way to redeem Membership Rewards points is for travel redemptions.

The value of AmEx points

Ignoring poor-value redemption options, AmEx Membership Rewards points are worth between 1 and 2 cents per point, depending on how you use them.

In the AmEx Travel portal

AmEx Membership Rewards are worth up to 1 cent per point when used for qualifying reservations through American Express Travel. You'll get this rate when booking flights or Fine Hotels & Resorts (on qualifying cards) through AmEx Travel.

Other travel purchases made through AmEx Travel — from prepaid hotels to cruises — provide just 0.7 cent per point.

Via AmEx transfer partners

NerdWallet analysis finds that Membership Rewards points can be worth up to 2 cents each when redeemed through transfer partners. This high value is due to valuable AmEx partners like ANA Mileage Club (baseline value: 2 cents per mile) and Air Canada Aeroplan (baseline value: 1.9 cents per mile).

However, that's just the baseline value. You can get an even higher value by redeeming AmEx points for premium cabin awards (i.e., first or business class tickets). Just one of many examples: Transfer 88,000 AmEx points to ANA Mileage Club to book a round-trip award flight in United Airlines business class between the U.S. and Europe.

United is currently selling the same flights for $7,160.07. That means you would need 716,007 AmEx points to book this flight through the AmEx Travel portal. After factoring in the reasonable $66 of taxes and fees on the award, you'd get over 8 cents per point from this premium cabin redemption.

As statement credit

The AmEx Cover Your Charge program is the simplest way for Membership Rewards collectors to redeem their points as a statement credit. Unfortunately, this redemption is a pretty poor value at only 0.6 cent per point.

cover your charges amex

What are AmEx points good for?

  • Airline point redemptions. If you love flying, AmEx is the program for you, as 17 of AmEx's 20 transfer partners are airline loyalty programs. Also, airline bookings, including upgrades with points, provide among the highest redemption rates when booking through AmEx Travel. Even still, you'll generally get more value when redeeming points through transfer partners.

  • Booking niche mileage sweet spots. AmEx points unlock some of the highest-value sweet spots in the points and miles world — from 44,000-point business class flights to Africa (via the Etihad Guest sweet spot on Royal Air Maroc) to 220,000-point around-the-world award tickets in business class (via Aeromexico Club Premier).

  • Lounge access. While AmEx points themselves don't get you into lounges, premium AmEx cards do offer lounge access. Through AmEx's expansive Global Lounge Collection, eligible cardmembers get access to over 1,200 lounges in 130 countries.

Skip AmEx points if …

  • You’d rather earn cash back. AmEx points provide only 0.6 cent per point in value when redeemed to cover card charges. Considering most AmEx Membership Rewards cards earn a base rate of 1 point per dollar spent, that's a poor return on your spending. You'll do much better by getting a dedicated cash-back credit card.

  • You want to earn points that can transfer to United, Southwest Airlines or Hyatt. AmEx offers 20 airline and hotel transfer partners, but United, Southwest and Hyatt aren't among them. Instead, you'll want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to transfer points to any of these programs.

  • You plan to redeem points for non-airfare travel. AmEx generally offers subpar redemption rates for other types of travel purchases. Even prepaid hotels — with the exception of Fine Hotels & Resorts — and cruises booked through AmEx Travel provide just 0.7 cent per point in value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Chase offers dozens of rewards cards — including co-branded credit cards from Southwest, Hyatt, IHG Rewards, United, Air Canada and more. Just three Chase-branded cards earn Ultimate Rewards® points.

Despite their small numbers, these cards play an outsize role in the points and miles world.

The value of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth at least 1 cent per point in value — that’s the baseline rate at which you can cash out points for a statement credit. However, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards® points at a higher rate for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, through Pay Yourself Back and by transferring points to Chase's 14 airline and hotel partners.

In the Ultimate Rewards® travel portal

Each of the three Chase credit cards that specifically earn Ultimate Rewards® points offers bonus value for redeeming points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. The bonus varies by card:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 50% more value (1.5 cents per point).

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: 25% more value (1.25 cents per point).

  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: 25% more value (1.25 cents per point).

Note that this small roundup does not include Freedom and other Ink cards that earn cash back that can be converted to Ultimate Rewards® points.

Via Chase transfer partners

In NerdWallet analysis, we found that the baseline value of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points is around 1.8 to 1.9 cents per point when redeemed through Chase's airline and hotel transfer partners.

Not all partners necessarily provide this much value. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 transfer ratio, and our analysis finds that Bonvoy points have a baseline value of just 0.7 cent per point.

To get top value, you'll want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to valuable partners such as Air Canada Aeroplan (baseline value: 1.9 cents per point) or World of Hyatt (2.8 cents per point) — or for high-value redemptions through other partners.

As cash back

Generally speaking, Chase Ultimate Rewards® can always be redeemed for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.

For the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, points can be cashed out via the Pay Yourself Back feature at the elevated rate of 1.25 cents per point for qualifying purchases. Chase Sapphire Reserve® holders, meanwhile, can cash out using Pay Yourself Back for eligible purchases at the even higher rate of 1.5 cents per point.

chase sapphire reserve card 1.5 cents per point as pay yourself back

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards® points best for?

  • United and Southwest redemptions. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer to both United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 transfer ratio. That makes earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® points a great way to top off your points collection in either of these airline programs.

  • World of Hyatt bookings. Hotel transfer partners generally provide poorer value than airline partners; however, Hyatt is a key exception. With the introduction of off-peak award pricing, Hyatt reward nights now start at just 3,500 points per night. Collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be a shortcut for accumulating Hyatt points to take advantage of Hyatt's high-value redemptions.

  • Redeeming points for paid travel. Depending on which card you have, Chase Ultimate Rewards® provide either 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point in value toward paid travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. That provides an excellent way to take advantage of booking cheap flights and hotel stays — using fewer points than it would take to redeem for a reward flight or night.

Skip Chase Ultimate Rewards® points if …

  • You want to transfer points to Delta Air Lines SkyMiles. Although Chase partners with four North American airlines, Delta isn't one of them. Focus on earning AmEx points if you want to top off your Delta SkyMiles account.

  • You're looking for expert-level sweet spots. Chase transfer partners are solid, but Ultimate Rewards® doesn't partner with some of the international programs that can provide the best of the best sweet spots — like Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest.

AmEx vs. Chase transfer partners

Both AmEx points and Chase Ultimate Rewards® points offer a diverse group of over a dozen transfer partners. However, each program excels in a slightly different way. Start by comparing the transfer partners and transfer rates for AmEx points versus Chase points.

AmEx transfer partners, Singapore Krisflyer and Air France-KLM, generally offer high-value redemptions. We recommend avoiding Marriott and Aer Lingus, among others. Read our analysis on AmEx transfer partners here.

Meanwhile, the best Chase partners are World of Hyatt and United MileagePlus. We recommend that you don't transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to partners like JetBlue True Blue and IHG Rewards Club, where you'll get less-than-ideal value. See our full breakdown of which Chase transfer partners to avoid.

Loyalty program

Chase Ultimate Rewards® ratio

American Express Membership Rewards ratio

Airline transfer partners

11 total.

17 total.

Aer Lingus Aerclub

1:1.

1:1.

Aeromexico Club Premier

N/A.

1:1.6

Air Canada Aeroplan

1:1.

1:1.

ANA Mileage Club

N/A.

1:1.

Avianca LifeMiles

N/A.

1:1.

British Airways Executive Club

1:1.

1:1.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

N/A.

1:1.

Delta Skymiles

N/A.

1:1.

Emirates Skywards

1:1.

1:1.

Etihad Airways Guest

N/A.

1:1.

Flying Blue (Air France-KLM)

1:1.

1:1.

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

N/A.

1:1.

Iberia Plus

1:1.

1:1.

JetBlue TrueBlue

1:1.

5:4.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

N/A.

1:1.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

1:1.

1:1.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

1:1.

N/A.

United MileagePlus

1:1.

N/A.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

1:1.

1:1.

Hotel transfer partners

3 total.

3 total.

Choice Privileges

N/A.

1:1.

Hilton Honors

N/A.

1:2.

IHG Rewards Club

1:1.

N/A.

Marriott Bonvoy

1:1.

1:1.

World of Hyatt

1:1.

N/A.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® offers fewer transfer partners than AmEx, but the ones it does are generally well-known programs. Of Chase's 11 airline partners, four are North American airlines: Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, JetBlue TrueBlue and Air Canada Aeroplan. Five are European airlines that can provide value when flying within the U.S.

Chase point transfers are simpler to calculate, as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer to all partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio. So, you don't have to worry about calculating how many airline miles — or kilometers in the case of Aeromexico — you'll end up with after your transfer.

Also consider that Air Canada Aeroplan — just one airline partner of both AmEx and Chase — opens up award redemptions on over 40 airline partners. You can see just how far-reaching each program’s transferable points can take you.

AmEx points transfer to 20 airline and hotel loyalty programs, including several airlines from each major airline alliance.

  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Delta.

  • Star Alliance: Air Canada, ANA, Avianca Airlines, Singapore Airlines.

  • Oneworld: British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia Airlines, Qantas Airlines.

Several of AmEx's airline partners may be unfamiliar to those who aren't points and miles nerds. However, knowledgeable travel rewards collectors know that gems can be found in just those types of programs. In fact, AmEx points can unlock most of the cheapest business class redemptions from the U.S. to Europe.

Credit cards that earn AmEx or Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

AmEx offers nine cards that earn transferable Membership Rewards points, while Chase offers just three credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards® points that can be transferred to partners.

Right away, you can see that AmEx offers more options for earning Membership Rewards points. But that doesn't necessarily make AmEx the right option for you.

The right card for you depends on what you're looking to get from the card. Here's a summary of just a few card categories and how AmEx and Chase compare.

Category

American Express

Chase

Premium travel rewards card

Chase Sapphire Reserve® (annual fee: $550).

Grocery and dining card

American Express® Gold Card (annual fee: $250).

Mid-tier travel rewards card

American Express® Green Card (annual fee: $150).

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Small-business bonus points and travel card

Terms apply.

Other cards that earn Membership Rewards include:

Terms apply.

Here’s a closer look at the premium travel cards offered by both AmEx and Chase.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$550.

$695. Terms apply.

Bonus offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Rewards

  • 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays, car rentals and dining purchased through Chase. Also on Lyft through March 2025.

  • 5 points per dollar spent on flights purchased through Chase.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide.

  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Note: Travel bonus rewards are after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

  • 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.

  • 2 points per dollar on other travel booked through AmEx.

  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Why choose? Here’s why points collectors usually have both

The secret of the choice between AmEx points versus Chase points is that you don't actually have to pick just one. Advanced points and miles collectors optimize their card portfolio to earn both AmEx points and Chase points at the highest earning rates.

That could mean using the American Express® Gold Card to earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants and U.S. grocery stores and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to earn 3x points on general travel and up to 10x points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

By earning both types of points, you won't have access to "only" 20 transfer partners through AmEx or "only" 14 partners through Chase. Instead, you can transfer points to a combined 24 airline and hotel transfer partners.

You can even come out ahead with the 10 overlapping partners. For example, AmEx is currently offering a 40% bonus for transfers to British Airways Avios — while Chase transfers to British Airways remain just 1:1. Meanwhile, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is offering a 25% transfer bonus to Flying Blue, but there's no such bonus for AmEx transfers to Flying Blue.

By having both types of points, you can simultaneously transfer your AmEx points to British Airways with a 40% bonus and transfer Chase points to Flying Blue with a 25% bonus. If you had only Chase or AmEx points, you'd miss out on all of the transfer bonuses offered by the other program.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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