- The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the most popular travel credit cards available today. Both come with a hefty annual fee, but their perks and benefits can make the investment well worth it.
- There are several signs you may be better off with the Platinum Card from American Express. For example, this card may be better for you if you want access to more airport lounges or you’re a frequent Uber customer.
- Make sure to compare all the top rewards credit cards available today before you settle on just one.
- Read more personal finance coverage.
When it comes to the top travel credit cards available to American consumers, two specific cards tend to fight for the top spot: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve wows cardholders with 3x points on travel and dining (plus 1 point per dollar on other purchases) and benefits like a $US300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass Select membership, and 50% more travel when you book with points through the Chase travel portal. You also get a credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and other perks, although a $US450 annual fee applies each year.
Chase Sapphire Reserve review
The American Express Platinum card, on the other hand, comes with a $US550 annual fee yet a wider range of perks. Not only do you get up to a $US200 annual airline fee credit, but you also get up to $US200 in Uber credits each year. You also get airport lounge access and a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. On the earning side of the equation, you’ll earn 5x points on flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this card gives you 1 point per dollar on non-bonus spending.
Amex Platinum card review
Which card is best for you? While you could easily get both, not everyone wants multiple travel credit cards with a high annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an easy sell thanks to its lower annual fee, but there are plenty of reasons the Platinum Card from American Express could be a better pick
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.
When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically,
treat your credit card like a debit card
Here are the biggest signs the Platinum Card is your best bet
You can easily use the Amex Platinum airline fee credit
Where the travel credit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card applies to any travel purchase you make, you need to be more intentional if you want to use the airline fee credit from the American Express Platinum card. This credit only works for one airline you select ahead of time for starters, but it also only applies to certain travel incidentals such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments.
If you frequently check baggage and pay for upgraded meals and drinks with the same airline each year, then you could easily utilise this credit. If not, you’ll either need to figure out ways to use it to your advantage or consider other travel credit cards with annual credits that have fewer restrictions.
You need to have access to a broader selection of airport lounges
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a Priority Pass Select membership, the Platinum Card from American Express takes airport lounge access a step further. Not only do you get the standard Priority Pass Select membership with access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, but you also get to enter Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta.
You also get access to a network of luxurious Centurion lounges in destinations like Dallas, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, and Miami. Plenty more Centurion lounges are also in the works in destinations like Phoenix, Charlotte, and London. If you fly into or out of an airport with a Centurion lounge often, the Amex Platinum can easily become the better deal.
You ride with Uber all the time
The Uber credits of up to $US200 per year with the Platinum card are doled out on a monthly basis, meaning you can’t use the credit all at once. For that reason, this perk is best for consumers who use ridesharing services at least a few times per month already.
If you’re a frequent Uber customer, you’ll easily get a ton of value out of this perk. If not, it may go to waste.
You fly on a lot of international airlines
Also make sure to consider transfer partners before you choose between a Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards credit card. While Chase Ultimate Rewards has a wide range of transfer partners, the program has a smaller selection of international airline partners. American Express Membership Rewards, on the other hand, lets you transfer points to the following partners:
Aeromexico Air Canada Air France KLM (Flying Blue) Alitalia (Millemiglia) All Nippon Airways Cathay Pacific British Airways Delta Air Lines El Al Israel Airlines Emirates Etihad Hawaiian Airlines Iberia Plus JetBlue Singapore Airlines Virgin America Virgin Atlantic Airways
You book a lot of flights directly with airlines
Finally, don’t forget to consider how much further ahead the Platinum Card from American Express might leave you if you book a lot of flights with airlines or pay for a lot of prepaid hotels. You’ll earn 5x points on your Platinum card with these purchases, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve only doles out 3 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining spending.
The bottom line
If you can’t decide between two rewards or travel credit cards, take the time to assess each card’s benefits and how easily you’ll be able to use them. Many times, one card winds up as the better pick because its perks are better tailored to your lifestyle or travel goals.
That’s definitely the case when it comes to comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Platinum Card from American Express, although there are some other cards that stack up well against these two. Make sure to compare all your credit card options in terms of their benefits, earning structure, and fees before you decide.