Chase Sapphire vs American Express is not a fair fight. Sure, Chase Sapphire and American Express are among the most well-known names in the travel rewards card market. But Chase Sapphire is a brand name for a series of three credit cards, only two of which are available to new applicants, and American Express is a credit card company.
The Chase Sapphire line of cards consists of the original Sapphire card (now discontinued) as well as Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards offer 50,000-point initial bonuses, worth $625 in travel for Preferred and $750 for Reserve. But they have high annual fees: $95 for Preferred and $450 for Reserve. Chase has many cards outside of the Sapphire line, too.
American Express is a card network and a credit card issuer, with a variety of different cards. Some offer travel rewards, while others give cash back. The American Express cards most similar to Chase’s Sapphire cards are the Amex Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold cards. They offer good airline perks such as annual travel credits and airport lounge access, but are plagued by high annual fees ($550 for Platinum and $195 for PRG) and no financing capabilities.
So, Chase Sapphire and American Express cards come with an array of perks for a wide range of travelers, but there are also some downsides to consider. All four cards are relatively expensive. That means you’ll have to decide whether the frequency with which you travel, coupled with all the rewards these cards offer, will justify the cost.
Here are the pros and cons of Chase Sapphire vs. American Express:
Chase Sapphire Reserve gives 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, worth $750 toward travel purchases. You also get a $300 annual travel credit, 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 on everything else. Plus, you can get up to $100 in credit for faster airport screening every four years. You don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees, either.
The downsides to Chase Sapphire Reserve are its $450 annual fee and strict eligibility requirements, including the need for an excellent credit score.
Chase Sapphire Preferred gives 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, worth $625 toward travel purchases. And you’ll receive 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining, plus 1 point per $1 on everything else. Chase Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees.
The downsides to Chase Sapphire Preferred are its $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) and its strict eligibility requirements, including the need for an excellent credit score.
American Express Platinum gives60,000 bonus points (worth up to $600) when you spend $5,000 in your first three months. You also get a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $200 annual Uber credit, 5 points per $1 spent on flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, and a $100 credit for faster airport screening every four years. Plus, Amex Platinum provides access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, including Delta Sky Clubs and Amex Centurion lounges. And there are no foreign transaction fees.
The downsides to Amex Platinum are its $550 annual fee; the fact that double points don’t apply to car rentals, non-prepaid hotels, or non-Amex Travel bookings; the fact that you must pay your entire balance every month; and its strict eligibility requirements, including the need for an excellent credit score.
Amex Premier Rewards Gold gives 25,000 bonus points (worth up to $250) for spending $2,000 in the first three months. You also get a $100 annual credit for airline fees; 3 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines; 2 points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets; and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees.
The downsides of Amex PRG are its $195 annual fee (waived the first year); its relatively small initial bonus, the lack of lounge access you get; the fact that you have to pay your entire balance every month; and the strict eligibility requirements, including the need for an excellent credit score.
It’s also important to note that American Express is not as widely accepted globally as the Chase Sapphire cards, which are on the Visa network. So if you plan to take an Amex card abroad, it’d be worth your while to also bring a no foreign fee Visa or Mastercard, just in case.