CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison and financial education website. This website is made possible through financial relationships with card issuers and some of the products and services mentioned on this site. Advertiser Disclosure†

October 9, 2017

Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs AMEX Platinum

Read more about Travel Rewards
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply or shop through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Both offer high sign-up bonuses, high rewards rates in their bonus categories, premium travel perks and hundreds of dollars in potential annual credits. Not bad, right?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the AMEX Platinum Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner, are both top contenders in the world of luxury travel rewards cards.

There is one catch: regardless of which card you sign up for, you'll need to be up for paying a sizeable annual fee ($450 or $550) upfront. There are plenty of travel rewards cards with significantly lower annual fees - if that's more your speed, look to the Sapphire Preferred and AMEX Premier Rewards Gold - so if you're considering these two, you're probably drawn to their top-tier travel benefits and perks.

In this article, we'll look at where each card stands out and how to know which is a better fit for you.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

American Express Platinum

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APR16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsN/A
Balance Transfers APR16.99% to 23.99% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factorsN/A
Annual Fee$450 annual fee$550 annual fee
 Terms Apply See Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Points DealIntroductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
AirlineAirline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programsAirline Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
HotelHotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programsHotel Rewards: 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
PointsPoint Rewards: 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.Point Rewards: Earn 1 point for virtually every dollar spent.
Airline StatusAirline Status: $300 Annual Travel Credit (as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card).
Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership for access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select
Airline Status: $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline. Terms Apply.
Access to 5 airport lounge networks including The Centurion® lounge network, The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® lounges, Priority Pass(TM) Select, and Airspace Lounge. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select.
Hotel Status Hotel Status: Enroll for complimentary SPG Gold Status (Starwood Preferred Guest Gold Preferred Guest).
Enroll for complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status.

Fine Hotels & Resorts - book your stay through American Express FHR at one of 600 luxury hotels and you may get a room upgrade upon arrival, daily continental breakfast for 2, guaranteed 4pm late checkout and a special amenity unique to each property. Terms Apply.
RestaurantDining Rewards: 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. 
Airline Transfer PartnersAirline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Emirates, Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways and more.
 Apply NowApply Now

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees was obtained on July 17, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

What They Have in Common

  • $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Point transfers to airline and hotel partners
  • Priority Pass Select membership and access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide
  • No foreign transaction fees

Both cards cater to frequent and luxury travelers, with some tempting and largely comparable travel perks such as $100 in application fee credit (every 4 years) for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, car rental privileges, and 24/7 hotlines for travel planning and emergency assistance.

While both cards also offer perks like upgrades and discounts on hotels, car rental insurance, and point transfers to airline and hotel partners, there are some key differences in those offerings that will largely determine which card offers better value for you.

How the Travel Perks Compare

  • Hotel Perks: When it comes to hotel perks, the AMEX Platinum stands out as offering huge value for travelers who make hotel stays a regular part of their trips.

    With the Sapphire Reserve, you'll enjoy perks when you book an eligible stay at one of the 900+ hotels in the Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, including complimentary breakfasts for two, complimentary Wi-Fi, discounts, and (when available) room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out. You'll also get elite status (which includes similar perks) when you use your Reserve card to book 2 nights over the course of 12 months at Relais & Châteaux properties through Visa Infinite Concierge.

    The AMEX Platinum offers perks when you book an eligible stay at one of the 975+ properties in their Fine Hotels & Resorts collection, and it also comes with automatic Gold Status with both Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton Honors. You can also link your SPG account to your Marriott Rewards account to receive Marriott Gold Status. If luxury hotel stays are a draw for you, you'll have significantly more options with the AMEX Platinum in our opinion.

    Tip: The Fine Hotel & Resorts Collection often offers a free 3rd, 4th, or 5th night at specific properties. You'll generally pay slightly higher rates when you book through FHR, but that free extra night can still help you save on a luxury hotel stay.

  • Car Rental Perks: Either card will give you access to discounts and upgrades with participating car rental programs, but only the Reserve offers primary collision and damage coverage for rental cars. Charge the full cost of your eligible car rental to the Reserve, and you'll be able to skip the rental agency's insurance while remaining eligible for coverage (up to $75,000) in the event of damage and theft.

    You can also you link your Chase Ultimate Rewards account to your membership with National Car Rental, Avis, or Silvercar to gain access to discounts and upgrades on rentals. With the AMEX Platinum, you'll have secondary collision and damage coverage and be able to sign up for National Emerald Club Executive status, Avis Preferred Status, and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards privileges.

    Tip: Not one to rent cars often? You can use the Platinum's $15 monthly Uber credits (upped to $20 in December) instead, or charge a taxi or Uber ride to your Reserve card to earn 3x points.

How Their Lounge Access Compares

The Chase Sapphire Reserve includes Priority Pass Select membership, giving you access to over 1,000 lounges around the world. The American Express Global Lounge Collection takes that up a few notches by including Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Club, Centurion Lounges, Airspace, and Escape lounges.

The Centurion lounges - currently only in 7 U.S. airports - are known for their luxe amenities and customer service, while the Platinum's Delta Sky Club membership gives cardholders access to 33 more lounges around the world (when you're flying with Delta.) This access plays a major role in helping the Platinum to stay competitive against rivals like the Reserve.

How Their Rewards Compare

Both cards back up their perks with valuable bonus categories and redemption options. That said, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve is uniquely flexible in its redemption options, earning and redeeming points with the Platinum comes with some important restrictions.

Earning Points:
With the Platinum, you'll earn 60,000 bonus points by spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Those points will be worth $600 if you redeem them for flights through AmexTravel.com. Compare that to the 50,000 bonus points you'll earn with the Reserve (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months) - worth $750 toward travel through Ultimate Rewards.

Tip: Even though the Platinum's sign-up bonus seems larger, it actually depends on what the points are worth. With the Reserve, each point is worth 1.5 cents on the Chase travel portal, whereas each AMEX Membership Reward point is worth only 1 cent when booking flights with AMEX.

However, if you are planning to transfer the points, then 60,000 AMEX points can get you further, depending on which airline or hotel partners you use.

The Platinum will also earn 5x points on flights and eligible hotel stays booked through American Express Travel, and on flights booked directly with an airline. That's not so great for travelers who want to shop around for cheap flights, but it's ideal for travelers who fly frequently with a dedicated airline.

The Reserve's bonus categories are a little more straightforward: you'll earn 3x points on travel and dining purchases and 1x points on everything else.

Redeeming Points:
If you redeem points for flights through American Express Travel, they'll be worth 1 cent each, making for an effective rewards rate of 1-5%. With the Reserve, your points will be worth 1.5 cents each toward travel through Ultimate Rewards, making an effective rewards rate of 1.5%-4.5% toward travel.

That's not bad, but you can use either card to maximize your points by strategically transferring them to an airline or hotel transfer partner.

Tip: With Ultimate Rewards, you can combine your points between Chase cards. For example, if you use a cash back card like the Chase Freedom, which earns 5% cash back on rotating categories, you can transfer your cash back rewards to your Reserve account. That will let you redeem them for travel at 1.5 cents each through UR, or transfer them to an airline or hotel partner.

Transfer Partners:
The Reserve has 10 airline and hotel transfer partners, while the Platinum doubles that - but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Platinum wins out in this category. Both programs have airline partners in OneWorld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam, meaning that your specific travel needs will determine which selection offers the best value for you.

Keep in mind that while the Platinum has more airline partners, only the Reserve offers a 1:1 transfer ratio with all partners. If you opt for the Platinum, be sure to check the transfer ratio with your desired airline or hotel partner.

Where the Sapphire Reserve Excels

With extra points on travel and dining and flexible redemption options, the Sapphire Reserve is a solid choice for travelers looking to maximize their travel rewards while earning points to redeem for their next trip. Here are some of the card's standout features:

  • 50,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 3x points on travel and dining
  • Redeem points at 1.5 cents per point toward travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • 1:1 transfers to airline and hotel partners
  • $300 annual travel credits
  • Benefits with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Elite status at Relais & Châteaux properties
  • $450 annual fee

Unlike with the AMEX Platinum, you won't be limited to earning extra points on just airfare or travel booked through your card's portal. The Reserve will earn 3x points on dining and travel with common carriers, as well as on some charges you might not expect:

  • Uber and taxi rides
  • Parking fees
  • Highway and bridge tolls
  • Hotels and Airbnb stays
  • Subway, bus, and train rides
  • Travel booked through discount sites

That range of purchases is a big draw for travelers looking to travel on a budget while still racking up points for a future trip. As an added bonus, VISA's worldwide popularity makes this a great card to take traveling with you; you'll be able to avoid foreign transaction fees while earning points on transportation and dining abroad.

Another draw for the Reserve: its $300 annual travel credits. When you make a purchase in the travel category, you'll automatically receive reimbursement against those charges, up to $300 per anniversary year. If you can reliably meet that, you'll effectively bring the card's cost down to a much more reasonable $150.

This beats out the Platinum's $200 airline fee credit. The Reserve's $300 travel credit can be used for any travel expense, including flights, hotels, car rentals, trains, Uber, etc. The Platinum's $200 airline fee credit is only for incidentals on one selected airline of your choice.

The Reserve also carries some unique protections and insurances for travelers:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation
  • Emergency medical and dental insurance

Both the Reserve and the Platinum cover lost, stolen, and damaged baggage, but the Reserve also includes coverage for delayed baggage and reimbursement for your canceled travel reservations if your trip is late, interrupted, or canceled. If there's an emergency, you'll also be covered for evacuation and transportation, or for medical help while you're away.

Where the AMEX Platinum Excels

American Express Platinum
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
The AMEX Platinum offers a hefty sign-up bonus, premium hotel perks, annual credits, and a whopping 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines to help justify its $550 annual fee. There are some important conditions to those points and perks, but for now, let's take a quick overview of the card's offerings:

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Tip: Not sure if you're up for that $550 annual fee? Take a look at the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold; it carries some of the perks, but with a much more manageable annual fee of $195.

It's best to start thinking about which airline you'll use before you sign up for the AMEX Platinum. That will help you plan how to best redeem your bonus points (ideally with an airline transfer partner) and take full advantage of the card's $200 annual airline fee credits with your selected airline.

The Platinum also offers up to $200 in Uber credits annually, as well as $75 in hotel credits on qualifying charges when you book 2 consecutive nights at a property in the AMEX Hotel Collection. Your Uber credits will be available in installments of $15 per month ($20 in December), and your $75 in hotel credits can be spent on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities during your stay.

While the AMEX Platinum doesn't offer travel protections to match the Reserve, it does offer some elite travel perks and benefits:

That elevated status opens you up to major upgrades in your stays at Starwood, Hilton, and - if you link your SPG and Marriott Rewards accounts - Marriott properties. With Boingo, you'll be able to log into Wi-Fi at hotspots around the world. For many users, those perks combine with the card's airport lounge access to justify its $550 annual fee.

Tip: Thinking of getting the Platinum? You can head to the American Express site to apply, and start brushing up on what the next steps are to take full advantage of all of the card's perks and benefits.

Bottom Line

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Platinum offer premium perks and benefits and sizeable sign-up bonuses. Still, they'll only be worth their ultra-high annual fees if you use them to travel frequently, and that means something different with each card.

If flexibility is your priority, the Reserve wins out thanks to its $300 in travel credits and inclusive travel category.

The Reserve's 3x points on a wide variety of travel-related purchases and valuable 50,000-point bonus offer great value for the frequent, mid-range traveler looking to occasionally splurge on a big trip, as well as the luxury traveler looking to save money on their vacations. If you currently hold a cash back or Ultimate Rewards card from Chase, you also stand to benefit from pooling all of your points into your Reserve account, significantly expanding the potential rewards value of your other Chase cards.

By comparison, the AMEX Platinum caters primarily to the frequent luxury traveler.

The Platinum's complimentary status with hotel loyalty programs, car rental programs, and membership with airport lounge networks and Boingo can add up to drastically improve the quality of your travels. The card's $550 annual fee is steep, but it might be worth it if you regularly book your flights directly with airlines, fly frequently with a dedicated carrier, and can take full advantage of the card's annual and monthly credits.

Terms and limitations apply.

The Platinum Card from American Express
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Reward PointsTravel RewardsAirline RewardsHotel RewardsPoint RewardsNo Pre-Set Spending LimitConciergeEventsCar Rental Insurance Extended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud LiabilityIdentity Theft Assistance
Card TypeAnnual Fee
Personal Charge Card
$550

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Reserve has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

More from CreditDonkey:


American Express Membership Rewards Review


Chase Ultimate Rewards Review


American Express Platinum Review: Is $550 Worth It?

More Articles in Reviews


Travel Cards

Best Credit Cards for International Travel

The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. Read this before you take off.

Leave a comment about Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs AMEX Platinum?


Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel credit cards are a great way to earn flights and hotel stays. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of its bonus point offers and premium travel benefits. Read on to see if the Sapphire Preferred's annual fee is worth ...

    Beginner's Guide to Airline Miles and Points

    Learn how airline miles work and the 10 steps you should follow to start collecting travel rewards. Before long, you'll be well on your way to redeeming miles for flights and hotel rooms.

    Hotel Rewards

    The sign-up bonuses for hotel rewards credit cards can be tempting, but is a hotel card right for you?

    Airline Rewards

    The best airline credit card racks up miles fast with reasonable fees and amazing rewards.

    Travel Rewards

    Looking for a new travel credit card?

    Foreign Transaction Fee: What to Know Before You Travel Abroad

    Before you go on a trip overseas, be sure you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Read on to learn how to save money on international travel.

    Credit Card Deals

    Signing up for a card with a sign-up bonus or an introductory offer can be a great way to get a head start on earning rewards or to get a handle on your debt.

    Credit Card Bonus Offers

    Take advantage of credit card bonuses for new customers, including bonus cash, reward points, and airline miles.

    Dining Rewards

    If you're usually eating out rather than slaving over a hot stove at home, make a point of using a rewards credit card every time you pick up the tab and save up some serious cash.

    Best Credit Cards

    Here are the CreditDonkey picks for "Best Credit Cards" from our partners in the following categories ...

    Credit Card Rewards

    So you've decided you want to earn rewards for your spending but aren’t sure how to pick the right card?

    No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

    Most credit cards tack on a 3% charge, or foreign transaction fee, on purchases made outside the United States. If you travel internationally with a no foreign transaction fee credit card, you'll save money on your purchases.

    Credit Card Deals for People with Excellent Credit

    If you have excellent credit, now is the time to take advantage of it.

    Barclaycard

    Travel Rewards Card: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

    Travel Credit Card Deals

    To learn more, visit Chase's secure website for more information, including their online application.

    Study: Credit Cards for International Travel

    The best credit cards for international travel have no foreign transaction fees, chip technology and worldwide acceptance. Read this before you take off.

    Study: Hotel Credit Cards for Free Nights

    Must-read list of hotel credit card promotions. Check out this essential list of credit card offers before your next hotel stay.

    Study: Credit Card for European Travel

    Traveling to Europe? Look for a card with chip technology and no foreign transaction fees. Here are our favorite cards for international travel.

    Costco Travel: What You Need to Know to Save Money

    Costco Travel makes planning a vacation hassle free, but does it really save you money? We compare how it stacks up against other top travel sites.

    14 Best Ways to Use United Miles

    Redeem United MileagePlus miles for the most value. This guide highlights some of the best award redemption opportunities with United miles.

    Study: Credit Cards for Young Professionals

    The best credit cards for young adults have good rewards and benefits but low fees. Use this must-read guide to help narrow down your search.
More Articles in Reviews






About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.