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Updated January 19, 2020

Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs AMEX Platinum

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Both cards offer huge bonus points, high rewards rates, premium travel perks and hundreds of dollars in potential annual credits. So which is better?

Chase Sapphire Reserve and the AMEX Platinum Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner, are two top contenders in the world of premium credit cards.

Recently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve increased its annual fee to match the AMEX Platinum's $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). Now with these 2 popular cards having the same annual fee, how do they compare?

Both credit cards offer premium travel perks and various discounts and credits. In this article, we'll compare the cards' benefits and rewards, and help you figure out which is better for you.

See how the two rewards cards compare in:

Overview

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

American Express Platinum

Earn 50,000 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® - Learn more

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. - Learn more

 

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$550 annual fee$550 annual fee
 Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Airline1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
Hotel1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Points3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.1 point for virtually every dollar spent.
Airline 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
$200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
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 Enroll for complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status.
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.
Restaurant3X points on dining at restaurants 
Airline Transfer PartnersChase airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, Emirates, and Aer Lingus.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

Bottom Line Opinion:

Chase Sapphire Reserve is better for frequent mid-range travelers who want more flexibility in how they book travel. It's also better if earning points and maximizing rewards is a priority for you.

AMEX Platinum is better for frequent luxury travelers, as many of the savings are more catered towards premium cabins and luxury hotels. It's also better if you frequently fly with one airline.

What They Have in Common

Both cards cater to more serious 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.

Which Card is Better? Detailed Comparisons

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Both have large annual fees, but the two cards differ in earning points, redeeming, transfer partners, and benefits. Read on for detailed Chase Sapphire Reserve vs AMEX Platinum comparisons.

Airport Lounge Access

Which card has the best airport lounge access?

American Express Platinum no doubt has the better airport lounge benefits. The Platinum Global Lounge Collection gives you access to 6 lounge networks:

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).

In comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card only offers a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This membership gives you access to more than 1,000 lounges around the world. You can use the lounges no matter which airline you're flying.

Note that Priority Pass lounges are usually located in international airports. So if you also travel domestically often, you may have more options with the AMEX Platinum.

For both cards, you can bring in 2 guests at no additional cost for most lounges (some exceptions may apply for certain lounge networks).

Annual Travel Credit

Both credit cards offer an annual travel credit, though they work differently.

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual credit to be used for any travel purchases. You're not limited to a specific airline. You can use this credit for travel expenses like airlines, hotels, Airbnbs, car rentals, Uber, and parking lots. Whenever you book a travel purchase, it will be automatically credited to your statement, up to $300.

AMEX Platinum offers a $200 airline credit for incidentals per calendar year. However, this credit is only for incidentals such as checked bags, oversize baggage fees, seat assignment fees, lounge passes, in-flight refreshments, etc. You must select and enroll one qualifying airline. So this only works if you often fly with one airline.

This isn't as flexible as the Chase Sapphire Reserve's $300 annual travel credit, which can be used for any airline, any travel expense.

Welcome Bonus

With the AMEX Platinum, you'll earn 60,000 bonus points by spending $5,000 within 3 months of account opening. Those points equal to $600 if you redeem them for flights through AmexTravel.com.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve, you'll earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. This is equal to $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Tip: Even though the Platinum's welcome bonus seems larger, it actually depends on what the points are worth. With the Sapphire 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.

Earning Points for Travel

The Platinum earns 5x points on flights and eligible hotel stays booked through American Express Travel, 5x points on flights booked directly with an airline, and 1x point on all other purchases.

This is good if you like to book directly with airlines. But it's not so great for travelers who want to shop around for cheap flights. You can often find better airfare deals on discount travel sites.

The Sapphire Reserve's bonus categories are a little more straightforward: you'll earn 3x points on travel and dining purchases (after earning your $300 travel credit) and 1x points on everything else.

Chase also has a very broad definition of travel that includes:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels, motels, and homestays (like Airbnb)
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rentals and rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies and discount travel sites
  • Trains, buses, limos, and ferries
  • Tolls, bridges, and highways
  • Parking lots and garages

All these purchases will earn triple points. This rewards program allows you to rack up points a lot faster. So the Chase Sapphire Reserve is better if your priority is earning points.

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.

Redemption Value / Travel Rewards

Both credit cards allow you to redeem points through the card travel portals, or transfer to travel partners.

On the AMEX Travel portal, your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for flights (50,000 points = $500). Redeeming for hotels or cruises have less value.

With the Sapphire Reserve, your points will be worth 1.5 cents each toward travel through Ultimate Rewards (50,000 points = $750). You can redeem for airfare, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and activities - all at the same value.

The Reserve is better for booking cheap travel on the card's travel portal. Oftentimes, the travel portal is a better option if you can find a cheap ticket or room. And then plus the 50% more value, you can save a lot of points.

Either card also allows you to further maximize your points by strategically transferring them to partner airlines and hotels (more below).

Both cards will also allow you to redeem points for statement credit, gift cards, Amazon purchases, and unique experiences. However, the value differs. Retail and dining gift cards are usually 1 cent per point with both cards. However, statement credit with AMEX is only 0.6 cents per point.

Transfer Partners

The Reserve has 13 airline and hotel transfer partners, while the Platinum has 19 partners. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the Platinum wins out in this category. In our opinion, Chase has a slightly stronger lineup of airline partners.

For domestic airlines, Chase partners with United, Southwest, and JetBlue. AMEX partners with Delta, JetBlue, and Hawaiian Airlines. Both cards have airline partners in Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam, so see which selection offers the best value for your travel needs.

As far as hotel partners go, Chase partners with Hyatt, Marriott, and IHG. AMEX partners with Hilton and Choice Privileges. In our opinion, Chase's partner Hyatt offers the best value. Points can often be valued at more than 2 cents per point.

Keep in mind that while the AMEX Platinum has more airline partners, only the Chase Sapphire 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.

At-Home Benefits

Both cards also offer some discounts and credits that can be used at home or domestically within the US.

The AMEX Platinum offers:

  • Up to $200 annual Uber credit: You get $15 in Uber credits per month and $35 in December.

  • Up to $100 annual Saks credit: You get up to $50 credit for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue between January and June, and up to $50 credit between July and December.

  • Shoprunner membership: You get a ShopRunner membership, which provides free 2-day shipping, free returns, and exclusive deals for hundreds of brand-name stores. This service usually costs $79/year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers:

  • Lyft Pink membership: You get one year of Lyft Pink membership (normally $19.99/month). This gives you perks like 15% off every car ride, priority airport pickups, and other exclusive savings. In addition, you will earn 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022.

  • DoorDash subscription and credit: You get a free DashPass subscription for one year (normally $9.99/month). This gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on food orders over $12.

    You also earn $60 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases through December 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through December 2021.

If you use rideshare services once in a while, then the Platinum's Uber credit may be better. But if you regularly spend at least $100 per month on rideshares, then the Reserve's Lyft discount will help you save more.

The other benefits depend on what appeals to you more. Do you prefer food delivery, or do you prefer shopping?

Hotel Perks

When it comes to hotel perks, the AMEX Platinum is the clear winner for travelers who regularly stay in hotels. The AMEX Platinum offers these hotel perks:

  • Automatic Gold status with Marriott and Hilton.
  • Perks with the Fine Hotels & Resorts collection. Many hotels have special offers for a 3rd or 4th night free.
  • $100 credit when you book an eligible hotel stay of 2 or more consecutive nights with AMEX's The Hotel Collection. This credit can be used for qualifying hotel purchases such as dining, spa, and resort activities.

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.

The Sapphire Reserve offers these hotel benefits:

  • Perks with Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, including complimentary breakfast for two, room upgrades (when available), early check-in, and late check-out.
  • Elite status with Relais & Châteaux properties when you book 2 nights over the course of 12 months.
  • Perks with select sbe properties, including $30 credit per room towards food and beverages and 4th night free.

If luxury hotel stays are a draw for you, you'll have significantly more options and savings with the AMEX Platinum in our opinion.

Car Rental Benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve wins when it comes to car rental insurance.

The Reserve offers primary car rental insurance when you charge the full cost of your eligible car rental to the Reserve and decline the rental agency's insurance. This means you don't have to file a claim with your own car insurance company. You're covered up to $75,000 on most rentals in the U.S. and abroad..

The AMEX Platinum only offers secondary collision and damage coverage for car rentals. This means the insurance only kicks in after your personal insurance's coverage. It's also not available for rentals in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand (while the Sapphire Reserve has no exclusions).

Either card will give you access to discounts and upgrades with participating car rental companies, The Reserve offers car rental privileges with National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar. The Platinum offers 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 ($35 in December) instead.

Other Discounts and Savings

The Platinum offers some other savings that the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn't. These special benefits include:

Discounts on premium cabins for international travel:
You get discounts on premium economy, business, and first class seats when you fly with one of AMEX's 15+ participating airlines booked through AMEX Travel. You can purchase up to 8 tickets and receive the discount. The trip must originate and return to the US.

Cruise Privileges Program:
If you book an eligible cruise of 5 nights or more with AMEX Travel, you get shipboard credit on most cruise lines ($100 - $300 depending on the room and cruise line). The credit can be used towards shore excursions, spa services, on-board specialty food and drinks, on-board shopping, and even gratuities.

Platinum cardmembers may also get additional amenities like private galley tours, spa credit, complimentary bottle of wine/champagne, etc.

These benefits can be really useful and add up to significant savings if you're planning to make use of them.

Travel Protections

Sapphire Reserve cardholders get more comprehensive travel insurances, including:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption up to $10,000 per trip
  • Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation
  • Emergency medical and dental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance

In comparison, the Platinum card's travel benefits are weak. It only offers lost or damaged luggage insurance.

Both credit cards offer 24/7 medical, legal, and financial assistance and referrals.

Overall, the Sapphire Reserve card covers you better in case things go wrong on your trip. You'll feel safer knowing you're covered if you have to cancel your trip or it gets interrupted. If there's an emergency, you'll also be covered if you need medical help while you're away from home.

Where Each Card Excels

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Is Chase Sapphire Reserve better than Amex Platinum? Or would the Platinum be better value for you? Read on for our recap and final opinions.

Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve Excels

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve
With extra points on travel and dining and flexible redemption options, the Sapphire Reserve is a solid choice for travelers who want to maximize their travel rewards while earning points to redeem for their next trip.

Here are some of the card's standout features over the AMEX Platinum:

  • 3x points on travel and dining worldwide
  • $300 flexible annual travel credit
  • Points are worth 50% more value on Chase travel portal
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Comprehensive travel protections

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

Unlike with the AMEX Platinum, you won't be limited to earning extra points on just airfare and hotels booked through your card's portal. The Reserve will earn 3x points on any travel-related purchases, including: Uber and taxi rides, parking fees, tolls, trains, and travel booked through discount sites. This allows you to search the internet for the cheapest possible tickets, and still earn triple points.

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.

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 $550 cost down to a much more reasonable $250.

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

The Sapphire Reserve's flexibility offers 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.

As an added benefit, if you currently hold a cash back or Ultimate Rewards card from Chase, you can also pool all of your points into your Reserve account, significantly expanding the potential rewards value of your other Chase cards.

If you're not sure how often you'll travel, check out Chase Sapphire Preferred instead. The Preferred card has a smaller annual fee of $95 and offers 2x points on travel and dining.

Where the AMEX Platinum Excels

American Express Platinum
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express offers a large welcome bonus, lots of annual credits, and premium hotel perks to help justify its annual fee.

The Platinum card is more focused on benefits and savings, rather than earning potential. While it's not as flexible as the Reserve, some of the most valuable perks over the Reserve include:

  • Bigger selection of airport lounges
  • Benefits and discounts with Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • $100 in hotel credits on qualifying charges when you book 2 consecutive nights with AMEX Hotel Collection.
  • Status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits per year
  • Up to $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue per year
  • Discounts on premium cabins on international flights

Tip: Not sure if you're up for that hefty annual fee? Take a look at the American Express Gold; it carries some of the perks, but with a much more manageable annual fee.

It's best to think about which airline you'll use before you apply for the AMEX Platinum. Since the $200 annual airline credit is only with ONE selected airline, you need to make sure there is one you regularly fly with. Also study its transfer partners and see if they make sense for your future travel plans.

A lot of the benefits are catered primarily to the frequent luxury traveler who often stay in nice hotels and fly in premium cabins.

The Platinum's status with hotel loyalty programs, luxury hotel benefits, car rental companies, and membership with airport lounge networks can add up to drastically improve the quality of your travels. The card's 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.

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.

There is also a business version of this card - the American Express Business Platinum. It also includes Global Lounge Collection, $200 credit for airline incidentals, and Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit. Business benefits include up to $200 annual Dell statement credit and 50% more points on large business purchases of $5k or more.

Bottom Line

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Platinum are popular premium credit cards targeted towards serious travelers. They both offer luxury perks and benefits and sizeable bonus points. 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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve will allow you to earn points more easily on everyday spending, so it's best for those whose priority is earning points and maximizing redemption value. The AMEX Platinum offers more savings potential if you are able to take advantage of hotel and airfare savings. However, they're more geared towards luxury travelers.

Terms and limitations apply.

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.

For rates and fees of the American Express Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Business Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom 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 It Worth It?



Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95

Orbitz

Orbitz is a well-known online travel agency that offers discounted flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Find out below if those deals are actually worth your time.

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