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When it comes to premium travel cards offering top-tier benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a popular choice.
With its high annual fee, however, you might be wondering if it should be the only travel card in your wallet, or if there is some benefit to also carrying another travel card like The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with a high annual fee. But for a certain type of traveler and spender, stacking up the benefits from both cards may be worth it.
To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
In this post:
- Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out
- Where The Platinum Card® from American Express stands out
- Why you would want one card over the other
- How having both cards could double your rewards strategy
- Bottom line
Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 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®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has great upfront value. It also has ongoing benefits that will help save you money on travel and afford you some protections.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. If you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get 50% more value, which could make your sign-up bonus worth as much as $900.
- Through the Pay Yourself Back feature, cardholders can also get 50% more value from their points when redeemed for statement credits to cover purchases in the following categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, and select charitable organizations. This offer is valid from May 31, 2020 through April 30, 2021.
- Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card. Once you earn the $300 travel credit, you will begin earning the three-point rate on travel purchases.
- If you don’t have TSA Precheck or Global Entry, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another avenue for you to get it for free. You’ll receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years if you charge the application fee to your card.
- Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners means that your points are super flexible.
- A Priority Pass Select Membership lets you bring up to two travel companions into 1,300-plus airport lounges around the world.
- Cardholders get additional Visa Infinite benefits, including special rental car privileges, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and more.
- There’s no getting around the hefty annual fee of $550 and $75 for additional authorized users. You’ll want to really make sure that you do enough travel to offset that cost.
- There’s no lounge access with a major U.S. airline, such as Delta or United Airlines.
Where The Platinum Card® from American Express stands out
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small® in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- $695 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a good option for people looking for some VIP travel treatment. If you know that you’ll use some of the unique benefits like the Uber credits and airport lounge access, it could be worth the $695 fee.
- Earn a welcome offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. ; and 1X point on all other purchases.
- Receive up to $200 in statement credits for one airline of your choice per calendar year that covers incidental fees, such as checked bags or in-flight refreshments.
- Receive one statement credit every 4 years toward Global Entry ($100) or every 4 1/2 years for TSA Precheck ($85).
- Enjoy $15 in Uber Cash for U.S. rides each month, for up to $200 in annual savings.
- Register with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors loyalty programs for automatic Gold Status.
- Book 2 nights from The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel and get a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities, plus a room upgrade if available.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 when booking with Fine Hotels & Resorts®.
- Fly in style, using the American Express Global Lounge Collection. It includes 1,200 airport lounges across 130 countries, as well as The Centurion® Lounge and The International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club® and Priority Pass Select lounges (enrollment required). See why we consider The Platinum Card® from American Express the best credit card for airport lounge access.
- The $695 annual fee is among the highest around.
- There are no higher bonus earnings on dining.
- The airline fee credit is only applicable to the airline you select each year.
Read our review of The Platinum Card® from American Express
Why you would choose one card over the other
These cards are similar in that they are both high-end credit cards and give you benefits like travel credit, no foreign transaction fees and some airport lounge access. While there are a couple of bullet points that differentiate the two, it really all comes down to which card’s list of benefits you’ll be able to maximize. Both allow you some flexibility as to how to use your earned points.
- Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® if you’ll get more value out of the more flexible points earning than from The Platinum Card® from American Express’s main standout perks: the Uber credits and superior airport lounge access. And of course, that Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-on bonus offers a lot of value in the short term. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also has the better and more flexible annual travel credit, coming in higher than The Platinum Card® from American Express, and it can be applied toward airline tickets, hotels, taxis and other travel-related purchases. You can also transfer your Chase points 1:1 to select partners, so be sure to check out if your preferred airlines and hotel chains are included. For instance, if you fly United or Southwest and enjoy World of Hyatt hotels, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the better card for you. Finally, the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal provides a 50% value to points, which is an attractive feature, and the annual fee is less than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
- Get The Platinum Card® from American Express if you plan to take advantage of the Uber credits and hotel credit and perks available by booking with American Express travel partners. The rewards rate on airline and hotel bookings is higher (5X on Amex vs. 3X for Chase), but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards dining and other travel better. The Platinum Card® from American Express reigns supreme for those who enjoy having airport lounge access, especially at exclusive lounge networks like Delta Sky Club and Centurion Lounges. Like Chase, American Express points can be transferred, so it’s worth researching if your favorite airlines and hotels pair well. The Platinum Card® from American Express is good for Delta or Virgin Atlantic flyers and Hilton loyalists, for example. American Express does have more 1:1 travel partners, however – 17 to Chase’s 12 (13, if you count Amtrak).
How having both cards could double your rewards strategy
If you do a significant amount of travel spending, then it could be worthwhile to carry both of these cards and stack your earnings. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can come away with up to $200 in airline fee credits and up to $300 toward general travel fees. While some of the benefits overlap, there are enough unique perks to go around. Take advantage of the Gold Status perks on The Platinum Card® from American Express to do your Marriott and Hilton hotel bookings and keep racking up points. Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® for dining, which earns a higher rewards rate, and book flights and other travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal where your points have 50% more value.
As for wrapping your head around paying a combined $1,000 in annual fees, assuming you are able to make use of the combined up to $500 in travel fee credits, that cuts your annual cost effectively in half. When you factor in the TSA Precheck/Global Entry credits, the up to $200 in Uber credits and up to $100 Saks credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’re about $400 closer to out-earning the fees. With just about $100 left to cover, we haven’t even factored in the generous welcome offers on each card, the airport lounge access, and of course, the rewards that you’ll continue to earn all year long.
In short, a very small percentage of elite travelers spend enough and do the kind of travel that will maximize the various benefits of these cards. The average person will most likely fare better by choosing the one that best aligns with their travel style.
In order to determine which card makes more sense for you, you have to ask yourself which benefits you value, but more importantly, which ones you’ll actually use.
If you know you can make use of the Uber credits and love having a variety of airport lounges including Delta Sky Club, then go for The Platinum Card® from American Express. If you spend a lot on dining out and want the most flexible points currency, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is likely a better option.
But if you’re a big spender on travel, you might decide you want the best of both worlds. In that case, use The Platinum Card® from American Express for direct airline bookings (and don’t forget to select an airline for your annual credit), as well as hotels that you can book through Amextravel.com.
Also, be sure to use your Uber credits and sign up for your complimentary Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors Gold status. Then, rely on the more flexible Chase Sapphire Reserve® as your go-to rewards card for dining out, rental cars since you’ll enjoy primary rental car insurance, and with travel partners not in the Amex network so you can maximize your Ultimate Rewards Points.