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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express – Which earns you the most points?

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This article was last updated Oct 28, 2016, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express card can both be lucrative credit card options. Today we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each card as well as how to decide which one is best for you.

If you need to pick just one, the short answer as to which card is better is:

  • Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card if you make purchases for travel other than just airfare and value having built-in travel insurance.
  • Get the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express if you often buy your airline tickets directly from the airline and spend significant amounts of money at grocery stores and on gas.

Here’s a rundown of the main features of each card:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Utilize Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 transfer rate, no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad, access to Chase’s travel protections and purchase protections, all for a $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 annual fee.
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express: Comes with a 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months., earns 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Membership Rewards transfer to many partners at a 1:1 transfer rate, the foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad are None, a $100 annual airline fee credit, and an Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.

Now we will take a look at the pros and cons as each card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros

  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards® airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio means that your points have great value potential.
  • Earns 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
  • Ability to book through Chase’s travel portal to use your miles more flexibly (but generally for lower value). Each point is worth one cent each and is bonused by 25% when booking this way.
  • Primary Car Rental Insurance Coverage means that you do not need to go through your personal insurance first if something happens to your rental car and you don’t need to pay extra for car insurance from the car rental company.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has great travel insurance benefits – you’re covered up to 10,000 for trip cancellation or interruption, up to $500 for trip delays of 12 hours or more, up to $3,000 for lost luggage, and up to $500,000 for travel accidents.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. This is a pretty standard benefit on cards that charge an annual fee, but nonetheless a necessity for international travel.
  • $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Cons

  • Making good redemptions can be complicated. You need to be familiar with the different programs you can transfer your points and how to use the miles within those programs to to make sure you are getting the best redemption.
  • As a general rule, in order to make some of the ‘best’ redemptions, you need flexibility. That might mean leaving a few days early or late, taking an extra connection, and/or flying into or out of a less convenient airport.
  • Transfer partners like United aren’t the cheapest for international First / Business Class awards, but are still a decent value.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Pros

  • Access to American Express’ travel partners mostly at a 1:1 transfer ratio. A few partners (like British Aiways) have a lower transfer ratio when transferring points.
  • American Express occasionally offers transfer bonuses to some partners.
  • Earn 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
  • You’ll pay $0 in foreign transaction fees with this card. Again, a standard offering on cards that charge an annual fee.
  • Transfer partners are particularly useful for advanced, exotic international Business or First Class awards, like those using ANA miles.
  • $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit can be used to cover the costs of upgrading seats, priority boarding, baggage fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases and more. It is sometimes possible to purchase an airline gift card online using this fee credit, but your mileage may vary.
  • Annual Fee: Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.

Cons

  • While it is possible to earn more points on some airfare purchases with this card compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the bonus category is a lot more restrictive. You only earn 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. vs the more broad 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
  • Amex has much less comprehensive travel insurance when compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You will only have coverage for your bags and car rental coverage is secondary, meaning that you will first need to use your personal car insurance.
  • The annual fee is higher than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195. If you make use of the full $100 airline fee credit, this is not necessarily a con, but does require you to pay attention to something extra in order to get the full value out of the card.
  • Not all point to mile transfers are at a 1:1 transfer ratio. And Delta is the only major U.S. airline with a 1:1 transfer ratio with Amex.
  • Making good redemptions can be complicated. You need to be familiar with the different programs you can transfer your points and how to use the miles within those programs to to make sure you are getting the best redemption.
  • As a general rule, in order to make some of the ‘best’ redemptions, you need flexibility. That might mean leaving a few days early or late, taking an extra connection, and/or flying into or out of a less convenient airport.

Does having both make sense?

It could make sense to have both of these credit cards. It is possible to further maximize spending categories by having both of these cards.

For example, you would want to pay for all airfare purchased directly with the airline with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express to earn 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases., pay for all other travel expenses with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn 2 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points per dollar spent on all purchases, and pay for grocery and gas purchases with your Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.

The rest of your purchases can go on either card because both cards earn 2X at restaurants and 1X on all other purchases.

restaurant photo

Assuming that you make purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, and travel purchases other than airfare directly from the airline, you will earn more points each year by having both cards.

The catch is, you’ll have an extra annual fee. Assuming that you can make use of the $100 Airline Fee Credit from the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, both credit cards effectively have an annual fee of $95.

In order to break even on this annual fee, you would need to earn 9,500 extra points if you value them at 1 cent each for basic travel booked via the Amex website, or, since points are (usually) more valuable when they are transferred, somewhere about 5,000 points that you transfer to an airline transfer partner. Earning 5,000 points only requires spending $2,500 in one of the 2X categories you would be gaining by having the other card – something that is probably quite realistic to do.

Which card is right for you?

If you purchase the majority of your airfare directly with airlines and have few non-airline travel purchases, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is probably your best option.

If you have extensive purchases each year at grocery stores and gas stations, you could come out with many more points from the PRG because it earns 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.

When you pay for flights though you’ll probably make use of sites like Orbitz and Priceline, at least occasionally, and also pay for hotels, tours, and other travel-related purchases. If this is the case, and you are trying to choose one card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably a better choice, and if you do a lot of travel spending ($5,000 or more a year) the premium Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be an even better choice with 3x points on all travel.

But if you spend really big on airfare alone, the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com., though with a hefty $550 annual fee and luxury lounge access package.

You can use this calculator to see how many points each card earns using your own spending habits.


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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

 

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Over the Past 60 Days!

  • 50,000 bonus points

  • 2X points on travel and dining

  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Our favorite feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the ability to transfer points 1:1, most of the time instantly, into several lucrative airline and hotel point programs. They include: United Airlines Southwest […]

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August 6, 2016