Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Wins?
amex gold vs chase sapphire reserve

Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Wins?

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Chase and American Express are titans in the world of travel credit cards. And among the many options to unlock travel perks and pile up points are the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Amex Gold Card is really a mid-tier card: It’s not the highest annual fee card in Amex’s portfolio nor the lowest. And while it has some great benefits, they don’t quite stand up to the travel perks on The Platinum Card® from American Express. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Chase’s premier card, a souped-up version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – with a price tag to match.

So let’s put these two top travel cards head to head. Which one wins in the battle of the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve?

We’ll break it down in a number of categories to show how they differ (and how they’re alike) to help you decide which one is best for you.

 

amex gold card

 

Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Welcome Offers

Currently with the American Express Gold Card, you’ll earn 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first six months of card membership – up from the standard 35,000 point welcome offer bonus for spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. That’s nearly double the points with twice the time to earn them.

 

amex gold vs chase sapphire reserve

 

But you can potentially get an even bigger welcome bonus offer by utilizing CardMatch as you may be able to pull up an offer for 75,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. It seems those who have never held an American Express card previously have the best chance of getting targeted.

Read more: How to Get a 75,000 Point Bonus on the Amex Gold Card with CardMatch

 

amex gold vs chase sapphire reserve

 

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 within three months. Those points alone are worth at least $900 toward travel when you use them through the Chase travel portal – but you can get much more value by using some of Chase’s transfer partners (we will break down transfer partners in a later section).

Read our guide to some of the absolute best Chase redemptions!

 

Welcome Offer Winner

Tie

Comparing the welcome bonuses on the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve is a little bit like comparing apples to oranges.

Simply put, Amex Membership Rewards redeem at 1 cent per point through Amex Travel. The Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Sapphire Reserve redeem at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal. So at a minimum, the bonus on the Amex Gold is worth $600, while the minimum value of the Reserve bonus is $900. Of course, getting the 75,000-point bonus on the Amex Gold puts them on more equal footing.

This doesn’t factor in using Chase or Amex transfer partners to use your points – but that’s far too subjective. So we’re calling this one a tie.

 

Points Earning

With the Amex Gold Card, you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent at restaurants. That includes delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc. And there’s no limit to how many bonus points you can earn on restaurant transactions.

You’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 of spending each calendar year. This includes grocery delivery services like Instacart. These two categories alone make the Amex Gold Card one of the best cards for your everyday spending.

Finally, you’ll earn 3x Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline or through amextravel.com. Then you’ll earn 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Read more: A Full Review of the American Express Gold Card

 

Amex Gold Benefits

 

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will earn 3x points on dining and 3x points on travel.  You will also earn 10x points on Lyft rides – but only through March 2022. 

 

chase sapphire reserve benefits

 

And through April 30, 2021, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 3x points for every dollar spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,000 per month. This is up from the standard 1x point per dollar spent this card earns on groceries normally.

 

Points Earning Winner

The American Express Gold Card

This category could really be a toss-up depending on what you spend your money on. But these days, it’s likely you’re spending much more on groceries and takeout than on travel. For that reason, the Amex Gold wins this category.

 

Annual Fee

The annual fee on the American Express Gold card is $250 (see rates & fees), which is not waived in the first year of card membership. We’ve crunched the numbers and come to the conclusion it can easily be worth that $250 annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a much steeper annual fee of $550. And although that comes with an easy-to-use $300 annual travel credit, it’s still a much steeper fee.

 

Annual Fee Winner

The American Express Gold Card

Neither card is cheap, yet it’s fairly easy to do the math with either card and make sense of their annual fees. Still, there’s no question that the Amex Gold card wins this category.

 

Lounge Access

If you’re looking to get into airport lounges, pay close attention. Comparing the Amex Gold vs the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is no contest at all.

That’s because the American Express Gold Card will not get you access to any airport lounges

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get free access to more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges worldwide. Better yet, your Priority Pass membership will get you and up to two companions access to the lounges free.

 

El Dorado Seating
The El Dorado Lounge in Bogota, a Priority Pass lounge

 

Lounge Access Winner

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Amex Gold does not give you any lounge access. The Chase Sapphire Reserve wins this category easily.

 

Statement Credits

Justifying paying a big annual fee on a credit card is all about whether the benefits outweigh the cost. And statement credits on both the Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire Reserve go a long way.

With the Amex Gold, you’ll get a $10 credit each and every month to use at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. If you don’t use the $10 credit each month, you’ll lose it – it won’t roll over to the next month. If you can put them to use, that adds up to $120 each year.

On top of the $120 dining credit, you’ll also get up to a $120 annual credit to use on Uber rides or Uber Eats food delivery. These credits work much the same as dining credits: You’ll get $10 to use each and every month, and you’ll lose any unused balance.

Maximize both of these credits and that’s $240 in value – almost enough to cover the card’s entire $250 annual fee straight away.

 

Amex Gold vs chase sapphire reserve

 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $300 travel credit … and no travel perk is easier to use. The $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit will kick in automatically for almost any travel purchase, from flights to hotels to rental cars and even parking fees. It’s applied to your account each year after you pay your annual fee.

 

Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

The card also offers up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years to sign up for either one of these five-year memberships.

You’ll also get a $60 credit for DoorDash food delivery through 2021.

With these credits, you’ll knock down the $550 annual fee to just $90 for at least the year you can use the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit and until the Door Dash Credit expires. 

 

Statement Credits Winner

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

The $300 statement credit on the Sapphire Reserve is just so easy to use. You can use it all in one transaction or spread it out over several. Once you spend on travel, Chase will automatically reimburse you until you reach the $300 limit.

The credits on the Amex Gold Card require a bit more work and diligence to make sure you use up the $10 credits each and every month.

 

Extra Perks & Benefits

With the Amex Gold card, you get 12 months of Uber Eats Pass, which means you won’t have to pay a delivery fee. You’ll also get 5% off orders of $15 or more. Enrollment is required.

Through March of 2022, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a year of free Lyft Pink membership. Lyft Pink gets you 15% off each and every ride, priority airport pickups, and a relaxed ride cancellation policy. Read more about Lyft Pink memberships on Lyft’s site. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get a free DoorDash DashPass membership through 2021. That waives delivery fees and lower platform fees. DashPass typically costs $9.99 per month and DoorDash claims it will save you an average of $4 to $5 on every order. Just use your card at checkout and Chase will automatically reimburse you.

Another great added benefit to the Chase Sapphire Reserve is $120 total in statement credits toward Peloton memberships through Dec. 31, 2021.

 

Extra Perks & Benefits Winner

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

With both a Lyft Pink membership and DoorDash pass the Chase Sapphire Reserve narrowly wins.

 

Redeeming Points Through Travel Portals

With the Amex Gold, booking direct with amextravel.com, each Membership Rewards point is worth 1 cent apiece. That’s simple enough.

Make sure to read our post on the best ways to redeem Membership Rewards Points.

But one of the best perks on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that you can redeem each Ultimate Reward point for 1.5 cents apiece through the Chase Travel portal. This means you will get 50% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

It’s one of our favorite ways to use points for free travel, and it gives the Chase Sapphire Reserve card some serious extra value.

 

Redeeming Points Through Travel Portals Winner

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the clear winner, redeeming at 1.5 cents per point versus the Amex Gold at 1 cent/point.

 

Transfer Partners

While you can book directly through both American Express and Chase, transferring points to hotel and airline partners can be a great way to get huge value out of your points

The American Express Gold card has nearly two dozen airline or hotel transfer partners to choose from.

 

American Express Transfer Partners

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1N/A
AeroMexicoAirline1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
AlitaliaAirline1:1Instant
ANAAirline1:11-2 days
AviancaAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Cathay PacificAirline1:11-7 days
DeltaAirline1:1Instant
El AlAirline50:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
EtihadAirline1:1Instant
HawaiianAirline1:1Instant
IberiaAirline1:11-3 days
JetBlueAirline1.25:1Instant
QantasAirline1:1Instant
SingaporeAirline1:112-48 hours
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
Choice PrivilegesHotel1:1Instant
Hilton HonorsHotel1:2Instant
Marriott BonvoyHotel1:1Instant

 

Similarly, Chase Ultimate Rewards has 13 airlines and hotel chains you can transfer points to. See our top six redemptions for Ultimate Rewards Points.

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
JetBlueAirline1:1Instant
Singapore AirAirline1:112-24 hours
Southwest AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
United AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
World of HyattHotel1:1Instant
IHGHotel1:11 day
Marriott RewardsHotel1:12 days

 

Transfer Partners Winner

Tie. 

This one is too close to call. Each card has pros and cons when it comes to transfer partner options.

American Express has more options at its disposal, some unique partners like ANA, Delta, and Etihad, and more frequent transfer bonuses that can give your points a big boost. But Chase has some standout options like Hyatt. There’s plenty of overlap between the two.

Which card wins on transfer partners is a personal choice depending on how you plan to travel.

 

Travel Protection & Insurance

The Amex Gold offers secondary car rental insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides cardholders with primary car rental insurance, roadside assistance, trip, and baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and medical evacuation and travel evacuation coverage are all benefits that come with using this card.

Read More: The Best Travel Perks & Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

 

Travel Protection & Insurance Winner

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

While Amex is no slouch, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has some of the most comprehensive travel protection and insurance of any travel rewards card.

 

Bottom Line

By the numbers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve wins five categories, the American Express Gold Card wins two categories, and two came to a tie.

But everybody can – and should – weigh these cards differently. You should pick the card that checks the most boxes for you. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from holding both cards … so long as the annual fees make sense and you have the financial responsibility to do so.

These cards can complement each other well – and diversifying your points and miles balances is always a good idea.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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