Advertiser Disclosure

coronavirus card benefits

Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Card is Right for You?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

There are dozens of credit cards out there to accelerate your travels, but two stand out from the rest of the pack: *amex platinum* and the *csr*.

These aren’t introductory cards for the average Joe or Jane, but rather powerful weapons for the frequent traveler. And while the hefty annual fees may scare some off, they come with top-of-the-line perks that could easily justify the higher out-of-pocket cost.

With travel demand as high as it's ever been, it's time to put these two titans of travel rewards back under the microscope. Which card comes out on top? Which premium perks win out?

We'll break it down, category by category for beginners or even advanced travelers to decide which premium travel credit card suits them best.

Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Overview

When putting *amex platinum name* and the *csr name* head-to-head, you're likely to find more similarities than differences. Still, there are enough key differences that could make one of these cards a better option for you than the other.

As you'll see, one card is much better for earning rewards – while the other comes packed with credits that help justify its higher annual fee.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what you get with each card:


BenefitAmex PlatinumChase Sapphire Reserve
Welcome Offer*amex platinum bonus**csr bonus*
Standard Point Earning1x Membership Rewards point per dollar spent1x Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent
Bonus Point EarningEarn 5x Membership Rewards on flights up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year and 5x on prepaid hotels booked through Amex TravelEarn 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and dining, 10x Ultimate Rewards on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Travel, 5x on flights booked through Chase Travel, and 10x on dining through Chase Dining
Statement Credits$200 hotel credit, $200 airline fee credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 Uber cash, $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, $300 Equinox credit, $155 Walmart+ credit, $189 CLEAR Plus credit, and more (terms & conditions apply to all credits)$300 annual travel credit, up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS every four years
Travel InsuranceSecondary car rental insurance, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost/damaged baggage Insurance
Primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, roadside dispatch
Lounge AccessComplimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and a Priority Pass Select MembershipComplimentary Access to Chase Sapphire Lounges and a Priority Pass Select Membership (including Priority Pass Restaurants)
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone
Annual Fee$695 (see rates & fees)$550


Related reading: Premium Travel Card Showdown


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Welcome Offer

Getting a big pool of points for signing up might be reason enough for many to consider applying for one of these cards. And we can't blame you for that – there's no better way to jumpstart your points and miles travel fund than by capitalizing on a huge welcome offer.

Both of these cards provide a bonus that's worth going after, but one can certainly be more lucrative than the other.


Amex Platinum

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more consistently eye-popping welcome offer than the one on the American Express Platinum Card.

At a bare minimum, you'll be looking at a welcome offer of 80,000 Membership Rewards after spending $8,000 in six months. But you may be eligible for a 150,000-point bonus via CardMatch.

And if you're not targeted for that, you could settle for a 100,000-point bonus (plus earn a whopping 10x points per dollar spent on the first $25,000 spent at restaurants in six months) by applying for the Platinum Card through American Express' dinner reservation platform, Resy!


Chase Sapphire Reserve

Back when Chase launched the Sapphire Reserve card, it touted a 100,000-point sign-up bonus. But those days are long gone. Currently, you can earn a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months.


Winner: Which Card Has the Best Welcome Offer?

No matter which route you take, the winner is obvious: The Platinum Card from American Express has the best welcome offer. And it isn't close.


*amex platinum*


Learn more about *amex platinum*.


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earning Points

Of course, those big point bonuses are alluring, but both of these cards offer the opportunity to earn even more points on your ongoing spending. 

Here's what you can expect to earn with one of these cards in your wallet.


Amex Platinum

The American Express Platinum Card gives you an unbeatable 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or through its travel portal for up to $500,000 spent on this category each year. That’s an easy way to rack up extra points if you frequently travel by air. In addition to the points you'll earn on airfare purchases, you'll also get 5x points on hotels booked through Amex Travel, the company's travel portal.


Chase Sapphire Reserve

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, earning extra points is even easier. First, you'll get 5x points per dollar spent on air travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and 10x points per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals through Chase Travel℠.

If you don't want to hassle with using Chase Travel℠, you'll also get 3x points on all other travel purchases, whether it's a flight booked with the airline or online travel agency, hotels, cab rides, you name it. On top of that, you also get 3x points at restaurants across the globe. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve has upped the ante even further, getting you a whopping 10x on all Lyft rides (or scooter and bike rentals!) through March 31, 2025.


Winner: Which Card is Better for Earning Points?

The fact that you can earn extra points on more purchases gives Chase’s top card a narrow win here. But that could easily flip if you’re frequently buying flights.




Learn more about the *csr*.


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Redeeming Points

Booking flight deals like those you find in your inbox with your Thrifty Traveler Premium subscription is one of our favorite ways to use points. And one of these cards is the clear favorite for doing that.

But there are other ways you can (and should!) use your points – transferring them to travel partners can unlock some serious value, and both Chase and American Express have some great options. 


Amex Platinum

With the Amex Platinum, you can redeem your points for statement credits, gift cards, or even purchases through the Amex Travel portal. But the real value of these points is unlocked when you transfer them to a travel partner to complete an award booking.

Both of these cards share a handful of airlines and hotels as transfer partners, like Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM, Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, and Marriott. But overall, American Express has more options for moving your points than Chase, including some alluring opportunities.

It's one of the main reasons why we think  Amex points could edge out Chase points in the battle between Amex vs. Chase points. That includes ANA, which offers a way to fly in business class to Japan for roughly the same amount of miles you’d pay for economy on other airlines … or fly to Europe in business class for just 88,000 miles roundtrip. But perhaps the greatest ANA sweet spot of all is the ability to book round-the-world business class tickets from just 105,000 miles. That's right, you can circumnavigate the globe – in business class – and still have points left over, by applying for this card through Card Match

Other standouts include Delta, Virgin Atlantic,  and Avianca LifeMiles.


ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
AeroMexicoAirline1:1.63-5 days
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
ANAAirline1:11-2 days
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Cathay PacificAirline1:1Instant
IberiaAirline1:1Up to 24 hours
Qatar AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant


And American Express travel partners frequently offer bonuses when you transfer points – something we don’t see quite as often with Chase. That includes excellent promos like a 30% bonus when transferring points to Virgin Atlantic. Or bonuses as big as 50% when transferring points to British Airways


amex transfer bonus virgin


Two quick caveats about transferring American Express points. First, through American Express you will be charged a very small fee (.06 cents per point) on transfers to domestic airlines. So if you transfer 100,000 points to Delta or JetBlue, you’ll get charged $60. These fees are capped at $99. And unlike Chase, there are a handful of transfer partners like JetBlue to which your points won’t transfer on a 1:1 basis.

Read our full guide to Amex transfer partners for more information! 


Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you're unsure how to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards, we can't fault you. No bank gives cardholders more options for using their points than Chase. If you want to take the easy way out you can redeem them for cash or a statement credit on your card. You could also use them for gift cards or even Apple products.

But since we're a travel website, you know that's going to be our favorite use. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve has one key distinction over the Amex Platinum when it comes to redeeming points for travel. By holding the Sapphire Reserve card your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through Chase Travel℠.

That makes your 60,000-point welcome bonus worth $900 towards travel when booking directly through the portal. The personal version of the American Express Platinum card simply can’t compete with that.

And although Chase Travel℠ is nice to have for booking cash flights, just like with Amex, the real value of Ultimate Rewards comes from their ability to be transferred to partners for award bookings.

Here are the more than a dozen partners you can move your Ultimate Rewards to:


ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
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


Similar to Amex, there are many valuable options in Chase's stable of transfer partners. Some of the highlights from this list are United (for simple domestic bookings), Air Canada's Aeroplan, and of course, the World of Hyatt program.

With redemption rates starting at just 5,000 points per night, Hyatt is easily the most lucrative hotel loyalty program and can make for great use of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

While maybe not quite as frequent, Chase has also started to match Amex on the transfer bonus front, with deals like a 30% bonus when sending Chase points to Virgin Atlantic or a 20% transfer bonus to Aeroplan.


chase transfer bonus


Read our full guide to Chase transfer partners for complete details!


Winner: Which Card is Best for Redeeming Points?

In the battle of best point redemptions, the nod has to go to Chase and the Sapphire Reserve Card. Whether you're transferring to partners, booking travel through Chase Travel℠, or even redeeming for cash, there is no shortage of options for using your Ultimate Rewards.




Learn more about the *csr*.


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Annual Fee

Let’s get the sticker shock out of the way first: With both of these cards, you'll be out-of-pocket more than $500 each year in annual fees.

But just like you can't judge a book by its cover, you shouldn't judge either of these cards solely based on their annual fee. It's what's on the inside (earning points and providing travel benefits) that truly counts!


Amex Platinum

If you opt for the Amex Platinum Card, you'll be on the hook for a $695 annual fee each year. That's no small sum of money and one that could scare off many travelers considering a new card.

But with that high annual fee comes over $1,500 in available statement credits on an annual basis. It would be foolish to value those credits at full value because you likely wouldn't be spending money on all the things they cover without being incentivized, but even if you get half of that back each year you'd have the card's annual fee covered for you.


Chase Sapphire Reserve

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you'll need to pony up $550 each year of card membership. While not quite as much as the Amex Platinum's annual fee, that's still a significant sum.

In order to offset such a high annual fee, Chase gives card members an annual $300 statement credit for travel purchases. This statement credit is much easier to use than those that come with the Platinum Card and in my opinion, should be valued at the full $300 – after all, if you're considering either of these cards it should be a given that you'd spend at least $300 each year on travel. With this credit, the Sapphire Reserve effectively has a $250 annual fee, making it a much more manageable option.


Winner: Which Card Wins on Fees?

There's no denying that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the more economical choice when it comes to these two cards. Still, depending on how much value you place on the slew of Amex statement credits, you might actually be out-of-pocket less with that card.




Learn more about the *csr*.


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Lounge Access

When it comes to getting lounge access, both of these cards will do the trick. But one is going to open far more doors than the other – putting it at the top of our list of best cards for airport lounge access

Let's start with The Platinum Card from American Express. With this card, you’ll get access to the growing network of Centurion Lounges, which are easily some of the best domestic lounges in the country and they've even got even more in the works. And you can also access smaller lounges like the Escape Lounge Centurion Studio, which is one of our favorites at our Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) home base.


amex centurion lounges


Due to their popularity and the growing number of people with access, Amex made a change to Centurion Lounge guest access earlier this year – making the Amex Platinum Card a less appealing option for families and couples that frequently travel together. Still, there are some ways around this – and none easier than adding your loved one as an authorized user to your card. 

With the Platinum Card, you’ll also get a Priority Pass membership, which gets you into more than 1,300 lounges worldwide and includes some outstanding Plaza Premium lounges.

Last but certainly not least, Delta loyalists can rejoice knowing their Amex Platinum Card is also their ticket to getting into Delta Sky Clubs – including the new Sky Club in the expanded G Concourse at MSP! In order to access Delta Sky Clubs with your Platinum Card, you'll need to be flying with Delta and unfortunately, bringing in a guest will cost you an additional $50 – unless you've added them as an authorized user to your card. However, after a recent update, that now costs $195 per card, per year. 


Delta Minneapolis G Sky Club


If the Amex Platinum can get you into all of those lounges, how does the Chase Sapphire Reserve stack up?

For starters, the Sapphire Reserve card comes with the absolute best type of Priority Pass membership. What makes this Priority Pass so special is that it still allows you to access Priority Pass Restaurants and get dining credits at a growing number of airport locations. Unfortunately, American Express eliminated that benefit in 2019.

On the branded lounge front, Chase is playing catch-up to Amex. So far, they've opened two Sapphire Lounges, but only one is in the U.S. – the Chase Sapphire Lounge in Boston. In addition to the Sapphire Lounges, Chase recently opened a ‘Sapphire Terrace' in Austin (AUS), giving Sapphire Reserve cardholders access to a small indoor seating area and an extensive outdoor deck.


chase sapphire lounge boston entry


Outside of these two U.S. locations, there are plans to open at least eight more Chase Sapphire Lounges, including at Dallas (DFW)Las Vegas (LAS), New York (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), and Washington, D.C. (IAD). And there's also the bank's first lounge location in Hong Kong (HKG) for international travelers.


Winner: Which Card is Best for Lounge Access?

Even after recent changes to the Platinum Card's Centurion Lounge guest access, it's still the single best card for lounge access. Chase is working to catch up and as more Sapphire Lounges get opened this category will certainly be up for debate.


*amex platinum*


Learn more about *amex platinum*.


Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Statement Credits and Travel Perks

In order to justify annual fees of more than $500, both cards include statement credits for travel (and non-travel) related purchases. These types of credits can go a long way to offsetting either card's high out-of-pocket costs – but just what you get will vary depending on which card you choose.


TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Credit

Getting through airport security and clearing immigration is a breeze with either card. 

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum will cover the cost of either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership – however, the Sapphire Reserve takes things a step further by paying for NEXUS as well. Considering Global Entry includes a TSA PreCheck membership, that should make it an easy choice for most. Read up on how to apply for Global Entry – and how to speed up the process if you're struggling to get approved or find an interview.

This is becoming a common feature on many cards. And seeing as both of these top-tier cards offer an identical benefit, this one isn’t decisive.


Annual Travel Credits

Both cards offer some serious travel credits that can immediately reduce the upfront costs of big annual fees. 

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get a $300 annual travel credit … and it couldn't be any easier to use. Any purchase coded as travel – airfare, airline fees, hotels, taxis, Uber, and more – will get covered. That’s so easy to take advantage of that you can essentially consider your annual fee of $250, right off the bat.

American Express structures its own travel credits differently … and there are a lot of them.

You'll get up to $200 that goes toward fees on a domestic airline of your choice each year. Maximizing these Amex airline credits has become a challenge in recent years: They're meant mainly for incidental fees like seat assignment, baggage, award taxes and fees, and more.

Another up to $200 gets split up into $15 monthly credits for Uber rides (with a total of $35 for December). Next, you get up to $100 in statement credits to Saks Fifth Avenue each year – $50 for January through June and another $50 for July through December.

And back in 2021, Amex added even more benefits. You'll get up to a $200 hotel credit for Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Collection bookings made through Amex Travel on a minimum two-night stay, an up to $240 digital entertainment credit, a $189 credit for CLEAR® Plus, and up to $155 annually in credit for Walmart+ ($12.95 per month plus taxes).

To us, the ease of using an all-encompassing $300 travel credit edges out the bigger sum of credits split between Uber rides, airline fees, and more. It's likely you won't be able to take advantage of each and every credit.

But that doesn't mean you can't come out farther ahead with the Amex Platinum card with some extra work. 


Instant Elite Status

Only one card will get you status with hotel chains: The American Express Platinum. 

You can easily enroll for Gold status with both Marriott as well as Hilton Honors. Just beware that you have to manually sign up with each hotel chain to make it happen.


Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum
Instant Gold status with SPG, Marriott and Hilton? Yes please. Photo courtesy of Marriott


And the benefits are worth it. With Hilton, you get extra points on paid stays, free breakfast (except in the U.S.) and your fifth night free when booking with points. Marriott Gold status gets you room upgrades when available, extra points when paying for your stay and more.

What's more, the Platinum card will also get you perks with Hertz, National, and Avis car rentals. National Executive Status is our favorite by far, as you can skip the check-in desk when you rent any midsize car and head straight to the Emerald Aisle, picking any car that's available!


Winner: Which Card Offers the Best Travel Perks and Credits?

When it comes to statement credits and travel perks, you'll get the most bang for your buck with the Amex Platinum Card. But maximizing the Amex Platinum's benefits will certainly require some work on your end – and we couldn't fault you for preferring the straightforward approach of the Sapphire Reserve's annual travel credit.


*amex platinum*


Learn more about *amex platinum*.


Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Travel Insurance

This one's a doozy.

Between coverage for lost and delayed baggage, medical insurance, and getting reimbursed if your flight gets delayed, there's a lot to unpack. We've devoted a whole post to breaking down the best credit cards for these different policies. But if we have to declare an outright winner, it's got to be the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

It starts with offering up to $100 a day if your baggage is delayed by six hours or more. Its trip delay and cancellation coverage are second-to-none, reimbursing you for associated expenses of any delay of six hours or more – so long as you pay for your flight with the card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also has some great car rental coverage. And it offers some hefty coverage for some injuries during a trip that was paid at least in part with the card – including medical evacuation.

American Express upped the ante in 2020 with the Platinum Card and other top cards by adding some trip delay and interruption coverage – long a weak spot for the card. Unfortunately, it requires round-trip bookings to be put on the card for this coverage to kick in – a quirk you won't find with the Sapphire Reserve.

The Platinum card's car rental coverage isn't quite as good, nor is its baggage policy. And Amex also removed an unbeatable travel accident and medical evacuation policy.

So while the addition of some travel insurance to the Platinum card makes it a great option for booking flights, there's still a clear winner for which card offers the best trip insurance overall.


Winner: Which Card Provides the Best Travel Insurance?

If it wasn't clear from the outset, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers unbeatable travel insurance. Even with some enhancements to the coverage offered by the Amex Platinum, it just can't compete with all the insurance offered by Chase.




Learn more about the *csr*.


Bottom Line

By the numbers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve wins four of these categories, while the Platinum Card takes the other three. But the scoreboard doesn't tell the whole story.

Every traveler should give different weight to each of these categories. So you need to decide what matters most to you in a premium credit card before choosing one over the other.

For example, there's no denying that the travel perks that come with the American Express Platinum are among the best on the market. If getting into more lounges and upping your hotel and car rental game with instant status is what you're after, it's the obvious winner here. If you're concerned mostly with earning more points when booking flights, there's no better card than the Amex Platinum – period.

But the Chase Sapphire Reserve really shines in other aspects. While American Express travel has closed the gap with recent changes, Chase still has unbeatable travel insurance coverage. It offers the best bonus when booking cash fares with points through Chase Travel℠ – something Amex can't touch. And the ease of using the $300 annual travel credit is unparalleled, immediately offsetting the annual fee.

This just goes to show that determining which card is best isn't a cookie-cutter answer. Every traveler should weigh the pros and cons of both these cards before deciding which to open. Hopefully, this breakdown helps you decide between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express.

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.

4 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Free Flight Alerts

Cheap international and domestic flight deal email alerts

Get Cheap Flight Alerts