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Two of the most popular best premium credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and American Express Platinum. Both travel credit cards let you redeem points for award travel, transfer points to travel partners, and enjoy swanky fringe benefits like free airport lounge access and much more.

Even though both rewards cards seem very similar on the surface, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum differ quite a bit. Who wins between the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum 2019?

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum
Which card is better for you between the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum?

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Amex Platinum right for you?

Both of these cards are not only some of the best rewards credit cards, but they’re also some of the best credit cards for excellent credit. They both are on the higher-end when it comes to card categories but they are still manageable to get. Let’s break them down so you can have a better idea of what card works best for you.

Learn more: The Platinum Card® from American Express – You might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum 2019 Sign-up Bonus/Welcome Offers

Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (at least $750 in travel value) after spending $4,000 in first three months
Amex Platinum: 60,000 Membership Rewards points ($600 value) after spending $5,000 in the first three months. However, you might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a valuable welcome bonus when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards Chase travel portal. 50,000 points equal $750 in travel when redeemed on Chase’s website. But you can almost always find a better deal by transferring your points directly to your frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program.

In 2017, Chase made it a little harder to qualify for the Sapphire welcome bonus. There’s also the Chase 5/24 rule to consider. Still, getting the Sapphire Reserve is doable. Learn more about what Chase Sapphire Reserve credit score you will need. 

The Platinum Card from American Express

Depending on which award flights you book, the Amex Membership Rewards points can be worth more because you have an extra 10,000 Membership Rewards points to play with with the standard 60,000 points welcome bonus (and even more if you qualify for the targeted 100k offer, one of the best credit card offers). And sometimes you can get a bonus for transferring your Amex MR points out to a transfer partner.

There’s one more thing to keep in mind with the Amex Platinum bonus offer. You can only the Amex Platinum bonus “once in a lifetime.” If you earned it in the past, Amex will not offer you the welcome bonus for the Platinum Card again. You may also want to check out our post on how hard is to get the American Express Platinum card. and what credit score you need for the American Express Platinum.

Assuming you are still undecided at this point in the comparison, if you qualify for one bonus and not the other, strongly consider that card if you can reach the spending requirement. Here’s how the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Platinum compares if you want to compare the Reserve’s sister card.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Amex Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit

Chase Sapphire Reserve: $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
Amex Platinum: $200 air travel credit and $200 in Uber credits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a flexible $300 credit that will reimburse you for the first $300 in travel purchases, including the price of airfare, lodging, rental cars, etc. This flexibility is very rare for annual travel credit.

The air travel and Uber credits for The Platinum Card® from American Express are more stringent. Regarding the air travel credit, the $200 credit can only reimburse checked bag fees and in-flight purchases for one airline you designate at the beginning of the year.

For the Uber credit, you receive $15 a month from January to November and $20 in December. If you max out the credit, you get $200 in free Uber rides each year.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Get Uber credits with the Amex Platinum
Get Uber credits with the Amex Platinum

The better option comes down to your travel preferences. Because of its sheer flexibility, the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit is better because it can be applied to any travel purchase, even if its total value is $100 less. But if you max out the Uber and airline travel credits, the Amex Platinum is better.

Winner: Tie

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum Purchase Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x points on dining and travel (once eligible) / 1 point on all remaining purchases
Amex Platinum: 5x points on airfare and hotels / 1 point for all remaining purchases

By far, The Platinum Card® from American Express is the most rewarding credit card for airfare purchases made directly from the airline or with American Express Travel. If you fly frequently, the Amex Platinum can earn Membership Rewards points at twice the pace of almost any other rewards credit card. To earn 5x points on hotel purchases, you must book them through AmexTravel.com.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be the better option if you want to earn bonus points from travel purchases, not just air travel and hotels. Note that you won’t earn 3x points on travel until you earn the $300 travel credit. Earning bonus points on dining is a definite plus too.

Winner: The Platinum Card® from American Express – You might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards & Membership Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Points are worth 1.5 cents each for all award travel or can transfer to a 1:1 travel partner
Amex Platinum: Points are worth 1 cent each for air travel and can be transferred to a 1:1 travel partner

Both the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve travel cards offer flexible redemption options. Overall, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are more valuable because they are always worth at least one cent each (10,000 points=$100) and 1.5 cents each (10,000 points=$150) when you redeem them for travel in the Chase travel portal.

Some of the leading Chase Ultimate Rewards partners include Southwest Airlines, United, IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners can help keep points active.

The Amex Membership Rewards points are only worth 1 cent each at most for award air travel and gift cards. If you redeem them for any other type of award travel through Amex Travel, they might only be worth 0.7 cents each or less.

Possibly the best perk of either card is the ability to transfer points to a 1:1 travel partner, where your points can easily be worth 2.0 cents each. While there’s some overlap between airline partners like British Airways, Air France Flying Blue, and Singapore Airlines, both Amex and Chase have exclusive partnerships.

Exclusive Amex travel partners include Delta, Emirates, Etihad, JetBlue, and Choice Privileges.

Even if you can’t transfer directly to your favorite frequent flyer programs, you can usually transfer your points to a travel partner and book a partner flight.

Winner: Tie

Additional Amex Platinum and Sapphire Reserve Benefits

After the purchase rewards and 1:1 travel partners, your tie-breaking vote will most likely hinge on the additional card benefits. Let’s take a look at which benefits are most valuable for you:

Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits

  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
  • Primary rental car collision damage and waiver coverage
  • Special rental car privileges at National, Avis, and Silvercar

Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PrecCheck application fee credit
  • Complimentary lounge access to The Centurion, International American Express, Delta SkyClub, and Priority Pass Select
  • Elevated Hilton Honors loyalty status
  • Free Boingo wifi hotspot access
  • Upgraded rental car upgrades and discounts
  • Secondary rental car collision damage waiver protection

I really like that the Amex Platinum gives complimentary access to their Centurion lounges. They are my favorite lounges to frequent in the states, although they can be very crowded.

Hong Kong Centurion Lounge

I also love that both the Platinum and Reserve cards can credit the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fees. Just another benefit that if maximized can justify the annual fee.

They are also made of metal and considered some of the best metal credit cards available.

Annual Fee for the Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum Credit Cards

Sapphire Reserve: $450 ($75 per additional user)
Amex Platinum: $550 (The annual fee for Additional Cards is $175 for up to 3 Additional Cards. The annual fee for the 4th or more Additional Cards is $175 for each Card.) (See Rates & Fees)

From a purely financial standpoint, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is more affordable. If you can max out the annual travel credits, the effective annual fee is only $150 for either travel credit card.

The annual fee is even more justified if you consider the welcome bonus and as you use the other card benefits like Global Entry credit, lounge access, etc.

Winner: Varies

Summary: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Amex Platinum 2019

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum are both top-notch travel credit cards. The only way to determine the true winner is to examine how you intend to use the credit card.

Learn more: The Platinum Card® from American Express – You might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits or Amex Platinum benefits?

Two premium credit cards every luxury traveler probably have considered are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Platinum Card from American Express. While the Amex Platinum is known for being benefits-rich, the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits might be a better option based on your travel habits. After all, a premium travel rewards card is only as valuable as its benefits, right?

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards – You might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum: What Benefits Both Cards Have In Common

Before we look at how the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits can be different, let’s first look at which travel benefits the Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum have in common:

Besides the Global Entry application fee reimbursement, there are some nuances in the other three shared benefits. Each card has its own unique twist that may make you prefer one card to the other. For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards have different travel transfer partners. Also, you get access to Centurion lounges with the Amex Platinum.

$300 Annual Travel Credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. It can be used for any travel-related purchase, including plane tickets.

With the Amex Platinum, you receive a $200 air travel credit and $200 in Uber credits each year. Having an extra $100 in travel credits can offset the Amex Platinum’s $550 annual fee if you ride Uber on a regular basis because you receive a monthly $15 Uber credit ($20 in December) that doesn’t rollover. And, the Amex air travel credit only covers incidental fees like checked baggage and in-flight purchases for one airline.

Even though the Sapphire Reserve travel credit is $100 less, the only way to not use the credit is if you don’t travel period. Chase reimburses you for your first $300 in travel purchases each year regardless of what the purchase is. You’ll never have to worry about not maximizing the credit.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards – You might be able to get a welcome bonus of 100,000 points through the CardMatch™ tool.

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Airport Lounge Access

It’s no secret the Amex Platinum is extremely friendly to frequent flyers

You only get complimentary access to the Priority Pass Select lounge network with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. There are more than 1,000 location locations worldwide so most airports will have a lounge, but the Amex Platinum gives you access to these three additional lounge networks:

  • Delta SkyClub
  • The Centurion Lounge Network
  • International American Express

The only way to access Delta SkyClub for free is if you’re flying on an active Delta itinerary.

Although the American Express-owned Centurion Lounge and International American Express are some of the highest-rated lounge networks, there aren’t many locations.

Your only option might be a Priority Pass lounge if you don’t fly Delta or pass through an airport with a Centurion or International American Express Lounge. If that’s the case, either card can be a toss-up when it comes to airport lounges.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Hotel Benefits

There are very few hotel benefits to speak of with the Sapphire Reserve other than the four 1:1 hotel travel partners:

  • Hilton
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • World of Hyatt

You can receive special amenities and discounts at over 900 properties in the Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection.

Unless you stay at these high-end properties, the Amex Platinum has better hotel perks including elevated Hilton Honors membership status.

Rental Car Privileges

When it comes to rental cars, the Chase Sapphire Reserve rental car insurance benefits guide has a slight edge for the following reasons:

  • Primary Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver Coverage
  • Special discounts and upgrades with Avis, National, and Silvercar

American Express only offers secondary rental car CDW coverage and special relationships with Avis, Hertz, and National.

While your rental car will hopefully never be involved in an accident or attempted theft, Chase’s primary coverage will kick in before your personal insurance benefits do which can save you some money during the claims process.

Travel Protection Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits also come with several trip protection benefits when your travel plans get changed due to weather, sickness, and other carrier delays:

  • Non-refundable travel expenses reimbursed up to $10,000
  • Essential purchases for travel delays of 6 hours or more reimbursed up to $500 per ticket
  • Damaged or lost luggage claims reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger

1:1 Travel Partners

Besides the complimentary travel benefits and credits, 1:1 point transfers are also extremely valuable. Both American Express and Chase have 1:1 travel partners and your preference will depend on which airlines you fly.

There are a few more Amex airline travel partners, but here’s a current list of all the Chase air travel partners:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue Air France-KLM
  • Emirates
  • Iberia Plus
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

If you fly these airlines on a regular basis or can book partner flights through your frequent flyer account for the non-Chase Ultimate Rewards partners to still booker a cheaper reward flight than booking directly through the airline.

Many Sapphire cardholders transfer their points to a travel partner to make each point more valuable (partly why it’s one of the best Chase credit cards). If you decide to redeem them through Chase, each reward point is worth 1.5 cents each for all award travel. With Amex, rewards points are worth 1 cent each for airfare and less than 1 cent for non-air travel.

Since the Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points on eligible dining purchases and 3x points on travel once you’ve earned your $300 travel credit, it can be extremely easy to rack up the points to achieve award travel sooner. The Amex Platinum does give you 5x on airline purchases made directly with the airline, which is a great benefit.

When The Sapphire Reserve Benefits Are Better

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits are better in the following instances:

  • You want a flexible $300 travel credit
  • Cannot maximize the American Express $200 Uber credit
  • Only visit Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Prefer the Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 travel partners or 50% point redemption bonus
  • Want additional trip protection benefits

With the Sapphire Reserve, you receive fewer benefits that are more flexible to use. Having fewer benefits also makes it easier for Chase to only charge an annual fee of $450. If you can’t use the extra Amex Platinum benefits, save the $100 and apply for the Sapphire Reserve.

When The Amex Platinum Benefits Are Better

The Platinum Card® from American Express is intended for frequent flyers because of the 5x air travel purchase rewards and additional air travel benefits. But, purchase rewards aren’t the only reason to apply for the Amex Platinum if you fly regularly:

  • Can visit the Delta SkyClub, Centurion Lounge, or International American Express
  • Stay at Hilton or FINE Hotels and Resorts
  • Spend at least $15 on Uber rides most months
  • Check bags or make in-flight purchases to use the $200 air travel credit
  • Prefer the Amex Membership Rewards travel partners like Delta, Emirates, and Etihad

The Amex Platinum benefits do a better job at making your flight and layover more comfortable if you already spend money each year to join several lounge networks. The Centurion Lounges are the nicest lounges available domestically. You can also enjoy additional hotel perks if you stay at a Hilton property.

Additionally, cardholders can get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on their Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. However, they must be enrolled for this benefit to apply.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Summary Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum are excellent travel rewards cards. You need to look at your travel habits and see if they align better with the Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum. Or, you may just choose the Sapphire Reserve because of the smaller annual fee and flexible rewards options.

Learn more about the Platinum Card® from American Express: Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Johnny Jet Editorial

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum 2019
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2 Comments On "Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum 2019"
  1. Anonymous|

    Actually, for the Amex Platinum it’s $175 for first three additional users and $175 every additional user thereafter.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Good catch. The post has been edited. Thanks!

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