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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Premier Rewards Gold – Which earns you the most points?

by on Fri October 28, 2016 • No Comment
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Premier Rewards Gold 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 if you make purchases for travel other than just airfare and value having built-in travel insurance.
  • Get the American Express Premier Rewards Gold 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:

  • chasesapphirepreferred170May2014Chase Sapphire Preferred: Comes with a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards point sign up bonus after completing minimum spending requirements, earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 Ultimate Reward 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 $95 annual fee which is waived the first year.
  • premierrewardsgold170American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card: Comes with a 25,000 Membership Reward point sign up bonus after completing minimum spending requirements, earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets, and 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Membership Rewards transfer to many partners at a 1:1 transfer rate, there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad, a $100 annual airline fee credit, and a $195 annual fee that is waived the first year of card membership.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred

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 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases.
  • 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 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.
  • $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

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.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold

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 3 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airline ticket purchases made directly with the airline.
  • Earn 2 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on purchases at US supermarkets, US gas stations, and US restaurants.
  • You won’t be charged foreign transaction fees with this card either. 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.
  • The $195 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Cons

  • While it is possible to earn more points on some airfare purchases with this card compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the bonus category is a lot more restrictive. You only earn 3 Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airline ticket purchases made directly with the airline vs the more broad 2X on all travel purchases with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • Amex has much less comprehensive travel insurance when compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. 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 $195 annual fee is higher than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. 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 Amex Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) to earn 3 Membership Rewards (MR) points per dollar spent, pay for all other travel expenses with the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) to earn 2 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points per dollar spent on all purchases, and pay for grocery and gas purchases with your PRG for 2 MR points per dollar spent.

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 PRG, 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 American Express Premier Rewards Gold card 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 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on US gas, grocery, and restaurant 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 is probably a better choice, and if you do a lot of travel spending ($5,000 or more a year) the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve can be an even better choice with 3x points on all travel.

But if you spend really big on airfare alone, The Platinum Card from American Express offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline, though with a hefty $450 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.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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"These responses 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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