Amex Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve


Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Amex Platinum card are probably the best known ultra-premium cards on the market.  Now that Chase has increased their card’s annual fee to $550 to match the Platinum card, a number of people have told me that they’re considering dumping Chase in favor of Amex.  Is that a good move?

There’s no single answer to which card is better.  They vary on a number of dimensions.  For example, the Sapphire Reserve is arguably more rewarding for spend whereas the Platinum card offers better perks.  On those dimensions and others, let’s compare head to head…

Before digging in, note that there are several “flavors” of Amex Platinum cards.  For this post I’ve considered only the plain consumer Platinum card.  For details about the others, see: Which is the best Amex Platinum card?

Fees: (Tie)

Amex Platinum CardAnnual Fee: $550 Per Year
Authorized Users: $175 for 3
Chase Sapphire Reserve CardAnnual Fee: $550 Per Year
Authorized Users: $75 Each

Verdict: Tie.  With one or two authorized users, Chase is cheaper.  With three authorized users, Amex is cheaper.

Statement Credits (Tie)

Amex Platinum Card
  • $200 per year in airline fee credits
  • $200 per year in Uber credits: Up to $15 per month and up to $35 each December.
  • $100 per year in Saks Fifth Avenue credits: Up to $50 in credits each year from January through June; and another $50 July through December.
  • $100 Global Entry credit every 5 years
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • $300 per year in travel credits
  • $60 per year in DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021
  • $100 Global Entry credit every 4 years

Verdict: Tie.  On the surface it looks like Amex offers better value since you can earn up to $500 back every year.  In reality, the credits are much harder to earn than with Chase.  Amex’s airline fee credits work only for certain charges made with your selected airline.  Chase’s travel credits meanwhile work with all travel purchases.  And Amex’s Uber and Saks credits must be earned in small chunks whereas Chase’s credits can be used up all at once.

Verdict: Tie.  Amex offers more potential value, but Chase makes it easy.

Rewards for Spend (Win: Chase)

Amex Platinum Card
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 5X points at
  • 1X everywhere else
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • 3X travel
  • 3X dining
  • 10X Lyft
  • 1X everywhere else

Chase’s travel & dining categories are way broader than Amex’s 5X options.  My bet is that most people will earn more points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Verdict: Chase for the win.

Value of Rewards (Win: Chase)

Amex Platinum Card Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Amex Platinum card earns Membership Rewards points and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points.  Both are transferable points programs.  Amex arguably has the edge by supporting more valuable airline transfer partners, but Chase cancels that out by supporting the only good 1 to 1 hotel transfer partner: Hyatt.  Further, Chase has the edge in making it easy to use points for 1.5 cents value towards any travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards.  With Amex, you need to have additional cards in order to get better than 1 cent per point value when purchasing travel.  For example, it’s possible to get approximately 1.5 cents per point value towards certain airfare with the Business Platinum card.

Verdict: Chase for the win.

Lounge Access (Win: Amex)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Centurion Lounges: Cardholder + 2 guests admitted free
  • Escape Lounges: Cardholder + 2 guests admitted free
  • Airspace Lounges: Cardholder + 2 guests admitted free
  • Delta Sky Clubs: Cardholder is allowed free when flying Delta same day.
  • Priority Pass Lounges:  Member + 2 guests admitted free.
  • Priority Pass Restaurants are not included.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • Priority Pass Lounges:  Member + 2 guests admitted free.
  • Priority Pass Restaurants are included.

The Platinum card has far superior airport lounge access privileges than the Sapphire Reserve.  It’s unfortunate, though, that the Amex version of Priority Pass doesn’t include Priority Pass restaurants.

Verdict: Amex for the win

Elite Status (Win: Amex)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold
  • National Car Rental Executive
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • National Car Rental Executive

Verdict: Amex for the win

Travel Protections (Win: Chase)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Secondary auto rental coverage
  • No roadside assistance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
  • 6 hour Trip Delay Insurance
  • Lost luggage insurance
  • No baggage delay insurance
  • No travel accident insurance
  • Emergency Evacuation & Transportation (No Limit)
  • No Emergency Medical & Dental Insurance
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • Primary auto rental coverage
  • Roadside Assistance 4 times per year free
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
  • 6 hour Trip Delay Insurance
  • Lost luggage insurance
  • 6 hour Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Emergency Evacuation & Transportation ($100K Limit)
  • Emergency Medical & Dental Insurance (up to $2,500)

Amex arguably offers better emergency evacuation coverage since there’s no stated limited. On all other protections, Chase is equal or better (at least on paper).  See this post for more details: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.

Verdict: Chase for the win

Summary: Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve

  • Annual Fees: Tie
  • Statement Credits: Tie (Chase credits are easier to get, but Amex offers more)
  • Rewards for Spend: Chase
  • Value of Rewards: Chase
  • Lounge Access Benefits: Amex
  • Elite Status: Amex
  • Travel Protections: Chase

Overall, in my opinion, better card depends upon what you value most….

  • Pick the Amex Platinum card if you highly value airport lounge access and hotel and car rental elite status.
  • Pick the Chase Sapphire Reserve card if you highly value rewards earned from spend and automatic travel protections.

To dig deeper into each of these cards, please see:

Comparing to other cards

This post was specifically designed to compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum cards.  If you’re interested in looking more broadly at which cards are worth their annual fees, please see: Which Ultra Premium Cards are Keepers?

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