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 amextravel.com
  • 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?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Pam
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Pam

If someone is using the AMEX Uber credit, they could just as easily use the $199 off Chase Lyft Pink membership/15% off Lyft rides. I think the Chase travel credit are both more valuable & easier to use than AMEX.

xyz
Guest
xyz

not true. you can use uber credit on ubereats pickup orders from many local restaurants (no delivery fee, no service fee). So you can get close to face value from the uber credit.

Saks credit is close to face value on cosmetics which are priced the same across different vendors.

The airline credit is another story.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Throw in there Too a Dead Dog can get a AMEX and the sign up once . I’m 10/24.
CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

AMEX statement credits top out at $600. The $460 Chase credits s/b increased at a minimum by $199 for a total of $659 due to the $199 Lyft Pink credit (not listed). Chase is $59 more credit than AMEX even without the addtl 15% off Lyft ride discounts (also not listed or evaluated).

xyz
Guest
xyz

Unfortunately many dont use/need lyft pink that much. So lyft benefit could worth little.

My value of Amex credit: $170 Uber, $80 Saks, $80 Airline, total is $330
and CSR credit: $285 Travel, $50 doordash, $20 Lyft, total is $355

Pam
Guest
Pam

And many say Uber is overpriced & pick Lyft on that basis alone for ridesharing.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

The lady on FBN (NYC) said she uses both a lot . After about a week of non use she will get a coupon off on that one so Switch .
CHEERs

Jinxed_K
Guest
Jinxed_K

Interesting, I did not know it worked with uber eats pickups too.
Sounds like I can use it the same way I use the Gold’s grubhub pickups for the dining credit.

I might have to rethink my strategy of holding a CSR+Freedom and Gold+BBP and move to a fully Amex lineup of Platinum+Gold+Green+BBP to keep it simpler in terms of earning.

Pam
Guest
Pam

With a delivery fee, service fee, and a small order fee, much of the $15/mth AMEX credit can go towards paying for them on an Uber Eats order. I appreciate how the Door Dash Chase benefit waives those fees on DashPash orders. The savings add up quickly!

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

I had both cards; however, I cut SR since it was boring. I would pick SR later to redeem UR points.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

WhatEver
On FBN a travel pro said 1 in 8 already canceled their Spring and Summer trips ..
Deals coming ..
CHEERs

CMH
Guest
CMH

What about shopping protections? eg: Return Protection, Extended Warranty, etc. Would be good to add that to the comparison.

WR2
Guest
WR2

The thing about CSR is it’s easy to get another card to also cover the areas where CSR is strong, like 3x(or more) travel/dining, roadside assistance, etc. But there’s no non Amex card that will get you Centurion access and skyclub access. By itself sure maybe CSR is more well rounded, but as part of a portfolio I’d say the plat is more valuable.

John
Guest
John

If you were making a portfolio to get the same benefits as the CSR what cards would you choose to replicate it with a annual fee less than the CSR?

WR2
Guest
WR2

I said CSR might be well rounded, implying if you want only one card then it might be better. Sounds like that’s you. Those of us with many cards have no problem getting 3x or better on dining and travel without CSR.

I’m not advocating paying AFs in perpetuity on a portfolio of cards either, as I’m going after signup bonuses. The great thing about Amex Plat is that there are so many versions and NLL offers that you could go a long time getting a signup bonus every year and always hold a Plat.

There’s only one $450+ AF card that I’ll pay a second year AF on, and that’s Amex Hilton Aspire.

John
Guest
John

Gotcha, I slightly misunderstood your original post. I agree there’s very few high annual fee cards that are hard to keep after the first year.

Moses Timmons Jr
Guest
Moses Timmons Jr

You must not have a Amex platinum because it does have emergency medical @ $20,000 and emergency dental @ $1,000.

Byron
Guest
Byron

Good review but a couple of other points. I have the Bus. Plat. and CSR, called the ABS and CSR. I travel with my wife 95% of the time. Each time I get to the Delta lounge, oh, I have to pay for her. Ever centurion lounge is over crowded, poor food, and hard to get a drink, much less a place to sit and drink it. The CSR gives me the Priority Pass with restaurants which is a big winner in my book, plus many PP lounges have showers, which is very nice after those all night flights. It is easier to earn the Amex points due to more cards and no 5/24, but the Hyatt transfer is just awesome. With the ABS you have to pick your airline for your bonus, but with the CSR you just travel and bingo they knock off $300 without me doing a thing. I plan to dump my CSR when payments comes due next time. Besides, spending 10K just to get 50K points is out of line in my opinion. I may drop the CSR to the Preferred since I have the very nice Ritz card.

WR2
Guest
WR2

Why not have your wife apply for one of the many Amex Plat flavors, get a signup bonus, and no more paying her way in? Alternatively, you could apply for Morgan Stanley plat (open MS Access acct), which comes with free authorized user.

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

The simple fact that the $200 airline credit of Amex Platinum is so hard to spend (I often have free checked-in luggage thanks to my airline credit cards) makes me shun from it.

YoniPDX
Guest
YoniPDX

I think that the Elite status for rentals/hotels is negligible.

Marriott gold is marginally better than silver (SPG/Ritz SPG/Ritz pre-merger was a different story).

Hilton gold does offer breakfast and minor upgrade (but Hilton Aspire is a better bang for AF AF buck for premium card and offers Diamond status -yes the is a PT vs CSR shoot out).

Rentals
– Both also offer Avis Preferred plus (comp one class upgrade when available). I’ve found Avis a better deal over National/Emerald pricing and more global locations.

While I’ve recently shifted toward collecting MR over UR’s – both have sweet spots for transfer partners. But we did ditch the Plat card last renewal.

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[…] shenanigans, when it comes down to which premium travel rewards you get, my advice is to go for the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead of the Amex Platinum in most cases. But of course your circumstances may be different. This is why there is never an […]