Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Battle of the premium rewards cards

Young couple hanging off the edge of a pool and smiling because they compared platinum american express, chase sapphire reserve, and the citi prestige and ended up with the best card for them.Image: Young couple hanging off the edge of a pool and smiling because they compared platinum american express, chase sapphire reserve, and the citi prestige and ended up with the best card for them.

In a Nutshell

The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are two of the best premium rewards cards on the planet. If you travel frequently and plan to use its perks and credits, the Platinum Card® from American Express could offer more value for you. But if you want a card that’s easier to use and features more-straightforward perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be a better fit.  
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Considering Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Platinum Card® from American Express? While some people might have strong opinions about the cards, there’s really no consensus about which premium rewards card is better.

It’s all about your perspective. If you’re going to pay a hefty annual fee, which features matter most to you? Do you care more about luxurious airport lounges and dining experiences, or do you prefer a card that’s easy to use and offers everyday value?

We’ll help you break down the differences, so you can figure out which card is right for you.



Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Which is better?

Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for people who enjoy luxury

If you daydream about luxurious airport lounges and hotel rooms, the Platinum Card® from American Express could turn your dreams into reality.

You’ll be pampered when you travel, and frequent travelers could earn enough rewards to help pay for more than a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But you’ll need a big wallet to make the most of the benefits that come with the Platinum Card® from American Express.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for everyday spending

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be more practical for the average person.

It still comes with a big annual fee. But the statement credits are easier to use and don’t require as much strategizing. Plus, when you’re not traveling, you’ll still get rewarded for everyday purchases like eating out or using a rideshare service.

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

4.6 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Platinum Card® from American Express
Welcome bonus $855 estimated value $2,180 estimated value
Travel rewards Up to 10x 5x
Dining rewards 3x 1x
Annual fee $550 $695

What you need to know about each card

Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of these premium rewards cards: 

Welcome bonus: Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express features a 100,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $6,000 on purchases during the first 6 months from account opening.

We think the welcome bonus is worth about $2,180, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations.

In contrast, Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months. We estimate the sign-up bonus is worth about $855.

If you do the math, you’ll find that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus is worth less — and you also have less time to meet the spending requirement. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll need to spend an average of $1,333.34 per month to earn the bonus. But with the Platinum Card® from American Express, you only need to spend about $1,000 per month.

Travel rewards: Tie

The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® both reward you for travel.

You’ll earn five points per $1 on certain travel purchases with the Platinum Card® from American Express. While this top earning rate doesn’t apply to every travel purchase you make, it does cover two of the most common:

  • Hotels that you prepay through the American Express Travel portal
  • Flights booked either through American Express Travel or directly with the airline on up to $500,000 in purchases each calendar year

Other purchases with the card earn one point per $1 spent.

After you use up your $300 annual travel credit with Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll earn …

  • 5 points per $1 spent on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 10 points per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3 points per $1 spent on other travel worldwide

You’ll get one point per $1 spent on purchases made outside of the bonus categories.

Dining rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you three points for every $1 you spend on dining. This includes eating out at restaurants, ordering food delivery and grabbing takeout.

On the other hand, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers only one point per $1 spent on dining.

Rideshare rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rideshares are more rewarding with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Through March 2022, you’ll earn 10 points for every $1 you spend on Lyft rides. Once that promotion expires, you’ll still earn three points per $1 on Lyft, which is the same rate you could currently earn from other rideshares.

Compared to the one point per $1 you earn on rideshares with the Platinum Card® from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a no-brainer for rewards points.

Perks: Tie

The Platinum Card® from American Express features luxurious perks that offer more potential value, but some of them come with strings attached. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® features more-straightforward perks. But choosing the right card all depends on which perks and credits matter most to you.

The Platinum Card® from American Express features the following perks:

  • $300 annual Equinox credit — This credit can only be used in $25 monthly increments, so it may not cover the entire cost of your gym membership.
  • $240 annual entertainment credit — This credit can only be used at a few select providers in $20 monthly increments.
  • $200 annual airline fee credit — To use this credit, you must select one qualifying airline to use it with each year, and you can’t use it to purchase tickets.
  • $200 annual hotel credit — This credit can only be used at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels + Resorts®, which are expensive hotels that might cost more than you would otherwise spend.
  • $200 annual Uber credit — You can use this for both Uber rides and Uber Eats, but only in $15 monthly increments. This means you might end up spending money to use the credit if your Uber ride or food delivery order costs more than that.
  • $100 annual Saks statement credit, which is broken up into two $50 credits twice a year. Unless you already shop at Saks on a regular basis, you might end up spending more just to tap into this credit.
  • Hilton and Marriott hotel elite status
  • Airport lounge access —This perk includes Centurion Lounges, among others.
  • $179 annual Clear® membership credit — Using Clear could help you speed through airport security lines.
  • Airport security statement credit of up to $100 — This perk is available every four years toward your application fee for Global Entry or every 4.5 years toward your TSA PreCheck® application fee.
  • Travel insurance
  • Cellphone insurance

And in comparison, here are some of the perks Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers.

  • $300 travel credit — You can use this to pay for many different types of travel purchases — including things like Lyft rides and city parking meters.
  • Peloton membership — This perk comes in the form of a statement credit worth up to $120 against a Peloton membership. It can be useful for people who want to exercise from home.
  • $60 DoorDash statement credit — This credit expires at the end of 2021. You’ll also get a complimentary year of DashPass membership, which grants you access to free deliveries on qualifying orders over $12, when you activate by March 31, 2022.
  • Complimentary one-year Lyft Pink membership — Lyft Pink includes 15% off rides and relaxed cancellations. The perk is available to cardholders who activate by March 31, 2022.
  • Airport lounge access — Gain entry to more than 1,000 lounges with a complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • Airport security statement credit of up to $100 — This perk is available every four years toward your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
  • Travel insurance

Annual fee: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers the more affordable annual fee of $550. If you think that’s expensive, you probably won’t want to hear that the Platinum Card® from American Express charges a $695 annual fee.

This might be a tough pill for many people to swallow. But if you’re in the market for a premium rewards card, the best way to compare these cards is by looking at the different rewards and perks they offer.

Redemption options: Tie

The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® both offer top value when you redeem your points for travel, particularly when you transfer your points to one of their airline or hotel partners.

American Express’ travel partners are slightly more valuable, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations. American Express Membership Rewards® are worth 2.18 cents each when transferred to Delta SkyMiles®, while Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.71 cents each when transferred to United MileagePlus®.

But if you don’t want the hassle of transferring your points to another rewards program, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a better value when your points are redeemed for travel or cash back through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What to consider when applying for a premium rewards card

Premium rewards cards offer valuable perks and statement credits that can be used to offset expensive annual fees. But if all you’re looking for is rewards, you can find that with a more affordable travel card.

Make sure the card’s rewards and perks match up with your lifestyle. Will you visit the airport lounges on a regular basis? Do you check your bags when you get to the airport or order food and drinks onboard? Do you prefer hotels or Airbnb? How often do you take rideshares? Is Uber Eats or DoorDash available in your area? Do you already pay for cellphone insurance? When was the last time you went to the gym?

When you’re looking at a premium rewards card, questions like these can help you figure out if it provides enough value for your wallet.

Not sure either card is for you? Consider these alternatives.


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.