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

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

For the frequent traveler, the Platinum Card® from American Express beats the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® cards, but Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes out on top if you're a more casual traveler.

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Travel rewards are a strong magnet for many people shopping for credit cards, yet some rewards have more magnetism than others.

In judging the Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Citi Prestige® Card, it’s clear that all three would benefit travelers. However, each card’s value may vary depending on what type of traveler you are.

Among the three cards, the Platinum Card® from American Express provides the most value if you’re a big spender and a big traveler. Why? The card offers five points per $1 spent on eligible airfare and hotels — the highest number of points for those categories out of any of the three cards.

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Platinum Card® from American Express

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Roman Shteyn, CEO and co-founder of RewardExpert, a service that helps people maximize travel points and miles, points out that you can transfer your points from the Platinum Card® from American Express to redeem directly through 20 hotel and airline loyalty programs.

However, not all points are created equal so it’s just as important to focus on what your points are worth in these loyalty programs, not necessarily how many vendor options you have.

Check your card’s rewards program terms and conditions to learn what your points may be worth when transferred to a loyalty program.

The welcome bonus for the Platinum Card® from American Express is 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases with your card within your first 3 months from account opening. That’s more points than most other offers we’ve seen.


At a glance: Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Citi Prestige® Card

  Platinum Card® from American Express Chase Sapphire Reserve® Citi Prestige® Card
Annual fee $550 $450 $450
Rewards

5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

5x points on hotels booked on amextravel.com

1x point for all other purchases

3x points on dining                              

1x point for all other purchases

3x points on air travel and hotels

2x points on dining and entertainment

1x point for all other purchases

Point value Depends on how you redeem, but around 0.5 cents to 1 cent apiece Depends on how you redeem, but around 1 to 1.5 cents apiece Depends on how you redeem, but around 1 to 1.6 cents apiece
Variable APR for purchases and balance transfers No APR because balance is expected to be paid in full each month 19.24% - 26.24%  16.74% - 24.74%
Unique benefits Uber VIP status, $15 in monthly Uber credits for U.S. rides and a $20 Uber bonus in December for Basic Card Members 50% bonus when points are redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal Complimentary fourth night stay at any hotel after minimum 4-consecutive-night booking through Citi Prestige® Card Concierge
Other benefits

Up to $200 a year in airline fee credits for baggage and other incidental travel fees at a qualifying airline of your choice

No foreign transaction fees

Complimentary premium membership at Avis, Hertz and National Car Rental

24/7 concierge service

Up to $300 in statement credits for travel purchases each year

$0 foreign transaction fees

Special discounts with Avis, National Car Rental and Silvercar when booking with your card

24/7 concierge service

Up to $250 in air travel credits each year

No foreign transaction fees

24/7 concierge service


Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Citi Prestige® Card Card

Best for rewards points
Best for card benefits
Best for annual fee
Heads up: What to consider when applying for a rewards card
Bottom line: Which card is right for you?

Best for rewards points

When American Express raised the annual fee for the Platinum Card® from American Express, it also boosted the Membership Rewards® points for eligible hotels to five points per $1. That followed a previous point increase for airfare to five points per $1.

With the Citi Prestige® Card card, travel purchases only earn three points per $1. If you travel a lot, the Platinum Card® from American Express will likely help you earn the most rewards.

If you’re more of a diner than a traveler, though, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card are more attractive. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can earn three points per $1 spent on restaurant dining around the world.

With the Citi Prestige® Card card, it’s two points per $1. On the other hand, the Platinum Card® from American Express may only get you one point per $1 at restaurants.

All three cards provide one point for eligible purchases outside the higher-point categories.

Best for card benefits

Some of the benefits offered by the three cards aren’t that different. For instance, all three don’t charge foreign transaction fees and all three feature 24/7 concierge service.

However, the Platinum Card® from American Express stands out in a couple of ways.

The Platinum Card® from American Express has 20 hotel and airline points-transfer partners — more than both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Citi Prestige® Card card. In other words, you’ve got more options for points transfers with the Platinum Card® from American Express. Just remember that your points’ value will vary when transferred to partners.

Secondly, only the Platinum Card® from American Express includes access to American Express’s highly-regarded Centurion airport lounges. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card cards offer access to thousands of airport lounges, but Shteyn hails Centurion as the best in the travel business.

Best for annual fee

At $550, the annual fee for the Platinum Card® from American Express exceeds the annual fees for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Citi Prestige® Card cards.

However, if you’re able to take advantage of the elevated rewards rate and other perks with the Platinum Card® from American Express, that may be worth it.

Heads up: What to consider when applying for a rewards card

When you’re shopping for a rewards card, ask yourself this: What kind of consumer am I?

If you’re a hard-core traveler, a rewards card such as the Platinum Card® from American Express might be a wise pick. If you travel a fair amount but don’t consider a hotel room your second home, a rewards card such as Chase Sapphire Reserve® may make more sense.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® tracks more closely with a typical consumer’s spending habits: Dining and everyday travel, such as taxi and subway rides, are eligible for more rewards points than the Platinum Card® from American Express.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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That being said, the benefits of all three cards can be quite valuable. But only if you make regular purchases and — since the travel rewards are the most valuable — if you travel at least a few times a year.

In other words, if you’re looking for a credit card to cover just emergency expenses, these cards probably aren’t right for you.

Bottom line: Which card is right for you?

Shteyn says the best card among this trio depends on what type of consumer you are. If you’re a big traveler and it’s important for you to access the American Express Centurion lounges and the hotel and airline partners that apply for this card, the Platinum Card® from American Express probably makes the most sense for you.

While the Platinum Card® from American Express most benefits the high-spending, high-flying consumer, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® better serves the “average consumer,” according to Shteyn. Why? For one thing, the $300 travel credit applies to more than just airfare and hotels. It also covers taxi, train and subway rides, and parking fees.

Also, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers three rewards points per $1 for dining.

As for the Citi Prestige® Card Card, it’s no slouch. While the two other cards outdo it in terms of the welcome bonus and travel credits, it does provide one elevated point-earning category that the two other cards don’t. With Citi Prestige® Card, you can score two points per $1 spent on entertainment, such as concerts and movies, whereas you’d get just one point if you use the two other cards for that purpose.

From our partner

Citi Prestige® Card

From cardholders in the last year

In short, while we’ve crowned the Platinum Card® from American Express the winner out of these three cards, what’s best for you may vary depending on your spending habits and personal preferences.

At a glance: Other rewards cards to consider

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase. Plus earn 10 miles per $1 on thousands of hotels through January 2020
Citi® Double Cash Card 2% cash back (1% cash back on every purchase and another 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases)