Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. American Express® Gold Card review

Couple looking at map while traveling with Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or Chase Sapphire Preferred CardImage: Couple looking at map while traveling with Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

In a Nutshell

When comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with the American Express® Gold Card, the Chase card emerges as the victor. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s lower annual fee, broad bonus categories and consistent points-redemption value for travel all make this card more valuable for travelers — especially for people who make a lot of travel purchases and tend to dine out while abroad.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. American Express® Gold Card

  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card American Express® Gold Card
Highest rewards rate 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal Unlimited 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants
Annual fee $95 $250
Welcome bonus 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months  60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months

What you need to know about each card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express® Gold Card have a lot in common. Both cards offer high rewards rates on dining and travel purchases, welcome bonuses and travel perks. But we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the winner thanks to its low annual fee, broad bonus categories and consistent point-redemption value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a simpler rewards program with more chances to earn points based on travel purchases — and the ability to redeem those points at a higher rate.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers five points per $1 spent on all travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. You also get three points per $1 on dining (including delivery and takeout), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs are excluded).

The card also offers a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Additionally, you’ll get a 10% point bonus on all purchases at every account anniversary (for example, $25,000 in spending earns 2,500 bonus points).

You’ll earn one point for every $1 spent everywhere else. You can redeem the points you’ve earned for cash, gift cards, travel and merchandise. Points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem for cash, but the value increases by 25% when you redeem points for travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

On top of that, you’ll get 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

And the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with an annual fee of only $95.

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

4.6 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card could be an option for those who can take advantage of its dining credits and frequently spend on flights, supermarkets, restaurants and food delivery. But these perks are tempered by the high annual fee, limited bonus categories and points value. Here’s what you need to know about earning Membership Rewards® points with the American Express® Gold Card.

  • Earn four points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases at restaurants.
  • Earn four points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then one point per $1 after).
  • Earn three points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn one point for every $1 spent on everything else.

You can get up to a total of $10 in statement credits each month when you use the American Express® Gold Card at participating restaurants and food delivery services. And after adding the card to your Uber account, you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. each month, up to $120 per year.

The American Express® Gold Card offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Keep in mind that the card has a $250 annual fee, which can eat away at the rewards you may earn.

And while cardholders can redeem points for a variety of perks, like travel purchases and gift cards, the points aren’t worth a ton. The points value starts at 1 cent when redeemed for flights, certain gift cards and New York City taxis. But the value of each point drops to less than 1 cent for most other redemption options, including using your points to book hotels, for statement credit and to pay at certain vendors.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you’re focused on earning and redeeming rewards for travel, and you’d like to save on the costs of an annual fee, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the clear winner.

Compared with the American Express® Gold Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a lower annual fee — you’ll pay a $95 annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and a $250 annual fee with the American Express® Gold Card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also wins in the ongoing rewards category for two reasons.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s bonus rewards categories are much broader than the bonus categories found on the American Express® Gold Card.
  • Your points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. That means you have more chances to earn rewards based on travel purchases, and you can maximize the value of your points when you redeem them.

You might be able to earn more points with the American Express® Gold Card, but you’d have to jump through a few hoops to get there. Then, when redeeming, you only get a maximum value of 1 cent per point — and only when you redeem points for flights or some gift cards.

What to consider when applying for a travel and dining card

If you’re shopping for a travel card, you’ll need to consider whether it’s the right type of card for you. Typically, these cards offer the chance to earn points or miles you can redeem toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and even cruises. Some travel cards also come with benefits like travel insurance, access to airport lounges, and a voucher to cover a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.

But every card issuer applies different criteria to purchases that qualify for bonus points. That means you may not get the rewards you expected for some of your purchases. For example, the American Express® Gold Card limits the number of points you can earn for purchases at U.S. supermarkets to the first $25,000 you spend in a year.

You’ll usually need strong credit to apply for a premium travel rewards card. Many travel cards come with an annual fee, so you’ll want to compare the annual fee to the welcome bonus and ongoing rewards you’ll earn. Before getting a travel card, ask yourself a few questions.

  • Is the annual fee in your budget?
  • Can you meet the welcome bonus spending requirement with ease?
  • Does the welcome bonus convert into rewards you’ll actually use?
  • Will those rewards make up for the annual fee?
  • Are there any restrictions or limitations, especially regarding redemptions?

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

The best credit cards for travel depend on your spending habits and whether you’re willing to pay fees to use the rewards programs and benefits. Here are a few alternatives.


About the author: Kim Porter is a writer and editor who has written for AARP the Magazine, Credit Karma, Reviewed.com, U.S. News & World Report, and more. Her favorite topics include maximizing credit card rewards and budgeting. Wh… Read more.