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Dreaming of your next vacation?
Two heavy hitters in the travel rewards credit card category are the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. These two trusted standbys are coveted by travel lovers and offer a host of benefits.
So who wins in the battle of the American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card? Read on to find out.
At a glance: American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|American Express® Gold Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
|Annual fee||$250||$0 intro, $95 after first year|
|Welcome bonus||25,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account||50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account|
|Rewards||3x points for flights purchased directly from airlines; 4x points at U.S. restaurants; 4x points on U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1x); 1x point for other purchases||2x points on travel and dining purchases, 1x points for all other purchases|
|Variable purchase APR||See Terms (no interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month)||17.99% - 24.99%|
|Foreign transaction fees||None||$0|
|Notable perks||Up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidentals for one qualifying airline of your choice||Cardholders get up to 25% more value in points when redeeming for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises using Chase Ultimate Rewards®|
|Other benefits||Car rental loss and damage insurance for covered vehicles, roadside assistance and personalized travel service||Trip cancellation insurance (up to $10,000 per trip for certain travel expenses), auto rental collision damage waiver and baggage delay insurance|
American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
1. The winner: Why we prefer the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
2. Counterpoint: Why you might want the American Express® Gold Card instead
3. Heads up: What to consider when applying for a travel rewards credit card
4. Bottom line: Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card right for you?
On the surface, the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card have a lot in common. They’re both aimed at savvy travelers looking for the best perks around, and they come with similar rewards.
When it comes down to it, though, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card wins this battle in travel rewards credit cards.
Why? For one, travel lovers looking to get the most bang for their buck can take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s lower annual fee ($0 intro, $95 after first year) and higher sign-up bonus – worth up to $625 when redeemed for travel using Chase Ultimate Rewards®. From a purely financial standpoint, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the clear winner.
On top of that, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s rewards program is easy to use and flexible to boot.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also brings a new level of sophistication and sexiness to travel rewards credit cards. Made out of metal with a sapphire hue, the card is sleek and thicker than most credit cards, making it a memorable addition to your wallet.
In the battle between the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the cards go toe to toe when it comes to travel perks.
“Both cards have no foreign transaction fees (and they each have) baggage insurance and car rental damage waivers, which are attractive benefits for the frequent traveler,” says Lee Huffman, travel blogger at BaldThoughts.com.
Though we prefer Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for its affordability and accessibility, there’s one big reason you might want to consider the American Express® Gold Card instead: the minimum spending requirement for the welcome bonus.
The American Express® Gold Card requires you to spend $2,000 within the first 3 months in order to receive the 25,000 bonus points.
On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card requires you to spend double that amount — $4,000 — in order to reap the rewards bonus.
If you’ll struggle to meet the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s spending requirement, the American Express® Gold Card may be a more affordable option.
Just be aware that you’ll end up paying around double the annual fee ($250) to reduce your spending requirement by half.
The airline fee credit you get with the American Express® Gold Card can help offset the annual fee, though. You can receive up to $100 in statement credits to cover pesky baggage fees and other incidentals for one qualifying airline of your choice.
Additionally, the American Express® Gold Card has a slight advantage over the Chase card when it comes to the rewards rate.
“You can earn three points per dollar with the … Gold Card when purchasing travel directly from airlines compared to two points with the Chase card,” says Rosenberg.
If you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card, these two options are at the top of the tier. But there are things you should consider before applying for a new travel rewards card.
First, premium travel rewards credit cards are typically geared toward people with good to excellent credit.
You’ll want to evaluate the annual fee versus the welcome bonus. Ask yourself:
- Is the annual fee in your budget?
- Can you meet the spending requirement with ease?
- Does the welcome bonus convert into rewards you’ll actually use?
- Will those rewards make up for the annual fee?
Look for the eligibility requirements and beware of any restrictions or limitations, especially regarding redemptions.
Pro tip: Pay special attention to the time frame for the spending requirement, so you don’t miss out on the welcome bonus.
If the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t already in your arsenal of travel credit cards, then it’s definitely one you should consider adding to your stack. The card is great for travelers looking to scoop up rewards for their next adventure.
At a glance: Other travel rewards cards to consider
|Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card||Best no-annual-fee travel credit card|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||Best travel rewards for everyday purchases|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Best travel reward perks and bonuses|