Amex Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve

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With both the Amex Platinum and Sapphire Preferred welcome bonuses at all time highs, I decided that this would be a good time to update and re-publish this comparison of the Amex Platinum and the Sapphire Reserve.  Even though the Sapphire Reserve’s current bonus isn’t an all-time high, we often advise people to sign up for the Sapphire Preferred and later upgrade to the Reserve.  For more about the current all-time-high bonuses, see these posts:

For a comparison of the Amex Platinum to the Sapphire Reserve, read on…

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.  Both offer travel perks, including travel protections.  Both cost $550 per year (at least for now: there have been rumors that Amex may increase the price of their card).  Which is better?

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 / Uber Eats 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
  • Qualifies for Amex Offers (miscellaneous rebates and extra point offers)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • $300 per year in travel credits
  • $60 per year in DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021
  • $120 in Peloton credits (through 12/31/21)
  • $100 Global Entry credit every 4 years
  • Qualifies for Chase Offers (miscellaneous rebate offers)

Verdict: Tie.  On the surface it looks like Amex offers better value since you can earn up to $500 back every year whereas some of Chase’s credits are for 2021 only.  In practice, though, Chase’s travel credits are so much easier to earn than Amex’s airline fee credits that it’s not fair to compare them.  Amex’s airline fee credits work only for certain charges made with your selected airline (See: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?).  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.

One area where Amex shines compared to Chase is with Amex Offers.  It’s hard to quantify these because they come and go, but Amex seems to be much more likely to have much more valuable offers.

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 supports a fantastic 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 and through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature.  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*

* This result requires an asterisk: If you primarily use points to transfer to airline programs to book international business or first class awards then Amex has a big edge over Chase thanks to supporting valuable programs like ANA, Air Canada, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, and Etihad.

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 & Memberships (Win: Amex)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold
  • National Car Rental Executive
  • Avis Preferred Plus
  • Hertz Gold
  • Uber VIP Status
  • Complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months (must enroll by 12/31/21)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • National Car Rental Executive
  • Avis Preferred Plus
  • Silvercar discount (up to 30% off)
  • 1 Year Lyft Pink Membership (includes free GrubHub+ membership) and more.
  • Free DashPass for at least 1 year (activate by 12/31/21)

Verdict: Amex for the win

Travel Protections (Win: Chase)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Secondary auto rental coverage (you can pay for 30 days of primary coverage though)
  • No complementary 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 offers better emergency evacuation coverage since there’s no stated limit. 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

Purchase Protections (Tie)

Amex Platinum Card
  • Extended warranty (12 months, max $10K)
  • Purchase protection (90 days from purchase, max $10K)
  • Return protection (90 days from purchase, max $300)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • Extended warranty (12 months, max $10K)
  • Purchase protection (120 days from purchase, max $10K)
  • Return protection (90 days from purchase, max $500)

Both cards offer decent purchase protections.  On paper, the Sapphire Reserve looks slightly better because it offers 120 days of purchase protection vs. 90 with Amex, and it offers up to $500 per claim for return protection vs $300 with Amex.  That said, I’ve heard great things about how easy Amex is to deal with for these things and so that alone could push Amex ahead.  See, for example, this post from our own Nick Reyes: Amex Purchase Protection to the rescue.  Even though Chase looks better on paper, I think that Amex’s known excellent customer support in this area makes Amex at least even…

See also: Best Credit Card Purchase Protections

Verdict: Tie

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 (but Amex wins for those who primarily book international premium cabin awards)
  • Lounge Access Benefits: Amex
  • Elite Status: Amex
  • Travel Protections: Chase
  • Purchase Protections: Tie

Overall, in my opinion, the better card depends upon what you value most….

  • Pick the Amex Platinum card if you highly value airport lounge access, hotel and car rental elite status, and international premium cabin awards.
  • 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?

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