- 1 Chase Sapphire Preferred vs AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card: The Best Travel Card?
- 2 Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 3 Review: Chase Sapphire PreferredВ® credit card – September 2017
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card: The Best Travel Card?
Two of the best travel rewards credit cards out available right now have to be the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card. I’ve got both of them and figured I’d give my own personal take on these cards.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card will earn you Membership Rewards that can be transferred to a variety of travel partners listed below:
These partners do not have all have the same transfer ratios as you can see below:
- Delta Skymiles
- Club Premier AeroMexico
- Aeroplan Air Canada
- Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
- MilleMigilia Club Alitalia
- Asia Miles
- Avios British Airways (250 points = 200 Avios)
- Emirates Skyrewards
- Hawaiin Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America (200 points = 100 Elevate points)
- Virgin Atlantic
- Best Western Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton HHonors (1,000 points = 1,500 HHonors points)
- SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) (1,000 points = 333 Starpoints)
There are a few things to keep in mind about Membership Rewards:
- Bonus transfers are occasionally offered allowing you to transfer your points to partners for higher ratios. Check this thread for a history of these transfer bonuses.
- Your Membership Rewards cannot be freely transferred between you and any friend or family members but you can transfer them to authorizes users’ rewards accounts.
- They don’t expire as long as you remain a cardholder
The Sapphire Preferred earns “Ultimate Rewards” that can all be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to a variety of travel partners listed below.
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
Both programs have their strengths and weaknesses and lots could be written in a comparison between the two but here’s a brief look at some of the key highlights of the travel partners.
- ANA – Super cheap redemptions, such as 88,000 miles in business class to Europe and very reasonable prices to other destinations like Asia (Japan), South America, Africa, etc.
- Aeroplan – Good redemption rates to places like Europe and an easy way to avoid surcharges on Star Alliance partners, such as United Airlines.
- Delta – Amex has several Delta credit cards making it easy to top off.
- MilleMigilia Club Alitalia – Sometimes a little hassle involved with redeeming but excellent redemption rates to many places, such as South American and Africa.
- Korean Air – Super cheap redemptions, such as at 80,000 miles in business class to Europe and some of the best prices to Hawaii, South America, and the Caribbean.
- British Airways – the 1:1 transfer ratio is superior to Membership Rewards and BA can be great for short-haul flights around the country or even getting to Europe and other places.
- Southwest – Very cheap routes available to get around the country. If you obtain the Companion Pass and you essentially double the value making them a super-economical way to get around the US and Caribbean; miles can be quickly obtained with Chase Southwest cards.
- United – Tons of flight options with huge network around the US and globe; miles can be quickly obtained with Chase United cards.
Two partners overlap each program:
- Singapore Airlines – Also a transfer partner of Citi; Singapore Airlines has a tremendous business class and first class products and some very reasonable redemption rates.
- Flying Blue – Also a transfer partner of Citi; great way to book with SkyTeam partners to places like Europe.
A lot of people seem to favor Ultimate Rewards over Membership Rewards and value them a little higher. Aside from hotel partners, though, I’d put Membership Rewards right up there with Ultimate Rewards and argue that the winner would just depend on one’s personal circumstances.
The standard sign up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred ranges from 40K to 50K, with an additional 5K for adding an authorized user. The sign-up bonus for the Premier Rewards Gold Card can range from 25K to 75K. The spend requirement for the Sapphire Preferred is typically higher at $4,000 while the Premier Rewards Gold Card’s spend requirement can fluctuate from $1,000 to $3,000.
I think I’d give the nod to the Sapphire Preferred since it seems like the standard offer is usually higher than the standard offer from the Premier Rewards Gold Card (the offers above 25K are usually targeted and the 75K offer is a highly targeted offer that is very rare).
Which card earns better bonus category earnings will obviously depend on your personal spending habits.
The cards earn the following rates:
- 2X on Travel (This covers a broad range of expenses from tolls, parking, bus fairs, train tickets, and of course, air line tickets)
- 2X on Dining worldwide
- 3X on Airline Tickets (4X through the Amex Portal)
- 2X on Dining (at US restaurants ), Groceries, and Gas
- $100 Airline credit for incidentals
If you spend a lot on airfare, groceries, and gas, it’s possible that the Premier Rewards Gold Card will be the better earner for you. However, the travel category on the Sapphire Preferred is very broad so it all depends on how you spend most of your money.
One of the major reasons I prefer the Sapphire Preferred over the Premier Rewards Gold Card is that you can supplement your earning with great no annual fee cards.
- The Chase Freedom has no annual fee and rotating 5X bonus categories for things like gas, restaurants, Amazon, and other stores.
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee and it earns 1.5X on every single purchase.
- The Chase Ink+ (which can be downgraded to the Ink Cash with no annual fee) has 5X bonus categories on things like phone lines, cable, internet, and office supplies. The Ink+ also has 2X on gas and hotels.
Thus, the bonus earning potential with the combo of the Sapphire, the Freedoms, and the Ink cards are truly tremendous and if you go with the Ink Cash, it essentially transforms the Sapphire Preferred into a super card with a $95 annual fee that blows the Premier Rewards Gold Card out of the water from a bonus points standpoint.
You can combine the Premier Rewards Gold Card with the no fee Amex EveryDay and earn 2X at supermarkets up to $6K per year (in addition to a 20% monthly bonus), but you can’t put together the same type of no annual fee combination like you can with Chase cards.
Both cards have no foreign transaction fees which is really nice if you have travel abroad a lot because those foreign transaction fees can add up pretty quickly.
The purchase protection on both are pretty similar but the Premier Rewards Gold Card definitely edges out the Sapphire Preferred with its purchase protection up to $10,000! Here’s a breakdown of some of the highlights of the purchase protection plans of the cards. (Note: the list below is not comprehensive, to read up on all of the benefits, check the links below.)
- Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
- If a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year.
- You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.
- Covers your new purchases for 90 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of five years or less.
- You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $300 per item, $1,000 per year.
Again, there are many similarities in the benefits for travel protection between these cards but I think I’d give the nod to Sapphire Preferred for the reason they offer primary rental car insurance and seem to offer better coverage for lost luggage and delays in travel. The below list is once again not comprehensive and only includes more info on CSP as Chase has a much more convenient way to access the terms of its protections.
- Car rental coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
- When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000.
- If you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
- If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
- If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
- Car rental coverage is excess
- Travel accident insurance of no more than $250,000 (death, dismemberment, etc.)
- Will pay a benefit for the Replacement Cost, up to $500, for each Covered Person on a Covered Trip for Loss of checked Baggage.
The annual fee for the Sapphire Preferred is $95 while the annual fee for the Premier Rewards Gold Card is $195, both are waived for the first year.
Obviously paying an extra $95 sounds like less of a bargain but remember that the Premier Rewards Gold Card has the annual $100 airline statement credit, which essentially reduces the fee to $95. And actually, the statement resets after the beginning of the year so if you time it right, you can actually get $200 in airline credit before your annual fee hits.
Amex has great customer service but the customer service for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is pretty outstanding as well. For example, when you call in for the Premier Rewards Gold Card you have enter in your credit card info and go through the motions to speak with someone but for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, a live representative picks up the phone almost always immediately when you call. As for receiving your card or a replacement, both providers will overnight your cards so that’s always nice. I’m not sure one beats out the other for customer service, but I do really like both in this regard.
It’s a little silly to value a credit card based on how it looks but I don’t think there’s anything wrong in taking a little pride in how your cards look. The Premier Rewards Gold Card is a sparkly gold card with the signature American Express signage. It look prestigious and it’s one of my favorite to pull out of my wallet. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is on another level in my opinion. The card is made of metal and has a heavy feel to it that other instantly recognize and often comment on. The card even reads on the back, “Contains Metal DO NOT SHRED.”
It has a pretty dark blue design with embossed numbers on the back. There’s also no indication of Visa on the front of the card, which sometimes results in a couple of seconds of confusion/intrigue for cashiers when you hand them your card. So w hile the PRG is nice and sparkly, the Sapphire wins out on prestige appearance due to its metal composition and sleek design.
I think that for me the better card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. However, if I didn’t have the Ink and the Freedom cards, then it wouldn’t be so clear. Still, I value Membership Rewards a lot so I think there’s plenty of value in the Premier Rewards Gold Card and that’s why I hold both of these cards.
This post is all based on my own opinion.
I have had the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card for almost 5 months now and everywhere I go, everyone still has to make a comment about it. YES its heavy! I’m tired of hearing that! YES its the most unique credit card you have ever held! I am so tired of hearing that as well! Good job Chase for making a metal credit card so that everyone can ask me where I got it, how I got it.. good job at marketing the credit card everywhere I go… but seriously it gets annoying. Its like I’m a personal commercial for Chase every time I use my card.. I don’t get rewarded enough for that!
Whenever you get a credit card for the rewards, you have to always realize that the credit card company is enticing you to sign up for a reason. Sure they will waive the first year fee of $95 and sure they will give you 40,000 bonus points just for signing up, but is it really worth sticking around after the first year? The credit card company has one goal.. to make money.
My first year is free and I got my Chase Sapphire Preferred card with 50,000 bonus points, that means I got $500 just by registering and meeting their minimum spending requirement of $3,000 within the first 3 months. But now that Ive got the $500 and have already spent it, what other benefits are there? They give you a 7% annual bonus for however much you spend the year prior.
As an example, if you spent $10,000 on your Chase credit card the previous year, you would earn 700 extra bonus points (7%) at the start of your next year. Chase values their rewards points at 1 cent each, which means you just made an exciting $7 bonus and you also just paid $95 for the next year to use that card.
Every 10,000 points earned gets you an extra $7 in rewards. Remember though that the first 10,000 points earned is equal to $100 in rewards. The $7 extra would be credited after your year is up. Just to get $95 in ‘extra’ rewards to cancel out the yearly fee, you would need to earn $95/$7 x 10,000 = 135,714 rewards points in that year, or about $135,714 worth of spending on one credit card!
This does not take into account the bonus points you earn for spending at specific vendors. Dining out and booking travel earns you 2 rewards points per dollar spent. Shopping at the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall earns you 10 points per dollar spent. For me this is completely worthless. I would rather take my spending to another credit card that offers better rewards or better redemption offers.
The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the best rewards programs that I belong to. Who else offers transfer bonuses? I know that having AMEX rewards points, I can transfer them to British Airways and receive a 50% bonus, depending on if the airline is offering a transfer bonus and what their current offer is.
Delta had offered bonus transfers as well, which I have earned between 20%-50% more air miles just by transferring my AMEX points to my SkyMiles account. How do you think I flew my family to Alaska for free? If you are patient and can wait for these transfer bonuses (no guarantee that they will be offered in the future), then having an American Express rewards card is well worth it.
So why would I be willing to pay a yearly fee and not pay the Chase Sapphire Preferred fee? If you think about it, there are no other benefits for owning this credit card. Does it give me free luggage when I travel? Sure they will give you double points for buying an airline ticket, but honestly, so does any other airline credit card. For instance the Gold Delta American Express credit card gives me free luggage for up to 9 people in my party. Every time my wife and I fly on Delta we never pay for our luggage. This saves us $100 every time we fly.. the cost of the yearly fee! We also earn airline miles for any tickets we buy, we get 20% off anything on our Delta flights and we would pay the same $95 yearly fee.
You have to determine if you are into rewards for travel or for ‘merchandise’. If you want to travel, then get an airline credit card that also offers a bonus. If you want to purchase merchandise them Chase or American Express have a large number of products or gift cards you can redeem for your rewards points.
Since my wife and I love to travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is not for us.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
With the recent debut of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Chase now has two personal credit cards which carry the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards to Chase’s network of transfer partners. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards has the best combination of credit cards, diversity of transfer partners, and overall value among the transferable points programs, holding one of these two cards will be part of a long-term strategy for many travel enthusiasts.
While Chase has many other great cards, the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred are the only two personal cards that allow you to transfer points to transfer partners, which is the best way to unlock maximum value for your points. We will compare these cards in a variety of categories and help you decide which one might be the better choice for your wallet.
The Sapphire Reserve is the clear winner here with a sign-up bonus that is currently 50K points higher than the Preferred. A bonus this generous is unlikely to last forever, so it’s certainly a reason to consider going after the Reserve card first.
1 point/$ on all other spend
1 point/$ on all other spend
Both cards have the same bonus categories, making this an easy evaluation. The Sapphire Reserve is again the clear winner, earning 3x on travel and dining whereas the Sapphire Reserve only earns 2x.
The Sapphire Reserve card carries an annual fee that is a whopping $355 more than the Sapphire Preferred. To make matters worse, it’s not even free to add authorized users. The Sapphire Preferred is the clear winner here.
Point Value for Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Through Chase’s Portal
The Sapphire Reserve makes your UR 0.25 cents more valuable when redeeming through the Chase travel portal. A key consideration to remember is that you can combine all of your UR across any UR-earning accounts you have. Therefore, this feature makes all of your UR more valuable, not just those that you earn with the Sapphire Reserve card. If you book a lot of travel via Chase’s portal, this can really add up to significant savings.
The Sapphire Reserve card is the clear winner here, and the $300 annual travel credit goes a long way toward reducing the sting of the annual fee for anyone who spends $300 or more out of pocket per year on travel. The credit is very broadly defined as applying to any travel expense and automatically credits to your account. It seems Chase may have done some research as to what people dislike about travel credits provided by other cards (cough Amex Platinum cough).
This is another excellent benefit of the Sapphire Reserve card. For anyone who does a decent amount of flying, the peace and quiet of a lounge can make a world of difference. In addition, lounges provide free snacks and drinks and its usually easy to find a spot to charge your phone or computer.
Both cards offer a very wide spectrum of benefits such as trip/luggage protection, rental car insurance, purchase protection, etc. We won’t go into detail covering the entire range of benefits, but suffice it to say that the Sapphire Reserve card is at least equal to the Sapphire Preferred for every individual benefit and is superior for several.
The specific benefits for which the Sapphire Reserve card is better are rental car insurance (wider range of cars covered), roadside assistance, travel accident insurance ($1M in coverage vs $500K), and purchase protection ($10K per claim vs $500). These benefits can be useful for those who often rent cars or use their cards to make expensive purchases for which coverage may come in handy.
We will start this conclusion by saying that anyone who does even a moderate amount of travel should definitely get the Sapphire Reserve card before the Sapphire Preferred. Even if you don’t know anything about navigating transfer partner award charts and making award bookings, the difference in sign-up bonus alone is more than enough to make up the difference in annual fees.
If you book through Chase’s portal, the Sapphire Reserve bonus is worth $1,500 whereas the Sapphire Preferred bonus is worth $625. That’s an $875 difference compared with an annual fee difference of $450 in the first year (which can easily be reduced to $150 by using the travel credit on the Sapphire Reserve card).
If you transfer your points to partners with valuable award charts, it is not very difficult to achieve redemption values of at least 2 cents/point (often 3-4) which widens the value disparity even more. If you don’t feel that the Sapphire Reserve is worth holding long-term, then you can product change to another card with a lower or no annual fee.
The more difficult question is which card is better as a long-term hold. If you take advantage of the Sapphire Reserve travel credit each year, the effective difference in annual fees is $55. If you value the other benefits such as lounge access and higher bonus category multipliers more than that, then the Sapphire Reserve is better as a long-term hold.
You can also recoup $55 by redeeming 22K UR via Chase’s portal given the difference in redemption values between the 2 cards. If none of these benefits add up to more than $55 for you, or you will not reliably spend $300 out of pocket on travel per year to take advantage of the travel credit, then the Sapphire Preferred may be better as a long-term hold.
Review: Chase Sapphire PreferredВ® credit card – September 2017
- If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
Chase Sapphire Preferred offers top-notch points redemption through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase Sapphire PreferredвЂ™s reputation as a must-have travel credit card is well deserved. Not only does the card offer a great introductory points bonus, but the points themselves also bring tremendous purchasing power вЂ” theyвЂ™re worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. WhatвЂ™s more, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to various airline and hotel programs, opening a world of travel options to you.
- APR for purchases (purchase rate).В 16.99% to 23.99% variable based on creditworthiness
- Balance transfer rate.В Same as purchase APR
- Cash advance rate.В 25.99% variable
- Annual Fee. $ 0 introductory annual fee theВ first year, then $95
- Interest-free period.В Up to 21В days
- Minimum Interest.В None
- Minimum credit score.В Excellent (720+)
- Minimum age.В 18 years of age (19 in Alabama and Nebraska)
Fees and payments
- Annual fee.В $ 0В introductory annual fee theВ first year, then $95
Peel back the layers of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and youвЂ™ll likely arrive at a conclusion shared by countless fellow travelers: ItвЂ™s simply one of the best travel cards you can find anywhere.
First, look at the cardвЂ™s introductory bonus. YouвЂ™ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. And you can earn an additional 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user. Assuming you meet the requirements, thatвЂ™s a generous haul of 55,000 points.
ItвЂ™s what you can do with those points, however, that truly highlights the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. When you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, theyвЂ™re worth 25% more; that means 50,000В points are worth not $550 but $687.50 in travel rewards. ThatвЂ™s a winВ for any traveler, and the percentage bonus means your points will go further for as long as you hold the card.
But it gets better. Not only can you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but you can also transfer your points to airline programs like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and hotel programs like Hyatt Gold Passport. And luckily, youвЂ™re allowed to transfer your points at a minimum ratio of 1:1 (youвЂ™ll find even higher ratios with some programs). ItвЂ™s this flexibility that elevates the Chase Sapphire Preferred card from an already stellar card to what many travelers rightly see as a must-have.
- 50,000В introductory points bonus.В 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (Worth $625 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.)
- 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user. When you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months, youвЂ™ll earn 5,000 bonus points.
- 2x points on dining and travel. YouвЂ™ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel.
- 1x points on everything else. YouвЂ™ll earn 1В point per dollar spent in every other category.
- Increased point values when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they will be worth 25% more. For example, you can redeem 50,000 points for $625 worth of travel purchases, rather than the industry-standard $500 (1 point equals 1 cent).
- Point transfers at a 1:1 ratio to airline programs. You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to airline programs that include: British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- Point transfers at a 1:1 ratio to hotel programs. You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to hotel programs that include: Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- No foreign transaction fees. You can use your card on international transactions without incurring fees.
- Travel services. Travel coverage includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision coverage, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay insurance.
- Purchase coverage. Purchase coverage includes purchase protection (your purchases are insured against theft or damage), price protection, return protection, and extended warranties.
How to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card
Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.
- You are at least 18 years of age (19 in Alabama and Nebraska)
Required documents & information
- Your name, residential status and address
- Your Social Security number
- Your email address, phone number and date of birth
- Financial information like your annual salary and wages