Which is Better - Chase Sapphire Preferred or Amex Platinum?

Ideally, we think it is best to get both cards, but if you can only get one, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the one to choose.

A number of readers who have visited BestCashCow’s tables on the best sign up bonuses and best overall cards have written in to ask which card is better – the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the American Express Platinum card.

The American Express Platinum card is an excellent card to consider. New card members are eligible to receive 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points if they spend $5,000 in their first 3 months of card membership targetted offers may be higher). The Platinum card has a $550 annual fee (not waived the first year), but comes with all comes with all sorts of benefits. These include a $200 annual Uber credit, a $100 annual Saks credit, and $200 each calendar year in airline reimbusements for incidental fees (limited to a single airline that you designate). You'll also get a Global Entry credit for the primary card member and as many as three additional card members (you can add three additional card members for $150 total). In addition, you'll get access to Delta lounges and Amex’s own new Centurion lounges that are already in Hong Kong, Dallas, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami and La Guardia. We find that Amex points can have a value as high as 3 cents per point, but that is only if you transfer these points to Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer program. Those inclined to make that transfer can extract as much as $4,500 from a 150,000 point sign up bonus (see this article on great Krisflyer redemptions). Unfortunately, card members looking at other redemptions are likely to find Amex points less valuable, perhaps much less valuable.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred cardgives you 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. However, your usage of the card will deliver more points more quickly as the card delivers 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants and travel. The card also carries a $95 annual fee.

While the card itself gives fewer benefits that the Amex card, one important feature is that it provides primary insurance coverage on rental cars (something that no Amex card does any longer). It also has great customer service and no foreign transaction fees. However, the real shining benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card when compared to the Platinum card or even to Citibank’s ThankYou cards is that Chase points offer more transfer opportunity that are more valuable than any other credit card. In addition to Singapore which is also a 1-to-1 transfer partner of Amex and Citi, Chase points can be transferred to United, Hyatt, British Airways and Amtrak at a 1-to-1 rate. The wealth of valuable transfer partners leads BestCashCow to put a value of Chase points as high as 3.4 cents per point (versus only 3 cents on Amex and Citibank points assuming they are transferred to Singapore only). In turn, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card figure prominently on point our lists of the best cards for the sign up bonus and the best cards for continual spend.

These days many flip or churn credit cards in order to get multiple sign up bonuses. Neither of these cards is particularly good for flipping. Amex’s rules prohibit card applicants from getting a sign up bonus a second time on the same product (their rules are slightly more lax for business cards). Chase now rejects all Sapphire Preferred applicants who have applied for more than 5 credit cards in the prior 24 months regardless of their credit scores. Therefore, people should view either of these credit cards as a core card to use for many years, and not one to be flipped or churned.

Ideally, we think it is best to get both cards, but if you can only get one, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the one to choose.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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