The Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Most frequent travelers appreciate the value of a premium travel rewards credit card. Having the ability to relax in the airport lounge, receive an upgraded hotel room, and earn travel rewards make the value of having such a card quite clear.

Two of the best premium travel rewards credit cards available are The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both cards are loaded with travel benefits and earn flexible points that, when redeemed for travel, deliver good value.

If you dig a little deeper, you’ll likely find that one of these cards is a better fit for your travel preferences and spending patterns. Both cards are equally impressive premium travel rewards cards, so how do you decide?

Let’s take a look at both cards comparing benefits and earning power. These comparisons will help paint a clearer picture of which card may be a better fit for you.

Welcome Bonuses

While welcome bonuses change periodically, they are a large factor when selecting which card to apply for.

Here’s a snapshot of current bonuses for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum Card.

While welcome bonuses are only one element in the cards’ offerings, looking at the long-term value, in addition to the welcome bonus, allows you to pick a card that’s going to work best for you beyond the first year.

Hot Tip: While the 100,000 point welcome bonus offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve is long gone, it’s still possible to find a 100,000 point bonus on the Amex Platinum Card.

Priority Pass Lounge banner
Enjoy complimentary Priority Pass lounge access with the Amex Platinum Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Image Credit:

Lounge Access

One of the benefits of a premium travel rewards credit card is complimentary airport lounge access to lounges worldwide.

Without this benefit, it’s not unheard of to see rates of $50 per person for a day pass or $700 for an annual membership. Given that paid access to these lounges can be expensive, the value of complementary lounge access can be quite substantial.

Here’s a comparison of lounge access between the two cards:

The Amex Platinum Card

Lounge networks include:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Both cards provide complimentary access for the cardholder to all of the card’s associated lounges. Additionally, both cards also allow 2 additional guests, at no charge, to most lounges.

While the Sapphire Reserve® only offers access to Priority Pass lounges, the lounge network offers over 1200 locations worldwide. However, one drawback is that Priority Pass can limit access for guests, and even for cardholders, at certain peak times.

When it comes to complimentary lounge access, the Amex Platinum Card not only offers access to more than 1,200 lounges worldwide with Priority Pass, but to 6 additional lounge networks including the prestigious Centurion Lounges.

Bottom Line: With access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide across several lounge networks, including the exclusive Centurion Lounges, the Amex Platinum Card provides greater lounge access benefits than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. 

Marriott vacations
Enjoy upgraded rooms and more with hotel elite status. Image Credit:

Hotel and Rental Car Program Elite Benefits

Hotel Program Elite Status

If you frequently stay at hotels, you know the value of an upgraded hotel room, late check out, complimentary breakfast, and many of the other perks that come with hotel program elite status. Having this elite status benefit come complimentary with your credit card is significant if you stay often at the participating hotels.

The Amex Platinum Card

In addition to elite status with Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, the Amex Platinum Card also offers special benefits with American Express® Fine Hotels and Resorts that include:

  • Room upgrades
  • Daily breakfast for 2 guests
  • Late check-out/early check-in
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • A unique property amenity (such as a spa, or food and beverage credit) worth a minimum of $100

Additional hotel benefits are available when booking a least a 2-night stay at The Hotel Collection:

  • $100 room credit to spend on dining, spa, and resort activities
  • Upgraded room when available

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase partners with the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection to offer these benefits when booking directly through the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection at one of the over 900 properties worldwide.

  • Breakfast for 2
  • Late check-out/early check-in
  • Upgraded room when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Property amenity

Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive similar benefits at Relais & Chateaux properties as well.

Rental Car Program Benefits

The Amex Platinum Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Emerald Club Executive Club status with National Car Rental
  • Benefits and discounts with Avis®
  • Benefits and discounts with Silvercar by Audi

Bottom Line: The Amex Platinum Card comes out ahead by offering complimentary elite status with hotel partners. Cardholders receive Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. Rental car program benefits and elite status are similar on both credit cards. 

SWISS Air Lines First Class
Earn rewards on every travel purchase with a premium travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum Card. Image Credit:

Earning Power

The Amex Platinum Card clearly excels in providing airport lounge access and hotel program elite status. However, Platinum Card is challenged in earning power by the Chase Sapphire Reserve given you can earn more points in more ways with the Sapphire Reserve.

Earning CategoryPlatinum CardSapphire Reserve
Flights and Flight/Hotel Packages
  • 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 when purchased through Amex Travel or for flights purchased directly with the airlines
  • All other flights/travel 1 point per $1
  • 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1
  • 5 points per $1 sent on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • 2 points per $1 all other hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • All other hotel purchases 1 point per $1
  • 3 points per $1
Dining and Restaurants
  • 1 point per $1
  •  3 points per $1
All other travel expenses
  • 2 points per $1 for qualifying travel booked through Amex Travel
  • 1 point per $1
  • 3 points per $1
  • 10 points per $1 spent on Lyft purchases
All other purchases
  • 1 point per $1
  • 1 point per $1

Hot Tip: Cardholders will earn 5x earnings per dollar with Instacart, up to $3,000, through September 30, 2020. You’ll also earn 5x per dollar at Gas Stations, up to $1,500, through September 30, 2020. And 10x points per dollar on select streaming services, up to $1,500, through September 30, 2020.

The first difference that stands out is that you can only earn big on the Amex Platinum Card if you purchase flights directly through an airline or if you purchase flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel. With the Sapphire Reserve, you’re going to earn 3 points per dollar spent on all travel regardless of how you purchase.

Here’s a sample spending scenario:

  • $5,000 in flights purchased from an airline
  • $3,000 in non-prepaid hotels purchased directly through a hotel’s website
  • $2,000 in dining
  • $2,000 in other travel expenses

Based on this spending mix, you will have earned 32,000 Membership Rewards points with the Platinum Card and 36,000 Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This calculation is based on the assumption that flights were qualifying purchases earning 5 points per dollar with the Platinum Card.

If all hotel purchases were qualifying bookings (prepaid hotel purchases made through Amex Travel), you would earn 44,000 Membership Rewards points versus 36,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

One downside to note when booking hotels through Amex Travel, the hotel program elite status benefits do not apply.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, however, you’ll have the flexibility to make travel purchases from any provider. Plus, the broad definition of travel puts more of your purchases into the 3X bonus earning category. For example, purchases such as train tickets, car rentals, parking, tolls, ferries, and much more are included in the travel definition for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Additionally, Ultimate Rewards Points points can be earned on no-annual-fee credit cards such as the Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. Those points can then be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for greater travel redemption value.

Bottom Line: While both cards have good earning potential, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has the edge as more categories earn 3 points per dollar spent. Only prepaid hotels and flights purchased from Amex Travel and flights purchased from the airline receive elevated 5X earnings on the Amex Platinum Card. 

Membership Rewards Redemptions
You’ll have several options to redeem your points with either card. Image Credit: American Express

Redeeming Points

Fortunately, both cards offer good value when redeeming for travel, transferring points to travel partners, and offering additional redemption choices.

Redemption OptionThe Platinum Card®Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Redeem for travelRedeem for 1 cent per point on Amex TravelRedeem for 1.5 cents per point on Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
Transfer points to travel partners21 airline/hotel partners, most with a 1:1 transfer ratio, small fee applies to transfers13 airline/hotel partners, 1:1 transfer ratio
Other redemption options availableStatement credits, gift cards, Amazon, Uber, Ticketmaster, redeem with shopping partnersStatement credits, gift cards, Amazon, Apple, Chase experiences

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point results in a great value when redeeming for inexpensive flights via the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, and also when transferring to select airline partners for premium flights.

update: Starting May 31, 2020, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem their points at a rate of 1.5 cents per piece as a statement credit towards purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining establishments until September 30, 2020.

With 18 airline transfer partners, there are more options for premium-cabin award redemptions with the Platinum Card® versus the 9 airline transfer partners with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

When we look at hotel redemptions, transferring Ultimate Rewards Points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve to hotel partner Hyatt shines as a sweet spot. Free nights at Hyatt start at 5000 World of Hyatt points and with a 1:1 transfer ratio, you would need just 5000 Ultimate Rewards Points for a free Hyatt hotel night.

Bottom Line: With the wide variety of airline transfer partners, Membership Rewards points edge out Ultimate Rewards point for premium flight award redemptions. However, Ultimate Rewards can result in good value for inexpensive fares via Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

Annual Fees and Adding Additional Users

Note: Please see the tables above for the current fees and pricing information for these cards.

While the Platinum Card’s annual fee is higher, you can add more authorized users for a flat fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550, and authorized users can be added for $75 each.

Regardless of which card you select, if you can utilize the offered benefits, you’ll receive value far beyond the cost of either annual fee.

Bottom Line: Unless you want to add authorized users to your card, it’s a draw when it comes to annual fees. This is because the Platinum Card offers lounge access, hotel elite status, and global Wi-Fi to additional users. If these benefits will be utilized, the average cost per user becomes less than $182 per cardholder per year ($725 total for primary cardholder + 3 users). 

Amex Shopping
Statement credits can offset the cost of annual card fees. Image Credit: American Express

Statement and Shopping Credits

One of the card benefits that can directly offset the cost of a credit card’s annual fee is credits you receive after making specific purchases.

Amex Platinum Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

update: As of June 1, 2020, the $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit can also be applied towards purchases at gas stations and grocery stores until December 31, 2020.

If you spend money on checked baggage and other airline incidental fees, use Uber, or shop at Saks, you’ll find value with the Amex Platinum Card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit, however, is much easier to utilize because airline tickets, hotels, taxis, and more are considered travel purchases. Likewise, there’s a $60 DoorDash credit that can be used to cover food delivery from any DoorDash restaurant.

Bottom Line: When we compare statement/shopping credits, the Amex Platinum Card offers more total value. However, you must use all of the benefits to maximize the value. The $300 credit on travel purchases offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be much easier to utilize given Chase’s definition of travel is quite broad

Rideshare Benefits

The Amex Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum card includes up to $200 Uber credit, that’s split up into up to $15 increments each month (sans December which gets up to $35 credit). This is added to your Uber account as Uber Cash and can be used towards any Uber ride in the U.S.

Likewise, you’re automatically enrolled in Uber VIP when you add your Amex Platinum card to your Uber account. This gives you access to exclusive discounts and UberX VIP and Uber Black VIP rides. When you select this option, you’re only paired with the highest rated drivers in your city at no additional cost.

These benefits only apply to the card’s primary cardholder and not any authorized users.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase and Lyft recently partnered to give Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders various Lyft benefits.

The first is that Lyft purchases now earn 10 points per dollar spent when they’re charged to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card — this means that a $10 ride would earn a whopping 100 Ultimate Rewards points!

Likewise, the card also includes a free 1-year subscription to Lyft Pink for primary cardholders.

Lyft Pink is a subscription service that Lyft sells outright for $19.99 per month. This subscription service includes the following benefits:

  • 15% off car rides — enjoy 15% discounts on all Lyft rideshare rides, regardless of car type.
  • Priority airport pickups — priority pickup at participating airports.
  • Relaxed cancellations – no cancellation fees on 3 ride cancellations per month if you rebook within 15 minutes.
  • Surprise offers — special offers and other seasonal discounts.
  • Waived lost and found fees — no lost and found fees if you forget something in a Lyft  (and it’s returned to you).
  • Free bike and scooter rides – 3 free Lyft-operated bike and scooter rides in select markets (up to 30 minutes in length). You can view the list of eligible cities on Lyft’s website.

Like the UberVIP benefit on the Amex Platinum card, Lyft Pink is only offered to the primary cardholder.

Car rental agreement
Primary rental car coverage gives peace of mind when renting a vehicle. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Travel Protection and Insurance

It’s nice to experience luxury travel benefits, but occasionally, things do go wrong. When they do, you may turn to your premium travel rewards credit card for coverage and assistance.

BenefitPlatinum CardSapphire Reserve®
Car Rental Coverage
Premium Roadside Assistance
  • None (effective January, 2020)
  • 4 service calls per year, maximum benefit $50 each call
Emergency Medical and Dental
  • None
  • $2,500 Medical/Dental coverage ($50 deductible per day), $75 per day for prescribed hotel needed due to covered loss for up to 5 days
Trip Interruption
  • None
  • Up to $10,000 per trip per person/$20,000 per incident
Trip Delay
  • None
  • Up to $500 for trip delays more than 6 hours
Baggage Delay
  • None
  • Up to $100/day for up to 5 days for delays more than 6 hours 
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Luggage
  • Up to $3,000 for carry-on, $2,000 for checked
  • Up to $3,000 per person per trip checked or carry-on
Emergency Transportation/Evacuation
  • Included, no stated limit
  • $100,000

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is known for its comprehensive travel benefits including primary rental car coverage. The Amex Platinum Card just doesn’t measure up to the Chase Sapphire Reserve level of offerings when it comes to travel protection and insurance. 

Shopping Protections

When comparing shopping protections and benefits, both cards offer similar coverage:

  • Purchase Protection – Qualifying items are covered on both cards for damage up to 120 days from purchase date. Up to $10,000, maximum $50,000/year.
  • Extended Warranty – Both cards offer an additional year of manufacturer’s warranty protection. The Platinum Card offers an additional year on warranties 5 years or less, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an additional year on warranties 3 years or less.
  • Return Protection – Coverage provided on both cards for up to 90 days from purchase date. Coverage is $300 per item on the Platinum Card and coverage is $500 per item on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Bottom Line: One does not select a premium travel rewards credit card based solely on shopping related protections. It is good to know, however, that both cards offer similar shopping coverage

Food Delivery Benefits

Amex Platinum card

The Amex Platinum card does not include any food delivery benefits at this time.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card includes a $60 annual DoorDash statement credit, meaning that your first $60 in DoorDash purchases each calendar year are automatically reimbursed by Chase.

And to sweeten the deal, the card offers a free DoorDash DashPass subscription. This subscription is usually $9.99 monthly and includes free delivery and discounted service fees on select DoorDash orders over $12.

Additional Benefits Offered by Both Cards

You will find the following benefits offered on both the Platinum Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • No foreign transaction fees – Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee
  • VIP access to events – Chase Sapphire’s “Reserve Experiences” and the Platinum Card’s “By Invitation Only” benefits offer unique experiences available exclusively to cardholders
  • Member Concierge Services – Each card has its own concierge service to assist with travel planning, booking event/dining reservations, and arranging VIP access to special events

Final Thoughts

Both cards are designed for the frequent traveler but which card is best for you depends on which benefits you deem most important.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve focuses more on overall earnings, significant redemption values, and travel related protections/insurance.

The Amex Platinum Card has strengths that center on luxury travel benefits with elevated earnings narrowed to specific travel purchases. The card is not strong on overall trip benefits/protections.

Both cards offer the flexible option of transferring points to travel partners for the potential of even greater value for your points. There is no clear winner or loser here as both cards offer tremendous value for the right frequent traveler. The card that fits your spending patterns, benefit preferences, and has protections/insurances you can use will be the best choice.

The information regarding the  Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently asked questions

Which credit card is better, the Platinum Card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The best card for you will depend on your spending mix and your travel benefit preferences.

If you enjoy luxury travel benefits and spend a lot on flights and pre-paid hotels you will realize the most value with the Platinum Card®.

If you spend more on overall travel in general, in addition to hotels/flights, you may earn more rewards overall with the Sapphire Preferred.

This is because travel such as tours, cruises, train travel, taxis, and more are included in broad travel definition of the Sapphire Reserve. Dining purchases also receive 3X earnings.

The Sapphire Reserve also offers worldwide lounge access (to a lesser extent than the Platinum Card) and a very strong collection of travel protections/insurance.

Each card offers tremendous value for the right frequent traveler.

Which points are worth more for travel, Membership Rewards Points or Ultimate Rewards Points?

The value of your rewards points when redeemed for travel will depend on how the points are redeemed.

One option is to transfer your points to airline or hotel programs; both programs allow you to do this.

Value will vary based on the airline or hotel program. Membership Rewards has more transfer partners but Chase has partners like Hyatt that also provide excellent redemption value.

Membership Rewards Points can be redeemed for 1 cent per point towards travel with Amex Travel and Chase Ultimate Rewards Points receive 1.5 cents per point when redeemed for travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be worth more when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Membership Rewards may be worth more when redeemed with the right airline transfer partner.

Which credit card has the best airport lounge access?

The Amex Platinum Card offers lounge access to more properties and to higher-end lounges than the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Amex Platinum Card complimentary lounge access is offered to several lounge networks including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, Delta SkyClubs, Plaza Premium lounges, and more.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers lounge access to Priority Pass lounges only.

Which credit card has the best car rental insurance?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides primary car rental coverage while the Amex Platinum Card offers secondary coverage.

Secondary coverage means that you must first file a claim with your own auto insurance before coverage kicks in.

Additional terms and conditions apply but the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the better coverage.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. A small correction: the free WiFi is only available on the Amex BUSINESS Platinum card.


    • Hi Andrew. I think you may be referring to complimentary Gogo Inflight Internet passes which are available only on the American Express Business Platinum Card. The Platinum Card has a complimentary Boingo Wi-Fi Preferred plan that comes with the card, although this benefit is being discontinued for existing members December 31, 2019 and no longer available for new members.


  2. Have both American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred. Chase just offered a 9.9% APR on my one year anniversary. Still unsure which to drop.


  3. Can you compare both cards side by side in a table/graph. Would be super useful !


    • Hi Al. Great suggestion and feedback for a future article but I probably won’t be doing that for this particular article. It does include side-by-side tables for earnings, redemptions, and travel benefits. Thank you for reading and for your input.


  4. My company uses American Express Global Business to book all our flights. Does this count for the Platinum AMEX when they say ‘5 Membership Rewards points per $1 when purchased through Amex Travel or for flights purchased directly with the airlines’?


  5. David Johnson September 20, 2019

    I have the Amex Platinum already and am looking for an additional card with trip interruption, delay and baggage delay coverage that doesn’t cost as much as Sapphire Reserve. Any other cards to consider?


  6. Joey Hirsch October 1, 2019

    Hello Christine
    Great site. I have the Chase Card now…I exclusively fly American Airlines as they offer the best routes / planes to my destinations. Because of that, I previously had the Citi Bank Prestige CC because it allowed me access to the American lounges. Then, they cancelled that benefit. So, I need lounge access and Priority Pass doesn’t work for me as it’s always in international terminals. I mostly fly Though CLT, and second would be ORD. Which card do you recommend and would the Platinum card benefit me as I’m never on Delta Airline’s which I believe that I need to be to access that lounge? Will a lounge that I can use with the platinum card ever come to ORD or CLT?
    Thanks for your help and advice!

    I’m also Diamond with Hilton and I typically like to use 1 card for all purchases. I always book hotels, cars and airlines directly though American, Enterprise / Avis and Hilton, never though Kayak or a third party. I also use that same one card for fuel, meals and personal purchases and pay the card off each month.
    Thanks again…..


  7. Kuldeep Kumar December 2, 2019

    Hi, if I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card (mentioned in the article) with Priority Pass lounge access, can I also access the lounge for free if I’m traveling domestic only (no international ticket).



    • Hey Kuldeep, you can access Priority Pass lounges with a domestic or international ticket unless otherwise noted. Just note that some airports restrict international and domestic passengers to separate terminals — contact the lounge in question if you’re unsure of if you can access the terminal where the lounge is located. Thanks for reading!


  8. Morgan Cunningham January 6, 2020

    Small amendment on the Priority Pass benefits for Amex Platinum- I have noticed many lounges closing access to Amex cardholders but still allowing CSR customers. Additionally, Amex can’t be used at Priority Pass restaurants but Chase can.


  9. Timothy X May 4, 2020

    For National Car Rental, is the status for both cards actually Executive Elite? Or is it only Executive status?


    • Hi Timothy,

      Both cards offer Executive status, not Executive Elite. I’ve updated the post now so thank you for pointing that out!


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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