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Chase Sapphire Reserve Card vs. Amex Gold Card [Detailed Comparison]

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Christine Krzyszton

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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If you’ve searched for a travel rewards card, chances are you’ve considered both Chase and American Express cards. Both issuers are known for providing cards that earn valuable rewards you can redeem for travel and benefits that save money or make travel more enjoyable.

Today we’re highlighting a pair of popular travel rewards cards issued by these financial institutions, either of which could contend for a place in your wallet.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the American Express® Gold Card earn valuable rewards, offer good value at redemption time, and have travel and shopping benefits that add even more value.

While on the surface it may seem that both cards would serve you equally well, the cards do have their differences.

To find out which card is a better fit, we’ll look closely at how rewards are earned on each card. We’ll also check out the differences in redemption options to see which card provides benefits that save you travel dollars or add some comfort to your journey.

So let’s begin our overview of these 2 desirable travel rewards cards and find out which one offers an appropriate package match for you.

The Value of a Welcome Bonus

Card issuers frequently offer incentives to apply for their cards. These welcome bonuses can usually be earned by meeting minimum spending requirements within the first few months after you are approved for the card.

Welcome bonuses change periodically, so you’ll want to check out the most recent offers before applying for any card.

Here’s a snapshot of what welcome bonuses could be worth on our featured cards:

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros

  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked through Chase TravelSM
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can be redeemed for travel for 1.5 cents each. Using this valuation, a 50,000-point welcome bonus could be worth $750 in travel when redeemed on the Chase travel portal.

Ultimate Rewards points can also be transferred to Chase airline and hotel partners where you may be able to receive even more value for your points.

Amex Gold Card

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Membership Rewards points earned on the Amex Gold card can be redeemed for flights via AmexTravel.com for 1 cent each. For this reason, we’ll value a 60,000-point welcome bonus at a minimum of $600.

Since Membership Rewards points can also be transferred to the Amex transfer partners for potentially increased value, the welcome bonus could offer more than $600 in value. This is why we value Amex points at way more than 1 cent each.

Membership Rewards Points vs. Ultimate Rewards Points

British Airways Boeing 747-400
Earn rewards on all of your purchases and redeem them for travel you might not experience otherwise. Image Credit: British Airways

Comparing Earning Potential

Both featured cards earn points for every dollar spent and each has bonus-earning categories that earn multiple points per dollar spent on either card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points and the Amex Gold card earns Membership Rewards points. Both points currencies are very valuable due to their flexibility at redemption time.

We’ll talk about redemption options next, but first, let’s look at the earning power of each of these cards. Pay particular attention to how each card matches up with your spending patterns.

SCROLL FOR MORE
CardEarnings
Chase Sapphire Reserve card
  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and Chase Dining booked through Chase Travel and Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on airfare booked through Chase’s travel portal
  • 3x points on travel and on dining worldwide
  • 1x points on all other purchases
Amex Gold card
  • 4x points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (limit of $25,000 in purchases calendar year at supermarkets, then 1 point per dollar spent)
  • 3x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline or on AmexTravel.com
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Terms apply

If you spend a lot on travel, you’ll appreciate the 3x earnings on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The travel bonus category is defined quite broadly and includes more than just airline tickets and hotels. You’ll find that purchases made at car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel websites, parking garages, campgrounds, and many more count for the 3x bonus earning category.

The Amex Gold card delivers 3x earnings on airfare, but tickets must be purchased directly from the airline or AmexTravel.com. The card excels at earning in more everyday purchase categories, as supermarket and restaurant purchases receive 4x earnings. Supermarket earnings have a maximum of up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; earning 1x thereafter.

If you’re spending a lot on general travel, you’ll earn more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If your spending is focused more on supermarkets and dining out, the 4x earnings on the Amex Gold card could be a better match for you.

Learn how to accelerate your earnings on either card with our take on the best ways to earn lots of Ultimate Rewards points and lots of Membership Rewards points.

Bottom Line: The best rewards earning card for your situation will depend on your spending profile. If general travel and dining are your largest expenses, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will be the better card. If your spending is more in everyday categories such as supermarkets (and dining), the Amex Gold card will earn more and still offer you nice travel redemption options. 

Comparing Redemption Options

Regardless of how you earn your rewards, you’ll have several desirable redemption options with either card:

SCROLL FOR MORE
CardBest Redemption OptionsAdditional Redemption Options
Chase Sapphire Reserve card
  • Transfer to airline and hotel partners
  • Redeem for travel at 1.5 cents per point on the Chase travel portal
Statement credits, Chase experiences, gift cards, shopping on Amazon, and with Apple
Amex Gold card
  • Transfer to airline and hotel partners
  • Redeem for 1 cent per point for flights on AmexTravel.com
  • Terms apply
  • Book travel through AmexTravel.com, statement credits, gift cards, airline upgrades, shopping with partners such as Amazon and Uber
  • Terms apply
Transferring points earned on either card has the potential to earn the most value for your rewards.
We’ll walk you through the best ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points or your Membership Rewards points with our guides for maximizing redemption value.

Airport Lounge Access

Plaza Premium First Lounge Hong Kong - Primo Dining
Enjoy an escape to a Priority Pass lounge during your travels with complimentary membership that comes with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, being one of the best premium credit cards, comes with some extraordinary travel benefits. One such benefit is worldwide airport lounge access to over 1,400 lounge properties.

The complimentary Priority Pass Select membership allows complimentary access for the cardholder plus up to 2 guests. Additional guests can gain access for $35 per person, per visit.

We find this one of the key benefits of having the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, as Priority Pass membership generally costs $469 for an annual pass. Also, unlike the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the card, the annual purchased membership does not include complimentary guest access.

Amex Gold Card

The Amex Gold Card does not come with any airport lounge access membership.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with complimentary worldwide airport lounge access for the cardholder and 2 guests. This Priority Pass Select membership, which grants access to over 1,400 properties, can be valued at a minimum of $469 (the cost of purchasing a single annual membership). The Amex Gold card does not offer any lounge access. 

Hotel Program Benefits

Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Amalfi Coast
Receive special benefits with hotel partner programs when you book stays with your eligible card. Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Amalfi Coast. Image Credit: Luxury Hotels & Resorts

Receiving perks during your hotel stay is always a welcome experience. Both cards have teamed up with hotel program partners to deliver complimentary benefits when you book with your eligible card.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect:

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with several hotel program benefits that will make you feel like a VIP.

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

You’ll have over 1,000 worldwide properties to choose from in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. To receive benefits, just use your card to book your stay directly with the program. There’s no minimum number of required nights for these benefits:

  • A special welcome amenity that is unique to the property: examples include a complimentary airport transfer, a complimentary lunch or dinner, or even a spa treatment
  • Receive daily breakfast for 2
  • Early check-in and late checkout, when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Relais & Chateaux

Receive VIP treatment, a welcome gift, and complimentary breakfast at each participating Relais & Chateaux property worldwide.

Ennismore Hotels Program

sbe Hotels sample booking
Get the fourth night free plus other hotel perks at Ennismore hotels using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Image Credit: Ennismore

Receiving hotel perks at Ennismore hotels is as simple as selecting an eligible property, using your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to book, and enjoying these benefits:

  • Receive your fourth hotel night free when you book 4 consecutive hotel nights (even suites)
  • $30 food and beverage credit per stay
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for 2
  • Free Wi-Fi for as many devices as needed
  • Room upgrade and late checkout, when available

Amex Gold Card

Amex Gold Card members receive several hotel program benefits including guest privileges at The Hotel Collection and the lowest rate guarantee.

The Hotel Collection

Urban Garden Hotel, Rome, The Hotel Collection
Receive $100 per stay plus room upgrades and more with The Hotel Collection. Urban Garden Hotel, Rome. Image Credit: The Hotel Collection

Amex Gold cardmembers enjoy privileged benefits at American Express Hotel Collection properties. Pay for your 2-night stay, or longer, with your Amex Gold card and receive the following benefits:

  • $100 credit per stay that can be used for on-site amenities such as spa services, dining, and more (limit of 1 credit per room, per stay, but you can book up to 3 rooms and receive the credit for each room)
  • Room upgrade, when available
  • Pay with points for prepaid bookings or pay with your card and receive 2x earnings
  • Terms apply

Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee

Book your hotel room on AmexTravel.com using your Amex Gold card, and if you find an identical room for less, before taxes and fees, you could receive a refund for the difference.

Bottom Line: If you like booking independent and boutique hotels, either card will meet those desires as both provide elite-type perks with their partner hotel programs. Note that when booking through these programs, however, you may not receive elite status benefits, as many hotel loyalty programs exclude benefits when booking through a third party versus directly through the hotel chain.

Rental Car Program Benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • Discounts and benefits with Avis and Audi on demand
  • Emerald Club Executive Elite status with National Car Rental

Amex Gold Card

The Amex Gold card offers member discounts and benefits with most major car rental companies, such as NationalAvis, and Alamo.

You can review car rental benefits and discounts by logging into your account online and selecting the Benefits section.

Rideshare, Food Delivery, and Grocery Delivery Benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Cardholders are eligible for a free 12-month Instacart+ membership plus a $15 monthly credit. This benefit must be activated by July 31, 2024.

It also comes with a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership with a $5 monthly credit (activate by December 31, 2024).

Lastly, this card earns 10x points on Lyft purchases through March 31, 2025.

Amex Gold Card

The Amex Gold card comes with $10 Uber Cash per month (up to $120 annually).

The card also has a monthly dining credit of up to $10 that can be used on purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations.

Just charge your order to your Amex Gold card and up to $10 will be automatically refunded as a statement credit.

Statement Credits

Statement credits provide direct value in return for making a specific purchase.

Here are the statement credits offered by the 2 cards we’re focusing on today.

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CardStatement Credits
Chase Sapphire Reserve card
Amex Gold card
  • Up to $10 monthly dining credit with Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations (up to $120 per year). Enrollment required.
  • Up to $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account (up to $120 per year)

The shining star of this comparison is the $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. This benefit is easy to use and directly offsets some of the card’s higher annual fee.

Travel Benefits and Protections

While earning and redeeming rewards may be the prime motivation for selecting a specific card, travel benefits and protections can provide significant economic benefits when you need them.

Here are the travel benefits and protections offered by our featured cards:

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Travel Benefit/ProtectionChase Sapphire Reserve CardAmex Gold Card
Car Rental Insurance CoveragePrimary rental car insurance
Secondary rental car insurance with the ability to purchase primary rental car insurance through Amex
Trip Interruption/Cancellation/DelayReceive up to $10,000 per person, per trip, up to $10,000 per incident, trip delays over 6 hours, up to $500 in coverage per trip
If your trip is delayed more than 12 hours for a covered loss, you could receive up to $300 for reasonable additional expenses
Baggage Insurance
  • Up to $3,000 per person, per trip for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage (checked or carry-on)
  • Up to $500 in coverage for delayed baggage over 6 hours
Pay for your common carrier ticket with your card and receive coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage up to $1,250 for carry-on and $500 for checked
Emergency Medical and DentalUp to $2,500 in coverage for emergency medical and dental, up to $75 for 5 days at a prescribed hotelNone
Roadside Assistance4 free service calls per year, up to $50 eachNone
Emergency EvacuationUp to $100,000None
Concierge Service24/7 included24/7 included
Emergency Travel AssistanceTravel and Emergency Assistance Services hotline
Global Assist Hotline
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers primary rental car insurance versus the Amex Gold card’s secondary coverage. But a simple inexpensive purchase of Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection gives you the same primary car rental insurance on the Amex Gold card. Coverage ranges from $12.25 to $24.95 and covers you for the entire rental period.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is loaded with valuable travel benefits. With primary rental car insurance, trip interruption/cancellation/delay coverage, roadside assistance, emergency evacuation, and emergency medical coverage, the card is a better choice for travel benefits and protections over the Amex Gold card.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

While you wouldn’t select a travel rewards card for the shopping benefits and protections, there’s value in knowing what each card offers.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a few shopping benefits and protections:

  • Extended Warranty — On manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less, the warranty is extended by 1 year
  • Purchase Protection — Eligible items are covered for 120 days from the purchase date, up to $10,000 per item, for damage, theft, and “involuntary and accidental parting” (up to $50,000 per calendar year)
  • Return Protection — Items not accepted for return by the selling merchant are covered for 90 days from the date of purchase, up to $500 per item

The Amex Gold card comes with the following shopping benefits:

  • American Express Auto Purchasing Program — Receive up to thousands of dollars off the purchase price of your new vehicle, plus be able to charge at least $2,000 on your Amex Gold card
  • ShopRunner Membership — Receive free 2-day shipping and returns at hundreds of participating retailers via Shoprunner

Annual Fees and Adding Additional Users

Annual Fees

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a fee that is significantly higher than the Amex Gold card at $550 compared to $250, it also comes with more usable benefits including worldwide lounge access and the $300 travel statement credit which more than make up for the annual fee difference.

Adding Additional Users

You can add authorized users to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card at $75 each. While this may seem expensive, keep in mind that authorized users receive many of the benefits as the primary cardholder. These benefits include Priority Pass Select membership, trip interruption/cancellation/delay insurance, and car rental insurance. However, authorized users do not receive their own $300 travel credit.

There is no additional annual fee for adding up to 5 authorized users to the Amex Gold card. The sixth card and beyond will cost $35 per year.

Final Thoughts

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a premium credit card with plenty of earning power, flexible redemption options, and a long list of benefits, the Amex Gold card presents a respectable alternative with a much lower annual fee.

If you value worldwide lounge access, spend a lot on travel in general, and want to redeem your rewards for travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is an excellent choice.

The Amex Gold card provides a balance between being an everyday spending card and a travel rewards card. If your spending is focused on groceries and dining out, the card allows you to earn plenty of rewards on those purchases. However, you can also earn multiple times rewards on flight purchases. You can also redeem your points for travel.

You can’t go wrong with either card when your biggest spending matches the card’s specific bonus categories and your travel goals can be realized with the redemption options available.

You’ll also want to evaluate which statement credits, benefits, and protections you’ll take advantage of to determine which card provides greater bottom-line value to you.

For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car rental loss or damage coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. For the trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip delay insurance benefits of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. For the baggage insurance plan benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the extended warranty and purchase protection benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the Global Assist Hotline benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Which card is better, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Amex Gold card?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a higher annual fee than the Amex Gold card, so the better card for you will be the one where you earn the most rewards, receive benefits that offset the annual fee, and are able to redeem rewards for your preferred travel.

The Amex Gold card will reward your supermarket, dining, and spending for flights while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card focuses earnings more on rewarding general travel purchases. The better card for earning will be the one that matches your spending habits.

Each card earns different rewards currencies as well. The Amex Gold card earns Membership Rewards, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards. Fortunately, both currencies can be transferred to airline and hotel partners where you have the potential for excellent value.

Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for flights on AmexTravel.com, while Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents per point for travel.

When it comes to travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a better collection of benefits, including primary car rental insurance and trip interruption/cancellation coverage. However, it does have a higher annual fee.

How does a statement credit work?

When you make a qualifying purchase using your card, you will receive a statement credit. Statement credits show up on your monthly bill just like a payment would, but as a credit on your account.

For example, if your card comes with a $300 travel statement credit, once you have used your card for a qualifying purchase (like an airline ticket) you’ll receive a credit for the same amount. If the purchase was $179, you will receive an offsetting credit for that exact amount. Each subsequent travel purchase will continue to trigger a statement credit until the $300 limit is exhausted.

Some credits are valid for a calendar year and some for a card anniversary year. Once the applicable time frame has expired, a new credit will be available.

How does Priority Pass membership work?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Membership allows access to over 1,300 Priority Pass airport lounge properties throughout the world, plus dining credits at select airport restaurants and access to Minute Suites.

A Priority Pass membership would normally cost $429 per year for a single membership that does not include guest access. The Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card includes access for the cardholder and up to 2 guests.

You must register for the Priority Pass Select membership when you receive your new Chase Sapphire Reserve card, as the credit card cannot be used to access the lounges. To do this, just access your online Chase card account and register under Benefits. You will then be given a digital Priority Pass membership card and mailed one to use for access.

Does the Amex Gold card have lounge access?

No, the Amex Gold card does not provide any lounge access membership. The Platinum Card® from American Express, however, does offer excellent worldwide lounge access membership to several lounge networks.

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About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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