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American Express® Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Which of these two solid travel rewards cards should you apply for?
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The American Express® Gold Card has a higher $250 annual fee than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s $95 annual fee. However, this cost is offset by the Amex card’s annual travel statement credits. You’ll also earn 3x to 4x points in bonus categories, compared to the Chase card’s 2x points on travel and dining. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns the higher welcome offer, along with no spending cap on accelerated categories. Here’s a closer breakdown.
Which card should you choose?
American Express® Gold Card
- Earn 4x points at restaurants. You'll also earn 4x points at US supermarkets up to 25,000 per calendar year. Earn 1x points after that and on everything else.
- A solid 35,000-point welcome offer after you spend $4,000 within your first 3 months of account opening.
- Get a great selection of travel benefits and credits, including a monthly $10 dining credit and $100 airline fee credit.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Signup bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months when you open your account. That's $750 in value when redeemed for travel purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Earn reward points. Every time you use your card toward travel and dining purchases, you earn 2x points. All other purchases earn 1x points.
- Point transfer. You can transfer your points in 1:1 ratio with Chase's hotel and airline partners, including British Airways, Air France KLM, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, IHG, Marriott and World of Hyatt.
American Express® Gold Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card breakdown
Here’s how the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stack up in terms of their mainline features.
Best signup bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
In terms of sheer numbers, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card wins out here. You get a little less than double what the American Express® Gold Card offers while spending the same amount required of the Gold. Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards are fairly comparable in terms of value, so what you see is what you get between the two cards.
Best rewards: American Express® Gold Card
Amex sports the higher-earning rates between the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, albeit up to a spending cap. You’ll earn an unlimited 3x points on directly booked flights, an unlimited 4x points at restaurants, and 4x points at supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually. After that, you’ll earn 1x points, and you earn 1x points on all other categories. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns less in its categories at 2x points on travel and dining, and 5x points on the limited time Lyft category.
At first glance, it looks like the annual purchase cap might put a hamper on the earning potential of the American Express® Gold Card. But the earning cap only applies to supermarket purchases, leaving most families with more than enough room to maximize their earnings without running into the spending ceiling.
Note that for simplicity’s sake, we have not taken into account the recent additions to the rewards of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in response to the pandemic. For what its worth, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gained 3x points on gas, 5x points on select streaming services, 5x points on DoorDash and Tock services, and 3x points on deliver and pickup through Instacart through September 30, 2020. The American Express® Gold Card received no comparable additions.
Best annual fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card features a lower annual fee at $95. The American Express® Gold Card‘s annual fee is more than double that at $250. This puts the American Express® Gold Card as closer to an “upper mid-tier” card rather than a true mid-tier card. A card in Amex’s lineup closer to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in this regard is the American Express® Green Card.
Feature-wise, the American Express® Gold Card‘s higher annual fee does bring a few additional features to the table compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Best perks and features: American Express® Gold Card
Both the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer a smattering of travel perks, such as baggage insurance and car rental insurance, as well as access to shopping programs that can net you bonus points on select purchases. Both cards also allow you to transfer points to other to travel partners, resulting in a big boost to overall point value.
The larger annual fee on the American Express® Gold Card does however allow Amex to offer a few additional perks, such as access to The Hotel Collection perks, annual statement credits for travel and dining, and assorted ShopRunner perks.
The winner: American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card is the winner as it offers higher earning rates, statement credits and additional perks. But consider each card’s membership programs as well. How you feel about the Amex Membership Rewards program or Chase Ultimate Rewards program will likely play a larger role in which card you decide to choose.
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