Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
The new Amex Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred are two of the most highly sought after travel rewards credit cards. For a while, the Sapphire Preferred had a leg up on the Gold Card but now that the Gold Card comes with a lot of additional perks, the comparison between these two credit cards is much different. Here’s a look at the Amex Gold Card vs the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule which means that you cannot get approved for it if you have opened up five or more accounts in the past 24 months. This means that you should normally pursue the Chase Sapphire Preferred first before going after the Gold Card.
There are additional application rules to consider like the 2/30 rule, 24 month rule, and current card holder rule. Meanwhile the Gold Card is only subject to the Amex once per lifetime rule.
By the way, if you need help understanding these rules and how they work be sure to check out the free app WalletFlo which automates your eligibility for all of these rules and helps you optimize your credit cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a 60,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. This is a fantastic sign-up bonus that has been offered steadily for a while now. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards can take you pretty far and you can transfer these points out to the following partners.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
- Iberia Airways
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotels
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
If you don’t want to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to these travel partners, you might want to utilize the Chase Travel Portal to book your travel. Unlike Amex, the Chase Travel Portal offers better redemption rates for your points as you’ll get 1.25 cents per point with your Chase Sapphire Preferred (and 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve).
This is a key difference for people who don’t like to bother with things like black out dates or with transferring points out to travel programs. If you don’t like to mess around with point transfers, the Sapphire Preferred offers more value when using your points for airfare and hotels.
Amex Gold Card
The standard Gold Card welcome bonus open to the public is for 35,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. This isn’t a horrible bonus but there are have been offers out there for 50,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $2,000.
Amex has arguably better transfer partners than Chase and you can move your Membership Rewards over to the following partners.
|Airline Program||Ratio (MR to airline)||Transfer wait time|
|Cathay Pacific||1:1||48 Hours|
|Iberia||1:1||24 to 72 hours|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||24 to 72 hours|
|Airline Program||Ratio (MR to airline)||Airline mile value (est.)||Expected Transfer Time|
|Aer Lingus||January 1, 1970||1.3||Instant|
|AeroMexico||January 1, 1970||1.2||24 Hours|
|Air Canada||January 1, 1970||1.4||Instant|
|Alitalia||January 1, 1970||1.4||Instant|
|ANA||January 1, 1970||1.4||48 Hours|
|Avianca||January 1, 1970||1.7||Instant|
|British Airways||January 1, 1970||1.3||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||January 1, 1970||1.2||48 Hours|
|Delta||January 1, 1970||1.2||Instant|
|El Al||February 9, 1900||Instant|
|Emirates||January 1, 1970||1.2||Instant|
|Etihad||January 1, 1970||1.4||Instant|
|Flying Blue||January 1, 1970||1.25||Instant|
|Hawaiian Airlines||January 1, 1970||1||Instant|
|Iberia||January 1, 1970||1.3||24 to 72 hours|
|Qantas||January 1, 1970||1||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines||January 1, 1970||1.3||24 to 48 hours|
|Virgin Atlantic||January 1, 1970||1.3||Instant|
Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 2X on dining
- 2X on travel
The Sapphire Preferred earns 2X on dining and travel which is pretty basic but still not bad, especially for travel. Keep in mind that the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X on dining and travel, so if you’re looking to maximize those bonus categories you might want to look to that card.
Amex Gold Card
- 3X on airfare
- 4X points at restaurants
- 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in spend per calendar year)
The Amex Gold Card is now a points-earning beast with 4X on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Earning 4X on these categories is going to allow a lot of people to rack up Membership Rewards much quicker than they would with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you value American Express points at 1.75 cents per point, that 4X rate comes out to 7% back on these purchases which is fantastic.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a $95 annual fee that is not waived the first year.
Amex Gold Card
The annual fee for the Amex Gold card is $250, which is pretty high and places the Amex Gold card between the $500+ premium cards and premier travel cards that come with $95 annual fees.
But this $250 annual fee can be knocked down by utilizing the credits that come with the Amex Gold Card, which includes the following:
- $100 airline credit
- $120 dining credit
- $10 monthly credit that can be used at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Shake Shack.
By maximizing those credits, you can get the annual fee down to an effective $30 which is fantastic. However, you need to remember that the dining credit is only $10 per month, so it might not be easy to use for everyone, especially if you don’t dine out at the select restaurants.
If you want, you can also use the app WalletFlo to keep track of all of your credits and annual fees.
Primary rental car coverage
The Sapphire Preferred comes with primary rental car coverage which means that you’ll usually be able to avoid filing a claim with your insurance company if you get into an accident.
The Amex Gold Card only offers secondary coverage for car rentals and so you’ll have to purchase coverage as part of a separate plan if you want primary rental car coverage.
The fact that the Sapphire Preferred has this benefit built in to it is huge and it could end up saving you a lot of money and headache depending on how often you rent cars. So if you’re a frequent traveler who is constantly driving around in rental card, you might want to give the Sapphire Preferred the nod here.
Travel and purchase protections
One of the shortcomings of the Amex Gold Card is that it does not come with the same travel protections that the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with. Instead, you’ll have to purchase those protections. Some of the protections you won’t get with the Amex Gold that you’ll get with the Sapphire Preferred include:
- Trip Interruption: If your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses,
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement: If delayed more than 6 hours, you are covered for essential expenses, such as toiletries and clothes for up to one hundred ($100.00) dollars per day for a maximum of five (5) days.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: If delayed more than 12 hours you are covered for expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket. (The Gold Card now offers this perk but only with coverage up to $300.)
Don’t underestimate the value of these benefits as they can save you money and make your life a lot easier if and when something unexpected happens. For example, it’s really frustrating and worrying when you arrive in a foreign country only to find out your bags have been lost. But being able to go on a little shopping spree when waiting for your bags to arrive really takes the sting out of that experience.
One area where Amex Gold Card is strong is in the purchase protections department. With the Gold Card you can get coverage up to $10,000 on purchases compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred which only offers coverage up to a maximum of $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. That’s a huge difference though the Sapphire Preferred offers coverage for up to 120 days from the date of purchase but the Gold Card only covers up to 90 days.
The Amex extended warranty can provide one extra year added to the original U.S. manufacturer’s warranty for coverage up to the original cost of the item or $10,000, whichever is less on warranties of five year or less. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers an extended warranty that extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by one additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less. So when it comes to extended warranties, Amex definitely has the edge.
Refer a friend
Both of these cards have referral programs where you can earn lots of points when your friends or family members are approved for cards when using your link to apply.
For example, with the Gold Card you can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards per referral and you can earn up to 55,000 Membership Rewards per year which is great. You can find out more about the Amex Refer a Friend policy here.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred referral allows you to earn 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per approval up to a maximum of 50,000 points per calendar year. You can read more about the Chase Refer a Friend here.
The Chase Shopping Portal allows you to earn extra points when shopping online at various retailers. This is a great way to cash in on extra points when making larger purchases or even everyday items.
Amex doesn’t have a shopping portal but they do have Amex Offers, which offers all sorts of different special and promotions at different stores. These allow you to earn extra points or save money and are a great way to put some money back into your wallet.
Both of these programs are nice and it’s hard to pick a winner. I feel that the Chase Shopping Portal is better for earning points when shopping while Amex Offers is better for saving money.
The best card for you is going to depend on your own spending habits, personal goals, and travel plans. For someone dropping a lot on supermarkets and dining, the Amex Gold Card is hard to pass up. For someone who wants great travel protections like primary rental car coverage and baggage delay reimbursement, the Sapphire Preferred could be the better option.
Ultimately, I think it’s definitely worth getting both of these cards for many people and that’s a route that a lot of people should consider taking, especially if they can utilize all of the travel credits of the Gold Card.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.