Credit Cards

Amex Just Made the Chase Sapphire Reserve Much More Appealing

Written by Charlie

The battle between the American Express Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve just took an interesting turn, one that put Chase in the lead. And they have Amex to thank for this…

The war has been heating up the last few years in the premium credit card space. Just about every big issuer has their own $400-$700 credit card that offers upgraded perks and benefits to their cardholders, especially for travel. Due to Covid, issuers had to rethink some of those benefits last year and now we have the first, big move from a company on their premium card in the wake of that – the American Express Platinum.

Read: American Express Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve [2020]

How Amex Helped Out Chase

When it comes to transferrable points in the travel world, the two most popular are American Express’ Membership Reward points and Chase Ultimate Reward points. Both have strong transfer partners and ways to really stretch the value of the points to high levels, particularly when it comes to premium award travel and luxury hotel redemptions.

Enter the Awesome Chase Sapphire Reserve

The American Express Platinum kind of had its own category for years until the Chase Sapphire Reserve dropped exploded on the scene a few years ago.

With a hefty 100,000 Ultimate Reward points, a $300 travel credit each calendar year (at the time) and other perks like unlimited Priority Pass lounge guests (now capped), it was such a bargain at a $450 annual fee that even non-travelers jumped at it. I mean, why not? The points could be redeemed out for a $1,000 statement credit so non-travelers would profit $550 right off the bat and then still get $600 in travel credits the first cardmember year – even good for tolls, car rentals, and much more!

The American Express Platinum travel reimbursement credit of $200 per calendar year is more difficult to take advantage of since you have to designate the airline you want to use it on and it publicly does not work on things like airline tickets. With the Membership Reward points, if you transfer them to a domestic airline (like Delta), you need to pay an Excise Tax which costs $.0006 per points (up to a maximum of $99 per transfer). No such thing with Ultimate Rewards!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Evens Out

Over the years, Chase reduced some of the awesomeness on the Chase Sapphire Reserve by capping the number of guests you can bring into a Priority Pass lounge. Also, they no longer gave bonus points on the spending that was reimbursed as part of the travel credit (in other words, if you spent $300, you would get that reimbursed but would not get the 900 Ultimate Reward points for that spending). Speaking of travel credit, they also changed it to a cardmember year instead of calendar year.

All three of those things are actually quite reasonable considering that it was a little ridiculous to have unlimited guests – and some people really were taking advantage of this. But, still, it took away some of the initial shine from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

So, How is Amex Helping the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Last year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve was supposed to go up to $550 per year from $450 but they delayed that a bit and even gave $100 credits to those who had the fee already assessed. So, that was a big jump but still many hung on (myself included).

But, the American Express Platinum is now going to $695 per year and trying to justify it with perks that will not help a majority of its customers, particularly those not in large cities.

The Platinum card now will cost $145 more per year than the Sapphire Reserve – and where it may have been close to a tie before 2020 with it coming down to transfer program preference, this kind of annual fee differential clearly puts the spotlight back on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The CSR is a strong card that has a lot to offer people that travel and even those that do not just yet – especially when they started letting people use their Ultimate Reward points as a Pay Yourself Back option for groceries, dining, and hardware store purchases – a redemption value of 1.5 cents per point!

Bottom Line

Chase could literally just run a commercial right now with a side-by-side comparison of the American Express Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve and just put in bold that it costs people $145 more per year to hold the American Express Platinum than the CSR.

Of course, there are still nuances in play like if you have 3 or more additional cardholders – the Platinum is better. Or if you want to take advantage of transfer bonuses that come up every now and again – again, the Platinum has this more often. There is also the consideration of things like Amex Offers which are often much more lucrative than Chase Offers.

But, the headline items show that the Chase Sapphire Reserve became an overnight leader agains the Amex Platinum, all thanks to American Express knocking its own premier card out. Kind of like scoring a goal for the other team…

What do you think about the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs the American Express Platinum – Now?

Oh, and Chase (because I know you will read this!), PLEASE DON’T RUIN THE SAPPHIRE RESERVE!!! 🙂

Chase Sapphire Preferred – 100,000 Point Bonus Offer, worth $1,250 for Groceries, Dining , Travel & More!

The popular Chase Sapphire Preferred card is having a special bonus offer – 100,000 points! This makes this offer worth at least $1,250 in travel, groceries, dining, or home improvement!

  • Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months
  • Transfer the points to popular airlines and hotels for maximum value!
  • Use the points with Pay Yourself Back feature to pay for groceries, home improvement, and dining purchases
  • Earn 2x points on all travel and dining!
  • Annual fee of $95
  • Application Link (this is an affiliate link that supports the site)
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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

14 Comments

  • This year I’ve saved 485.00 just on Amex offers and have saved 45.00 with chase offers …just saying

  • Also I referred someone to my card ( it was the gold Amex ) but got 4x on Home Depot and I put 21,000 on it to earn 105,000 Amex points ….chase didn’t offer me anything for referring ……105,000 is a rtw in business class on ANA …..many still love chase mostly for Hyatt …..I love me some Amex

    So between post above where I saved440.00 more dollars thur offers and earned 105,000 for referrals and bonus spend on referrals……AMEX is clear winner

  • Then Amex offered me 30,000 Amex points with no spend needed to kept the card ……while chase offered nothing so I downgraded my chase reserve to chase sapphire…….. just another exsample how Amex treats you better then chase

    • I agree (and mentioned) about Amex Offers being better than Chase Offers and having referrals for the Platinum and not for the Reserve is a big deal also. But, neither one of those things is exclusive to the Platinum. I no longer have the Platinum and get over 100K in referrals each year from other cards and also get awesome Amex Offers where I save a ton of money (though not as much as before when you could save it to multiple cards) on cards with much lower/no annual fee. This is why I still give the edge to Chase with the newly increased Amex fee.
      All that being said, I did say there are the finer details where some will continue to find more value with the Platinum and I am very happy that you are one of them! Good for you!

  • Amex treats its customers better and gives way more. Amex Offers for one vs Chase offers. the $30/month in paypal credit this year was another big one. Chase has offered nothing extra.

    • I had mentioned the Chase offers vs Amex Offers but, as I said to CJ, this is not exclusive to the Platinum. If even larger offers were on that card and not available anywhere else, that would be different. But, many are available even on the no-fee MR cards.
      You are right on the $30 PayPal credit – that was a good one!

  • @CJ He’s comparing the CSR and the Platinum. He didn’t mentioned anything about the lower tier card. I’ve had my Plat for over 5 years and is reconsidering either downgrading it or cancel it altogether. It really feel like a coupon book to me where I have to chase down each credit every month to get the full potential of my hard earned money.

  • AMEX wins by a HUGE margin. Sure, the airline credits aren’t as convenient but $200 airline + $200 AMEX hotel + $240 streaming + $100 Saks + $200 Uber is a no brainer vs Chase, at least for me personally.

    • Really glad you get consistent value from it! I know a lot of people do not, especially with things like the Saks (forums are fun to read just before it expires when people are trying to figure out what to buy!) and the airline credit. I used to get great value from that but the airline I would choose is the one I actually fly and I have elite status with that alliance so things like lounge access, seat assignment, baggage fees, change fees, etc do not apply to me. So that requires finding ways to use it and that doesn’t relate to the actual value then.
      But, that is me. We are all different with our card uses and I am actually very glad to see people getting value from Amex, even with the new fee.

    • Just got to say that way you lay that out looks nice, but it’s very deceiving. The airline credit is tough to do, you get to pick one airline and if you’re not in a hub city, you’ll never touch it. 240 streaming is on crap most people don’t want to stream. If the streaming was a category bonus instead of on unpopular services, it would be good. I’ve had Platinum for 3 years, never used my Saks credit. I do use the Uber credits. Lastly, not one you mentioned, but the majority of people do not have an Equinox near them. Even if there is one, would you drive across Boston to get to the gym in rush hour instead of the one down the street? I doubt it.

  • For the record, I have and will keep both cards. But for people who fly a ton, Amex wins by a long shot. Amex has better and more transfer partners (winning w/ Aeroplan, ANA, Avianca, Cathay… while Chase’s only unique value is probably Hyatt). 5x points on flights is a significantly more valuable rebate than 3x. For lounges, Amex wins easily with Centurion lounges + SkyKlub + PP (minus restaurants). Amex offers are better than Chase offers. And Amex offers significant discounts on paid business class travel with its IAP that easily justify the annual fee with a few purchases per year. If you’re bougie and live in a city and can actually take advantage of Equinox and Saks credits, that’s just gravy. Chase is worth keeping for places that don’t take Amex and for primary rental car coverage, otherwise Amex Trifecta all the way…

  • I canceled my platinum awhile back – wouldn’t dream of paying $695! And I’m considering downgrading my csr to a preferred or maybe cancel and just use my husband’s preferred. Actually the fact that my husband canceled his preferred a few years ago worked out well since he just got it again with the 100,000 bonus. I’ve canceled or downgraded a lot of cards with fees during the pandemic, and it’s been kind of liberating.

  • I have to respect Chase for being remarkably consistent with their Reserve card. They are also very transparent and the gap between expert and novice is not that huge – everyone can get great value. But AMEX is ever enticing, alluring, and will surprise – you never know when the next set of credits or special offers will enter the fray. With AMEX one has to budget out their card member year and then expect delightful surprises to come along the way.

  • As a CSR holder for several years, this card has been way more valuable for me than Amex Plat will ever be. The $300 travel credit from the CSR is by far the easiest redemption credit someone can get. The DoorDash and Peloton credits are pretty good and get good use out of them. Not too mention the UR portal and pay me back offer have been great too. Even since the CSR increased the AF fee to $550 it still makes sense to me. Personally, I think the Amex plat has evolved into the worst luxury card IMO. The increase to $695 and added “life style benefits” is not going to be worth it for most consumers. Equinox membership credit will be good for maybe 5% of cardholders, Entertainment credits you can only use on 4 restricted services is a classic Amex move, not too mention their airline credit is a pain compared to the travel credit from the CSR. If Chase changed the point multiplier for dining and travel to 5x they would easily steal a bunch of Amex customers. We’ll see how they want to handle this opportunity.

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