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.
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).
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!
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)