Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. American Express Platinum Card®: Which is best for you?

Perhaps you’ve reached a point in life where luxury is a priority during your travel experiences. You may find what you’re looking for with either the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the American Express Platinum Card®. Both offer luxury travel rewards plus the added benefit of peace of mind. What could be more satisfying?

These cards carry higher-than-average points and large bonus rewards once you meet the minimum purchase requirement. Like many travel rewards cards, these also offer certain credits to offset the annual fee, making your trips even more cost-effective.

At a glance comparison

Both of these cards are perfect for those who relish top-notch travel and accommodations but who insist on ample opportunity to earn serious travel rewards. Let’s see how they compare:

Amex PlatinumChase Sapphire Reserve
Annual Fee$550$550
Rewards Rates5X points on flights and prepaid hotels booked directly with airlines or with amextravel.com; 1X points for other purchases3X points on travel worldwide, immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit; 3X points on dining
Sign Up Bonus70,000 Membership Rewards® Points after making $5,000 in purchases in the first three months50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months
Credits$200 airline fee credit annually toward incidental air travel fees. $100 global entry statement credit every four years or $85 TSA Pre✓® statement credit every 4.5 years$300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card
Lounge AccessYes; more than 1,200 airport lounges at more than 500 airports in 130 countriesYes; Priority Pass™ Select Membership to more than 1,000 airport lounges after a one-time enrollment
Authorized User Fee$175 for up to three additional cards; for the fourth or more additional cards, it’s $175 per cardAnnual fee of $75 for each additional authorized user

Standout features

The American Express Platinum card also shines in these areas:

  • Premium Global Assist® Hotline — 24/7 medical, legal, financial and other select emergency coordination/assistance services when traveling more than 100 miles from home. Can help with prescription replacements, emergency hotel check-ins and cash wires, missing luggage and lost or stolen passports.
  • Hotel programs — Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts® Program, Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite status and the Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Uber Rides with Platinum™ — $15 in Uber Cash for U.S. rides every month plus a bonus $20 in December (up to $200 for Uber rides annually); Uber VIP, where available, without meeting minimum ride requirements to be matched with top-rated drivers.
  • Shopping credits — Up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com on your Platinum Card®.
  • Return Protection — Within 90 days from date of purchase, if the merchant won’t take it back, American Express may refund the full purchase price excluding shipping and handling up to $300 per item (maximum of $1,000 per year).
  • Dispute Resolution — For fraudulent or incorrect charges on your statement, American Express will work with you to help resolve the issue.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has its own appealing list of additional perks:

  • Privileged access — Get VIP access to events and experiences.
  • Assistance hotline — 24/7 direct access to a Chase Sapphire customer service specialist. 
  • Benefits for travel peace of mind — Includes auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and travel and emergency assistance services.
  • Warranty protection — Get extended warranty protection on items bought with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
  • Purchase protection — Get purchase protection for items purchased with your card.
  • Benefits guide — An in-depth guide that explains all these perks and more when you receive your card.

The case for the American Express Platinum Card

An unusually high number of points (5X) for booking flights and hotels means your rewards add up faster than most travel cards, and an equally generous bonus of 70,000 points once you’ve spent $5,000 is exceptional. The two types of credits offered by American Express bring even more value to the card, so it’s no wonder card owners feel the annual fee is worth every penny (and much of it is recovered anyway). 

Travel can bring its own unique challenges, but the American Express Platinum’s complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection of over 1,200 lounges in 130 countries will help alleviate your travel pressures and remove you from the noise and crowds that can be stressful and tiring.

You also have the added assurance that if an emergency does arise when you’re away from home, American Express has got you covered with its Global Assist Hotline and will work 24/7 to meet your legal, medical and financial needs. 

The case for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

With a lower purchase requirement of $4,000 (instead of $5,000) in the first three months paired with higher-than-average reward points on travel and dining, plus a large number of bonus points, the Sapphire Reserve card may be a more suitable fit for you.

Don’t forget that the $300 annual travel credit covers two-thirds of the annual fee, too. At 3X, the points may add up just as quickly as the American Express card since that card doesn’t include dining rewards. Additionally, Sapphire provides access to 1,000 lounges to furnish you with a sanctuary at airports. 

Sapphire Reserve’s car rental collision damage waiver and trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance are valuable additions that the previous card doesn’t offer. Travel and emergency assistance services are similar to the American Express Platinum Hotline and would work equally well to take some of the worries out of a potential emergency situation. 

Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance aren’t commonly needed, but for those unique occasions when it occurs, you’ll be very grateful this is an added feature of your credit card.

In a nutshell 

If you can afford to make purchases of at least $5,000 in the first three months using your new card, those 70,000 American Express Platinum bonus points are a tremendous reward. Booking flights and pre-paying for hotels with your card will earn you a mass of additional points. 

If earning significant points on dining as well as travel is important to you, then the Chase Sapphire may be the better choice. The somewhat lower outlay of $4,000 in three months’ time and a $300 travel credit are other good reasons to choose the Sapphire. Neither card has foreign transaction fees, and both offer many airport lounges for your comfort. Emergency services are integral to both cards, so with either one, you can travel without worry.

Stephen Altrogge

Stephen Altrogge is a business and marketing writer from Ashland, Ohio. His writing has been published in Fast Company, Zapier, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and a host of other publications. He has a degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before launching his own business, he worked as an auditor at a bank.