The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express® Gold Card are fierce competitors in the mid-range travel credit card market. And while they both come with a handful of comparable benefits and accrue valuable points that can be redeemed similarly, these cards are wildly different.
If you’re a traveler (or plan to be soon) and you’ve narrowed your rewards credit card search to the Amex Gold versus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, first take a look at each card’s welcome bonus:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card –60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Amex Gold — Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending at least $4,000 on purchases within your first six months from account opening.
With offers that large, either of these cards can potentially fund hundreds of dollars in free travel. But after you’ve used these bonuses, which card will best serve your lifestyle?
I’ve condensed your need-to-know info into a quick five-minute read.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs Amex Gold
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Amex Gold credit cards are similar, there are some substantial differences. Let’s break each card down to explore how they vary regarding rewards, benefits, annual fees, and more.
The Amex Gold card earns American Express Membership Rewards® (MR) points. MR points are flexible rewards points that can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, cash, and more. MR points are also useful for transferring to partners, but they’re less valuable than Chase Ultimate Rewards® points when redeeming directly with Amex. Amex Membership Rewards points are worth:
- $0.006 per point when redeemed for cash (1,000 points = $6).
- $0.007 per point when redeemed for hotels through the portal (1,000 points = $7).
- Around $0.01 per point when redeemed for gift cards (1,000 points = $10).
- $0.01 per point when redeemed for airfare through the portal (1,000 points = $10).
- Anywhere from $0.01 to $0.03 or more when transferred to airline partners (1,000 points = $10 to $30+).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Ultimate Rewards points are flexible and versatile, offering substantially more value for certain redemptions than MR points. Ultimate Rewards® points are worth:
- $0.01 per point when redeemed for cash (1,000 points = $10).
- $0.0125 per point when redeemed for airfare or hotels (1,000 points = $12.50).
- $0.01 or more when redeemed for gift cards (1,000 points = $10+).
- Anywhere from $0.01 to $0.03 or more when transferred to airline partners (1,000 points = $10 to $30+).
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card comes out ahead when it comes to rewards programs. Ultimate Rewards® points are a bit more versatile and more valuable when used for non-transfer rewards.
Rewards earning rates
Amex Gold card members can earn the following Membership Rewards® Points:
- 4x points at restaurants.
- 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per year).
- 3x points on flights booked through Amex Travel or directly through airlines.
- 1x points on all other purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® card members can earn the following Ultimate Rewards® Points:
- 5x Ultimate Rewards® points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
- 2x Ultimate Rewards® points on all other eligible travel purchases.
- 5x Ultimate Rewards® points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.
- 3x Ultimate Rewards® points on dining.
- 3x Ultimate Rewards® points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases.
- 1x Ultimate Rewards® points on all other purchases.
- 10% point bonus each account anniversary.
Overall, the rewards-earning potential is equal between the two cards. However, the Gold Card earns more at restaurants and on groceries — two prevalent spending categories — while the Sapphire Preferred® comes out slightly ahead on travel-related spending. As such, there’s no clear winner in this category.
Card benefits and perks
The Amex Gold card offers the following benefits:
- $120 dining credit ($10 per month) for purchases at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations.
- $120 Uber credit ($10 per month) for Uber rides or Uber Eats orders.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance.
- Baggage insurance plan.
- Access to Amex Offers, which gives cardholders exclusive discounts at select retailers.
- Preferred access to certain shows and events.
- And much more.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card offers the following benefits:
- Complimentary access to DashPass (DoorDash premium service).
- Complimentary access to Instacart+ for six months.
- $10 monthly GoPuff statement credit (through December 2023).
- Auto rental collision damage waiver.
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
- Baggage delay insurance.
- $50 annual hotel credit through Ultimate Rewards®.
On the surface, the Amex Gold card offers more benefits, but some are harder to use. Also, remember that the Amex Gold card has a $250 annual fee, while the Sapphire Preferred® card’s fee is only $95. So overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card wins out when it comes to card benefits.
The Amex Gold card has an annual fee of $250.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card has an annual fee of $95.
Charge card vs. credit card
The Amex Gold card is technically a “charge card” — it’s designed for you to use it for charges and then pay off the full balance each month. With that said, this card has a “Pay Over Time” feature that allows you to enroll in a pay-over-time setup.
The Sapphire Preferred® card is a traditional credit card: you make purchases and pay them off over time (with interest) or immediately.
Ultimately, if you’re planning to carry a balance regularly, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a more straightforward option.
Global acceptance and ease of use
The Amex Gold is an American Express card. American Express cards are accepted by most merchants in the U.S., although some small businesses do not accept them. Amex cards have less acceptance globally, so you may need to carry a different card for international travel.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a Visa card. Visa cards are accepted almost everywhere, both in the U.S. and abroad.
The Sapphire Preferred® wins out in this category, particularly if you plan to travel internationally.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is the right card for you if…
On the Secure Website
You don’t want to pay a hefty annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card incurs a $95 annual fee, while the Amex Gold has a $250 annual fee. Plus, the Preferred® has a $50 annual hotel credit and other perks that help lower the net cost.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.
You tend to book flights and hotels through online travel agencies
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns a rewards currency called Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. You can redeem these points in several ways, all offering varying return rates.
One of the most popular ways to redeem points is by “purchasing” travel through the Chase Travel Portal. This online platform is similar to Expedia or Orbitz, where you can reserve airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and cruises.
If you generally book your travel through an online travel agency instead of booking directly, you’ll love that you can redeem Chase points to book travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
By comparison, with the rewards you earn from the Amex Gold Card, you’ll only get one cent per point when reserving the same travel through Amex’s travel portal — and even less if redeeming for hotels.
Therefore, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s rewards are 25% more valuable if you book this kind of travel frequently.
You want solid travel insurance
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with some of the best built-in travel insurance of any card on the market. Here are a few coverages you’ll automatically receive simply by using the card to pay for your travel:
- Trip delay insurance — When your flight is delayed overnight (or by 12+ hours), you can be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for things like hotel, meals, toiletries, and even clothes.
- Baggage delay insurance — When your baggage is delayed by six hours or more at your destination, you’re eligible to get up to $100 per day for up to five days for things like clothes and toiletries.
- Primary rental car insurance — When you decline the rental car agency’s in-house insurance, you’ll receive primary coverage for damage and theft to your rental. This can otherwise cost $12+ per day, so this is a big money-saver for anyone who frequently rents a car.
To quickly compare these insurance benefits with the Amex Gold card:
- The Amex Gold offers trip delay insurance for up to $300 in reasonable expenses ($200 less than the Sapphire Preferred® Card).
- The Amex Gold offers no baggage delay insurance (although it does cover lost baggage).
- The Amex Gold offers secondary insurance instead of primary, meaning you’ll have to invoke your personal insurance if you wreck a rental car.
I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for many years, and its travel insurance has saved me thousands of dollars.
Ready to get the card? Apply now for the Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The American Express® Gold card is the right card for you if…
You spend a lot at supermarkets and restaurants
The Amex Gold Card earns 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year. That’s a generous return for some of the most common purchases in life.
If you’re like me, you spend about $1000 per month between these two categories. By using the Amex Gold Card for these expenses, you’ll earn 48,000 points annually for purchases you would make anyway. These points can be redeemed in similar ways to Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and can be worth:
- $288.00 when redeeming as a statement credit (0.6 cents per point).
- $480 in travel when redeeming through the Amex Travel Portal.
- $800+ at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando when transferring Amex points to Hilton.
- 3 one-ways (or 1.5 roundtrips) to Ireland from the East Coast when transferring points to Aer Lingus.
Again, you’ll almost always get the best value for your points by transferring to airline and hotel partners.
You eat out a lot
The American Express® Gold Card comes with a $250 annual fee. That’s $155 more expensive than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. But this price is somewhat justified with the following annual statement credits:
- Up to $120 in dining credits per year ($10 per month) toward Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and some Shake Shack locations.
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash credits ($10 per month).
- The Uber Cash credits you’ll receive each month can also be used with Uber Eats — so even if you don’t often use rideshare services, you can still squeeze some free food out of it.
Pair these credits with the fact that you’ll earn four points per dollar on dining, and you can see that this card was built for foodies.
You maximize Amex Offers
Amex Offers are available on all American Express cards. They have targeted statement credits and bonus points for spending with specific merchants. Simply enroll your Amex Gold Card through your online account, and you’ll be automatically rewarded when you use them.
For example, I have an Amex Offer to earn four bonus points per dollar at Buffalo Wild Wings (capped at 5,000 bonus points). I just used it tonight and received 120 bonus points for making a purchase I had planned to make anyway.
Read more: are Amex cards worth it?
I also have an offer for $50 off $250 spent with Marriott. I’ve already planned a Marriott stay, so I’ll use my card for that and get a free $50 out of it.
Amex Offers change all the time, but if you monitor them with regularity, you can easily offset your credit card annual fee — and then some. I’ve done it many times.
To determine the travel credit card that best suits your lifestyle, you need to examine each card’s ongoing benefits in relation to its annual fee. The card is a no-brainer if you’ll save more money each year than you’re paying in fees.
While the redemption rates of Amex points versus Chase points vary slightly, they are both the two most powerful tools for achieving free travel.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® comes out ahead in my book. It’s got a lower annual fee ($95 vs. $250), more versatile point redemption options, and a solid suite of perks.
Both cards are excellent choices. No matter what your bucket list looks like, these cards can help you expedite your wildest travel dreams.