Head to Head: Amex Gold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earlier this month, American Express rebranded its Gold Card and introduced generous earning rates in some popular spending categories. It’s safe to say that the card is competing with Chase cards that have been leading the pack in credit-card rewards lately, but which card can we compare it to the most?

In my opinion, the Amex Gold Card is not strong enough to go head to head with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Let’s be honest, the latter card is of a much higher caliber with its lounge access, TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit and trip delay coverage. I think it’s fairer to compare the Gold Card with another crowd favorite, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Sign-Up Bonus

You can earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.

The Gold Card offers 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 within the first three months of card opening. However, 50,000-point welcome offers are possible to find via referrals.

I put the same value on MR and UR points. From that perspective, if you find the higher offer and take minimum-spending requirements into account, the Gold Amex Card offers an easier option to earn 50,000 points.

Winner: American Express Gold Card

Earning Structure

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns 2X points on travel and dining.

The Gold Card from Amex earns 4X points at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (capped at $25,000 annually) and 3X on airfare booked directly with airlines.

Although the Amex Gold Card earns a higher return in the dining category, it earns the bonus on restaurant purchases made in the United States only. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is more useful for an international traveler. Additionally, triple points on airfare alone don’t exactly beat double points on all travel. The winner here is the card that fits your particular spending habits more, so I call it a tie.

Winner: Tie

Annual Fees

The Sapphire Preferred charges a fee of $95 per year (waived for the first year). The Amex Gold Card charges a much larger fee of $250 annually starting the year you sign up for the card.

It’s also important to remember all the ways you can offset annual fees to determine how much you’re paying to use the card.

The Amex Gold Card offers an annual airline fee credit of $100 and a monthly dining credit of $10 when you use your card at the following restaurants: The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Seamless, Shake Shack and GrubHub. Redeeming every available credit lowers your annual fee to $30. However, the $95 on the Sapphire Preferred can’t be offset by statement credits, which is why it loses this round.

Winner: American Express Gold Card

Ways of Redeeming Points

Both the Membership Rewards and the Ultimate Rewards programs partner with a number of airlines and hotel programs, and you’re able to transfer points into these programs. The partners aren’t the same, but all major airline alliances are represented on each list.

Sometimes American Express runs special bonuses on point transfers to certain programs, and you can save quite a few points by taking advantage of these bonuses. Chase points transfer 1-to-1, and there are no transfer bonuses. In this case, Amex has the edge.

The other way to use points is by redeeming them through a respective travel portal. Ames points are worth 1 cent toward airfare booked through the portal, but Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each. In this scenario, Chase has the edge.

Winner: Tie

In Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, but I think that American Express is stepping up its game on the points and miles arena and throwing quite a hat in the competition ring. The Gold Card offers an easy opportunity to not only earn a lot of points quickly, but also redeem them on a quality partner—all for just $30 per year. I also think that both cards offer something unique, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you made space for both in your wallet.

 

If you only had to pick one, which of these two cards do you think is more useful?

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