American Express Gold Vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve – Forbes Advisor

Maximizing Value from Ultimate Rewards

If you already hold a credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, adding the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to your portfolio of cards can increase the value of the points you already have. Only premium Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards allow transfers to airlines and travel partners.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also allows cash-like redemptions like paying directly for travel through Ultimate Rewards travel or using the Pay Yourself Back feature where each point is worth 1.5 cents. If you have a cache of points earned on an existing Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card, adding a Chase Sapphire Reserve® can unlock additional value from the points you already have.

Travel Insurance Benefits

Both the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer a suite of travel insurance benefits that can protect you in the event that something goes wrong during a trip when you charge eligible travel purchases to your card. Both cards offer car rental loss and damage insurance, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s benefit is primary insurance, whereas the benefit offered by the Amex Gold is secondary insurance*.

Read More: Primary vs. Secondary Car Rental Insurance Coverage

In addition to coverage for your rental cars, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® adds trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance and lost and delayed baggage insurance.

Both cards also offer a travel assistance service* which can make medical and legal referrals, but the costs of services provided are the responsibility of the card holder.

Lounge Access

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a solid choice for the frequent flyer looking for lounge access. The card comes with Priority Pass Select lounge access, which after account activation provides entry to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide when traveling on a same-day airline ticket.

Chase’s version of Priority Pass includes a meal credit to some airport restaurants, which the American Express Platinum’s version does not. The Priority Pass lounge network is strong globally, but coverage within the US isn’t as good. The usefulness of this benefit will depend on your travel patterns.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a suite of benefits that supplement its lounge access benefit for the frequent traveler, but if you are looking for a less expensive way to get Priority Pass lounge access, consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Transfer Partners for US-Based Travelers

Transfering points to partners for aspirational long-haul business and first class travel is often the way that you can get the most value out of transferable points programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards which offer a long list of airline and hotel transfer partners . Expert users of miles and points are sure to find many sweet spots in both programs, but for most US-based travelers, with a possible exception for domestic Delta Air Lines travelers, Chase Ultimate Rewards has the edge over American Express Membership Rewards, if only slightly.

Both cards offer transfers to international airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Air France/KLM and British Airways, which can be used both to book international award tickets and domestic flights within the US through each program’s partner airlines.

When it comes to North American transfer partners, Chase includes United Mileage Plus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and JetBlue. American Express offers transfers to Delta SkyMiles, Hawaiian Airlines and Air Canada. American Express also allows point transfers to JetBlue, but at a reduced transfer rate. Unless you are traveling to Canada or Hawaii frequently, Chase’s transfer partners are likely to be more useful for most US-based travelers.

Delta Air Lines flyers who are interested in using points for mostly domestic flights may find American Express Membership rewards to be slightly more practical, as Delta is an American Express transfer partner. However, since most Delta awards are tied to the cash prices of tickets, most travelers are unlikely to get outsized value from Membership Rewards transfers to SkyMiles.

Finally, both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards offer point transfers to hotels. Both Chase and American Express partner with Marriott. American Express offers point transfers to Choice and Hilton, while Chase allows point transfers to Hyatt and IHG. Ultimately, we believe Hyatt to be the most valuable of these transfer partners, giving Chase the edge when it comes to transfers to hotel partners.

For most travelers looking at transfer points, Chase will on average provide more value, but your travel patterns will determine how valuable each bank’s transfer partners are to you.

$300 Annual Travel Credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $300 annual travel credit is automatically applied as a reimbursement for your first $300 of eligible travel expenses charged to your card in a cardmember year. Many travel credits are more restrictive or require you to book travel through a specific travel supplier. Since most people applying for a Chase Sapphire Reserve® will have more than $300 in travel expenses during the year, the travel credit offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will offset more than half the card’s annual fee.

The American Express® Gold Card does not offer a travel credit.

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