Two of the most popular credit card “families” are American Express (AMEX) and Chase, and both are known for their reward points. Not only for their generous welcome bonuses but their ability to transfer points to partners, redemption flexibility, etc.
But which is the better of the two?
To find out, I’ve compared the two credit card giants using five criteria: Points offers, point transfers, points redemption options, other card benefits, and fees. It was a close race, but I managed to find a winner.
Table of Contents
- 1. Points Offers
- 2. Point Transfers
- 3. Points Redemption Options
- 4. Other Card Benefits
- 5. Fees
- The Overall Winner: Chase
1. Points Offers
American Express offers five different cards providing points rewards.
In the table below, we share just four of their cards cards and each respective welcome bonus and rewards points program.
|Card Name||Welcome Bonus||Rewards Points||Annual|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in purchases within your first six months||earn 5X Membership Rewards Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). You also earn 5X Membership Rewards Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.||$695|
|American Express® Gold Card||60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months||earn 4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants worldwide, 4X Membership Rewards points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per year), 3X Membership Rewards points for flight booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X on everything else||$250|
|American Express EveryDay® Preferred Card||$100 after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 6 months, plus earn up to an additional $150 cash back when you shop with PayPal (earn 20% back as a statement credit on purchases when you use your new Card to check out with PayPal at merchants in the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $150 back)||3% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000/year, then 1%), 3% on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000/year, then 1%), 3% at U.S. gas stations (up to $6,000/year, then 1%) then 1% on other purchases.||$0|
|American Express EveryDay® Credit Card||$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 6 months||6% on U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). Finally, 1% Cash Back on other purchases||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95|
Chase offers three credit cards as part of its Ultimate Rewards points program. But the bank also offers points credit cards in partnership with other providers, especially airlines and hotels. For that reason, we’re including the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card as a sample of the many points Chase offers through airlines and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card as an example of one of their hotel cards.
|Card Name||Welcome Bonus||Rewards Points||Annual|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months||$300 annual travel credit; 5X points on flights, 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 3X on other travel worldwide after the first $300 is spent on travel annually; 10X points on Chase Dining purchases, 3X points on all other dining, 1X points all other purchases (cash value: $300 +1 – 1.5 cents per point)||$95|
|Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card||60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months||$50 annual hotel credit; 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $50 is spent on travel annually; 3X on dining, select streaming services, and groceries; 1X points for all other purchases (cash value: $50 +1 – 1.25 cents per point)||$95|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening in the .||3X points on the first $150,000 spent each anniversary year on shipping, advertising, Internet, cable, phone services, and travel; 1X points on all other purchases (cash value: 1 – 1.25 cents per point)||$95|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card||75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months||3X points on Southwest purchases; 2X points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, local transit, and commuting, including rideshare, Internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming; 1X points on all other purchases; 6,000 additional points every year (cash value: 1 cent per point)||$69|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card||30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||3X purchases made at Marriott Bonvoy hotels; earn up to a 10% bonus on qualifying charges at participating hotels; 1X points on all other purchases; (cash value: 1 cent per point)||$0|
Points Offer Winner: Chase
Declaring a winner in this category is a bit more complicated. American Express cards offer welcome bonuses with higher dollar value conversions than their Chase counterparts.
But for ongoing rewards points, Chase wins easily. Their dollar conversion, ranging from one cent to 1.5 cents per point, is superior to the .5 cent to one cent dollar conversion on American Express cards.
And since ongoing going rewards are continuous, Chase is the winner. The longer you own the card, the more you charge on it and the more reward points you’ll earn.
2. Point Transfers
American Express lets you transfer your points to airlines, hotels, and other partners. The points transfer ratio ranges between 0.8 and 1.2 points for each point at the transfer partner.
Here is a list of AMEX transfer partners:
- Asia Miles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Finnair Plus
- Flying Blue
- Iberia Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Scandinavian Airlines SAS EuroBonus
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Hilton Honors
- Radisson Rewards
- Club Eurostar
Chase offers transfer points on a 1:1 basis on airlines and hotels as follows:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- British Airways
- Air France – KLM
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Choice Hotels
- Hilton Hotels
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Point Transfers Winner: Chase
We give a slight advantage to Chase in this category based on simplicity (the 1:1 points transfer ratio across the board) and the fact that Chase extends partnerships to Southwest and United Airlines, two of the largest airlines in America. American Express is not partnered with these airlines.
3. Points Redemption Options
American Express uses a fairly complicated points conversion scheme. Exactly what each point will be worth depends on how it’s redeemed. Overall, they offer seven different redemption options with cash conversions ranging between 0.5 cents per point to as high as 1 cent per point.
American Express offers the following reward points redemption options:
- Statement credits: 0.6 cents per point
- Gift cards: 0.5 cents to 1 cent per point
- Airfare: 1 cent per point on flights booked through American Express Travel
- Hotels and cruises: 0.5 cents to 0.7 cents per point when you book through American Express Travel
- Online checkout: 0.5 – 0.7 cents per point at 16 participating merchants, and any time you pay elsewhere using PayPal
- Online shopping: 0.5 cents per point
- Airline transfers: 0.8:1 to 1.2:1
Based on the points conversion schedule, American Express cards are best used for those who plan to redeem their rewards by transferring points to participating airlines or purchasing airline tickets through American Express Travel.
Much like American Express, the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points depends on exactly how you use them.
Chase offers the following redemption options, each with its own respective points conversions:
- Book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal (airlines, hotels, car rentals, and experiences) – 1 cent per point, but 1.25 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and 1.5 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Airline and hotel transfer partners – 1 cent per point
- Gift cards – 1 cent per point
- Statement credit – 1 cent per point
- Cash transferred to your bank account – 1 cent per point
Points Redemption Options Winner: Chase
Chase comes up as the clear winner on points redemption options. The dollar equivalent conversions are simply higher with Chase than with American Express across the board.
American Express is competitive with Chase in redeeming points for travel, at least when transferring points to airline partners. But in most other conversion categories, Chase comes out ahead.
The most glaring example is statement credits. Chase provides conversion of one cent per point, while American Express languishes at 0.6 cents per point. In addition, Chase offers a similar one-cent conversion on gift cards and cash transferred to your bank account, an option not available with American Express.
4. Other Card Benefits
In our evaluation, rewards points are the primary criteria for judging the cards offered by the two credit card giants. But we also want to consider other benefits each company offers, which can be extremely valuable for travel purchases.
American Express points rewards cards come with benefits that vary by the card you select. Not surprisingly, the American Express Platinum Card, the company’s premium card, offers the most benefits. This includes a long list of annual credits.
|Card Name||Other Card Benefits Offered|
|American Express Platinum Card||Car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection, $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $155 Walmart credit, global lounge collection, $200 Uber cash, $200 airline fee credit, up to $300 with Equinox, $100 Saks, $189 with CLEAR, local dining access by Resy, $100 fee credit for global entry or TSA pre-check, cell phone protection|
|American Express Gold Card||Car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, $120 Uber cash, $100 hotel credit|
|American Express EveryDay Preferred Card||Car rental loss and damage insurance, return protection, dispute resolution|
|American Express EveryDay Credit Card||Car rental loss and damage insurance, dispute resolution|
Similar to American Express, Chase rewards points cards come with several additional benefits based on the card you select.
|Card Name||Other Card Benefits Offered|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Global Entry or TSA pre-check the credit; trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty protection|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, extended warranty protection|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, employee cards at no additional cost|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card||Bags fly free, and no change fees on Southwest; lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, extended warranty protection, purchase protection|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card||15 elite night credits annually, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection|
Other Card Benefits Winner: American Express
Though Chase offers many of the same benefits as American Express, including auto rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation, purchase protection, and extended warranties, American Express is much stronger on credits.
This is especially true on the American Express Platinum Card, which offers no fewer than nine credits, ranging from $100 to $200 each. And since those credits reset annually, they can add up to serious money over time for regular travelers.
The table below presents annual fees, APRs, and other fees for the five American Express rewards points cards.
These fees are accurate as of 11/6/2022 – check the card issuer’s website for up to date fees.
|Card / Fees||Annual Fee||APR||Other Fees|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||$695||Cash advances 28.99% Variable||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|American Express Gold Card||$250||19.74% - 26.74%; cash advances 28.99% Variable||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|American Express EveryDay Preferred Card||$0||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers the first 12 months; 17.74% - 28.74%; cash advances 28.99% Variable||Foreign transactions fee: 2.7%; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|American Express EveryDay Credit Card||None||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers the first 15 months; 17.74% - 28.74%; cash advances 28.99% Variable||Foreign transactions fee: 2.7%; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
The table below presents annual fees, APRs, and other fees that apply to the five Chase rewards points cards.
These fees are accurate as of 9/12/2022 – check the card issuer’s website for up to date fees.
|Card / Fees||Annual Fee||APR||Other Fees|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||$550||19.24% - 26.24%; cash advances 27.24%||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||$95||18.24% - 25.24%; cash advances 27.24%||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||$95||18.24% - 23.24%; cash advances 27.24%||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $15 for 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card||$69||17.49% - 24.49%; cash advances 26.49%||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card||$0||17.49% - 24.49%; cash advances 26.49%||Foreign transactions fee: none; cash advances: > of $10 or 5%; late/return payment: $40|
Fees Winner: Chase
On five cards offered by American Express, the annual fees range from $0 to $695. This compares with a range of $0 to $550 for the five Chase cards, with all but one having an annual fee below $100.
The two are roughly tied on the APR front, but two American Express cards have a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months or more. Chase cards have no such offers.
But all five Chase cards come with no foreign transaction fees, which are ongoing benefits that will be especially important to those who travel extensively to foreign destinations. American Express has only three cards with no foreign transaction fees.
The difference between the two on the fee side is slim, but we’ve got to give the nod to Chase.
The Overall Winner: Chase
The Amex and Chase credit card families are excellent programs with plenty to offer. You’ll likely find your ideal rewards card among the ten offered by the two companies based on your personal spending patterns and reward preferences.
But for my money, Chase is the winner. They came out on top in four of the five categories we reviewed; points offers, availability of transfer partners, points redemption options, and fees.
American Express had the edge with other card benefits. Of course, those shouldn’t be underestimated, given that a card may contain a mix of other benefits that are a perfect fit for you.
But with the other four categories going squarely in their favor, Chase gets our nod.
I’d like to know which card family you prefer and why?