Amex Gold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Which One Is Better?
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Both the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred feature substantial rewards for travelers. The Amex Gold shines in dining and Uber rewards, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred stands out for its rewards, redemptions, and travel protections.
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Both the American Express Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred are consistently featured on lists of the best travel credit cards. That’s not surprising, considering both cards come with impressive welcome bonuses, cardholder rewards, and redemption options.
But, the question remains: Which one is better?
If you spend a lot of money on travel, dining, and groceries, you may prefer the Amex Gold. But, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a better option if you prioritize travel perks and protections.
Here’s our head-to-head comparison of these two stellar travel cards. Each of these cards shines in a different way, but in the end, one card is the clear victor.
Side-by-Side Breakdown: Amex Gold vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
|American Express® Gold Card (Review)||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review)|
|Annual Fees and Credits||
|Introductory Offer||60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months||60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Car Rental Benefits||Car rental insurance is secondary||Car rental insurance is primary|
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
By getting a premier-class card with Amex or Chase, you can gain airport lounge access. American Express offers access to over 1,200 airport lounges in 130 countries to its Platinum members (users of The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review)). Similarly, the only Chase Sapphire card that provides lounge access is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review).
Annual Fees and Credits
The American Express Gold Card charges a $250 annual fee, and you can add five authorized users for free — then it runs $35 per authorized user after that.
- Up to $120 in dining credits each year, split up into $10 per month, to use at participating partners like Boxed, Cheesecake Factory, and Grubhub
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash each year (up to $10 per month), when you link your Gold Card to your Uber account; use Uber Cash on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides
- 12 complimentary months of Uber Eats Pass subscription ($119.88 value); must enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21
- $100 hotel credit whenever you book eligible two-night stays via The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel; credits may be used for dining, spa treatments, and other qualifying activities
The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is $95, and you are never charged an authorized user fee. You’ll get:
- DoorDash membership: Unlimited DashPass deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year; you must activate this benefit before 12/31/2021
- $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021
Neither card has a foreign transaction fee.
The credits for the American Express Gold Card add up to $360, which is more than enough to offset its $250 annual fee (not counting the hotel credits, which may not be as useful).
The total benefit amount for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is harder to quantify since its free DashPass deliveries are unlimited. DoorDash values the savings at $4.00–$5.00 per order, so if you order through DashPass once a month, you will save $48–$60 per year. The Peloton credit may not be as useful to the average cardholder, especially with so much free exercise content online. In that case, this credit may not have much or any monetary value to you, which means the DashPass delivery benefits may not be enough to cover the $95 annual fee.
Introductory bonuses often change, but, as of publishing, these are the current bonuses for these two cards:
- Amex Gold: 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Since bonus offers are subject to change, we recommend you always check the current offers (shown above). Historically, the welcome offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is usually more valuable than that of the Amex Gold Card, and that’s why the Sapphire Preferred gets the W in this category.
You can redeem points through Membership Rewards at values ranging from 0.5 cents to 1.0 cent each, depending on how they are redeemed. For example, you can redeem points for a statement credit at 0.6 cents per point, or for eligible travel expenses and gift cards at 1 cent per point.
But transferring points to partner airlines or hotels has the most potential value. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to any of Amex’s airline and hotel partners, most of which allow you to transfer at a 1:1 ratio or better (as of publication).
If you regularly use rideshare apps, you can rack up a lot of rewards points with that benefit. But the travel and dining rates are quite good for a card at this fee level, as well.
You can redeem your points for airfare, hotels, and rental cars through Chase Ultimate Rewards for an easy 25% point bonus, giving you a value of 1.25 cents per point. You also have the option to transfer points to Chase’s travel partners, at a 1:1 rate. Of course, values will vary, but you may find your best deals this way.
Points are also redeemable as statement credits and gift cards, each with a value of 1 cent per point. Or you can pay for purchases at Amazon and other partner merchants, but the value is only 0.8 cents per point.
Ultimately, redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transferring to a travel partner will yield the highest value for your points.
Winner: Amex Gold
It’s hard to beat the American Express Gold’s 4X points on dining and grocery purchases, two popular expenditures for most Americans. The Amex Gold wins by a nose over the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 5X points per dollar on travel purchases and 25% point bonus on travel redemptions.
It’s worth noting, the Sapphire Preferred’s 5X travel rate is hampered by the fact you must use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and other travel expenses only earn 2X points. By contrast, American Express allows you to earn 3X Membership Rewards points, whether you book directly with the airlines or on amextravel.com, although hotels are conspicuously absent. If hotel spending is a major factor, you may lean towards the Sapphire Preferred.
By shopping through these platforms, you can earn extra points by redeeming offers with specific merchants. Some offers are better than others, and they routinely add new offers while removing others. It’s worth checking these portals often, as sometimes you’ll find opportunities to earn a lot of extra points.
Car Rental Benefits
Both the Amex Gold and the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer an auto rental collision damage waiver, which simply means you’ll have car insurance if you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and use your card to purchase a car rental.
The American Express Gold Card, like most cards, offers secondary car rental insurance. That means the insurance will only pay for damages after your regular auto insurance carrier pays out.
By contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card excels by making its rental insurance primary, so you only have to file a claim through the card to receive coverage. No need to involve your usual auto insurance provider.
If you’re interested in rental car discounts, you’ll need to upgrade to The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). Both cards offer discounts to major national car rental companies.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
When you need to file an insurance claim, the last thing you want to do is deal with two insurers. By designating Chase car rental insurance as the primary coverage, you can handle everything through the card’s coverage without involving your personal auto insurance carrier.
Travel Insurance and Protections
If you use your American Express Gold Card for travel-related purchases, you’ll enjoy some of the following insurance and protection options:
- Travel Accident Insurance: Not available for American Express Gold cardholders
- Roadside Assistance: American Express discontinued its roadside assistance as a complimentary benefit for Amex Gold cardholders. You may purchase it as an add-on service.
- Baggage Insurance Plan: A maximum of $500 coverage per trip for loss or damage to your checked-in baggage while in transit, and up to $1,250 for carry-on bags
- Trip Cancellation Policy: Not available for American Express Gold cardholders
- Trip Delay Insurance: If your flight is delayed more than twelve hours, you may be reimbursed up to $300 per covered trip for “reasonable” expenses such as meals, lodging, and medication. Specific conditions apply.
Here are the protections offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:
- Travel Accident Insurance: Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000
- Roadside Dispatch: Call for help while driving, but services aren’t complimentary. Instead, roadside service fees are billed to your card.
- Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimbursement up to $100 a day for five days for essential items you must purchase; coverage applies to baggage delays over six hours
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger if your luggage is damaged or lost by the carrier
- Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance: Reimbursement up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses when your trip is canceled or interrupted by illness, bad weather, or other covered situations
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: Up to $500 coverage per ticket when your common carrier travel is delayed 12 hours or more or involves an overnight stay; coverage applies to unreimbursed expenses like meals and hotel lodging
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
While these two cards offer similar travel insurance and protection benefits, only the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers accident insurance and a trip cancellation policy, and its coverage amount for trip delay insurance is $200 higher than the coverage for the Amex Gold.
Which Card Is Better: American Express Gold or Chase Sapphire Preferred?
After comparing these two cards for their features, fees, rewards, protections, and other factors, we have a winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Even though the American Express® Gold Card scores a narrow win in the rewards category, the Chase Sapphire Preferred takes the cake when it comes to the welcome bonus, redemptions, car insurance, and travel protections.
The Sapphire Preferred offers more flexibility to redeem points, and you can receive a 25% bonus when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases. But, if you regularly dine and use Uber, the Gold Card may make more sense for you.
Ultimately, choosing the right credit card for you depends on your budget and spending habits. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the more budget-friendly choice with a reasonable annual fee and a host of solid rewards and protections.
If you’re not sold on either of these cards, you may want to shop around and compare offers. Get started by checking out our favorite travel rewards cards.
What credit scores do you need for an American Express Gold Card?
Like most American Express cards, you’ll typically need good credit to qualify. Card issuers tend to see “good credit” as a minimum FICO credit score of at least 670 and VantageScore of at least 700. Of course, applicants with higher credit scores typically have the best chances for approval, although approval is never guaranteed.
What credit scores do you need for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card?
Like the Amex Gold, your best odds of approval for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are to have credit scores in the “good” range or higher with the major credit scoring models, FICO and VantageScore — minimum 670 FICO scores and minimum 700 VantageScores. However, approval requirements vary by lender, and additional factors also come into play, including your income, credit history, and monthly rent or mortgage payments.
Is it worth it to get the Amex Gold?
If you use the annual credits and can take advantage of the 4X Membership Rewards for dining and U.S. supermarkets, it may be enough to offset the annual fee ($250).
But, there are a lot of reward credit cards with no annual fees worth considering. Also, you might want to take a look at other American Express cards which provide airport lounge access and other high-end benefits.
Is it worth getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The introductory bonus, $60 Peloton membership, 12 months of unlimited DashPass deliveries with no delivery fee, and other perks cover the annual fee ($95) for a few years, at least. Still, you’ll need to spend enough on the card to take advantage of all the benefits it offers.
One major attraction of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is how well it complements other Chase cards to boost rewards, especially if you want to redeem them for travel benefits. Learn how Chase Ultimate Rewards cards work better together.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Tim Maxwell is a former television news journalist turned freelance finance writer and credit card expert with over two decades of experience in the media. Tim is passionate about financial literacy and empowering people to take control of their finances. His personal finance articles also appear in publications like Bankrate and Fox Business.
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