Should I Get the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Dec 28, 2014

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Many people have reported being targeted for the 100,000 point offer for The Platinum Card from American Express through the CardMatch Tool. Be sure to check for yourself to see what offers are available to you (there is no credit check)! These offers are subject to change at anytime.

TPG reader Matt emailed me to ask:

“I am currently 22 and undecided if I should invest in an Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I do enjoy traveling, mostly to Las Vegas (and I’m a fan of the Centurion lounge) and on cruises. I’m aware of the annual fees for both cards, but was seeking your personal recommendation as to which I should apply for.”

Right off the bat, knowing very little about Matt except that he’s 22, I would assume that since he’s young, his income probably isn’t high. The $550 annual fee for The Platinum Card from American Express  may be excessive if you’re on a tight budget. For that reason, my gut says the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the better bet. The annual fee is a relatively low $95, and is waived the first year, making it a much more affordable card. The earning potential is also higher on that card, as you get two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining.

However, Matt did mention he loves the Centurion Lounge. Entrance to those lounges without the Amex Platinum is $50 (for other Amex cardholders), so a lot of the answer depends on how much he’s going to that lounge and paying for it out of pocket. If you go to Vegas twice a year and visit the lounge there on your way in and out of McCarran, you’ll save $200 with the Platinum card, or even more if you travel with a friend.

The $200 airline credit brings the annual fee down to $250 (which is five entrances to the Centurion lounge if you look it that way), and the card has a variety of other perks. However, many of those perks are only good if you’re staying at high-end hotels or buying premium concert tickets and want access to events.

Choosing between cards can be hard. The Amex Platinum vs. the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a tough one! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The Amex Platinum vs. the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a tough choice! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

In general, getting the Amex Platinum only makes sense if you can really take advantage of all the benefits. If it’s lounge access you’re after, you could consider getting the Amex Everyday card, which accrues Membership Rewards points, has better earning than the Platinum card, and will allow you to access Centurion Lounges (at $50 per visit) for as long as you have the card. If you’re only visiting the lounge a couple times a year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Everyday with no annual fee are probably the better bet. You can use the Sapphire Preferred as your main card and build up the balance, and use the Amex Everyday to enter the Centurion Lounge.

Of course, if you have a higher budget, you could go ahead and get both cards, but if you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with annual fees, get the the Sapphire Preferred and Everyday cards.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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