A $95 annual fee showdown: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex EveryDay Preferred

Jun 4, 2020

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Not all the best credit cards come with high annual fees. There are plenty of good card options if you’re looking to pay less than $100 a year. One example is the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, with a $95 annual fee — not only does it award a 50% bonus on points earned when you make 30 transactions or more per billing cycle, but also it earns full Membership Rewards points, which means you can transfer them to the program’s many travel partners.

Then, there is Chase’s $95 annual-fee travel card offering. If this was a popularity contest, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card would win hands down. While this card isn’t the richest Ultimate Rewards-earning option (that belongs to the Chase Sapphire Reserve), it still offers a strong 2x points on all dining purchases and travel.

With these two heavyweights in the ring, let’s look at their benefits and drawbacks, and which card is the right choice for you.

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The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

In This Post

Comparing the EveryDay Preferred and Sapphire Preferred

Here’s a quick look at both cards’ current details, including earning rates and sign-up offers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred  Amex EveryDay Preferred
Welcome bonus 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening 15,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $1,000 within the first three months of card opening
Annual fee $95 $95
Bonus categories

2x on dining and travel; 5x on Lyft rides through March 2022

3x on groceries (up to $6,000 each year), 2x on gas, 50% transaction bonus with 30 transactions per billing period
Foreign transaction fees

None

2.7%
Transferable rewards

Ultimate Rewards points

Membership Rewards points
Per point valuation (based on TPG valuation): 

2 cents per points

2 cents per point

Annual fee

Both cards have a $95 annual fee, and neither card has the fee waived the first year. We start things off with an even draw.

Verdict: Tie 

Welcome bonus

With 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred clearly comes out ahead here. Note that this does come with a higher initial spending requirement of $4,000 within the first three months of card opening.

Meanwhile, the Amex EveryDay Preferred has a relatively paltry welcome bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points. However, only $1,000 in initial spending is required. Additionally, this Amex card has a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR of 12.99% to 22.99% applies.

Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred

A note about bonus eligibility

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Both Amex and Chase have strict eligibility requirements. For Amex, there’s a strict one bonus per card per lifetime restriction. Plus it recently announced it was allowing only four lending products per customer.   If you’ve had the Amex EveryDay Preferred ever before, you won’t be eligible for the welcome offer. Fortunately, American Express has a tool that allows you to double check your eligibility for a welcome bonus.

Chase’s application and bonus restrictions are slightly more lenient. The one hard-and-fast application rule is commonly known as the 5/24 rule. Generally, if you’ve opened five or more credit cards with any issuer over the previous 24 months, you will almost certainly be denied for most Chase-issued credit cards with little to no chance at reconsideration.

Related reading: Ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

Earning points and bonus categories

Here’s where the cards really differ — and how you should weigh which card to apply for. Clearly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a more travel-focused card, while the Amex EveryDay Preferred is a more supermarket-focused card. Let’s break it down further.

(Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group / Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

For the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all dining and travel purchases, with no cap to how much you earn. For a limited time through March 2022, you’ll also get 5x points on Lyft. According to Chase’s website, the broad travel category includes:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

In May 2020, Chase added groceries as a temporary bonus category across most of its consumer travel credit cards.  Eligible Chase travel credit cardholders will receive either 5x or 3x per $1 spent on grocery purchases — up to $1,500 per month through June 30, 2020. The new temporary category includes grocery stores and grocery delivery services. It also added the new Pay Yourself Back feature, with each point worth 1.25 cents towards a statement credit on purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments through Sept. 30.

The Amex EveryDay Preferred earns you 3x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 of purchases annually (then 1x) and 2x on gasoline purchases at U.S. standalone gas stations. No limited-time benefits have been added to this card.

The unique Amex 50% bonus

(Photo by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images.)
(Photo by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images.)

The real kicker here for Amex though is that you’ll get a 50% transaction bonus with 30 transactions per billing period. That means if hit the 30-transaction threshold, your Membership Rewards earnings become 4.5 points per dollar on groceries, 3 points per dollar on gas, and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else.

That’s a huge bonus for a card that carries a $95 annual fee — and one of the most lucrative for grocery store purchases. Keep in mind your favorite grocery store might also carry travel, shopping, and restaurant gift cards.

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time and money on travel and dining out, then the Sapphire Preferred is the better card for you. However, if you tend to spend more on groceries than dining out, and have to fill up your gas tank regularly, you’ll likely get more value from the EveryDay Preferred. In this case, it really pays to parse out your expenses for a year and see what categories your spending falls into.

This is one of the more complicated comparisons, and really the decision comes down to where you spend your money.

Verdict: Tie (but only because the improved Chase grocery benefits are only temporary)

Foreign transaction fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is squarely aimed at international travelers, and as such, it carries no foreign exchange fees, while the Amex EveryDay Preferred charges a foreign transaction fee of 2.7%. Clearly, it’s a card positioned for domestic use, with its category spending bonuses for U.S. supermarkets and gas stations only.

Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel and other benefits

As a Visa Signature card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a slew of value-added benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost and delayed baggage insurance and primary rental car insurance.

Meanwhile, the EveryDay Preferred carries Amex purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty, but its suite of travel benefits isn’t as solid as those on the Sapphire Preferred. That makes sense, since it isn’t marketed as a travel card. You will be covered by secondary car rental insurance if things go haywire.

If you intend to use your card when traveling, the benefits package on the Sapphire Preferred is the hands-down winner, and the purchase protections it offers is comparable to that on the Amex EveryDay Preferred.

Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Transfer partners

Newly remodeled wing of the Hyatt Regency Maui. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Newly remodeled wing of the Hyatt Regency Maui. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

One of the main selling points of each of these cards is that the points that you earn can be transferred to travel partners in their respective programs — Membership Rewards for Amex and Ultimate Rewards for Chase. Below is a brief rundown of each program and its travel partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Ultimate Rewards program

  • Airlines: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Flying Blue (Air France/KLM), Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG Rewards, Marriott

Amex EveryDay Preferred: Membership Rewards program

  • Airlines: Are Lingus, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, ANA, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Qantas, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Marriott

Like much else here, it depends on how you want to use your points and which partners you value. While Chase has fewer airline partners by the numbers, those partners get you access to carriers belonging to the three alliances — Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.

Verdict: Tie

Other redemption methods

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can book travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through Ultimate Rewards Travel. Chase also recently introduced “Pay Yourself Back,” a feature that lets you use your Ultimate Rewards points to offset certain purchases at a much more favorable rate. For instance, now through Sept. 30, 2020, Chase Sapphire Preferred customers can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents each to offset purchases made at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments, including take-out and delivery services.

With the Amex EveryDay Preferred card, you have the option to redeem directly for things such as gift cards, statement credits, and booking airfare, but the best you can do is a rate of 1 cent per point.

The Sapphire Preferred gets you 25% more value per point. Plus, if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine points across cards to redeem points through Chase at an even better rate of 1.5 cents apiece.

Verdict: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Bottom line

As with any credit card comparison, which card wins out all depends on your spending patterns and how you want to redeem the points you earn. The better travel and dining card is clearly the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The better groceries and gas card is clearly the Amex EveryDay Preferred.

For consumers who can max out the supermarkets and gas bonus categories, and who hit that 30-transaction magic number each billing cycle, the earning potential on the EveryDay Preferred is hard to beat. However, its value is limited to the U.S., thanks to considerable foreign transaction fees and less-comprehensive travel protections.

On Chase’s end, the sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred is four times that of the EveryDay Preferred. Furthermore, its comprehensive portfolio of travel protections (like primary rental car insurance and no foreign transaction fees) make it a no-brainer for those who travel abroad frequently. It’s also an easy card to keep track of — no transaction thresholds or limits to earning on a bonus category.

One option would be to get both cards. Between them, you could earn the two sign-up bonuses, maximize the fact that there is no overlap in bonus spending categories, and benefit from a total of 20+ airline and hotel partners, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding where to redeem your points.

Related:

  • Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a 60,000-point sign-up bonus
  • Read our full review of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen.
Featured photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy.

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.