TPG reader card question: Does it make sense to have both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum?

Sep 13, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a column to answer your toughest credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com


When discussing the top premium travel rewards cards on the market, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express are usually top of mind. These two popular cards are often mentioned in an either-or scenario.

Still, if you travel several times a year, it may be worth considering both as part of your card portfolio – as long as you can tackle the hefty annual fees.

Today’s reader question is about whether it makes sense to sign-up for the premium Amex Platinum card when you already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

I’m a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder and love it because I’m also a Chase banking customer so it’s easy to maintain. But, I’ve had the card since 2016 and I’m looking to see if there is a scenario where it makes sense to also get the Amex Platinum and hold both.

TPG READER RYAN AGUIAR

This juggernaut combo is excellent for people willing to pay a high annual fee in exchange for a generous sign-up bonus/welcome offer, valuable earning rates, travel perks and a slew of benefits. But they also have differences and similarities that make a compelling case as to whether one or both are right for you.

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Let’s compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum to determine how they stack up — and if they pair well together.

Card Earning structure (% return based on TPG valuations) Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve – 10 points per dollar on Lyft (20% return on spending)
– 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining booked through Ultimate Rewards
– 10 points per dollar on hotel and car rental purchases through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal
– 5 points per dollar on airline travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal
– 3 points per dollar on dining (6% return on spending)
– 3 points per dollar on travel (6% return on spending)
– 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases (2% return on spending)
$550
The Platinum Card® from American Express – 5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year (10% return on spending)
– 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel (10% return on spending)
– 1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases (2% return on spending)
– Terms Apply
$695
(see rates & fees)

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

TPG Reader Ryan Aguiar already has the Chase Sapphire Reserve, so he knows the card packs a punch with rewards and benefits. Currently, the Sapphire Reserve offers a 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, worth $1,200 according to TPG valuations. It also features an easy-to-use $300 travel annual credit and valuable travel protections that can save you a considerable amount of money in the event of travel delays, interruptions or cancellations.

You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on popular bonus categories such as travel and dining purchases worldwide. On the surface, 3 points per dollar on these categories is respectable. Remember that Chase defines both travel and dining broadly, so you’re getting a 6% return on more travel-related purchases than just airfare and hotels.

Let’s say you’re spending $5,000 on both airfare and dining combined each year, $1,000 on hotels or cruises and $10,000 on non-bonus spending. That’s 28,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year, worth about $560 — enough value to offset the card’s annual fee.

The additional benefits, such as the $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass lounge access, are effectively free at that point.

To put the Sapphire Reserve’s value into perspective, The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, says that it’s the one premium card he’d choose for all his spending.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve review

The Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Ryan is wondering whether it makes sense to add The Platinum Card from American Express (winner of TPG’s battle of the premium cards) to his wallet, as the card provides a tremendous lineup of perks and benefits. New cardholders can earn 100,000 points on the welcome offer after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. The welcome offer alone is worth $2,000, according to TPG valuations.

Here’s a rundown of TPG’s estimated value of a few of the Amex Platinum’s benefits:

(*Enrollment required for select benefits.)

That’s more than $4,000 in annual value on benefits alone, for when you get back to traveling again and maximizing all the card’s features.

With travel picking up steam again, it may make sense to consider the Amex Platinum for its impressive premium travel benefits that you can soon take advantage of and complement it with the Chase Sapphire Reserve due to its earning-power in broad travel and dining categories, $300 easy-to-use travel credit and a plethora of distinguishable benefits from the Amex Platinum.

Related: Amex Platinum review

Bottom line

People often think of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express as mutually exclusive. The cards, however, actually complement each other quite well. While there may be some overlap with benefits like a Priority Pass membership and $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every four years, they both offer a slightly different value proposition in how they earn points and deliver unique benefits.

Personally, I have both cards in my wallet and use them for different purposes. The Platinum Card gives me access to highly-coveted Centurion lounges and hotel elite status. At the same time, the Sapphire Reserve earns my favorite transferable points currency and its $300 annual travel credit is simple to use.

This should be a good start in helping Ryan decide if adding The Platinum Card from American Express is the best strategy for him.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.

Featured image by Josh Gribben for 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.