TPG reader card question: Does it make sense to have both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum?
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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 usually 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.
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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 on whether one of these cards or both are right for you.
|Card||Earning structure (% return based on TPG valuations)||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||10x Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft (20% return on spending)
3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining (6% return on spending)
3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (6% return on spending)
1 point per dollar spent on everything else (2% return on spending)
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||5x Membership Rewards on airfare booked directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (10% return on spending). Earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5x Membership Rewards on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel (10% return on spending)
1 Membership Reward per dollar spent on everything else (2% return on spending)
(see rates & fees)
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 sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 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 3x on popular bonus categories such as travel and dining purchases worldwide. While on the surface, 3x 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 3x earning rate on travel and dining, $300 travel annual credit and additional benefits such as a DoorDash DashPass for a year, Lyft Pink membership and Priority Pass lounge access, to name a few.
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
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 up to 75,000 points on the welcome offer after spending $5,000 in the first six months of account opening. The welcome offer alone is worth $1,500, according to TPG valuations.
However, Ryan was targeted for the incredible 125,000-point offer on The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee, see rates and fees) using the CardMatch tool. Based on TPG point valuations, 125,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points are worth a whopping $2,500. The card also offers a generous 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases during the first six months of card membership.
On top of strong earnings at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, cardholders can earn a 5x bonus on airfare and hotels booked directly or through Amex Travel. The bonus category for travel is much more limiting than the Sapphire Reserve as it only includes bonus points for airfare and hotels. And unlike the annual $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit that can be used at grocery stores and gas stations through the end of 2021, the annual Amex Platinum’s up to $200 annual airline fee credit is much more restrictive (and less) as cardholders must pre-select their airline of choice and the credit can only be used for airline incidental costs such as checked baggage fees, change fees and seat assignments.
Still, there is a scenario where adding the Amex Platinum card makes sense. And that’s if you put a considerable amount of value into the card’s perks and benefits.
Here’s a rundown of TPG’s estimated value of a few of the Amex Platinum’s benefits:
- Annual airline fee credit: Up to $200.
- Annual Uber credit: Up to $200.
- Annual Saks credit: Up to $100.
- Priority Pass Select membership: $429 (based on the unlimited access option available for purchase).
- Delta Sky Club access: $545 (based on the cost of membership).
- Hilton Honors Gold elite status: $1,255.
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status: $840.
- Total: $3,569.
(Enrollment required for select benefits.)
That’s more than $3,500 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
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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
Featured image by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy.
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