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KEY LINKS

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. $95 annual fee
  • American Express® Gold Card – Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months. $250 annual fee (see rates and fees)

If you are starting the pursuit of points and miles, you might be looking for a card to get that gives you a good welcome offer, solid earning rates and benefits and perks that you can take advantage of. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Gold card are two cards that can fit that bill.

I’ve had both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold cards and so has my wife. The Preferred was one of the first credit cards I ever signed up for. I signed up for the Sapphire Preferred as well as two Southwest cards and used those to get my first ever Southwest Companion Pass. Then used 170,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points to fly our family of 8 to Reno – our very first use of miles and points, way back in 2014.

American Express® Gold Card

Comparing the welcome offers

The current Amex Gold welcome offer is 60,000 bonus points when you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of opening your account.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred. Obviously the welcome offers on the cards change over time, so you can argue a slight edge to one card vs. the other depending on where the welcome offers currently sit. Both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to travel partners, and their value may depend on how much you personally value the Chase or Amex transfer partners.

Remember too that Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred as compared to 1 cents per mile (or less) if you redeem American Express Membership Rewards miles directly for travel.

Rewards And Earning Points

The Amex Gold card has the following earning structure:

  • 4X points at restaurants worldwide plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year (then 1X)
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • 1X points on all other eligible purchases

The CSP card also has a tiered earning structure. You’ll earn:

  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit.
  • 2x on other travel purchases
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
  • 3x points on select streaming services.
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Winner: Edge to the Gold Card.  It has better earning on the 2 main CSP bonus categories (dining and grocery). The Sapphire Preferred does have an edge on streaming and points booked through the Chase Travel℠ portal, but not enough to offset the Gold Card’s edge in those 2 major categories.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Redemptions and transfers

CSP gives you a redemption value of 1.25 cents per point when booking through Chase Travel℠.  This is now run by Expedia. You can also transfer UR points to 13 travel partners.  If you decide to redeem for cash the value is 1 cent each.

The Amex Gold is part of the Membership Rewards ecosystem, and the main benefit is being able to transfer your Membership Rewards points to hotel and airline transfer partners. Redeeming directly for travel is usually not a great redemption – certainly not as useful as with Ultimate Rewards

Winner: Sapphire Preferred: The CSP does offer the flexibility of being able to transfer points OR redeem them directly for travel (with a 25% bonus), which provides a lot of value for redemptions. Redeeming points directly for travel is much less lucrative with Membership Rewards.

Other benefits of the cards

The Amex Gold also comes with a variety of useful travel benefits – but there are two that really help it stand apart from the benefits of the Sapphire Preferred.

  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash annually if you add your card to your Uber account. You’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.
  • $100 annual experience credit when you book a two-night minimum stay through The Hotel Collection

The Preferred has a ton of travel benefits including primary car rental insurance, and a $50 annual hotel credit for a hotel you book through Chase Travel.

Both cards also offer things like trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and extended warranty protection among others.

Winner: Too close to call – The Amex Gold has more benefits but (as we’ll see below) it also has a much higher annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. American Express® Gold Card: Annual fee

  • The Amex Gold has a $250 annual fee
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

Winner: Big Edge to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is a big one – although there are monthly and annual credits that come with the Amex Gold, there’s no denying that it comes with a cost. The annual fee is more than twice that of the Sapphire Preferred.

And the winner is…

The Chase Sapphire Preferred! In my mind, the benefits of the Sapphire Preferred are on par with those of the Amex Gold card. That, combined with the more flexible earning potential, better car rental insurance, higher welcome offer and (much!) lower annual fee mean that the Sapphire Preferred would be the one that I would choose. There’s a reason that I keep recommending the Chase Sapphire Preferred for people starting out.

KEY LINKS

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. $95 annual fee
  • American Express® Gold Card – Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months. $250 annual fee (see rates and fees)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred certainly offers and it is also a great card to hold over the long run due to the slightly better benefits. It could make sense to get both cards if you utilize the benefits and higher grocery / dining earnings of the Amex Gold card. However, the caveat is that you need to get approved for both, hit both sign up bonuses, and make sure to avoid carrying a balance. This will give you the maximum flexibility when it comes to redemptions, transfer partners, and earning options. With that being said both cards offer a ton of value and could be a great addition to your wallet.

Which card would you pick between the American Express Gold and Chase Sapphire Preferred? Leave a comment below and let us know why!


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