What Is the Difference between Chase Sapphire and American Express Personal Credit Cards

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Two of the best personal credit cards right now are from American Express and Chase Sapphire.  As more and more Americans become savvy about their credit card usage, an all-out war on your business has ensued.  There are credit cards with some incredible benefits for both business owners and individuals.  Maximizing your usage can provide some incredible perks.  Earlier this year, I posted what I thought were the best credit cards for businesses in 2018.  You can check it out here.  

What about personal cards?  The two highest value personal credit cards, in my opinion, are the cards from Chase Sapphire and American Express.  They each have different rewards, different levels, and different costs.  Below I highlight the important benefits and differences between each.  Have a look!

In addition, if you haven’t checked out The Points Guy yet.  I highly recommend the site.  They also provide tremendous value via travel and card reviews that are updated quite frequently.

Each card image is linked directly to the application website if you would like to apply for that specific card. 

PERSONAL

 

 

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (Personal)
  • $0 for the first year, then $95 annually
  • $0 for additional users
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance- No need to get that insurance at Hertz or Enterprise if you do.
  • $60 roadside assistance
  • 2x points on dining and travel including Uber
  • 1x points on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $10,000 trip insurance for weather/cancellation/etc
  • An additional year of coverage on eligible purchases with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less. Boats, automobiles, aircraft, medical equipment, leased or pre-owned items and items for commercial use are ineligible.
  • Covers eligible personal property (purchased using your Sapphire Preferred card) in the event of theft, damage or involuntary and accidental parting with property. If something happens to an item within 120 days of purchase, it will be repaired or replaced for a value of up to $500.
  • Application Perks
    • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. You’ll also earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months from account opening.  If you meet both of these requirements, your haul is worth $1,155
    • Potentially downgrade to Chase Freedom for no annual fee

 

 

 

 

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (Personal)
  • $450 annually
  • $75 each additional user
  • $300 annual TRAVEL credit (air, AirBNB, cruise, etc)
  • 3X points on travel and dining including trains
    • Extends to electric car fuel up stations
  • $100 for TSA Precheck Application every four years
  • Access to Airport Lounges via priority pass
  • No foreign transaction Fees
  • Coverage up to $50 per roadside incident 4 times per year
  • Luxury Hotel perks like late checkout and early check-in
    • But no elite or gold status with hotels like Marriott, Hilton and SPG
  • Complimentary car rental upgrades if available
  • Preferred Seating at Madison Square Garden
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance- No need to get that insurance at Hertz or Enterprise if you do.
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  The 50,000-point bonus on the Sapphire Reserve is worth about $1,050. You can get the points if you open a new account rather than transferring from other Sapphire

Here is an example of annual spending and the points accumulated on both the Reserve and Premier cards.

 

 Spend (Month; Year) Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Sapphire Reserve Total Difference (Added Value)
$1,000/month; $12,000/year 2,000 points per month; 24,000 per year 3,000 points per month; 36,000 per year 12,000-point difference per year; worth $252 in extra value
$2,000/month; $24,000/year 4,000/month; 48,000/year 6,000/month; 72,000/year 24,000-point difference; $504 in value
$3,000/month; $36,000/year 6,000/month; 72,000/year 9,000/month; 108,000/year 36,000-point difference; $756 in value
$5,000/month; $60,000/year 10,000/month; 120,000/year 15,000/month; 180,000/year 60,000-point difference; $1,260 in value
$10,000/month; $120,000/year 20,000/month; 240,000/year 30,000/month; 360,000/year 120,000-point difference; $2,520 in value

 

 

 

  • American Express Blue
    • No Annual Fee
    • Only card where you don’t have to pay in full each month
    • 1X Points on all purchases
    • 2X points on travel booked via AmEx Travel
    • No bonus points on application

 

 

 

  • American Express Platinum
    • $550 annual fee
    • $200 Uber Credit spread out by month
    • $200 Credit for one preferred Airline
    • 5X points for travel through AmEx website
    • When redeeming points, if used for preferred Airline tickets, you are rebated 35% of points used
    • Access to Centurion and partner airport lounges
    • $85 TSA Precheck fee credit for you and each add’l card holder every renewal (4)
    • Stay 2 night min. -receive room upgrade when available and $75 dining/spa credit
      • Must book through Amex Travel
  • Free Boingo Internet access
  • Free Auto Rental Collision coverage (secondary to personal policy) (Decline at the counter)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Hilton Gold and SPG Gold automatically
      • SPG gives 3 points for rooms booked with it, 4pm late check out & room upgrade

Application Perks

    • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months from account opening.

 

 

 

  • American Express Gold Card
    • $0 first year* and $195 annually for primary holder
      • 3x points on direct airline bookings
      • 2x points on dining/supermarket/gas station
      • 1X on anything else spent
      • $100 fee credit for Airline of Choice
      • No foreign transaction fees
      • $75 credit for dining/spa when staying 2 consecutive nights
      • Application Perks
        • sign-up bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 within your first three months of card membership
        • Fee waived for first year ($175 value)

As you can see, there are many choices even within just these two credit card providers.  In my opinion, for the money, Chase Sapphire and American Express are 2 of the best personal credit cards for rewards.

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