With excellent ongoing rewards, valuable new card member welcome offers, and flexible redemption options, the American Express® Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer great value with relatively low annual fees. Taking into account the numerous benefits that these cards provide, both of them were named to the CardRatings 2021 list of Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards. While these cards provide a lot of perks on their own, there are some key differentiators that you should take into account when deciding which card is for you. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.
Like many of their competitors with similar features, both of these cards come with annual fees. While having an annual fee is common for many issuers and cards, both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the American Express® Gold Card annual fees are noteworthy in their differences. The Sapphire Preferred® has a $95 annual fee compared to the higher $250 annual fee with the American Express Gold card (see rates and fees). Both cards do have features and benefits that help to justify or offset the annual fees though. However, if you are evaluating cards based heavily on the fee itself, the Sapphire Preferred® card has the advantage in this area with its lower cost.
Ongoing rewards rates
Another noticeable difference between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the American Express® Gold Card is their everyday rewards earning rates. While both cards have tiered rewards earning, where purchases in certain categories earn more than purchases in other categories, the rates that the cards earn are different.
With the Sapphire Preferred® card, you have tiered rewards earning with 2X Ultimate Rewards® points earned per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases. The Gold from American Express earns 4X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent when you dine at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). This card also earns 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X point per $1 on all other purchases.
The Gold card has higher points earning potential in dining out, U.S grocery spend, and if you book flights directly with airlines or on amextravel.com; however, the Sapphire Preferred® has the advantage in that all travel spend earns 2X points (including categories like hotels, car rentals, etc.) instead of just specific airfare spend. Depending on your spending habits, either card could be more valuable for everyday points earning.
The welcome bonus offered to new cardholders is solid with both of these cards. With the American Express® Gold Card you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first six months. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, on the other hand, is currently offering new cardholders 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, which is worth up to $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program. For the same minimum spend amount, the Sapphire Preferred® card has a slight lead in the value of the points you can earn as a new cardholder, but the Gold Card offers more time to reach this threshold.
The points earned by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and American Express® Gold Card can be redeemed in a number of different ways. Both the Ultimate Rewards® points earned by the Sapphire Preferred® card and the Membership Rewards® points earned by the American Express Gold card can be redeemed directly for travel, by transferring points to airline and hotel partners, and redeeming points for purchases on Amazon.com using the Shop with Points feature. One big differentiator for the points redemption between the two cards is the travel partners that you can transfer to. The Membership Rewards® program from American Express has over 20 airline and hotel partners including Delta and Hilton Honors while the Ultimate Rewards® program from Chase has 13 transfer partners including Hyatt. It's also worth noting that Sapphire Preferred® points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
To learn more, check out the table below to compare the various rewards, benefits, features, and fees associated with each card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs. American Express® Gold Card
Ultimate Rewards® can be redeemed directly for travel, transferred to airline and hotel partners, and redeemed for purchases on Amazon.com using the Shop with Points feature
Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel partners include:
- British Airways Executive Club
- World of Hyatt
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Marriott Bonvoy™
- United MileagePlus®
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- For the full list, please see our Chase Ultimate Rewards® guide
American Express Gold Card travel partners include:
- Air France KLM
- Asia Miles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
- For the full list, please see our guide to American Express Membership Rewards®
- Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger
- Travel accident insurance up to $500,000
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Auto rental collision damage coverage which provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022; That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
- Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket if you're delayed more than 12 hours or require an overnight stay
- Baggage delay insurance up to $100 a day for five days for baggage delays over 6 hours
- $120 dining credit— earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with your card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations; enrollment required
- Airline Fee Credit up to $100— select one qualifying airline and receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits for incidental fees (offer expires in 2021)
- Hotel Credit up to $100— book through The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel and get a $100 hotel credit when you stay at least two consecutive nights
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Access to Global Assist Hotline which provides coordination and assistance services such as lost passport replacement assistance, translation services, missing luggage assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals when traveling more than 100 miles from home
- Baggage insurance plan up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage
- Zero Liability Protection which means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
- Purchase protection covers new purchases made with your card for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Extended warranty protection extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on items purchases with your card by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less
- Dispute resolution— if there is a fraudulent or incorrect charge on your statement, American Express will work with you to resolve the issue
See Rates and Fees for the American Express® Gold Card