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When it comes to finding the best travel credit card, there are a number of options out there. In fact, there are so many that it’s difficult to compare them all. Two of the best mid-range travel credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold. They both offer good travel benefits and have the potential to earn you even more points for travel through spending. In this post we’ll debate which travel card is better: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold. We’ll take a look at both credit cards’ features and benefits to compare them.
Both cards have their similarities and their differences. Similarly, both the Sapphire Preferred and Amex Gold have no foreign transaction fees, making them good options internationally. As for the cards’ differences, they both have introductory offers, but one is more valuable than the other. Both cards have spending category bonuses, but they’re vastly different categories. While they both have similarly valued points, one system is more flexible than the other. And, both cards have an annual fee, but they’re also very different.
If you’re looking to decide between one or the other, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold to see if one card stands out for you.
A Quick Comparison of the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold
Here’s a side by side view of the two cards and their main features they offer.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Amex Gold Card
|Introductory Offer||50,000 Points|
after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
|Spending Categories||2X on Travel|
2X on Dining
|4X at US
4X at US Supermarkets
3X on Flights
|Redemption Value||Up to 2 cents per point|
*TF Points Values
|Up to 2 cents per point
*TF Points Values
|Perks||25% more value for points redeemed in the Chase travel portal||$100 Travel Credit on selected airlines fees|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||None||None|
|Annual Fee||$95 (waived in year 1)||$250|
|Best for People Who...||Travel a lot|
Want flexible travel choices
Want more introductory points
|Dine out often
Want a lower minimum spend bonus
Have large grocery bills
|Learn More >>||Learn More >>|
50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
- Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
- Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
- Extra Points Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Foreign Transaction Fees: None
- Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)
Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.
Amex Gold Card Learn More >>
35,000 Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
- Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
- Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at US restaurants. 4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). You’ll earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. Also earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card participating dining. Enrollment required.
- Statement Credits: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
- Foreign Transaction Fee: None
- Annual Fee: $250 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
PS: There’s also an Amex Business Gold Card: Compare it here >>
Which Card Has the Better Benefits?
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold credit cards come with introductory offers. The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s introductory offer is double the number of points as the Amex Gold, but the spending limit to receive the bonus points is also double.
That’s always something to consider when applying for a travel credit card. Will you be able to comfortably meet the minimum spending with your upcoming purchases. Everyone spends different amounts of money on a monthly basis. $4000 in 3 months may be hard to reach for some people, while for others it’s a small percentage of their spending over 3 months.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
- Amex Gold: 25,000 Membership Rewards after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
With the point value of these two points programs being about the same, obviously, the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are better. But, they’re only better if you’re able to meet the minimum spend. If you can’t reach that minimum spend, the 25,000 Membership Rewards from the Amex Gold would be better.
Best Introductory Offer: Chase Sapphire Preferred
When it comes to spending categories in the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold debate, they both have their own perks. Which cards’ spending categories are better highly depends on your lifestyle. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good card for spending bonuses if you travel internationally often, as the 2X on dining counts outside of the United States.
If you don’t travel outside the US much, the Amex Gold has the highest spending bonuses on restaurants and supermarkets of all travel cards. Earning 4X on restaurants and supermarkets in the US will bring in a lot of extra bonus Membership Rewards for the average person. The Amex Gold also earns 3X on flights when they’re booked directly with an airline or through the Amex Travel portal.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2X on travel and dining worldwide.
- Amex Gold: 4X on US restaurants and US supermarkets. 3X on flights booked directly with airlines.
In the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred debate, the best bonus spending category card goes to the Amex Gold. That is unless you’re out of the country often and also dine out regularly.
Best Spending Categories: Amex Gold
Both the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards programs are very good. They’re actually the top two travel points programs overall in my opinion. Both points systems have different redemption options available including cashback-like purchases, a travel portal for booking travel, as well as airline and hotel transfer partners. Both types of points are so valuable (worth up to 2 cents per point or more) because they’re flexible. The way to redeem either Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards for the most value is by transferring to hotel and airline partners.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: Up to 2 cents per point or more
- Amex Gold: Up to 2 cents per point or more
While both cards have points that are equally valued, choosing one over the other may depend on what airline you fly most often. As an example, you can only transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to Delta, and you can only transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest. On one hand, if you live near a Delta hub airport, the Amex Gold might make sense, but if you have a Southwest Companion Pass, alternatively the Chase Sapphire Preferred might make more sense. The redemption rates of these two credit cards’ points are pretty equal as they’re part of the best two points programs.
Best Redemption Value: TIE
Honestly, neither card has that great of travel perks. The Sapphire Preferred gives an extra 25% value when redeeming Ultimate Rewards through the Chase travel portal. But, if you’re looking to maximize the point redemption value, the portal isn’t the way to go. Transfer partners can be much more valuable than booking travel through the portal. Amex Gold offers a $100 travel statement credit, but it’s only to be used for travel incidental fees, such as baggage fees, upgrades, and lounge access. Because the travel statement credit is so limited, it’s not really that valuable unless you already spend money on those things.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 25% bonus when redeeming points in the Chase travel portal
- Amex Gold: $100 travel incidental fees statement credit
Personally, I don’t value these perks very highly. I don’t use the Chase travel portal because I transfer my points to airlines and hotels, and I don’t often have baggage fees or upgrade seats. Also, airport lounge access can be had for free through the benefits of other Amex and Chase cards. Therefore, if you have one of those cards you won’t need to pay for lounge access.
Best Perks: TIE
The Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold race is a close one so far. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has one better benefit, the Amex Gold has one better benefit, and they tied on two benefits. It could all come down to the annual fee situation as to who wins the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred debate.
Both of these credit cards have an annual fee. The Amex Gold has a very high annual fee when compared to the value of the cards’ benefits. At $250, the annual fee is close to those of a premium luxury travel card but lacks similar travel benefits. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred also has an annual fee, it is only $95 and is waived in the first cardmember year.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: $95 Annual Fee (waived in year 1)
- Amex Gold: $250 Annual Fee
Because these cards are comparable in all the other benefit categories, the annual fee of the Amex Gold drops it well below the Chase Sapphire Preferred. While the Amex Gold card is still a valuable card to have if you spend a lot at US restaurants and supermarkets, it will take a very high amount of spending to make up for the high annual fee. The fact that the Chase Sapphire Preferred has the potential to get more than $1000 in travel from the introductory offer, without having to pay the annual fee (because it’s waived year 1) is incredible.
Best Annual Fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Decision Time: Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred
We’ve gone through and compared all the features and benefits of each card in the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold debate. Now it’s time to decide which of these two travel credit cards is best for you. The main deciding factors to compare are the introductory offers, minimum spend required to earn the introductory offers, the spending category bonuses, and the annual fees.
If you spend a ton on food at both restaurants and supermarkets in the United States, the Amex Gold card makes more sense for your purchases. But, if you want to travel more and get more value out of the card in year one without having a high annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is likely the card for you.
For the reasons above, we consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred to be the best first travel credit card for most people. When people ask me which credit card they should get first, 9 times out of 10 it’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.