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Two extremely popular credit cards in the travel world are currently offering a limited time increased bonus offer of 100,000 points. Unfortunately though, these two offers are expiring during this month, so if they’ve been on your radar, now is a good time to consider which one to get (or both!) and learn more about the similarities and differences between the two. These include the:
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. This limited time offer expires January 25, 2017.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points after you spend $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. This limited time offer expires January 11, 2017 online and March 11, 2017 in-branch.
- Earn you points towards travel. They both allow you to either: a) book travel through their respective travel website, or b) transfer points to partner loyalty programs. The loyalty programs differ between the two cards, so the partner relationships might determine which card is best for you. Now, if you are looking to book through their own travel website, the value of the points differ, which I’ll get to in the differences section.
- Airport lounge access. They both will give you airport lounge access. With the Amex Platinum card you’ll receive access to Centurion lounges (which are awesome, buy few and far between), International American Express lounges, Delta Sky Club, Priority Pass Select lounges, and Airspace Lounges. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card you’ll only receive access to Priority Pass Select lounges.
- Expensive annual fee. Both card have a $450 annual fee. While this is a crazy expensive fee to pay for one credit card, you might find that the benefits outweigh the fees, especially for the first year or two.
- Global Entry Reimbursement. Both cards will reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to a $100 value) once every 5 years. Personally, I suggest getting Global Entry since it comes with automatic TSA PreCheck.
- Foreign Transaction Fees: Both cards come with NO foreign transaction fees.
- Travel Credit: The Amex Platinum Business card will give you up to $200 in airline credit annually. This credit is just for incidentals on one airline of your choice. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll receive up to $300 in statement credits annually on ANY travel related purchases. You are not limited to just incidentals and one travel partner. This includes hotel stays, airline tickets, taxis, etc. Essentially anything coded as “travel” on your billing statement will qualify. Clearly the travel credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is much better. With that being said, IF you were to apply for either card now, you’ll be able to receive the reimbursement twice before you pay your second annual fee.
- Hotel Status: Only the Amex Platinum Business card will give you automatic status at hotel chains. With this card you’ll receive Starwood Gold and Hilton Gold status. Now, since you can currently match your Starwood and Marriott status, this card will also give you Marriott Gold status. The Chase Sapphire Reserve does not come with any such benefit.
- Earning Points: The point structure of earning points differs a ton between the two cards. With the Amex Platinum card you’ll earn 1x point on all purchases. There are NO category bonuses. However, for purchases over $5,000, you’ll earn a 50% bonus. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll earn 3x points on all travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. You’ll then earn 1x point on all other purchaes.
- Redeeming Points: As I mentioned above, both cards allow you to redeem points for travel. When you go to redeem through Amex’s and Chase’s travel portal, there is a huge difference in the value of the points depending on the card you have. With the Amex Platinum Business card points are worth 1 cent per point when you go to redeem. However, if you go this route, you’ll receive 50% of your points back IF you redeem for: a) First and Business Class tickets with all airlines available with American Express Travel; and 2) Any fare class with your selected qualifying airline. So if you initially select American Airlines as your airline of choice, a $1,000 flight on American will require 100,000 points. But, you’ll then receive 50,000 points back into your account to use for future travel. This can get you a value of 2 cents per point, which is pretty amazing! With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, all points are worth a fixed 1.5 cents per point when redeem through their travel site.
Both are premier cards in the travel industry and have fabulous sign up bonuses. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will drop to a 50,000 point bonus, I am not 100% sure what the Amex Platinum Business card will drop to. My guess would be 40,000 or 50,000 points. I do not foresee us to see another 100,000 publicly available offer for either card for a very long time!
Remember, both cards can be hard to qualify for. For American Express credit cards, you are limited to once in a lifetime sign up bonus per card. So if you’ve already receive a sign up bonus for the Amex Platinum Business card in the past, the chances of being able to get this offer is slim. For Chase cards, there is a “5/24” rule, which means if you’ve applied for 5 or more personal cards from any bank in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you for another Chase card. If you fall into that “5/24” rule, getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can be challenging. Two ways folks have been after to get around this is by being a Chase Private client or being pre-approved for the card.
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