Amex points vs Chase points is a debate that’s been around almost as long as credit card reward programs have.
Both cards and programs are hugely popular, especially with people who travel often and they are far better than any other credit card rewards program available.
Unlike accumulating miles or points for a single airline or hotel chain, these rewards, whether they are Ultimate Rewards points or American Express membership rewards, are also more stable and reliable.
And both offer programs that are flexible and can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars yearly.
Here’s what you can expect with either the Ultimate Rewards points or American Express membership rewards:
- The ability to collect points by using an Ultimate Rewards points card or an American Express membership rewards card for purchases of things you probably use daily.
- The ability to trade these points for other perks and incentives, especially for travel.
- Partners who will also convert your points.
- Upgrades to cards that will give you even more ways to collect and redeem points, i.e., Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum Card.
- Access to airport lounges.
- Travel insurance (although we recommend World Nomads to fill any gaps because of their outstanding coverage and customer service)
So which is better, Amex points vs Chase points is best answered by looking at how you use your credit card and what you want to do with your points when it comes to travel.
You should also pay attention to the travel partners of each card.
Each program will have hotel and airline partners to whom you can transfer your points for money-saving rewards when you travel.
However, some partners are better than others, so we’ll examine the partners for both companies as well as how you can maximize all the benefits.
But forget about pulling out each card’s terms and conditions in migraine-inducing 5-pt font.
Because we can help you figure out which rewards, or Amex points vs Chase points, are the best fit for your lifestyle, spending habits, and travel goals.
Why should you choose one over the other?
Pooling all your rewards points on one credit card is the fastest way to earn enough for real benefit.
We also have a suggestion to help you better protect yourself against credit card fraud since you’ll want to carry your Amex or Chase wherever you go.
The FurArt Credit Card Wallet is a zippered card case and compact wallet with RFID blocking.
It comes in a variety of great colors and patterns and, despite its small size, can hold everything you need to get through the day.
The wallet’s RFID Blocking Technology prevents thieves from scanning your cards and gathering other personal information they can use for fraud.
Now that you know how to protect your cards from scammers, which one should you even carry?
Let’s examine each card and what they offer.
Table of Contents
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Whichever card you choose, you’ll want to wring out every last drop of value of the points you’ve accumulated.
Chase Ultimate Rewards allows you to collect points on seven of their credit cards.
The first rule of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is you can never have too many Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Redeem them for stays at major hotel brands or flights.
Chase Ultimate Rewards even offers a user-friendly portal so you can easily trade your hard-earned points for hotel rooms, plane tickets, car rentals, and sightseeing and package tours.
When you use the portal, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points can gain 25 to 50 percent in worth. They also have higher redemption rates if you transfer them to their partners.
If you have the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preserve, or Ink Business Preferred Card, you can transfer at a 1:1 ratio to their transfer partners:
- United MileagePlus
- Southwest Rapid Rewards – best for Southwest fares less than $100.
- Air France–KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways
- Aer Lingus
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – great to use for Delta flights as Virgin points are worth more than Delta SkyMiles.
- World of Hyatt – terrific value as many of their properties’ guestrooms can run as much as $1,000 or more per night.
- Marriott Bonvoy
- IHG Rewards
Again, if you’re using a Sapphire Preferred bonus, you’re able to transfer them to a 1:1 ratio of points or miles to any of the above partners!
If you can figure out Expedia or Priceline, then you can easily use the Chase travel website for bookings.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents if you have Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred.
With Sapphire Reserve, points are valued at 1.5 cents per.
The pretty neat thing about the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel site is that you don’t have to hunt for partners and award availabilities to fit your plans.
You can book any hotel or airline directly without blackout dates.
There are many ways to collect your points and you can on every purchase you make using your Chase credit cards.
Any travel-related purchase, such as hotel rooms and pretty much any method by which you are traveling will earn you points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee) will get you the highest rewards.
However, the Sapphire Preferred card has a much lower annual fee ($95), offers a maximum of 5 points per travel dollar spent, and gives you 25% more value when used on the travel portal.
Whatever you don’t pay with points can be put on your Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, so you’re still earning.
Here are other ways to earn points using Chase Sapphire and Ink Business cards and their rewards rate:
- Restaurant bills for 3x points with Sapphire and 1 point with Ink Business Preferred
- Household bills for 1 point per dollar
- Using the Chase Pay App for promotional bonus points
- Using your Ink Business Preferred Card for travel purchases for 3 points per dollar spent
- Using your Ink Business Preferred through the Chase Travel portal for 25% extra value and 3 points per $1 spent
- Using your Ink Business Preferred for select business expenses for 3 points per dollar spent
- Shopping through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal
For Chase Sapphire, welcome offers will vary, but they are profitable if you act in time!
Keep your eye out for limited-time sign-on bonuses for increased welcome offers directly offered by Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The usual offer is a reward of bonus points contingent on meeting a spending limit using the card within 90-days.
The easiest way to find out about special offers is to opt-in to receive promotional emails on the Chase Bank website.
You’ll also want to make sure your credit scores are high enough to qualify for a Chase Ultimate Rewards card.
The Chase Refer-a-friend bonus is an offer where you refer someone you know to apply for a Chase Ultimate Rewards card.
After they are approved and meet the welcome offer spending threshold, you and your friend both earn the bonus points in Chase Ultimate Rewards!
American Express Membership Rewards
American Express Travel offers a full-service travel portal as well, allowing cardholders to book hotels and flights directly.
You can book all class levels through the portal without calling or chatting with an agent.
Or you can transfer your American Express membership rewards points to a variety of partners.
American Express offers a few cards on which you can earn and redeem your points.
The American Express Platinum Card (annual fee: $695) will give you 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants and small businesses, up to $25,000 for your first six months as a member.
Members receive 5x Amex membership rewards on airfare up to $500,000 each calendar year. Afterward, it’s 1x.
You also earn 5x Amex membership rewards on hotels booked through Amex Travel and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
On top of this, you’ll see a $200 statement credit and a whole list of Amex membership rewards perks:
- Upgrades if available
- Daily breakfast
- Four o’clock late check-out
- Noon check-in if available
- Credits for dining and spa
- Possible third or fourth night free
Finally, Platinum members receive 1x on other purchases.
American Express Gold Card (annual fee: $250) allows you to earn:
- 4x for dining
- 4x at supermarkets up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x.
- 3x on airfare
- 1x on eligible purchases
Earn points on your Business Platinum Card (annual fee: $595) and get 35% of your points back if you book through Amex Travel:
- 5x on flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel and earn redeemable and elite-qualifying miles on tickets
- 1.5x in listed business categories and other eligible purchases of $5000 and up (up to $2 mill per calendar year)
- 1x on additional eligible purchases
- 4x on two categories on which you spend the most monthly up to $150,000 each calendar year
- 1x on additional eligible purchases
American Express Green Card (annual fee: $150)
- 3x on dining
- 3x on transportation
- 3x on travel expenses
- 1x on additional eligible purchases
For the best value, transfer your points to one of American Express’ partner hotels or airlines for free hotel stays and flights.
Often American Express will offer transfer bonuses to these partners for even more value.
Don’t bother with using points to pay your card charges. If you want to do that, consider getting a cash-back credit card.
Avoid shopping Amazon or the Membership Rewards online shopping mall with your points because the redemption rate is not so good.
The rate is also poor on purchasing gift cards, donating them to charities, or transferring them to low-value partners.
Before using them for travel, always check awards charts to see how you can turn them into super-low fares through transfers.
Some partners are better than others but the only way to tell is to do your research.
Also, a few hotel brands already have their own branded credit cards which are easier to use to collect points and redeem them.
For example, Hilton co-brands with American Express with Aspire and Surpass Cards.
Because of these existing agreements, Hilton doesn’t give transfers as much value unless there is a special transfer bonus.
Yet some partners are extremely high-value. Virgin Atlantic, for example, offers excellent value on Delta business class flights to Europe or ANA first class to Japan.
British Airways offers a ratio of 1 to 1 for its Avios program and has regular transfer bonuses.
You can use Avios to book American or Alaska Airlines flights within the US.
It may seem counter-intuitive to book a US air carrier through a foreign airline’s website, but you can snag some great deals using their alliances.
Other transfer partners are:
- Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest–best for flying on their alliance partners which includes American Airlines and Asiana Airlines to and from Europe and Asia.
- Finnair Plus
- Flying Blue–the joint loyalty plan between Air France and KLM. Great for economy and business class flights from the US to North Africa and Europe.
- Iberia Plus–great value for flying offpeak in business or economy class between Madrid and major US cities.
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Quantas Frequent Flyer
- SAS EuroBonus
- Singapore KrisFlyer–Transferred points can be used for their Suite class! They also offer online booking for Star Alliance partners with excellent redemption options.
You can also choose to book your flights and hotels directly through the American Express Travel Portal rather than transfer them to partners.
If you book through the portal, you’ll have the choice of paying with cash or points. The portal will look and feel familiar if you’ve ever booked your travel online before.
Enter your travel dates and destination to reveal airfares. Delta options will appear first but scroll down to see if it’s the best and cheapest option for you.
You’ll also get information on airport lounges and if you are eligible to use them. Cabin upgrades are available for points, but the redemption value is not that great.
But one perk for doing so is that Platinum members earn points for flights booked through the portal.
In addition, Business Amex users get a points rebate of up to 500,000 for Platinum and 250,000 for Gold.
Still, the rewards rate is better with transfers.
The portal will be more helpful when you need to book close to your departure date and the transfer fares aren’t readily available.
You can also get discounts for premium tickets through the portal’s International Airline Program (IAP).
Compare the IAP rates with booking through the airline directly and see what gets you the best deal.
Hotels won’t give you as much value as airlines though.
Except for the Fine Hotels & Resorts program where you can get some sweet perks like upgrades and complimentary breakfasts.
You can also receive perks booking one of the properties in The Hotel Collection. Also, check out the portal for booking cruises.
You’ll earn points and get exclusive perks like shipboard credits. Car rentals, unfortunately, won’t net you the best deals.
New applicants are eligible for sign-on bonuses for both the Gold and Platinum cards.
Gold applicants will earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases no later than six months after opening the account.
Platinum applicants will earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases no later than six months after opening the account.
In addition, Platinum cardholders earn 10x points when they use their card on eligible purchases at restaurants and small US businesses up to $25,000 in the first six months.
American Express can get quite generous if you refer a friend and they receive a card.
For Platinum referrals, they can range from 15,000 points to a whopping 45,000 if you earn referral bonuses during a promotion.
For more details about referrals, log in to your account from the Referral Page and see what offers you are eligible for.
Your friends can click through your referral links to apply.
See Related: AwardHacker Review
Amex Reward Points vs Chase Sapphire Reserve Point Value
As far as transferrable points programs, American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are the top two.
How much are Chase points worth vs Amex points? If both are transferred to partners, expect about 2 cents for each point.
Amex points or Chase Ultimate Rewards will both offer fantastic ways to save on travel, but there are some differences, especially in redemption value.
Chase Ultimate Rewards can be more valuable on cashback, Pay Yourself Back, and using points for travel purchases as well as transferring points.
The value in those cases is at 1-cent per point.
If you want to use American Express Points to offset purchases on your card, expect a value of 0.6 cents.
As far as what is the better travel rewards program; Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, these are the differences to consider:
Transferring points to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners is much quicker than with American Express.
This means you won’t lose out on awards flights waiting for points to transfer.
Yet American Express offers more transfer partners and far more bonuses than Chase Ultimate Rewards. And earning miles with American Express is easier and faster.
You can also use any American Express card to accumulate and transfer miles. With Chase, you must have the Sapphire or Ink cards.
Want to cover all your bases? Get both!
- Best Credit Cards for Travel Perks Ranked
- Best Credit Cards for Overseas Travel
- Best Credit Cards for Churning for Rewards Points
Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.
You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.