The Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum cards are considered by most to be the cream of the crop of premium credit cards. Beyond their massive signup bonuses, these two cards are loaded with additional benefits. When it comes to the heavyweight fight between the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum card, is there a definitive winner?

I can’t choose one, but maybe you can.

The intent of this guide is not to force you to choose between one of the two cards. Instead, it will be useful in determining which card better fits your travel and purchasing habits. You may find it valuable to hold both cards, even if they come with a combined $1,000 in annual fees.

If you do have both cards, this post will help you determine which purchases to place on which card to get the most benefits. For example, you should place travel purchases on the Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the card’s comprehensive travel insurance. Whereas if you purchase products that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of more than one year, you can extend the warranty for longer by using the Amex Platinum.

Below, I look at every feature of the Platinum and Sapphire Reserve cards and crown a winner in each category.

Summary of the benefits offered by the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum.
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Signup Bonus

The Amex Platinum signup bonus has been between 60,000–100,000 points. The current public offer is 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in three months. However, many are targeted for a 100,000-point after $5,000 in spend offer. Check your Pre-Qualified offers and the Card Match tool at to see if you are eligible. There have been publicly available 100,000-point offers in the past, but not since 2016.

The Sapphire Reserve signup bonus has been between 50,000–100,000 points. The current public offer is 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months. Chase has targeted some people for a 60,000 point/$4,000 spend offer. Check the “Selected for You” or “Just for You” section of your Chase account to see if you are targeted.

When Chase initially launched the card in 2016, it came with a 100,000-point signup bonus. Unfortunately, that offer expired at the end of March 2017 and has not returned.

Better Signup Bonus: Amex Platinum

It is relatively easy to obtain the signup bonus on either card if you are using manufactured spending or a buying group.

Even if you only have access to the public signup offers, the Amex Platinum offers an additional 10,000 points for only $1,000 more in spending. However, given so many people are targeted for the 100k-point offer, the Platinum is the clear winner.

Earning Points

The Amex Platinum card earns:

  • 5X points on flights booked directly with an airline or with Amex Travel
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels that are booked with Amex Travel
  • 1X points on everything else

The Sapphire Reserve card earns:

  • 3X points on travel
  • 3X points on dining
  • 1X points on everything else

Better for Earning Points: Sapphire Reserve

The Reserve’s 3X dining and travel category bonuses have a much broader reach than the Platinum’s 5x on flights and Amex Travel bookings. With that said, you can certainly earn more at restaurants; see my guide to the best dining credit card.

Redeeming Points

Amex Transfer Partners

American Express Membership Rewards has 18 airline transfer partners and three hotel partners. Unlike Chase, not all transfers are at a 1:1 ratio. Amex has frequently run transfer bonuses between 25-40% for airlines and hotels. Sometimes Amex will provide higher transfer bonuses targeted to specific card members.

Amex Airline Transfer Partners

Airline Transfer PartnerMinimum Transfer AmountTransfer Ratio of MR to PartnerTransfer Time
AeroMexico10001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada10001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia10001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus10001:1Almost Instant
ANA10001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles10001:1Instant
British Airways10001:1Instant
Cathay Pacific10001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines10001:1Instant
EL AL100050:1Instant
Etihad Airways10001:1Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance10001:1Instant
Iberia10001:11-3 days
Singapore Airlines10001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic10001:11-2 days

Amex Hotel Transfer Partners

Hotel Transfer PartnerMinimum Transfer AmountTransfer Ratio of MR to PartnerTransfer Time
Choice Privileges10001:1Instant
Hilton Honors10001:2Instant
Marriott Bonvoy10001:1Instant
Membership Reward Hotel Transfer Partners

Amex Travel Portal

Membership Rewards points redeemed through the Amex travel portal are worth 1 cent per point. However, if you have the Business Platinum card, you receive a 35% rebate when redeeming points toward a paid business or first-class flight on any airline, or economy flight on one airline of your choice. Unfortunately, the consumer version of the Platinum card does not offer the same benefits.

Since these bookings appear as cash purchases to the airline or hotel, you still earn miles and points on these redemptions. Using points to book cheap international business class fares around $1,000 through the portal could earn you elite status with an airline and a significant number of airline miles.

Liquidating Membership Rewards Points

If you have the Schwab version of the Amex Platinum, you can cash out points for 1.25 cents each toward a deposit in your Schwab account. Alternatively, if you have the Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum card, you can redeem points for 1 cent each toward a deposit into your Morgan Stanley brokerage account.

Otherwise, if you have the regular version of the Platinum card, your best options to liquidate are 0.6 cents per point for cashback or 1 cent per point for gift cards.

Chase Transfer Partners

This is where you can redeem Ultimate Rewards for the highest value.

Chase has nine airline transfer partners and three hotels. All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and most transfers occur instantly. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 points.

While Chase has historically not offered transfer bonuses, earlier this year there was a 30% transfer bonus when transferring Ultimate Rewards to British Airways. It is not clear if Chase is planning to offer more transfer bonuses in the future.

Chase Airline Transfer Partners

Airline Transfer PartnerTransfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClubInstant
British Airways Executive ClubInstant
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM1 hour
Iberia PlusInstant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1-2 days
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsInstant
United Airlines MileagePlusInstant
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubInstant

Chase Hotel Transfer Partners

Hotel Transfer PartnerTransfer Time
World of HyattInstant
IHG Rewards Club1 day
Marriott Rewards2 days
Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners

Chase Travel Portal

With the Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each through the Chase Travel Portal. Expedia runs the portal, so you should be able to book any hotel, flight, or rental car through the portal that you see at The portal even allows you to book tours, airport transfers, and other excursions.

You may notice some price discrepancies between the portal and the price you would pay by booking direct. It is also advisable to shop around before booking. 

As with the Amex portal, it may be advantageous to use points to book some flights through the travel portal rather than transfer your points to airline miles.

Liquidating Ultimate Reward Points

You can effortlessly redeem your points for cash back or gift cards at 1 cent per point.

Better Point Redemption Options: Tie

While Amex has more transfer partners, the option to redeem at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase travel portal can be quite handy. If you are not interested in dealing with the complexities of different airline miles or hotel points, you are better off with Chase.

Alternatively, if you are comfortable using transfer partners, Amex points can deliver significantly higher than 1.5 cents per point. With their frequent transfer bonuses, your Membership Rewards points can take you practically anywhere.

International Travel and Foreign Transaction

Neither the American Express Platinum nor Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a foreign transaction fee. However, some international merchants do not accept American Express, so you are better off traveling with Visa. According to the 2018 Nilson Report, Amex is accepted by 22.1 million merchants worldwide, whereas Visa is accepted by 44.4 million.

Better for International Transactions: Sapphire Reserve

Whether I am traveling in the U.S. or internationally, I make sure to have a Visa or MasterCard with me in case a merchant does not accept Amex.

Downgrade options

Instead of closing your account, it is wise to check with a credit card issuer to see whether you have the ability to a switch (“product change”) to a different card. If you hold the Platinum or Sapphire Reserve, you may decide you no longer get enough value from the card to justify the annual fee. Each card has multiple product change options that have a lower annual fee.  

In general, you should only request a product change after you have held the card for at least twelve months. American Express has been known to claw back welcome offers for cards that were canceled or downgraded in the first year.

Amex Platinum Downgrade Options

You can downgrade the Platinum card to a Gold card ($250 annual fee) or a Green card ($95 annual fee). You can cancel your Platinum card and keep your points, as long as you have another consumer or small-business card that earns Membership Rewards points. 

Sapphire Reserve Downgrade Options

A Sapphire Reserve can be product-changed to a Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee), Freedom ($0 annual fee), or Freedom Unlimited Card ($0 annual fee).

With Chase, it is a smart idea to downgrade any Ultimate Reward earning card rather than canceling it. Not only will downgrading allow you to keep any Ultimate Rewards points you have received, but it will enable you to get another credit card that you would not have access to due to the bank’s 5/24 restriction.

While you are not eligible for a new cardmember offer when downgrading, you likely would not have been able to receive one anyway. That is because the terms and conditions on Sapphire cards state:

“The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.”

Therefore, you would have to wait four years from the time you receive a bonus on the Sapphire Reserve before you would be eligible for another welcome bonus on any Sapphire card.

For many, it may make sense to downgrade a Sapphire Reserve to a no-fee Freedom card to take advantage of the rotating quarterly 5X categories. However, if you downgrade to either a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, you will be unable to transfer your points to airlines and hotels unless you have an Ink card or Sapphire Preferred. See my full guide to the Freedom vs. Freedom Unlimited.

Additionally, you will be able to redeem your points for 1 cent each toward cash back or transfer them to another member of your household. 

Better Downgrade Options: Sapphire Reserve

Only the Sapphire Reserve has the option to downgrade to a no-fee card.

Annual Travel Credits

The American Express Platinum will reimburse you for up to $200 in fees for a U.S. airline every calendar year. The types of fees that are eligible for this credit include bag fees, change or cancellation fees, pet fees, and seat assignment fees. However, many other charges appear to work. Those include airfare less than $100, award ticket fees, and seat upgrades.

You need to select an airline before you are eligible for the benefit. Once you have selected an airline, you can only change it once per year in January. Although if you forget to change it, you may be able to reach out to Amex and have them change it as a one-time courtesy.  

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 travel credit per cardmember year. Anything related to travel will be eligible for the credit. Chase defines “travel” as including: “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”

Better Annual Travel Credit: Sapphire Reserve

Given so much qualifies for the credit, the clear winner in this category is the Sapphire Reserve. Alternatively, you may need to jump through some hoops to use your Platinum airline fee credit.

Other Discounts & Statement Credits

In addition to the annual travel credits, both cards provide access to additional discounts and credits that will help you recoup the cost of the yearly fee.

Amex Platinum Saks credits

The Amex Platinum provides $50 in Saks credits between Jan-Jun, and another $50 between Jul- Dec. Purchases in-store or at are eligible for the credit. Physical gift cards count toward the credit, but e-gift cards do not. The cheapest gift card option at is $150, so you will need to go in-store if you want to purchase a $50 card.

Amex Platinum Uber credits

The Platinum Card comes with $15 a month in Uber credits during January–November, and $35 in December, for a total of $200 per year. The credits work at Uber or UberEats. When you add your Platinum card as a payment method to your Uber account, the $15 is automatically added to your Uber Cash balance. The credit does not roll over, so make sure you use them before the end of each month. However, if you have multiple Platinum cards, the credits will stack. Refer to this page for more details.

Amex Platinum card members also receive access to Uber VIP. This benefit allows you to request a ride from a driver who has at least a 4.8-star rating. The Uber VIP program is separate from the Uber Rewards program.

Amex Platinum International Airline Program

The Platinum International Airline program offers discounts on business and first-class airfare at over 20 participating airlines when you purchase through Amex Travel. Eligible airlines include Air France, Delta, Emirates Lufthansa, Qatar, and Virgin Atlantic. Most travel must be booked as a roundtrip and originate from the U.S., although a few airlines that participate in the program allow one-way flights when departing from the U.S.

These discounts automatically appear in the search results at Amex Travel when you are logged into your Platinum card account. Your total savings will vary, and you may not see a discount compared to booking direct. Generally, though, you can expect to receive a discount of around 15% through the program.

Global Entry or TSA Pre fee credit

Both the Platinum and Sapphire Reserve cards come with a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit once every five years. This works on your primary card and any authorized users you may have, including no-fee Gold cards.

Better Discounts & Other Credits: Amex Platinum

The Platinum card makes up for its lackluster airline fee credit by offering several other valuable benefits that are easy to use. 

Shopping Benefits

Purchase protection

Purchase protection provides coverage against accidental damage or theft of items within their first few months of purchase.

The Amex Platinum Card covers purchases of up to $10,000 in the first 120 days (90 days for NY residents), and up to $50,000 in total claims per year. You are only eligible to be reimbursed for the amount charged to your card. For example, if you used gift cards to cover part of the purchase, you will only be refunded for the remainder that was charged to your Amex. See the full policy, including a list of excluded items, here.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve purchase protection also covers purchases of up to $10,000 in their first 120 days against damage or theft. You are eligible to submit up to $50,000 in claims per year. As with the Platinum card, this coverage is secondary to any homeowners or renters policy and only provides up to the amount charged to your card. See the Chase Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits for the full terms and conditions of these benefits.

Extended Warranty

The Amex Platinum extended warranty benefit will extend the term of a warranty that is five years or less. If the original manufacturer’s warranty is less than two years, Amex will match the length of the original warranty. Alternatively, if the original manufacturer’s warranty is between two and five years, they will provide an additional two years of warranty coverage. See the full Extended Warranty policy for exclusions and limitations.

The Sapphire Reserve extended the original manufacturer’s warranty “by one additional year on eligible warranties of three (3) years or less.” The Reserve comes with coverage up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 in total claims per year.

Return Protection

This benefit allows you to receive a refund for items purchased using your card if the merchant will not take it back. Sometimes, the bank may provide you with a prepaid label to ship the product somewhere. In most cases, though, they will allow you to keep the item.

Amex Platinum cards provide coverage for up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year (based on the purchase date,) within 90 days of purchase. Some categories of products, such as jewelry and “seasonal products,” are not eligible for this benefit. Review Amex’s Return Protection terms for more details on excluded items.

Sapphire Reserve: All Visa Infinite cards, including the Ritz Carlton, CNB Crystal Infinite, UBS Visa Infinite, and Sapphire Reserve, offer return protection. In the case of the Sapphire Reserve, you can initiate a return protection claim within 90 days of purchase. The maximum you will receive per item is $300, while the yearly maximum is $1,000. Again, refer to the benefits guide for more details.

Better Shopping Benefits: Tie

The shopping benefits offered by the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve are nearly identical. The only real differences are (1) if you live in New York, you will receive a more extended period of purchase protection with the Reserve, and (2) the Platinum may extend your warranty for longer than one year.

Airport Lounge Access

Priority Pass Select – Lounges

Amex Platinum provides a Priority Pass Select membership. This membership provides you with free access to an ever-expanding list of over 1,200 airport lounges around the world. The version of Priority Pass membership that comes with the Amex Platinum allows you to be accompanied by two guests. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve also includes a Priority Pass Select membership. Like the version of membership that comes with the Amex Platinum, the membership allows you to bring two guests per visit. If you want to bring more than two others into a lounge, you will be charged a $27 fee per additional person.

Priority Pass Select – Restaurants

Amex Platinum: No credit.

Sapphire Reserve: Unlike the Platinum, the card also offers access to Priority Pass restaurants. Rather than a traditional lounge, this gives you access to a growing number of airport restaurants where you will receive a credit of around $28 toward your final bill. For example, Booby Van’s Steakhouse at New York JFK’s Terminal 8 is a participating restaurant.

Delta Sky Club

Amex Platinum card also gives access to Delta Sky Club lounges when you are flying Delta. Only the cardmember is allowed free entrance; additional guests are assessed a $29 per guest fee.

Sapphire Reserve: No access

Amex Centurion Lounges

In addition to Priority Pass, American Express offers their own branded lounges exclusively for Platinum and Centurion cardmembers. Platinum card members are allowed to access Centurion lounges up to three hours before departure, and for any length during a connection. Members are permitted two guests free of charge and can bring additional guests after purchasing a $50 one-day pass.

This credit is per person, so you can receive additional credits if you are dining with guests. Unfortunately, some restaurants, such as Bobby Van’s, will limit you to one guest. Check the Priority Pass app or website for restaurant-specific information.

Better Airport Lounge Benefits: Amex Platinum

If you regularly travel through an airport that has a Centurion lounge or fly Delta, then Amex Platinum is your best option. Otherwise, if you see yourself taking advantage of Priority Pass Restaurants, the Sapphire Reserve offers better value.

Hotel Benefits

Amex Platinum Hotel Elite Status

The Amex Platinum provides Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

Hilton Honors Gold status is the second tier in Hilton Honors program. This status level usually requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 points ($7,500 in spend). Some of the perks that come with Gold status include an 80% bonus points on paid stays, fifth night free on award stays, breakfast, and an upgrade “up to Executive floor room types.” You can also get Hilton Gold status form the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Platinum card authorized users are also eligible for this status (although no-fee Gold card authorized users are not).

Marriott Gold Elite status is the second tier in the Marriott rewards program. The status provides 25% bonus points on paid stays, 2 pm priority late checkout, 250-500 bonus points gift at check-in, and an upgrade to an enhanced room. The late checkout and room upgrades are not guaranteed. With that said, assuming there is availability, most Marriott properties are usually willing to offer some sort of upgrade. In general, I find properties outside the U.S. are more likely to provide generous upgrades. While my fiancée and I were at W Maldives, I leveraged my Gold status to secure an upgrade from a beach room to an overwater bungalow for our final two nights. 

Amex Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts

The personal and business Platinum Card also provides access to American Express’ Fine Hotel and Resorts. This benefit allows you to book participating hotels through Amex and receive exclusive benefits, including room upgrades, early check-in when available, guaranteed 4 pm late check-out, daily breakfast, or another unique property-specific benefit. Keep in mind; these are typically high-end hotels, and the room price through Fine Hotels and Resorts tends to be higher than the rate available through booking direct. In some cases, it may be cheaper to book with the hotel and pay directly for any particular benefits you want. You will need to evaluate if the added benefits are worth them.

If you have elite status with a specific hotel, these benefits may be duplicative. For example, Hilton Gold Status, which you automatically get with the Platinum card, provides free breakfast.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Hotel Benefits

The Sapphire Reserve does not provide automatic elite status in any hotel program. However, similar to Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts, Chase offers The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection. Similar to Fine Hotels, this program provides the ability to book rooms with benefits such as daily breakfast, upgrades, and early check-in and check-out, if available.

While Fine Hotels and Resorts is an exclusive Platinum card benefit, access to the Luxury Hotel Collection is not restricted to the Sapphire Reserve. The Sapphire Preferred, Ritz, Marriott, British Airways, United, and Ink cards also offer access. Even the fee-free Freedom cards appear to provide access.

The only significant difference between the Amex Fine Hotels and Chase Luxury Hotels is the late check-out benefit. While Amex guarantees a 4 pm late check-out, Chase only says you will receive late check-out based on availability, meaning it is at the hotel’s discretion.

Better Hotel Benefits: Amex Platinum

Both cards offer access to a hotel-booking portal that offers additional benefits like free breakfast and late check-out. However, you often end up paying for these benefits through higher room rates.

Alternatively, the Hilton and Marriott elite status can be quite valuable. Unless you never stay at Hilton or Marriott hotels or have another card that provides this status, the Amex offers superior hotel benefits.

Rental Car Status and Discounts

The Platinum card offers elite status with National and certain benefits with Avis and Hertz. While the Sapphire Reserve offers the benefits of all Visa Infinite cards, including the same Executive status with National, and discounts with Silvercar and Avis.

Interestingly, besides the Hertz benefits with the Platinum card, it seems anyone has access to these benefits. A few years ago, Gary Leff at View From the Wing noticed there is no validation required to receive the National Executive Status or get a discount with Silvercar. It is also likely that you can use the Avis discount codes below without needing to use a Visa Infinite or Platinum card. 

Amex Platinum Rental Car Benefits

National: Platinum card members receive automatic Executive status. This status allows you to choose any car (full-size and above) in the Executive Area and only pay the midsize rate. You are always guaranteed a free upgrade when you reserve using the midsize rate. Visit this page to enroll.

Hertz: Platinum card members receive a complimentary one-car-class upgrade based on availability and a four-hour grace period on returns in the U.S. See this page for enrollment information.

Avis: Amex Platinum cardmembers can use a unique discount number (A756900) to receive 25% off their rental. Unfortunately, many will find this benefit useless because it removes any other discounts you may have applied. There are a plethora of other codes out there offering a 25% or more discount.

Sapphire Reserve Rental Car Benefits

National: Just like the Platinum, Sapphire Reserve members can enroll to receive complimentary Executive level status.

Avis: All Visa Infinite cards, including the Sapphire Reserve, come with automatic Avis Preferred Plus status. The status does not get you anything, besides an increase in the number of points earned per dollar spent. You can also use this 30% discount code S107100.

Silvercar: Visa Infinite cardholders have access to a 20% discount on any rental using the code VISAINF20. However, if you are renting for more than four days, you should use the code WEEKLY30 to save 30%.

These codes are stackable with Silvercar’s referral program. Currently, you get $25 off if an existing user refers you. After signing up and confirming your email, you can go to this page and enter my code IMEZSYUC to receive the discount after your first booking.

Better Rental Card Benefits: Tie

Amex Platinum may have a slight edge if you value the four-hour grace period with Hertz. Besides that, the benefits are practically identical.

Travel Insurance & Protection

Like all types of insurance, the travel insurance offered by these cards is something you hope to never utilize. Unfortunately, if you are like most of us, you have had your luggage temporarily lost and have had a flight significantly delayed or canceled. The benefits below provide peace of mind and protection when your travels don’t go exactly as planned.

See my guide to the best travel insurance credit card for more details.

Roadside Assistance

The Amex Platinum provides coverage for roadside assistance services up to four times per calendar year. Unlike the Reserve, there is not a monetary cap on coverage. However, you are limited to towing up to ten miles. Any additional towing will be $3 per extra mile. The benefit also provides coverage for winching, jump starts, flat tire changes, lockout services, and delivery of up to two gallons of fuel. See this page for full details.

The Sapphire Reserve provides coverage for $50 of roadside assistance up to four times a year.

Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

Amex Platinum: When you use your Amex to pay for a rental car and decline the full collision damage coverage offered by the rental car company, you are covered for up to $75,000. This coverage is secondary, so you still need to file a claim with your own car insurance company. If you do not have car insurance or your car insurance does not cover any or all of your rental car claim, then the Amex Platinum coverage kicks in.  

Sapphire Reserve: When you charge the entire rental to your Sapphire Reserve and decline the car rental company’s collision damage insurance, you are covered for theft and collision damage. This provides reimbursement up to $75,000 to reimburse theft and collision damage for rentals in the U.S. and abroad.

Most importantly, unlike the Amex Platinum, this coverage is primary. Therefore, you do not need to worry about how much your primary car insurance would cover.

Baggage Loss insurance

Amex Platinum: If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost or stolen, you are covered for up to $3,000. You must charge the entire fare to your Platinum card to receive coverage. See the policy document for more information.

Sapphire Reserve: When you put any portion of your ticket cost on your Sapphire Reserve, you are entitled to baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. If your bags are delayed by over six hours, . Chase will also cover up to $3,000 if your luggage is lost or stolen.

Baggage Delay Insurance

The Amex Platinum does not provide coverage for baggage delays.

Sapphire Reserve: In addition to coverage when your bag is lost or stolen, the Sapphire Reserve also provides coverage when your bag is delayed by over six hours. You need to place at least a portion of your ticket, such as award ticket taxes and fees, on your card to be eligible. Chase will reimburse you for up to $100 per day (up to $500 total) for reasonable expenses

Emergency Medical Evacuation

If you or your family is injured or falls ill while traveling and needs medical assistance, American Express and Chase may coordinate and pay for a medical evacuation.

The Amex Platinum medical evacuation coverage applies at any point during a trip of fewer than ninety days. Amex will not pay for medical care; they will only cover the cost to transport you to “an appropriate medical facility.”

This Platinum benefit falls under the umbrella of Amex’s “Premium Global Assist® Hotline,” the policies of which are described here. You do not need to pay for any portion of your trip to be eligible for this coverage; being a Platinum card member is enough to qualify. However, everything must be organized through the Premium Global Assist (PGA) administrator to avoid any costs.

Additionally, if it is expected that the person receiving treatment will be hospitalized for more than ten days, Amex will pay for an economy class ticket so a family member can travel to the place of treatment. They will also pay for the economy class fare for a minor to return home if left unattended as a result of the medical situation.

The Sapphire Reserve will cover up to $100,000 for any emergency medical transportation expenses not covered by your medical insurance. This coverage applies to any trip between five and sixty days. You are required to coordinate the evacuation through the benefits administrator (Chase). Similar to Amex, they will also pay for economy-class transportation so a friend or relative can travel to the place of treatment. Also, if your original airfare cannot be used for a return flight, Chase will reimburse you for the cost of a new economy-class ticket.

Unlike the Amex Platinum coverage, you are required to purchase at least of a portion of the trip with your Reserve card to be eligible for this benefit.

Travel Accident Insurance

The Amex Platinum provides coverage for up to $500,000 if you are involved in an accident while traveling and lose a hand, foot, eyesight, or die. The Table of Losses in the benefits guide describes which types of injuries qualify for a $250,000 or $500,000 payment to the cardmember or their family.

The Sapphire Reserve does not come with travel accident insurance.

Trip Delay

The Amex Platinum does not provide trip delay coverage.

Sapphire Reserve: If your flight is delayed by more than six hours, you can receive up to $500 for any reasonable expenses incurred because of the delay. These can include meals, overnight accommodations, and other personal use items. As with the baggage coverage, you are only required to pay a portion of the fare with your Sapphire Reserve card to be eligible.  

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

The Amex Platinum does not provide trip cancellation or interruption insurance.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides coverage if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason. Eligible reasons include death, injury, illness of the cardmember or immediate family member, severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, or bankruptcy of your travel agency/tour operator. You are covered up to $10,000 per person, and a maximum of $20,000 per occurrence. 

Emergency Medical and Dental

The Amex Platinum does not provide emergency medical or dental coverage.

The Sapphire Reserve comes with up to $2,500 in supplemental coverage for any emergency medical or dental expenses incurred while on a trip between five and 59 days in length, which your medical insurance does not cover. This benefit is strictly for emergency care; “non-emergency services” and “care not medically necessary as determined by the Benefit Administrator” are not covered.

As with all the other travel insurance benefits that come with the Reserve, you need to use your Reserve card to pay for at least a portion of your trip to be eligible.

Better travel insurance: Sapphire Reserve

The Reserve wins this one, easily. The card is quite possibly the best credit card for travel insurance out there. Except for the Platinum’s Emergency Medical Evacuation and Travel Accident Insurance benefits, the Reserve provides superior coverage in every category.


Let me make something clear; if you have never held either of these cards, you should get both. The massive signup bonus on each card makes them both worthwhile to have for at least a year. 

However, the decision of whether to keep one or both after the first year is tougher. As mentioned, the annual fee on the Amex Platinum is $550, while the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve is $450. That is $1,000 in annual credit card fees if you hold both cards. If you are not recouping the value of your annual fee, it is not wise to continue holding the card.

Take some time to go through the benefits listed above and consider which are most meaningful to you. For example, do you care about travel insurance? How about purchase protection?

Do you value the straightforward $300 annual travel credit and simple 1.5 cents per point travel portal redemption option on the Reserve? Alternatively, do you see yourself take advantaging of the Centurium lounge access and elite status with Hilton and Marriott that comes with the Platinum?

What are your thoughts? Send me your questions or comment below.

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