5 signs you're better off with the Amex Platinum and not the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Amex PlatinumAmerican Express/Facebook

When it comes to the top travel credit cards available to American consumers, two specific cards tend to fight for the top spot: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve wows cardholders with 3x points on travel and dining (plus 1 point per dollar on other purchases) and benefits like a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass Select membership, and 50% more travel when you book with points through the Chase travel portal. You also get a credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and other perks, although a $450 annual fee applies each year.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve review

The American Express Platinum card, on the other hand, comes with a $550 annual fee yet a wider range of perks. Not only do you get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit, but you also get up to $200 in Uber credits each year. You also get airport lounge access and a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. On the earning side of the equation, you'll earn 5x points on flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this card gives you 1 point per dollar on non-bonus spending.

Read more: Amex Platinum card review

Which card is best for you? While you could easily get both, not everyone wants multiple travel credit cards with a high annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an easy sell thanks to its lower annual fee, but there are plenty of reasons the Platinum Card from American Express could be a better pick

Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum: Which premium credit card is right for you?

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

Here are the biggest signs the Platinum Card is your best bet

You can easily use the Amex Platinum airline fee credit

Where the travel credit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card applies to any travel purchase you make, you need to be more intentional if you want to use the airline fee credit from the American Express Platinum card. This credit only works for one airline you select ahead of time for starters, but it also only applies to certain travel incidentals such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments.

If you frequently check baggage and pay for upgraded meals and drinks with the same airline each year, then you could easily utilize this credit. If not, you'll either need to figure out ways to use it to your advantage or consider other travel credit cards with annual credits that have fewer restrictions.

Read more: My Amex Platinum costs me $550 a year, but I cut the fee nearly in half by taking advantage of a hugely valuable perk

You need to have access to a broader selection of airport lounges

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a Priority Pass Select membership, the Platinum Card from American Express takes airport lounge access a step further. Not only do you get the standard Priority Pass Select membership with access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, but you also get to enter Delta Sky Clubs when you're flying Delta.

You also get access to a network of luxurious Centurion lounges in destinations like Dallas, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, and Miami. Plenty more Centurion lounges are also in the works in destinations like Phoenix, Charlotte, and London. If you fly into or out of an airport with a Centurion lounge often, the Amex Platinum can easily become the better deal.

You ride with Uber all the time

The Uber credits of up to $200 per year with the Platinum card are doled out on a monthly basis, meaning you can't use the credit all at once. For that reason, this perk is best for consumers who use ridesharing services at least a few times per month already.

If you're a frequent Uber customer, you'll easily get a ton of value out of this perk. If not, it may go to waste.

You fly on a lot of international airlines

Also make sure to consider transfer partners before you choose between a Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards credit card. While Chase Ultimate Rewards has a wide range of transfer partners, the program has a smaller selection of international airline partners. American Express Membership Rewards, on the other hand, lets you transfer points to the following partners:

Aeromexico
Air Canada
Air France KLM (Flying Blue)
Alitalia (Millemiglia)
All Nippon Airways
Cathay Pacific

British Airways
Delta Air Lines
El Al Israel Airlines
Emirates
Etihad
Hawaiian Airlines
Iberia Plus
JetBlue
Singapore Airlines
Virgin America
Virgin Atlantic Airways

You book a lot of flights directly with airlines

Finally, don't forget to consider how much further ahead the Platinum Card from American Express might leave you if you book a lot of flights with airlines or pay for a lot of prepaid hotels. You'll earn 5x points on your Platinum card with these purchases, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve only doles out 3 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining spending.

Read more: If you only want to pay $450+ for one premium credit card, which should you choose?

The bottom line

If you can't decide between two rewards or travel credit cards, take the time to assess each card's benefits and how easily you'll be able to use them. Many times, one card winds up as the better pick because its perks are better tailored to your lifestyle or travel goals.

That's definitely the case when it comes to comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Platinum Card from American Express, although there are some other cards that stack up well against these two. Make sure to compare all your credit card options in terms of their benefits, earning structure, and fees before you decide.

Click here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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