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The Amex Green card earns Membership Rewards points, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points.

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If you’re looking for a credit card that earns you rewards on all your purchases, you have no shortage of options. You can choose a luxury travel credit card like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, offers perks like airport lounge access, elite hotel status, and annual travel credits. You can also choose a card with a much lower annual fee and more basic benefits like the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

The Platinum Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred earn points in two different programs — American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, respectively. Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards are easily the two most popular flexible programs available today, but there are differences in the cards that accrue these points and how the programs themselves work for consumers.

So how do you decide which program makes the most sense for you?  If you’re in the market for a new travel credit card but can’t decide between Chase points vs. Amex points, this guide should make the decision much easier.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Options trading An overview of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are flexible rewards you can earn with top Chase credit cards, including:

Note that you can also earn Chase Ultimate Rewards with cash-back credit cards like the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited, but that these points don’t transfer to airline and hotel partners. 

When you start earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll notice right away that there are so many ways you can redeem them. You can cash in points for gift cards and merchandise, and you can even use them to stop on Amazon.com or the Apple Store. You can also redeem rewards for experiences and travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

With premier travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Business Preferred card, you can also transfer points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners. This means you’ll get 1,000 airline or hotel points for every 1,000 points you transfer to Chase partners.

Current Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include:

Aer Lingus

British Airways

Emirates

Flying Blue / Air France

Iberia

JetBlue

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Southwest Airlines

United MileagePlus

Virgin Atlantic

IHG Rewards

Marriott Bonvoy

World of Hyatt

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be especially valuable when you transfer points to airline and hotel partners. For example, you could transfer points to the World of Hyatt program and stay in a luxury hotel that might cost $1,000 or more per night.

You could also transfer points to an airline partner to redeem for a business or first-class flight. In the example below, you could transfer just 58,000 Chase points to Air France/Flying Blue then book a business-class flight from New York City to Paris on a Boeing 777-300 ER for just $210.77 in airline taxes and fees.

options trading NYC to Paris



Holly Johnson


The same flight could cost as much as $8,200 or more if you booked it as a one-way, although one-way flights with this airline are typically pricey compared to round-trip flights with this airline.

options trading NYC to Paris 2



Holly Johnson



Either way, one of the main benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the fact that, if you have one of the premier travel credit cards like the Sapphire Preferred, you have the option to explore all the rewards opportunities with Chase hotel and airline transfer partners. However, you don’t have to redeem these rewards for travel. You can also cash in points for statement credits or gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point, or even for merchandise through the Chase portal.

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits


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    Pros of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

    • You can get more value for your points when you redeem them for travel through the Chase portal. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, you’ll get 50% more travel when you use points in the portal. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred, on the other hand, you get 25% more travel.
    • Chase Ultimate Rewards cards offer significant sign-up bonuses that let you rack up points quickly. Chase cards come with generous welcome bonuses. This includes the Chase Ink Business Preferred, which gives you 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 within three months of account opening.
    • Chase lets you pool points with a partner or spouse that lives at your same address. This is a huge benefit for families who want to pool all their points together to maximize redemptions.
    • Chase lets you pool all your points in a premier travel credit card account before you redeem. For example, you can pool points earned with the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited into your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve account to get 1:1 transfers to airlines and hotels. 
    • Chase’s new Pay Yourself Back feature gives you great value when you use points to cover dining and groceries. Chase introduced the Pay Yourself Back feature during the coronavirus pandemic to give cardholders a non-travel option for using points. It’s currently only available for the Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and it lets you redeem your points from either card to cover dining, grocery, and home-improvement purchases at a rate of 1.25 or 1.50 cents per point, respectively. 

    Cons of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

    • Premier Chase travel credit cards all charge an annual fee. The only real “downside” of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the fact that all the top cards in this program charge an annual fee.

    Options trading An overview of American Express Membership Rewards

    This brings us to the American Express Membership Rewards program, which is similar to the Chase Ultimate Rewards with a few key differences.

    One thing you’ll notice right away with this program is the fact that there are so many Amex cards you can use to earn rewards. You can opt for a premium travel card like the Platinum Card if you’re willing to pay the hefty $550 annual fee, but you can also earn Membership Rewards points with a card like the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, which doesn’t charge an annual fee.

    Once again, there are plenty of ways to redeem rewards in this program. With American Express Membership Rewards, you can pay with points at checkout with merchants like Amazon.com, Boxed.com, and Dell.com.

    options trading amex pic



    Holly Johnson



    You can also redeem rewards for gift cards or shop for merchandise through the Amex website. Finally, you have the option to book travel directly through AmexTravel.com, including hotels, airfare, cruises, and travel packages.

    Plus, American Express lets you transfer points to the following transfer partners:

    Aer Lingus: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Aeromexico: 1,000 points = 1,600 miles

    Air Canada: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Alitalia: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    ANA Mileage Club: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Asia Miles: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Avianca: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    British Airways: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Delta SkyMiles: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    El Al Israel: 1,000 points = 20 miles

    Emirates: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Etihad Airways: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Hawaiian Airlines: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Iberia: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    JetBlue: 250 points = 200 miles

    Qantas: 500 points = 500 miles

    Singapore Airlines: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Virgin Atlantic: 1,000 points = 1,000 miles

    Choice Privileges: 1,000 points = 1,000 hotel points

    Hilton Honors: 1,000 points = 2,000 hotel points

    Marriott Bonvoy: 1,000 points = 1,000 hotel points

    Like the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, American Express Membership Rewards offers the most bang for your buck when you transfer points to airline and hotel partners. However, you don’t have to use these rewards for travel at all, since there are so many other ways to cash in points for gift cards or merchandise.

    Pros of American Express Membership Rewards points

    Cons of American Express Membership Rewards points

    • Redemption values aren’t that great for merchandise, shopping, and gift cards. Unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, which typically lets you get 1 cent per point in value for gift cards or statement credits, Amex redemptions aren’t that generous. You’ll normally get 0.5 cents per point to 1 cent per point for gift cards and cash, and up to 0.7 cents per point for merchandise from select retailers. Other redemption values can vary.
    • You can’t pool points with a spouse or partner. This program doesn’t let you pool points in a single account with a partner or spouse, although all the points you earn across multiple cards will collect in a single Membership Rewards account.

    Options trading How to decide between Chase points and Amex points

    If you can’t decide between Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, there are some serious questions you should be asking yourself. For example:

    • Which program has transfer partners I’ll actually use?
    • Which credit card in each program has additional benefits I’ll take advantage of?
    • Am I willing to pay an annual fee on a credit card?
    • Do I want to pool points with a partner or spouse, then redeem them together?

    Most of the time, the best rewards program for you is the one that has the transfer partners you’ll actually use. In that sense, Chase Ultimate Rewards tends to come out ahead, since it has popular transfer partners most Americans are familiar with, including Southwest Rapid Rewards, World of Hyatt, and United MileagePlus, to name a few.

    On the other hand, American Express Membership Rewards has more transfer partners in total, including ones that can be hard to transfer points to otherwise. If you’re a huge Delta Air Lines flyer, for example, you may want to stick with Membership Rewards and also pick up a co-branded Delta credit card to get benefits like a free checked bag and priority boarding.

    If you really just want to redeem rewards for cash back or gift cards, Chase Ultimate Rewards is a better deal. That’s because you’ll typically get 1 cent per point in value for these redemptions, whereas American Express Membership Rewards redemptions for cash, merchandise, and gift cards are typically worth less than that. And with the Pay Yourself Back feature on the Chase Sapphire cards, your points are extra valuable toward dining, groceries, and home-improvement purchases.

    Still can’t decide? Your best bet is comparing all the benefits each rewards program offers, seeing how the cards in each program align with your personal rewards goals and spending, and going with your gut.

    Intro Bonus

    60,000 points after your spend at least $5,000 in your first 3 months of account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Up to a $200 airline fee credit.
    • Access to more than 1,200 airport lounges.
    Pros
    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
    Cons
    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired (no bonus rewards on general travel or dining)
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards


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