A lot of our subscribers have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the American Express Gold Card. Is it a good strategy to have both cards?
One of the benefits of having both American Express and Chase credit cards is that you can add cards (in the same ecosystem) to earn points faster, and you can diversify transfer partner options.
On the flip side, one of the main drawbacks is that the annual fees can add up. Be sure to do the math to see if you’re getting positive expected value from each card. If you can’t maximize all the benefits to breakeven or come out ahead, consider downgrading one of the cards.
Ideal Chase Card Setup:
Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred - for travel redemption
Chase Freedom - earn 5x on select rotating categories each quarter you activate
Chase Freedom Unlimited - catch-all card for non-category spend
Ideal American Express Card Setup:
Amex Blue Business Plus - catch-all card for non-category spend (earns MR points)
Amex Gold - access to airline transfer partners
Why You Should Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve
Both Chase Sapphire cards have travel as a point multiplier. Compared to American Express, Chase has a broad travel category. Almost everything (airfare, hotels, transit) codes as travel, except for gas.
What counts as travel?
Airline purchases, direct or third-party
Airline gift cards
Hotel restaurants not charged to the room
Transit, including parking, trains, ferries, metro, toll roads
Taxi and rideshares
Use our calculator in this post to enter your number and see if the Chase Sapphire cards are worth it for you.
Primary Auto Rental CDW
The Chase Sapphire cards have primary auto rental collision damage waiver (CDW) when you pay with the card and decline the car rental company’s CDW. Terms apply, be sure to read the benefits guide for exclusions.
Note: CDW does not cover liability insurance. You’ll need to have transferable auto liability insurance or purchase from the car rental company.
Trip Delay Reimbursement
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has 6-hour trip delay protection, and the Preferred has 12-hour protection. If your trip is delayed by 6 or 12 hours, respectively, you can be reimbursed up to $500 for each purchased ticket for reasonable expenses.
To be eligible for the protection, you’ll need to use the Chase Sapphire card to pay for either a portion or the entire cost of your Common Carrier fare. You are covered for expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items that you encounter due to a Covered Hazard delay.
American Express Gold Card
The Amex Gold Card has a $250 annual fee and the following point multipliers:
Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide (effective June 6, 2019)
Earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X
Earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
Earn 1X points on all other purchases
If you can fully maximize the airline incidental credit and dining credit, the effective annual fee is $30.
$120 dining credit ($10/month * 12 months)
$100 airline incidental credits
=$220 in credits
= $250 annual fee - $220 credits = $30 effective annual fee
It’s easier to accumulate points with the Amex Gold since most people’s spend fall into the dining or supermarket categories. The main disadvantage of American Express is that it’s not widely accepted worldwide.
I don’t recommend using the Amex Gold Card for travel since the 3x multiplier only applies to flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. You don’t earn point multipliers purchases from third-party bookings, hotels, Airbnb, or transit.
American Express cards (U.S.) do not come with trip delay protection.
To optimize the points earned from the Amex Gold, I recommend transferring the points out to airline transfer partners.
Another item to be mindful about is that the Amex Gold currently does not have a no annual fee downgrade path. If you decide to cancel the card, you’ll lose the credit history.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.