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TravelWhy I choose to earn Chase points over Amex points

Why I choose to earn Chase points over Amex points


The American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are always in my wallet — both are favorites here at TPG. Aside from the benefits of these cards, both the Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold earn transferable points, allowing me to transfer my hard-earned points to partner airlines and hotels to maximize my redemptions.

However, one program reigns supreme after utilizing both cards and their points currencies. Let’s look at why I prioritize earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of American Express Membership Rewards points.

Which is better for points: Amex or Chase?

Amex and Chase both have flexible currencies that are extremely valuable. TPG values Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point and Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents a point.

Chase points can sometimes be more valuable when redeemed through Chase Travel℠. As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, my points are worth a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point. Note that if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents per point.

However, when you redeem Membership Rewards points through the American Express Travel portal, your points are only worth 1 cent apiece.

UNITED/FACEBOOK

Aside from booking through the respective portals, I tend to maximize my points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners. Though Amex has 21 partners and Chase has 14, each program offers customers valuable hotel and airline transfer options, which allows you to maximize your rewards for sweet spot redemptions.

Another redemption option is to redeem points for cash back. Amex points are only worth a meager 0.6 cents per point, compared to Chase points, which are worth 1 cent per point.

While both programs have positives and negatives, I prioritize earning Chase points over Amex.

Related: Amex Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards: Which is the best?

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So, why am I not prioritizing earning Amex Points?

Amex Membership Rewards points are some of the most valuable flexible point currencies you can earn. Some of my favorite ways to utilize Amex points are transferring them to Avianca LifeMiles and Air Canada Aeroplan for redemptions on Star Alliance metal. Despite these valuable transfer partners, I don’t find value in Amex’s other transfer partners and rarely use them.

BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

The bulk of my spending on cards is dining, and that’s why my Amex Gold always stays in my wallet, as it earns 4 points per dollar spent on worldwide dining at restaurants, including eligible takeout and delivery purchases in the U.S. Furthermore, the Amex Gold earns 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked with airlines or AmexTravel, and has been my main card for booking flights.

However, I am now prioritizing Chase points over Amex because I have a stockpile of Amex points. At TPG, we recommend not hoarding points, as airlines and hotels frequently devalue their programs. Whenever I have a large bank of one kind of points currency, I look to earn more in any currency I am low on.

Additionally, the majority of my flights for the rest of the year are planned and booked. So, I am focusing on hotel redemptions for the rest of the year, and Chase, in my opinion, has the best hotel transfer partners, including Hyatt, IHG and Marriott.

While my Sapphire Preferred only earns me 3 points per dollar spent on dining and 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases (i.e., booking flights), I’m opting to sacrifice earning an extra point per dollar spent on these purchases and instead direct most of my spending to my Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Gold: Which mid-tier favorite is right for you?

Why I am prioritizing earning Chase points

Chase Ultimate Rewards are my most valuable flexible points currency. My go-to redemption with Ultimate Rewards points is transferring to World of Hyatt to cover my hotel stays when traveling.

As I mentioned, I have all my flights booked for the rest of 2024, but I do not have my hotel stays planned. I have far fewer Chase points than Amex points, but with Hyatt being a transfer partner of Chase, I can get a great redemption value.

I have often scored room redemptions during peak season in popular European cities for between 4,000 and 7,500 Chase points. Despite Hyatt’s recent category devaluation, the hotel brand still uses a fixed award chart, unlike other programs that operate using dynamic pricing. Therefore, I typically find outstanding value for award room rates, especially during off-peak dates.

Grand Hyatt Vail guest room. HYATT

With Chase Ultimate Rewards, I can also transfer my points to Southwest Airlines. I find that the Southwest Rapid Rewards program frequently has award sales and offers nonstop flights on less popular routes that many domestic airlines usually fly but with a connection. As a result, Southwest has become my go-to airline when I need a last-minute award flight.

I also appreciate that my points are worth 1.25 cents per point when booking through Chase Travel. I don’t book flights or hotels through the portal often because I can get more value by using transfer partners, but this is a higher value than I would get if I booked through Amex Travel. Knowing that I can still get more than 1 cent per point by booking through Chase if a transfer partner is unavailable makes Chase points that much more valuable to me.

Additionally, earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points gives me more flexibility if I ever decide I want cash back for my points, as each point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for cash back. This makes it possible to get cash back at a 1:1 ratio with Chase, even if my travel strategy changes.

Lastly, I have many upcoming international trips planned. Having traveled abroad extensively, I find it easy to use a Chase Visa credit card when overseas. Despite Amex’s wide acceptance worldwide, I have encountered places that don’t accept the card, making it harder to earn Amex points.

Related: From international business class to domestic travel: 6 of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold are two cards with great earnings rates. Because of this, they’re both key players in my overarching points and miles earning strategy. However, my current earnings strategy emphasizes accruing Chase points.

My strategy could change if I run low on Amex points or if a new lucrative welcome offer presents itself, but overall, Chase offers better redemption partners that help me maximize my travels.

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