Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.
Amex recently revamped the American Express® Gold Card, leaving many consumers wondering how the card compares to other popular premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. All three cards offer fantastic benefits, but we believe the American Express® Gold Card is the best card among the three for those who spend a large portion of their budgets at restaurants or at supermarkets. Regardless, the Chase cards are still worth exploring for some.
American Express® Gold Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®: At a Glance
|American Express® Gold Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
|APR||See Rates & Fees||17.49% - 24.49% Variable||16.99%-23.99% Variable|
|Welcome Bonus||Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Bonus Requirement||Spend $4,000 in three months||Spend $4,000 in three months||Spend $4,000 in three months|
|Estimated Bonus Value||$350||$625||$750|
While all three cards make for strong choices, it's best to apply for the card that most closely aligns with the categories where you spend the most money. Below, we highlight a couple of categories and list our favorite cards across each, along with a few considerations to keep in mind before applying.
Best Card for Dining and Supermarket Shopping
American Express® Gold Card
See Rates & Fees
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
- Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
Superior Rewards at U.S. Supermarkets
The American Express® Gold Card easily outperforms the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® when it comes to earning rewards at U.S. supermarkets. It offers a 4% rewards rate compared to the 1.25% offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the 1.5% offered by theChase Sapphire Reserve®. The 3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). but the card will still earn you 1% after you reach the spending cap.
Unique Dining Perks
We consider the American Express® Gold Card to be the better card for earning rewards on dining but more so because of its unique dining credit than its rewards rate. While the card packs an impressive 4% rewards rate at restaurants worldwide, it's actually outperformed by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® which has a 4.5% rewards rate on dining. However, we think the $120 annual dining credit makes up for that difference and takes the American Express® Gold Card over the top.
This list of participating partners isn't long, but it features a few standouts, such as Grubhub and Seamless. If either of the two online food ordering services are available where you live, then you can shop through those portals to get access to a much more robust set of options.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
Best Credit Card for Travel
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Earn 50,000 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®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
A Valuable Annual Travel Credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a feature that's unmatched by the American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: a $300 annual travel credit, which effectively knocks the card's annual fee from $550 to $250. To its credit, the American Express® Gold Card has a $100 airline fee credit, but it's only applicable toward airline incidentals. In stark contrast, the $300 annual travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be applied to many common forms of travel, including taxis, in addition to airlines. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card misses the mark altogether as it lacks any form of travel credit.
Breeze by Security and Relax in an Airport Lounge
Of the three cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the only one to offer up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and airport lounge access. The former allows cardholders to breeze through security without having to deal with common gripes, like removing your laptop from your bag. Additionally, cardholders get access to over 1,000 lounges through Priority Pass Select, which is a great way to pass the time if you're waiting for your flight to take off. These lounges often have complimentary food and drinks, in addition to working spaces.
Top Rewards Rates on Travel
Beyond the travel credit and the lounge access, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is also just flat-out more rewarding (for travel) than the American Express® Gold Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers a 4.5% rewards rate on all travel purchases compared to the 3% offered by the American Express® Gold Card (on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex' travel site) and 2.5% offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal).
Other Considerations: What About the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
- 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.
Still a Valuable Card
Despite the launch of the American Express® Gold Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card remains a highly rewarding credit card for dining and travel. Of the three cards, it has the most consumer friendly annual fee at just $95. It's not the most rewarding (of the three) for either dining or travel, but its 2.5% rewards rate across both categories is still higher than what most other cards offer (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal).
Great Welcome Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a strong welcome bonus, which we estimate to be worth $750—about twice the value of the welcome bonus available on the $39. To qualify for the welcome bonus on both cards, cardholders have to spend $4,000 in three months.
Credit Card Comparison Tool
While we can analyze the cards across infinite categories, ultimately the most rewarding card will be the one that offers high rewards in categories where you spend the most. Our tool below allows you to input your own monthly expenses and receive an estimate on the amount of rewards each card can get you over a two-year period.