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American Express Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Which Is Better?

These popular cards both focus on travel and dining, but one offers more widespread reward opportunities.

The American Express® Gold Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are both popular midtier travel cards. They're not as expensive to maintain as their premium counterparts, but they both have relatively midrange annual fees that give you access to travel perks -- and in some cases dining benefits, as well.

The Gold Card is advertised as both a travel and dining card wrapped in one, an offering that's unique to select American Express cards. The Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, is touted simply as a travel credit card. The annual fees reflect this difference: The Gold Card costs $250 annually (see rates and fees) while the Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee. 

Even if you dine out often, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers an overall better value if you're looking for a travel rewards card. However, if you have a particularly high food budget, and you want to use your rewards toward flights, the extra cost of the Gold Card may be worthwhile.

Below we compare the different aspects of these cards so you can see which card is best for your unique financial situation and goals.

Which card does it better?

Feature Winner
Annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred
Welcome offer Chase Sapphire Preferred
Rewards program Chase Sapphire Preferred
Travel perks American Express Gold Card
General perks American Express Gold Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
APR16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Annual Fee$95
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Penalty APR Up to 29.99%
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

American Express® Gold Card

See Rates and Fees Terms Apply
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
APR17.49%-24.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Annual Fee$250
Additional Details
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Penalty APR See Rates & Fees
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Comparing annual fees

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Most midtier travel cards sit at the $95 annual fee price point, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Gold Card's $250 price point is a sizable increase. Though the benefits can eclipse the annual fees on both cards for most people, there's no question that Chase offers better pricing versus the Gold.

Welcome offers

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Whether earned in Amex Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the welcome offers appear the same on first glance: You earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening with both cards. Figuring out which has the better offer comes down to evaluating the redemption of those points.

An Amex Membership Rewards point is worth only 0.7 cents when redeemed for a statement credit, making the welcome offer worth $420 in this case. You'll earn the highest redemption rate on flights booked through American Express Travel, at 1 cent per point -- making the maximum value of the Gold Card's welcome offer $600.

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred's welcome offer can be worth between $600 and $750, depending on your redemption method. When redeemed for cash back, you earn 1 cent per point, matching the Gold Card's top welcome offer value of $600. But you can snag even more value when redeeming your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You'll get a 25% boost on your points value for a total welcome offer value of $750.

Rewards and redemption

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

As noted above, how you redeem your rewards makes all the difference in comparing the two cards' rewards programs. But regardless of your redemption preference, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers more flexibility and higher redemption values.

The Gold Card will earn you 4x points on restaurants, takeout and delivery in the U.S., 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending per calendar year, then 1%), 3x points on flights booked through amextravel.com or directly with the airline, and 1x point on other eligible purchases. The focus is entirely on food and flights, with typically a 2.8% (statement credit) to 4% (flights booked through American Express Travel) return rate depending on how you redeem your Membership Rewards points.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll get 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, 2x points on all other travel purchases and 1x points on other general purchases. 

While the points for dining with Chase may seem less on first glance, the redemption option is an important factor. You can take advantage of the 25% redemption value boost when you use your points for travel booked through Chase's portal. So effectively, you can earn up to 3.75% back on dining (and up to 6.25% back on travel).

Travel and general perks

Winner: American Express Gold Card

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The Gold Card undoubtedly has the Sapphire Preferred beat when it comes to travel and other perks. If you can make use of some of the Gold Card's additional offerings, you may not mind paying the higher annual fee.

The Gold Card offers several travel- and dining-related credits. You can earn up to $120 in a year in the form of dining credits. Amex will give you up to $10 in statement credits each month when you use your card at participating vendors, such as Grubhub, Seamless, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, select Shake Shack locations and the Cheesecake Factory. Note that you must enroll for the credits to appear.

You'll also get $10 in Uber Cash (for Uber rides or UberEats orders in the U.S.) each month if you add your Gold Card to your Uber account, for a total of up to $120 per year. And the $100 Hotel Collection credit compensates you for certain qualifying hotel amenities like food or spa services when you book a minimum two-night stay within "The Hotel Collection" program -- a collection of over 600 properties.

Both cards offer no foreign transaction fees, so you won't be charged extra fees for purchases made abroad, and some form of travel insurance*. Meanwhile, the Sapphire Preferred offers the ability to do a 1-to-1 point transfer with partner airlines. If you're a frequent flyer, this may come in handy, especially since the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers better rewards than many airline credit cards.

Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred will be more valuable for most cardholders, especially those looking to redeem points for travel. However, the Gold Card may be worth its price tag if you can take advantage of its additional dining and travel credits.

FAQs

How do travel credit cards work?

Travel credit cards earn you points or miles on your purchases that can be redeemed for travel, like flights and hotel stays. Sometimes you can redeem those points for cash or a gift card, but you typically get the best rate when using them to book travel. The top cards have their own travel booking portals where you can find flights, hotels and rental cars. Sometimes, points are worth more when used in those credit card company portals.

What extra benefits do travel credit cards usually offer?

Most premium travel credit cards -- which carry hefty annual fees -- include benefits that add additional value. The most typical benefits for general travel cards are travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay reimbursement or protection, lost luggage reimbursement and rental car collision insurance. Premium travel cards often offer upgrades while traveling, travel credits and other luxury perks.

What are premium travel cards?

Premium travel cards are more expensive than most travel credit cards -- they typically have annual fees ranging in the hundreds of dollars. In exchange, they offer better benefits than typical travel cards, such as higher rewards rates, more annual credits or better travel upgrades. They're typically marketed to frequent travelers. The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are two popular premium travel cards.

Our approach to credit card evaluation

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren't any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them to other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn't right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market. 

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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