Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Citi Prestige: Which Premium Card is the Best?

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
These top cards aren't one-size-fits-all for every traveler, but there’s a good case for each one. (Citi is a FinanceBuzz partner.)
Updated Feb. 20, 2024
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deciding which premium credit card is best

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For frequent travelers, a premium card can elevate your travel experience. Whether it’s great rewards, huge bonus offers, or VIP perks, these credit cards can provide a lot more value to cardmembers than what they charge in annual fees.

Three of the best premium travel cards on the market include the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the The Platinum Card® from American Express, and the Citi Prestige (no longer available for applications). Which card is best? We intend to find out.

In this article

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express vs. Citi Prestige: Highlights of all three

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

5.0

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

5.0

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available for applications)

Welcome bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months N/A
How rewards are earned 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases N/A
Redeeming points for travel Redeem for travel through Chase Travel or transfer to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners Redeem for travel through American Express Travel or transfer to one of Amex’s airline or hotel partners Redeem for travel through Citi or transfer to one of Citi’s airline partners
Travel credits Up to $300 annual travel credit Up to $200 in annual Uber Cash and up to $200 in annual hotel credit for prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings with a two-night stay minimum (enrollment required for select benefits) $250 annual travel credit
Lounge access Priority Pass Select membership; entry includes yourself and two guests Centurion Lounge, International American Express lounges, Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Club, Escape Lounge, Airspace Lounge; guest policies vary by lounge network (enrollment required for select benefits) Priority Pass Select; entry includes yourself and two guests or immediate family members
TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry Credit
Up to $100 in statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee Up to $100 in statement credit every 4 years for Global Entry or up to $85 every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck application fees (enrollment required for select benefits) Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee
Concierge access Visa Infinite Concierge Platinum Concierge Citi Prestige Concierge
Other benefits 50% more value when booking travel through the Chase travel portal, two free years of Lyft Pink membership (activate by Dec. 31, 2024), DoorDash credits, special rental car privileges, elite benefits with certain hotel brands, various trip protections Up to $200 in annual incidental airline fee credit, Uber VIP status, elite status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, complimentary benefits at select hotels and resorts, car rental privileges, luxury benefits , various trip protections (enrollment required for select benefits)
25% more value when redeeming points for air travel; complimentary fourth night with each hotel stay of four or more consecutive nights, various trip protections
Foreign transaction fee None None None
Fee to add authorized user $75 Costs $195 for each additional card user; no fee for Companion Platinum cards $75
Annual fee $550      $695 (Terms apply) $495
Recommended credit score to apply Excellent Excellent, Good Excellent
Learn more Learn more

One thing to note is that while the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige are true credit cards, the Amex Platinum is not. Unlike typical credit cards, the Amex Platinum allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all, so you may be required to pay your balance in full each month. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, it may be better to compare the other two more directly.

Travel and purchase coverage, compared

In addition to perks that make a trip go more smoothly and add a little luxury, it’s also helpful that you can sleep at night knowing your card has you covered if something goes wrong. Fortunately, this is also an area where these credit cards excel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Citi Prestige
Rental car coverage Primary coverage of up to $75,000 Secondary coverage of up to $75,000; primary coverage can be purchased for much lower than what the car-rental company charges Secondary coverage of up to $75,000 in the U.S.; coverage is primary when used overseas
Trip cancellation/trip interruption Up to $10,000 per person and up to $20,000 per trip Not offered Up to $5,000 per trip
Trip delay reimbursement Up to $500 per ticket Not offered Up to $500 per traveler per trip
Travel accident insurance Up to $1 million in coverage Up to $500,000 in coverage Up to $1 million in coverage
Emergency evacuation and transportation Up to $100,000 in coverage Up to $100,000 in coverage Up to $100,000 in coverage
Emergency medical and dental Up to $2,500 Up to $20,000 for medical, up to $1,000 for dental, and up to $1,000 for prescriptions Not offered
Baggage loss, delay, or damage Up to $100 per day for five days if delayed; up to $3,000 per passenger if lost No coverage for delayed baggage; up to $2,000 for lost checked baggage, up to $3,000 for lost checked and carry-on luggage; up to $10,000 total for all covered people per trip1 Up to $500 per covered traveler per trip if delayed; up to $3,000 per traveler per trip ($2,000 for NY residents) and up to $10,000 total per trip if lost
Roadside assistance Up to $50 per incident 4X per year Will pay for eligible services up to 4X per year Dispatch only
Purchase protection Up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per year Up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per year2 Up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per year
Return protection Up to $500 per item and up to $1,000 per year Up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per year3 Up to $500 per item and up to $1,500 per year
Extended warranty protection Extends original warranties of up to three years for another year Matches the original warranty for up to two additional years4 Extends original or purchases warranty for another two years for a maximum of seven years from the purchase date
Price protection Not offered Not offered Up to $200 per item and up to $1,000 per year
Cell phone protection Not offered Up to $800 per claim with a $50 deductible and up to two claims per 12-month period5 Up to $1,000 per claim with a $50 deductible and up to $1,500 total per 12-month period

Main differences to note

All three travel rewards cards have a lot of similarities in the features they offer. But there are some key differences to note. For example, the Amex Platinum offers the most value in the form of perks but falls a little short with trip protections.

On the flip side, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a wide array of travel insurance benefits but doesn’t provide as many perks as the Amex Platinum.

On the rewards front, the Amex Platinum doesn’t do so hot, offering just one point per dollar on most of the purchases you’ll make. If it’s rewards and bonus categories you’re after, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige are a much better match.

As you consider a card based on benefits and protections, it’s important to look at the fine print to know what’s actually covered. With trip cancellation and interruption insurance, for instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers four times the maximum per trip as the Citi Prestige.

It’s also important to note that each card may differ in what’s considered excluded from coverage, so be sure to read the terms and conditions.

Discover how to travel for next to nothing with credit card points and miles.

Which card should you choose?

There’s no single best travel credit card out there for everyone, so it’s important to know what you want out of a card to ensure you get the right one for you. Here are our thoughts about which card is best for which type of person and why.

Best premium benefits for most travelers: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Among these three premium cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve provides the best fit for most of the people who want elite travel perks. The card’s annual travel statement credit of $300 is easy to use and could effectively offset the card’s annual cost to $250 — that is, if you would have spent the money anyway.

Access to the card’s insurance protections is worth that expense alone, and when you add in airport lounge access, credits and discounts at Lyft and DoorDash, premium rental car benefits (including discounts and upgrades), special benefits at luxury hotel brands, and more, it’s hard to turn the card down.

It also offers a strong rewards program, and people who aren’t sure they’re savvy enough to maximize point value through transfer partners can still get 50% more value when booking travel through Chase.

Explore all the benefits and features in our full Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

Best over-the-top benefits for frequent travelers: Amex Platinum

If you want as many luxury perks as possible, the Amex Platinum is your best bet. The card offers free access to more airport lounge networks than any other card available to the public, and you can expect preferential treatment with two major hotel brands and three major rental car companies. Select benefits do require enrollment.

What’s more, the card offers a variety of perks and benefits that can offset the annual cost.

Just keep in mind that the card’s rewards rates are lackluster. And if you want to get more than one cent per point when redeeming, you’ll need to transfer your rewards to one of Amex’s travel partners.

Explore all the benefits and features in our full Amex Platinum review.

Best overall card benefits: Chase Sapphire Reserve

When combining the value and flexibility of the card’s rewards program and its benefits, the card makes up for not achieving the Amex Platinum’s level of premium perks. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the most well-rounded of the three and, therefore, can provide the best value overall to a wider range of travelers.

Before you pick one of these or another travel credit card, however, be sure to do your research on what each card offers. Shop around and figure out what you want in a card before you settle on one. This process can take time, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

FAQ

Is it worth having the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum?

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum are worth having for people who spend enough on travel purchases each year. Cardholders can realistically offset the cost of the cards’ annual fees in a handful of trips per year.

Since the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you a $300 annual travel credit, you’ll only need to earn enough points to offset the remaining $250 of the fee. You earn 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases, and those Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50% more when you use them towards travel on the Chase portal

The American Express Platinum offers a variety of credits and benefits. And since you get 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com, you can easily offset the card's annual fee if the credits and other perks are useful for your lifestyle.

Is the Citi Prestige metal?

The Citi Prestige, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Amex Platinum cards are all constructed of a metal alloy. The Amex Platinum was once the heaviest of the three at 18 grams, but a recent upgrade to the Citi Prestige puts it at 18 grams as well. The Chase Sapphire Reserve weighs 13 grams.

What credit score do you need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Citi Prestige card requires excellent credit as well. You can apply for the Amex Platinum card with good or excellent credit.

Remember that there’s never any guarantee you’ll be approved, and credit card issuers take into account other factors such as your income.

Is the Amex Platinum worth the annual fee?

If you can take advantage of the card's credits and benefits, the Amex Platinum card is likely worth the annual fee. That’s because you get a variety of credits and perks, which can offset the $695 annual fee. But you also have to consider earning rates and other benefits.

If you’ll use the $300 annual travel credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then you need to offset an additional $250. This is likely possible through everyday spending, travel spending, and using the card's benefits.

The Citi Prestige is a bit more difficult to pin down since it has different rewards rates for airfare and hotels. But given the $250 annual travel credit, you only have $245 left of the $495 fee to offset.

Is the Citi Prestige card a Mastercard?

Yes, the Citi Prestige is a Mastercard, which means it is widely accepted at many retailers. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a Visa card, which is also widely accepted, while the Amex Platinum is an American Express card. While none of these cards have foreign transaction fees, American Express cards are generally accepted at fewer retailers in most countries.

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express are premium travel rewards cards that offer various perks and benefits that can help you earn enough value to justify their annual fees. The Citi Prestige also comes with premium benefits, but it's no longer open to new applications.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve impresses with a $300 annual travel credit, robust rewards on travel and dining, and a host of benefits, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of travelers. Meanwhile, The Platinum Card from American Express caters to those craving luxury, offering extensive airport lounge access, elite hotel perks, and exclusive benefits, albeit with modest rewards rates. Keep in mind that select American Express benefits require enrollment.

Premium Travel Benefits

5.0

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$550

Rewards Rate

5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Luthi Ben is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people achieve their money goals. Along with FinanceBuzz, his writing has also been featured on U.S. News, NerdWallet, Experian, Credit Karma, and more.

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