Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Citi Prestige: Which Premium Card is the Best?

These top cards aren't one-size-fits-all for every traveler, but there’s a good case for each one.
Last updated Sep 30, 2020 | By Ben Luthi
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 than what they charge in annual fees.

Three of the best premium cards on the market include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Platinum Card from American Express, and the Citi Prestige. Which card is best? We intend to find out.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Citi Prestige: Highlights of all three

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum Citi Prestige
Welcome bonus Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
How rewards are earned 10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases 5X points on airline purchases and restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases
Redeeming points for travel Redeem for travel through Chase or transfer to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners Redeem for travel through Amex 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 $300 annual travel credit $200 annual airline fee credit; up to $200 annual Uber credit $250 annual travel credit
Lounge access Priority Pass Select; 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 Priority Pass Select; entry includes yourself and two guests or immediate family members
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Credit Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee 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 Chase, 1 year of Lyft Pink membership, DoorDash credits, special rental car privileges, elite benefits with certain hotel brands, various trip protections Uber VIP status, elite status with Hilton and Marriott, complimentary benefits at select hotels and resorts, car rental privileges, by-invitation-only experiences, various trip protections 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 $175 for up to three additional cards, then $175 per card after that; no fee for Gold cards $75
Annual fee $550      $550 $495
Recommended credit score to apply Excellent Excellent, Good Excellent

One thing to note is that while the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige are true credit cards, the Amex Platinum is a charge card. This means there’s no interest rate, and you’re 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 cards excel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum 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 trip 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 year 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 year 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 years 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 Not offered 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 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 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 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.

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.

What’s more, the card offers up to $500 per year in statement credits, offsetting the annual cost to just $50.

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.

Best for lengthy hotel stays: Citi Prestige

If you often take long trips, the complimentary fourth night offered by the Citi Prestige could save you hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. The card’s rewards program is also relatively lucrative, and you can maximize the value of your rewards by transferring them to one of Citi’s airline transfer partners.

Keep in mind, though, that the card doesn’t offer as many valuable perks as the other two. Also, the complimentary fourth night benefit will be capped at two nights per year beginning Sept. 1, 2019.

It can still be valuable, especially if you usually stay in high-end hotels and resorts. But most people may get more value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum.

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.

FAQs

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. You 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 3X points for travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and at restaurants, and your rewards are worth 50% more when you use them towards travel on the Chase portal. Since you’re essentially getting 4.5 cents per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, you need to spend roughly $5,560 on those categories each year to make this card worth it.

The American Express Platinum gives you a $200 airline fee credit and up to $200 towards Ubers each year, so if max those perks out you’ll only need to spend enough to offset the remaining $150 of the fee. And since you get 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com, you can accomplish this by spending $3,000 on travel each year.

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 spend $3,000 or more on travel each year, the Amex Platinum card is likely worth the annual fee. That’s because you get a $200 airline credit and up to $200 towards Uber rides, so you only need to offset $150 of the $550 annual fee. And since you earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com, you can offset the fee by spending $3,000 in this category.

A similar calculation can be used to find out if the Citi Prestige card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are worth the fee considering your spending habits. If you’ll use the $300 annual travel credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then you need to spend roughly $5,560 on travel and dining to make this card worth the fee.

The Citi Prestige is a bit more difficult to pin down to an exact amount, since it has different rewards rates for airfare and hotels. But given the $250 annual travel credit, if you spend at least $4,900 on airfare and dining in a year, you can offset the remainder of the $495 fee.

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.

#1 Premium Travel Credit Card

Special Offer

Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply
Citi Prestige
Citi Prestige
  • 50,000 bonus point sign-up offer
  • 5X points on airline purchases and restaurants
  • Up to $250 travel credit every calendar year
  • Complimentary 4th night hotel stay
  • Transfer points to airline partners

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • 80,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits