Over the last year, we’ve seen many issuers make changes to their travel credit cards and offer limited time benefits on categories like dining and groceries. Currently, two of the most popular travel credit cards are offering a welcome bonus of 60k points. However, not all points currencies are created the same. Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are two of my favorite points currencies. Which bonus on these mid tier cards is better? Let’s have a look.
60k points up for grabs
Here’s how the two cards square up against each other.
|Application Link —->||American Express Gold Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred|
|Welcome Bonus||60,000 Membership Rewards Points||60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points|
|Minimum Spend Required||$4,000||$4,000|
|Months to meet minimum spend||6||3|
|Airline spend bonus||3x||2x|
|Hotel Spend Bonus||1x||2x|
|Other Travel Spend Bonus||1x||2x|
|Grocery Spend Bonus||4x||*2x|
|Dining/Takeout/Delivery Spend Bonus||4x||2x|
|Lyft Spend Bonus||1x||**5x|
|Dining Credits||$120 annually||None|
|Uber/Uber Eats Credits||$120 annually||None|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||0%||0%|
|Complimentary Membership||Uber Eats Pass||Doordash Dash Pass|
- *The 2x category on the Chase Sapphire Preferred for grocery spend is temporary, up to a maximum of $1,000 per month and ends on April 30, 2021
- ** Lyft 5x spend bonus ends March 2022
There are a few similarities between the two cards.
- Both cards do not charge any foreign transaction fees
- You need to spend $4,000 to earn the welcome bonus of 60k points on both cards. However, you have 6 months with the Amex Gold Card instead of 3 months with the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Where the Amex Gold Wins
If you compare the two cards, the Amex Gold Card is clearly a better fit for you if:
- You value Membership Rewards points a lot more than Ultimate Rewards points. For example, you clearly find better redemption options with Delta SkyMiles and Hilton Honors points based on your travel habits
- You don’t mind paying an annual fee of $250
- Your spend pattern means you automatically find great use of dining and Uber credits without having to alter your purchase behavior in any significant way
- You spend a lot each year on restaurants and groceries
Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred Wins
Conversely, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a much better fit for you if:
- You value Ultimate Rewards points a lot more than Membership Rewards points. For example, you clearly find better redemption options with United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt points based on your travel habits
- You spend a lot of travel, but it’s spread across different categories like airlines, hotels, parking and other means of transportation
- You’d rather prefer a lower annual fee and a simple earning and redemption structure, as opposed to tracking monthly credits to avoid breakage
- You want to use your points for redeeming with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back tool
The Pundit’s Mantra
If you compare the two cards, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred just slightly edges the Amex Gold Card as an out and out overall travel credit card. On the other hand, if you spend heavily on grocery and dining, then the Amex Gold Card is a much better option for earning points very quickly.
Similarly, if you don’t want to worry each month about whether you used your $10 credit, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a much better option. While the Amex credits are useful, many customers simply find it more cumbersome to use as the $120 credits are broken into $10 chunks each month.
In conclusion, it comes down to answering these three questions. Firstly, how much do you want to pay in annual fees? Secondly, which flexible points currency do you value more? Thirdly, in which bonus category do you spend the most money each month?
Once you answer these three questions, you should have a much clearer idea as to which card is better for your spend patterns and travel goals.
Which 60k points bonus do you find a better fit for your travel needs? Tell us in the comments section.
Disclosure: The Points Pundit receives NO compensation from credit card affiliate partnerships. Support the blog by applying for a card through my personal referral links. This article is meant for information purposes only and doesn’t constitute personal finance, health or investment advice. Please consult a licensed professional for advice pertaining to your situation.