Rewards Credit Cards

The Battle of Amex and Chase Sapphire Preferred

Well, there are actually more than just 2 cards involved. But I gotta optimize my title for Google. This Points Gal has  big plans, namely: To take down The Points Guy blog!

So, I’ve said several times that I consider Amex Everyday Preferred  a game changer when it comes to everyday spending for a middle-class family. Note that some have reported receiving a targeted offer of 30,000 points sign-up bonus instead of the usual 15,000 points after going through  CardMatch tool. But are there instances when other cards that earn flexible rewards would make more sense? I assume, your family puts $18,000 to $24,000 on credit cards per year.  Let’s take a look:

1) The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express (no annual fee) : Makes more sense if you constantly sign up for new bonuses like I do, and want to be able to top off various mileage programs that participate in Membership Rewards program.

I’ve already mentioned in this post that it would be a better fit than the Preferred version, since it has no annual fee. If you are a low spender, I encourage you to always consider the fees and be extremely picky when renewing credit cards. This card pays me commission.

2) Chase Sapphire Preferred+ Chase Freedom combo (both pay me commission): Makes more sense if you prefer to collect Amtrak points or United Mileage Plus miles, with an option of Southwest Rapid Rewards. I’d like to note that if you are solely after Southwest points, this combo probably doesn’t make sense, since you need to exceed 1.68 CPM (cents per mile), as I pointed out in this post.  Currently, you can get 1.61-1.68 cents per Rapid Rewards point on “Wanna get away” fares on Southwest flights, so you would be barely breaking even.

With United transfer, it would mostly make sense if you are looking to redeem miles for a ticket  on Star Alliance partners. The reason? Lack of fuel surcharges. By comparison, if you collect Amex Membership Rewards, most Star Alliance award programs (like Aeroplan and ANA)  will pass on fuel surcharges, essentially killing the deal for economy tickets. I’ve written a post last Monday, that goes into detail on why United miles make more sense when you are looking for awards on Lufthansa.

If you plan to redeem for domestic United tickets in economy, you will usually do as well or in some cases better by going through Membership Rewards program and using partner airlines, as highlighted in this 2-part post.

Ultimate Rewards transferred to Amtrak points can represent a very good value, and in most cases beat 2 CPM.  Redemption starts at only 1,500 points on certain routes, and you can see more options HERE

I’m not including Korean Air, Ultimate Rewards transfer partner unique to that program, because it only allows roundtrip awards on  Delta and Alaska Air. Plus, the whole redemption process is very cumbersome and would be frustrating to most.

So, if you are after Amtrak points or international redemptions on Star Alliance (specifically Lufthansa) through United program, Chase combo may be for you.

3) Amex Starwood Preferred Guest card: Makes more sense if you have  some non-bonus spending, prefer to collect hotel points with an option of miles transfer (specifically AAdvantage), and are willing to share one room with your kids.

I wrote a post on some incredible deals on SPG hotels, that cost only 2,000-3,000 points per night on weekends. You would only need to spend $2,000 to $3,000 to get your “free” room. Most of the highlighted hotels run over $100 per night. If you are looking to redeem in one of those places and have somewhat flexible travel dates, this card could make a lot of sense.

If you only want to top off a mileage program that also partners with Membership Rewards, you will probably do better with Amex Everyday (no fee). Once again, I assume you are a low spender who mostly signs up for new bonuses.  If you only need to top off AAdvantage account, you are stuck with SPG Amex, which has a monopoly on that program.

I do want to stress that this card is a good fit if you have a good supply of miles, are mostly looking for award hotel stays and are flexible on destinations, in case a specific property devalues.

If your non-bonus spending is substantial and you  like to collect miles, you will do better with Amex Everyday Preferred, since it gives bonus  on grocery and gas purchases. Even though the annual fee is $95 vs. $65 on Amex SPG, the extra points would easily make up for it.

With Amex implementing one bonus/per card/per lifetime, I am debating on whether to cancel my husband’s SPG Amex in August, when the renewal fee comes due.

On one hand, I don’t like to pay annual fees without some sort of perk upfront. On the other hand, I am reasonably sure, I can make up for $65 fee. I might try to convert it to Amex Everyday card (no fee), which would give me access to various Amex promotions. All of my spending goes towards new sign-up bonuses, so it’s hard to justify paying $65 upfront.

A reminder: The bonus on Amex SPG card is currently increased to 30,000 points if approved by June 30th. The card pays me commission if you apply through my site. Remember, sometimes it takes Amex up to 10 business days to approve a card, so you may want to apply sooner rather than later, whether through my blog or someone else’s. This offer will most likely come back next summer.

Readers, which cards are “keepers” in your wallet?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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11 thoughts on “The Battle of Amex and Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. My husbands SPG Amex is up for renewal this month. My plan is to cancel it and keep mine open. (I have more SPG points) The AMEX Everyday card has a new sign up bonus of 10,000 points. I know AMEX changed the rules to “one bonus per lifetime” but that is a different product right? The first line of the T&C says “if you are a current AMEX cardholder you may not be eligible for the bonus. “May not” This confuses me. I got the sign up bonus for the SPG card even though I held a Delta Skymiles AMEX. But that was before the rule change.
    I may have him call to cancel and see if they offer him a retention bonus. I hate to just switch to the Everyday card with no immediate benefit.

    • Your plan sounds good to me. If your husband is willing to call and ask for retention bonus, absolutely do that. Mine won’t do it, so I have to come up with an alternative.
      Also, I believe the rule only applies to that specific bonus, so as long as it’s a different card, it should be fine. For me, 10,000 points sign-up bonus on Everyday Amex isn’t enough of an incentive, that’s why switching makes more sense. I try to aim for $350 bonus, or around that amount. Let me know how it goes with your retention call!

  2. Laura, it’s because I don’t want to get a hard pull on my husband’s credit report. I’m very picky about those, and only pull the trigger when incentive is substantial. The more hard pulls, the less of a chance you have to get approved for the next card.
    When you switch products, they usually don’t pull your credit. Everyone does it differently, so I’m not saying that my way is right.

  3. OK…so the hard pull is not worth the 10,000 points. I got it. That’s what I thought it was about but I wanted to ask. (BTW the first comment was mine too, but I wasn’t logged in) Anyway…I think I may do that…just switch him to the Everyday card UNLESS they offer him a good retention bonus to keep the SPG card.
    Every time I try to cancel my Delta SkyMiles Platinum card they lure me back with a bonus. I have had that card since 2002! Not sure if they will offer him anything though, since he has only been with them (on his own) for a year. If not…we will switch to Everyday.

  4. Pingback: Is Amex SPG Still Worth Renewing? | Miles For Family

  5. Pingback: A Side-By-Side Comparison of Flexible Points Programs When it Comes to Family Travel. Part Deux. | Miles For Family

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