Chase and American Express are two giants in the credit card industry. Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the most celebrated cards from Chase while American Express has a number of cards for elite travelers. Among them, it is the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) that is often compared with the former. Both are heavyweights in the travel rewards card category. The main question is: which is better?
Bonuses for New Sign-Ups
Chase Sapphire Preferred is well-known for its generous sign up bonus, which can be obtained after the cardholder reaches the minimum spending requirement within the first three months of card ownership. SPG, on the other hand, gives out an excellent bonus right after the first purchase and gives out another after the required minimum spend has been reached within the first six months. Even when put together, however, the bonus given out by the latter may still seem inferior compared to the bonus given by the Sapphire Preferred. Nevertheless, this does not make the latter inferior to the former as it also gives out additional bonus points once in a while on a yearly basis. This offer by SPG is something to look forward to by card lovers.
Cost of the Cards
Both cards do not require an annual fee for the first year of card ownership. After one year, however, Chase may require payment of almost a hundred bucks. SPG, on the other hand, may ask account holders to pay a lower amount. Though lower, this amount, though, may still prove to be high for average earners. The only consolation is that Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 7% bonus for all the points you have earned for the year. Even the points you have redeemed are included in the bonus. This means that you can gain more savings with the SPG.
If you are a traveler, you can carry these two cards with you anywhere you go. In case you plan on spending your credits abroad, Chase’s travel card does not charge a foreign transaction fee. SPG, on the other hand, adds 3% whenever you use the card outside the United States.
If you use your card for regular purchases, both let you earn one point for every dollar you spend. Travel and dining expenses are valued at two points for one dollar with Chase. If you purchase anything at SPG properties worldwide, you can earn 5 SPG points. Unless you spend most of your credits on SPG hotels, you won’t be able to take advantage of the point system for regular spending on SPG cards.
Frequent flyers will benefit the most from SPG cards. Chase offers points transfer to participating frequent flyer programs, including Korean Air and British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. Though the transfers are typically instant, Chase cannot match SPG’s value per point on airlines. Aside from the fact that there are a ton of participating airlines, you also get great value when you make a point transfer. If you transfer at least 20,000 points, you get 25% bonus. Therefore, each time you spend a dollar and transfer them to an airline, you are given 1.25 SPG points.
Making Your Decision
Evidently, Chase Sapphire Preferred wins the battle when it comes to the sign up bonus, the foreign transaction charge, and rewards for regular spending. Meanwhile, American Express Starwood Preferred Guest offers better value for every point on airlines and has lower annual fee. Of course, if you always stay at any SPG property across the globe, this card would be a better choice compared to the Chase card.
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