Chase Ultimate Rewards points and AmEx Membership Rewards points are two of the most robust and popular transferable miles and points programs around. Which one is better for you depends largely on your preference for different airline and hotel partners and other ways in which you choose to redeem your collected points.
If you’re going to use your credit card anyway, you might as well be getting some membership rewards points along with your spending. The thing is, while many credit card companies offer cash back, miles, or other rewards, you’re often restricted to a particular airline or other brands that don’t offer you a lot of options.
The difference between programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points is the flexibility to redeem points through a number of transfer partners related to airline travel and hotels. The challenge is figuring out which one holds the most value for you.
Today we’ll compare and contrast these two popular programs to help you make your selection. Maybe you’ll even decide you want to enjoy the rewards from both!
AmEx points vs. Chase points transfer partners
As mentioned, many other credit cards offer a rewards program, but you can be pretty limited on how you’re able to redeem those points. That’s why, through the use of transfer partners for travel, a card from American Express or a Chase credit card can help you to maximize the value of the points you earn on a daily basis.
Both AmEx Membership Awards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to individual hotel and airline partners. In addition, you can redeem points through either of their online travel-booking portals. There are also other purchases you can make with the use of your rewards points, but travel-related expenses are where you will by far find the most value.
What companies do Chase and AmEx work with?
American Express Membership rewards has an edge over Chase Ultimate Rewards in sheer volume of airline and hotel transfer partners at 20, versus Chase’s 14. However, which choice is right for you depends a lot on where you travel to and from, where you prefer to stay at your destinations, and the airlines most accessible from your departure city.
For example, if you tend to fly a lot on Southwest or United and prefer Hyatt hotels, you would want to go with Chase Ultimate Rewards points because both are available transfer partners. On the other hand, if Delta or Qantas is more convenient for your travel needs, you might want to focus your efforts on American Express Membership rewards.
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||AmEx Membership Awards|
|Airline partners||• Aer Lingus|
• Air Canada
• British Airways
• Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
• Singapore Airlines
• United Airlines
• Virgin Atlantic
|• Aer Lingus|
• Air Canada
• All Nippon airlines
• British Airways
• Cathay Pacific
• Hawaiian Airways
• Singapore Airlines
• Virgin Atlantic
|Hotel partners||• Hyatt|
|• Choice Hotels|
Are Chase points more valuable than Amex points for travel?
In addition to comparing transfer partners, you’ll also want to consider which credit card will get you the most bang for your buck — or value for your points — when it comes to travel.
For example, depending on how you redeem your points you might get one to two cents per point, more or less. You can get more value — up to two cents per point — by transferring points to partners, but it does take more time and effort than simply booking through online travel portals.
In some cases, such as for a Chase Sapphire Reserve, cardholders get 1.5 cents per point in value toward travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Or, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred card, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards for travel at 1.25 cents per point.
What about AmEx points?
For AmEx membership rewards cards, you can often only get one cent per point. However, if you have a Business Platinum Card from American Express or the Business Gold Card, you could get up to 1.5 cents per point or more, although some restrictions do apply.
Also, AmEx points are not as valuable in the travel portal as Chase points — typically a 1:1 ratio.
Earning membership rewards points for travel
Credit card companies want you to spend, so there are a ton of incentives to entice you to do so. This is particularly true for travel-related expenditures when using Chase Ultimate rewards or AmEx Membership Rewards cards. If you travel a lot, these bonus points can really add up.
The American Express Platinum cards, for instance, will pay you five times the Membership Rewards bonus points on flights booked directly through airlines or via AmexTravel.com (their online travel portal). This incentive is also true of prepaid hotels booked through the portal.
With Chase credit cards, you can earn five times the total points on flights when you purchase tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent for travel each year. Additionally, you can earn ten times the total bonus points on hotels and car rentals when you buy through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
Want to keep looking for other travel rewards credit cards? The options below all offer great travel point programs.
What about new account holders?
If you’re just getting started collecting points, or want to get even more points, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex points by opening up a new account. It’s going to cost you, though.
- AmEx. American Express Gold Card, you will receive 75,000 bonus rewards points upon account opening. Unfortunately, this is only after you’ve spent $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card ownership. The platinum card will net you 100,000 rewards points, but you’ll have to spend $6,000 dollars within the first six months.
- Chase. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are similar, but you receive 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of your account opening.
That seems like a lot of money to spend to get those points. However, if you plan on spending a lot on your credit card regardless, it might be worth it for you. Plus, keep in mind that credit card companies are always offering some sort of “deal,” so keep checking back if you don’t like the initial offers you see.
Chase points vs. AmEx points on other purchases
For the most part, acquiring points for other purchases using Chase Ultimate Rewards points or American Express Membership Rewards points does not provide as much value as you can get from travel purchases. But there are still a lot of perks offered by both programs.
Each card has base points (typically one cent per point) earned for most purchases made with either a Chase Ultimate Rewards or an AmEx Membership rewards card. That being said, you can earn even more rewards by getting bonus points from eligible purchases. Eligible purchases would include things you buy from Chase or AmEx preferred restaurants, retailers, and gas stations, for example.
Check your credit card agreement for the exact details on where are the best places to shop to earn the highest amount of rewards points as you go about your daily life.
Though you’ll earn most points through travel purchases, Chase Sapphire Reserve will reward you with ten times the points on specific Chase Dining purchases and three times the points on other dining options.
In addition to this, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers three times the bonus points for select online grocery shopping and some streaming services. You can also get cash back rewards on Chase Freedom Card and other credit card products.
American Express Membership Rewards offers bonus points on eligible purchases as well, such as four times points for U.S. supermarkets and dining worldwide.
However, other purchases aren’t so lucky. AmEx points definitely focus more on travel-related expenses, as bonus points for most everyday purchases do not have any additional markup.
Another way to maximize your rewards is by having multiple points-earning cards from Amex or Chase. Both programs allow you to pool the points you earn under the same account.
In this case, if you’re trying to book a flight and you’re a little short on points, you could potentially redeem Ultimate Rewards points from another card in your wallet to make up the difference.
Pool more points with Chase
With Chase, points are worth more when you redeem them with a Chase Sapphire card account. As mentioned previously, you can get 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred Card and 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve when you redeem them for travel purchases.
If you have one of those cards in addition to a Chase Freedom Unlimited card — to earn rewards on everyday spending, for example — you can leverage your points even further. All you need to do is simply transfer the rewards you earn with that card to your Chase Sapphire account and redeem all of those points at the better rate.
You can even pool your cash back and points into one account if another household member has a Chase card as well. This makes Chase a good option for families who travel.
American Express isn’t as flexible
AmEx has a similar program but you cannot pool points with anyone, even if you’re married or live in the same house. Amex cards also don’t have the same benefit of boosting your rewards, but you can still take advantage of holding different Membership Reward cards.
For example, if you have multiple American Express Membership Awards points cards (except Amex cash back cards, which are not eligible), you can pool all of your points earned under your single Membership Rewards account and redeem them together.
What else can you redeem points for besides travel?
There are number of other ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points from Chase or Membership Rewards points from American Express aside from travel expenditures.
In addition to cash back rewards programs, you can also redeem points for online shopping, gift cards, restaurant meals, and statement credits. Here’s a list of common uses for redeeming points and the average cents per point.
|Value per point||AmEx||Chase|
|Cash back rewards||0.6 cents||1 cent|
|Pay Yourself Back (Chase only)||N/A||Up to 1.5 cents|
|Booking travel on travel portals||0.5 to 1 cents||1 to 1.5 cents|
|Transfer partners||2 cents||2 cents|
|Shopping online||0.5 to 1 cents||0.8 cents|
|Gift cards||Up to 1 cent||1 cent|
Who has better rewards: Chase or Amex?
They are both popular programs, but the “best” rewards program depends heavily on your point of view. If you need access to as many airlines as possible, you might want to go with AmEx. Not only do they partner with more airlines but many of them are also airline loyalty programs, giving you better opportunities for special deals and upgrades.
On the other hand, if your business or pleasure travel plans rely heavily on Southwest, United Airlines, or Hyatt hotels, you should probably choose Chase Ultimate Rewards points cards. Plus, if cash back is important to you, Chase credit cards offer more value for your spending than American Express.
Can I combine AmEx and Chase points?
These are two competing credit card companies, so you can’t just pool their points together (which, admittedly, would be very handy). There is quite a bit of overlap, however.
For example, points from both cards are good for use at Marriott hotels. Both programs also have a number of airline transfer partners in common, such as British Airways, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, and Singapore Airlines.
Is it worth having Chase Sapphire Preferred and an American Express Gold Card?
Why not? Though, really, only you can answer that question. There’s no reason why a person can’t participate in each rewards program at the same time.
If you’re a world traveler or use your cards for business expenses on hotels and flights to various parts around the globe, you might be able to get the maximum value from both programs. The average traveler, however, might just want to pick one based on their needs.
- Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and AmEx Membership Rewards points are a great way to leverage your spending for travel purchases.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards programs tend to have better value when used through the chase portal than Membership rewards points through the American Express portal.
- Both Chase points and AmEx points have similar values when used to transfer points to hotel and airline partners.
- Overall, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, on average, are worth more than AmEx Membership Rewards points.
- American Express membership has more travel-related transfer partners than Chase credit cards and more luxury travel options such as upgrades and airport lounge access.
View Article Sources
- Credit Cards and Loyalty Programs featuring TSA PreCheck® — U.S. Transportation Security Administration
- Rewards Cards – Minimize the Pitfalls, Maximize the Benefits — Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- How Much Are Reward Miles and Hotel Points Really Worth? — SuperMoney
- American Express® National Bank Credit Card® — SuperMoney
- Best American Express Credit Cards | July 2022 — SuperMoney
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card — SuperMoney
- Best Chase Credit Cards | July 2022 — SuperMoney
- Best Credit Cards for Good Credit | July 2022 — SuperMoney
- 2021 Consumer Credit Card Industry Study — SuperMoney
- Best Credit Cards with Rewards | July 2022 — SuperMoney