Posted by William Charles on August 22, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on August 22nd, 2016 | by William Charles

57

Premium Cards Compared: Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum & Citi Prestige

A few people have been asking me to compare the benefits, earning rates and other features between the three premium travel credit cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum & Citi Prestige. So here you go, we’ll start with a table comparing all three cards and then look at some of the bigger differences in more detail.

csr vs cp vs ap

Table Comparison

 American Express PlatinumChase Sapphire ReserveCiti Prestige
Annual fee$450.00$450.00$350*/$450
Sign up bonus40,000 points after $3,000100,000 points after $4,00040,000 points after $4,000 (50,000 points after $5,000)*
Travel credit$200 (airline incidentals only)$300 (any travel purchase)$250 (any airline purchase)
Redeeming Points For Travel1¢ per point1.5¢ per point for all travel1.6¢ per point for AA^, 1.25¢ for all other airlines
Lounge accessAmerican Express Centurion, Delta Sky Club + Priority Pass SelectPriority Pass SelectPriority Pass Select + Admirals Club^
Global Entry/TSA PreCheckYesYesYes
Travel Partners18 airlines and 4 hotels11 airlines and 1 hotel
Earning rate on airlines2x per $1 spent (amextravel.com)3x per $1 spent3x per $1 spent
Earning rate on hotels2x per $1 spent (amextravel.com)3x per $1 spent3x per $1 spent
Earning rate on other travel2x per $1 spent (amextravel.com)3x per $1 spent1x per $1 spent
Earning rate on dining1x per $1 spent3x per $1 spent2x per $1 spent
Earning rate on entertainment1x per $1 spent1x per $1 spent2x per $1 spent
Earning rate on all other purchases1x per $1 spent1x per $1 spent1x per $1 spent
Payment networkAmerican Express Centurion, Delta Sky Club + Priority Pass SelectVisaMasterCard
Foreign transaction feesNoneNoneNone
Primary rental insuranceHave to pay $19.95/$24.95 per rental up to $100,000Yes, up to $75,000Yes, outside the U.S. up to $100,000. Secondary inside the U.S.
Roadside AssistanceUp to 4 times per yearUp to 4 times per yearYes, no limit
Protections/Insurance Cover Award TripsNoYes, as long as some part of the flight is paid for using the cardYes, partial payment of payment with Citi TYP qualifies
Trip cancellation/interruptionUp to $10,000 per tripUp to $10,000 per tripUp to $5,000 per person per trip of non-refundable expenses
Baggage delay insuranceUp to $500 if it doesn’t arrive to your destination within 4 hoursUp to $100 per day for five days for essentials when it’s delayed for more than 6 hoursUp to $500 of necessary personal and business items if your baggage is delayed for more than 3 hours
Travel accident insuranceUp to $2,500,000 (plus $250 per night for relative if travelling alone)Up to $1,000,000Up to $1,000,000
Emergency Evacuation & TransportationKind ofUp to $100,000Up to $100,000
Travel and Emergency AssistanceYesYesYes
Emergency Medical & Dental BenefitNo?Yes, up to $2,500No?
Car Rental Status/BenefitsYesYesYes
Hotel StatusHilton Hhonors Gold, SPG GoldClub 5C status if you complete two qualifying nightsNone
Other Hotel BenefitsAccess to Fine Hotels & Resorts & Hotel CollectionAccess To Luxury Hotel & Resorts4 night free and Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio
Exclusive EventsYesYesYes
Extended WarrantyYes, an additional year on warranties of five years or lessYes, an additional year on warranties of three years or lessYes, an additional two years on warranties of five years or less. Coverage of up to $50,000 per year.
Purchase ProtectionCovers new purchases for 90 days against damage, loss or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per yearCovers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per yearCovers new purchases for 120 days (90 days for New York residents) against damage, loss or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
Price ProtectionNone?Receive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) if you make a purchase within the U.S. and see it advertised for less in print or online within 90 days of purchaseReceive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) if you make a purchase and see it advertised for less in print or online within 60 days of purchase
Return ProtectionReceive a reimbursement of $300 per item ($1,000 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a returnReceive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($1,000 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a returnReceive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a return
Golf BenefitNoneNoneThree free rounds^
Cruise BenefitsAccess to Cruises Privileges Program??MasterCard World Elite Cruise Program

Annual Fees

All of these cards come with the same annual fee of $450. The only difference is that if you have Citi Gold/Citi Priority or apply in a Citi branch under that offer then the Prestige card’s annual fee is reduced to $350. Because of this the Citi Prestige comes out on top with a tie going to the Platinum & Reserve.

Sign Up Bonus

Citi Prestige & American Express Platinum come with the same 40,000 point bonus (but with a slightly lower minimum spend requirement on the Platinum). It is possible to get 50,000 points on the Citi Prestige in branch though and it’s often possible to get a 75,000-100,000 point bonus on the American Express platinum card as well.

Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently in a league of it’s own with the CSR and it’s massive 100,000 point bonus. I suspect this is just a launch offer though and it’ll be reduced at some point.

Travel Credit

Platinum has the lowest credit ($200) and the most restrictive rules (airline incidentals only, although gift card purchases will usually work as well). Followed by the Prestige ($250 and any airline purchase will trigger it) and finally the Reserve with $300 and any travel purchase will trigger it.

Redeeming Points For Travel

Points are only worth 1¢ when redeeming for travel with the Platinum. On the Prestige they are worth 1.6¢ when redeeming for American Airlines flights and 1.33¢ for all other flights, although this is being reduced to 1.25¢ for all flights in July of next year. The Reserve again offers the best value with 1.5¢ per point for all travel (e.g hotels, airfare, car rentals & cruises).

Lounge Access

Lounge access is really where the Reserve card falls apart, it only offers priority pass select membership.

Travel Partners

Here are the travel partners for each card:

American Express: (18 airlines and 4 hotels)

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Partners   
Airline Partners (1:1 Unless Otherwise Noted)
Delta SkyMilesAeroMexico Club Premier (1:1)Air Canada AeroplanKLM/AirFrane Flying Blue
Alitalia MilleMiglia ClubANAAsia MilesBritish Airways Avios
EmiratesEL AL Israel Airlines (50:1)FrontierHawaiian Airlines
Iberia PlusjetBlue (1.25:1)Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerVirgin America Elevate (2:1)
Virgin atlantic flying clubEtihadAer LingusAvianca Lifemiles
Hotel Partners (1:1 unless otherwise noted)
Choice PrivilegesHilton Hhonors (1:2)Marriott (1:1)

Chase (7 airlines and 4 hotels)

Chase Travel Partners (All Transfer 1:1)  
Airlines
British Airways Executive ClubSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLMSouthwest Airlines Rapid RewardsAer Lingus
Korean Air SKYPASS (leaving program on August 25th, 2018)United MileagePlusIberia Plus
Hotels
Hyatt Gold PassportMarriott Rewards
IHG Rewards ClubThe Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Citi (12 airlines, 1 hotel & shop your way rewards)

Hilton (1:1.5 rate). Partnership ending on December 13thEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsMalaysia Airlines Enrich
AirFrance-KLM Flying BlueEtihad GuestQatar Airways Privilege Club
Asia MilesGaruda Indonesia Frequent FlyerSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid PlusVirgin Atlantic Flying ClubQantas
JetBlue (1:0.8 rate, 0.5 with Preferred)Sears SYWRP (1:12)Jet Airways JetPrivilege
Turkish Airlines Miles & SmilesAvianca LifeMiles

I’d argue that Chase has the strongest transfer partners even though they have the least amount of partners. The upside to both Citi & American Express is that they offer transfer bonuses that mean it’s often possible to transfer better than 1:1. You can view a complete list of all transfer bonuses for both card issuers below:

Earning Rates

Cards earn at the following rates:

  • American Express Platinum:
    • 2x points at amextravel.com
    • 1x points on all other purchase
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 3x points on dining & travel
    • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Citi Prestige:
    • 3x points on air travel & hotels
    • 2x points on dining and entertainment

It’s worth remembering that you can earn 1.5x points on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and also 1.5x points on all purchases with the AmEx EveryDay Preferred card though. Again, Chase is the clear winner here.

Payment Network

  • American Express Platinum: Runs on the American Express payment network
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Runs on the Visa payment network
  • Citi Prestige: Runs on the MasterCard payment network

Primary Rental Car Insurance

  • American Express Platinum: Offers primary insurance up to $100,000 but you have to pay $19.95/$24.95 per rental. Coverage is up to $100,000 worldwide with exclusions in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Offers primary insurance up to $75,000 worldwide
  • Citi Prestige: Offers primary insurance up to $100,000 outside of the U.S. and secondary insurance within the U.S.

Roadside Assistance

Protections/Insurance Cover Award Trips

  • American Express Platinum: I don’t believe so, please let us know in the comments.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Yes, award tickets are covered as long as some portion of the trip is purchased using the card. For example taxes and fees. You’re also covered if you’re using points/miles from an affiliate loyalty program (including Chase Ultimate Rewards).
  • Citi Prestige: Yes: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip.”

Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance

All three cards offer this insurance, Platinum & Reserve offer up to $10,000 and the Prestige offers up to $5,000 per person per trip.

Baggage Delay Insurance

  • American Express Platinum: Up to $500 if it doesn’t arrive to your destination within 4 hours
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Up to $100 per day for five days for essentials when it’s delayed for more than 6 hours
  • Citi Prestige: Up to $500 of necessary personal and business items if your baggage is delayed for more than 3 hours

Trip Delay Reimbursement

  • American Express Platinum: None
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: If your common carrier is delayed more than 6 hours OR requires an overnight stay then you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses up to $500 per ticket)
  • Citi Prestige: Valid if your flight is delayed 3 hours or more.

Travel Accident Insurance

  • American Express Platinum: Covereage up to $2,500,000. If you are travelling alone then they will also pay up to $250 a night for a relative to come and visit.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Coverage up to $1,000,000
  • Citi Prestige: Coverage up to $1,00,000.

Emergency Evacuation & Transportation

  • American Express Platinum: They do offer some sort of benefit, but it’s not exactly straight forward. Read this for more information
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: If you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip far from your home and it results in an emergency evacuation then you’re covered for medical services and transportation up to $100,00
  • Citi Prestige: If you have a serious medical emergency and need help getting home or to the right medical facility, we’ll cover up to $100,000 in costs for your medical evacuation. This coverage also applies if you lose your life, and your remains need to be returned home. This is secondary insurance so if you have another policy that covers this then this will only cover what those policies do not.

Travel and Emergency Assistance

All three cards will provide you with travel and emergency assistance (call the number on the back of your card to be put through to the right department). This includes things such as medical referrals and interpreters.

Emergency Medical & Dental Benefit

As far as I know only the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers this benefit. If you’re more than 100 miles from your home then you can be reimbursed up to $2,500 for medical and dental expenses if you or your immediate family member become sick or injured.

Car Rental Benefits

  • American Express Platinum
    • Avis Preferred
    • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards
    • National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • National Car Rental
      • Emerald Club Executive Level membership
      • Save up to 25%
    •  Avis
      • Save up to 30%
    •  Silvercar
      • Save 30% on rentals of 2 days or more
  • Citi Prestige
    • Avis First membership
    • Sixt Platinum status

Hotel Status

  • American Express Platinum:
    • Hilton HHonors Gold
    • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve:
    • Club 5C status if you complete two qualifying nights
  • Citi Prestige: None

Other Hotel Benefits

  • American Express Platinum
    • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts
      • Noon check-in, when available
      • Room Upgrade upon arrival, when available *
      • Daily breakfast for two people
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
      • Guaranteed 4pm late checkout
      • Unique amenity valued at US$100, such as a spa or food and beverage credit
    • Access to Hotel Collection (for stays of two nights or more)
      • $75 Hotel Credit, to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities
      • Room upgrade upon arrival, if available
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • Access to Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection
      • Best available rate guarantee
      • Automatic room upgrade upon arrival, when available
      • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available
      • Complimentary continental breakfast
      • $25 USD food or beverage credit
      • VIP Guest status
      • 3PM check-out upon request, when available
  • Citi Prestige
    • 4th night free benefit
    • Access to Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio
      • Complimentary room upgrades
      • Early check-in and late check-out upon availability
      • Daily breakfast for two
      • Exclusive amenities
      • Access to our Luxury Hotels & Resorts Portfolio ebook

4th night free benefit for the Citi Prestige is the clear leader in this category.

Internet Access

  • American Express Platinum
    • Unlimited Boingo access
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: None
  • Citi Prestige: None

Exclusive Events

  • American Express Platinum
    • By invitation only
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • Exclusive Events & Experiences
  • Citi Prestige: Private Pass Beynd

Extended Warranty

  • American Express Platinum: Yes, an additional year on warranties of five years or less
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Yes, an additional year on warranties of three years or less.
  • Citi Prestige: Yes, an additional two years on warranties of five years or less. Coverage of up to $50,000 per year.

Purchase Protection

  • American Express Platinum: Covers new purchases for 90 days against damage, loss or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
  • Citi Prestige: Covers new purchases for 120 days (90 days for New York residents) against damage, loss or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year

Price Protection

  • American Express Platinum: None
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Receive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) if you make a purchase within the U.S. and see it advertised for less in print or online within 90 days of purchase.
  • Citi Prestige: Receive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) if you make a purchase and see it advertised for less in print or online within 60 days of purchase.

 Return Protection

  • American Express Platinum: Receive a reimbursement of $300 per item ($1,000 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a return
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Receive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($1,000 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a return
  • Citi Prestige: Receive a reimbursement of $500 per item ($2,500 per year) for items purchases within 90 days that stores won’t accept as a return

Golf Benefit

  • American Express Platinum: None
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: None
  • Citi Prestige: Three free rounds of golf, benefit is going away July 27th, 2017.

Cruise Benefits

  • American Express Platinum: Access to Cruises Privileges Program. Gives you the following benefits on cruises of five nights or more (must be booked through them or through one of the affiliate agencies):
    • $100 – $300 per stateroom shipboard credit
    • Additional exclusive amenities unique to each cruise line
    • Receive one extra Membership Rewards® point on each dollar you spend per booking with American Express Travel
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Unknown? Probably some sort of Visa Infinite perk, let us know in the comments.
  • Citi Prestige: MasterCard World Elite Cruise Program, you must book through Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Benefits depend on cruised booked.

Our Verdict

I’m sure this post contains errors in it, I tried my best to ensure there aren’t any but it was difficult. Please correct any mistakes in the comments section below. Also let me know if you think anything needs to be added/modified. Each card excels in different areas, so it would be possible to make a case for each card to be the ‘best’, although I’d say that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the most complete card – but it does have extremely poor lounge access.

Let me know what you think the best card is and why in the comments.



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joE
joE

You have the Travel credit and Redeeming Points For Travel of the Reserve and Prestige flipped.

Bern
Bern

Should also note the earn rates seem flipped for CSR and Prestige as well. CSR should reflect 3x earn on other travel and dining.

Frank
Frank

There are some problems with the insurance benefit of Prestige. Citi has changed the insurance provider and terms are improved to some extent. As far as I know, the price match policy becomes $500/$2500. Other insurance policies are probably different as well. Hope you can fix it.

JD
JD

Citi Prestige has ‘Private Pass Beyond’ as their exclusive events. All other Cities cards have just Private Pass.

Matt
Matt

I believe the Platinum card also covers loss as part of purchase protection, that is, if you just plain lose something you bought?

Ryan
Ryan

Doc, the table comparison has wrong column entries (swapped Reserve and Prestige for some), you might want to take a look at them again.

i.e. Travel credit, redeeming points for travel.

DrRyan
DrRyan

I thought CSR had the $300 for any travel not the prestige

Shyam
Shyam

Hi,

Please change the Redeeming Points For Travel category. CSR and CP are interchanged.
1.6¢ per point for AA^, 1.25¢ for all other airlines 1.5¢ per point for all travel

And you can also mention the Golf benefit for the CP till next year.

Josh
Josh

I could use some of these benefits if there aren’t a lot of loop holes that negate them.

Matt
Matt

You mention in the writeup, but not in the table – AmEx Platinum gives access to Delta SkyClub. Great comparison, thanks!

Jose
Jose

Thanks a lot for this article.

QA ninja
QA ninja

it may be worth noting a few extra things

1) who the CC provider is (visa/mastercard/AMEX) just cause of what places accept them

2) the card quality some people like the solid weight of chase vs. the plastic of the others

3) who their provider is for flights / hotel bookings. Just to give an idea on how good/bad it is for prices when booking via the respective sites

4) customer service, it matters to folks whether they call in and get an international person vs. local for how understanding they are

Stephanie
Stephanie

You forgot about the cruise privileges. The Platinum awards shipboard credit for cruises purchased with it thru amex travel or authorized agents. I don’t know about the others. It’s actually why I got the AMEX.

Alex
Alex

Prestige’s priority pass membership comes with guest entry, but Platinum’s does not.

I kept Prestige over Platinum because of this. My wife and I can share one premium card and both have lounge access. Definitely worth noting.

JJJJ

I tried to get National Emerald Club Executive membership with my Prestige last week and was told the offer was no longer available

WhiteShadow
WhiteShadow

Approved for CSR – 7/24. Applied in Branch. 24k CL.

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