There are a lot of travel rewards credit cards on the market. Choosing which to add to your wallet can be a tough decision.
If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card, some of our favorite cards available are those with rewards on both travel and everyday spending that you can redeem toward future trips. American Express and Chase cards often compete in this category; beginners in the world of travel rewards cards can find from either one a great card to earn rewards for future free travel.
In fact, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our favorite travel card with an annual fee under $100. It offers lucrative rewards across categories, in addition to a 60,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. But one of its direct competitors also offers a great value and added benefits: the American Express® Green Card, with an annual fee of $150 and attractive rewards earning rates.
The Amex Green is no slouch in terms of rewards earnings for people who spend relatively more on restaurants and travel, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s broader rewards categories, boosted redemption options, and lower annual fee tilts the scales in its favor.
Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Intro bonus:60,000 points
- Annual fee:$95
- Regular APR:15.99% – 22.99% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Apply Now At Chase’s secure site
American Express® Green Card
- Intro bonus:45,000 points
- Annual fee:$150
- Regular APR:See Rates & Fees
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Learn more At our partner’s secure site
Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Green at a Glance
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Green are solid beginner- to mid-level travel rewards cards. They can both help you earn bonus points on dining and travel that you can later redeem for free travel, paying only taxes and fees, including airfare and hotels.
That said, they differ slightly in terms of annual fees, perks and credits offered, and bonus points that you’ll earn on various spending categories.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Amex Green|
|Welcome Offer||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months||45,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first six months|
|Bonus Points||5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on other travel purchases; 1x on other purchases||3x points on travel and at restaurants; 1x on other purchases|
|Credits||$60 towards eligible Peloton memberships and a complimentary 12-month DoorDash DashPass membership (otherwise $9.99 per month); $50 annual credit on hotel stays when you book through the Chase travel portal; 10% anniversary point bonus||Up to $100 Clear credit; Up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit|
Welcome Offer Comparison
In the world of travel rewards credit cards, a welcome offer (sometimes called a sign-up bonus) means that if you spend a certain amount of money on your new credit card in a certain amount of time, you’ll earn a certain amount of points. Welcome offers can vary from issuer to issuer and even card to card.
In this case, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has the Amex Green card beat. It’s offering 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s worth $750 when you redeem for travel through Chase.
The Amex Green card features a welcome offer of 45,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. That’s a solid chunk of Amex points — and a lower spending requirement — but still less compared to the 60,000 Chase points the Preferred card offers.
Either way, it’s important to not spend more than you can afford just to hit the minimum spending requirements to earn the bonus points. You should never pay more than you would have by using cash or a debit card when using a credit card, and you should also pay your bills on time and in full every month. Not doing so can negate any of the rewards or perks you’ll receive from a travel rewards credit card.
Another important factor to consider in a credit card is its rewards rate. You’ll want to find a card that closely matches your spending habits to maximize how many bonus points you can earn, andlater redeem for free travel.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; and 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases. It earns 1 point per dollar on everything else.
If you sign up for the Sapphire Preferred, you can take advantage of the card’s two newest perks: $50 annual credit on hotel stays when you book through the Chase travel portal and a 10% anniversary point bonus.
Meanwhile, the Amex Green card earns 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on travel and at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. In this case, the Sapphire Preferred out-earns the Amex Green card with more diverse bonus categories.
As with all travel rewards credit cards, it’s important to pay your bills on time and in full as to not negate the value of any rewards that you do earn because of paying a high interest rate.
That said, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a variable APR of 15.99% – 22.99% and the Amex Green has a variable APR of 15.99% – 22.99% on eligible Pay Over Time charges.
Both of these cards come with annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has an annual fee of $95 and the Amex Green card has a $150 annual fee. Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, making either a great pick for any upcoming international travel.
Deciding Between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Green Cards
The good news is these are both great travel card options. Both will reward you for your spending, particularly in travel and dining, and help you accrue points that you can later use for travel.
Both cards have a solid bonus points structure for travel and dining: the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), select streaming services, and online grocery purchases, plus 2x points on travel (or 5x when you book through Chase). And the Amex Green earns 3x points on each. These cards are designed for travelers who also spend a significant amount of their budget on dining out, whether at home or abroad.
If you are an avid Peloton and/or DoorDash member, you might be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. However, if you value travel perks more, you’ll likely enjoy the Amex Green card — it comes with up to a $100 annual credit for Clear, which can help you breeze past security, and up to a $100 credit for LoungeBuddy. You can use this program to purchase lounge access in airports around the world directly from the LoungeBuddy platform.
Another important consideration is the annual fee; the Amex Green card is over $50 more annually than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. While credits towards Clear and LoungeBuddy can certainly help to offset the price, you’ll want to make sure those credits match your travel preferences and spending habits.
All things considered, though, the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s rewards, extra benefits, and flexible redemption options are hard to overlook. Add a 60,000-point welcome bonus into the mix, and the Sapphire Preferred is the better choice for most travel card beginners right now.