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Amex Trifecta vs. Chase Trifecta: Which Card Combination Will Help You Maximize Rewards

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Updated April 4, 2024

Tens of millions of Americans use a reward credit card to earn valuable points and miles that can be redeemed for travel. But when you get serious about award travel, you’ll discover that there are complimentary collections of credit cards that you can leverage to earn the most possible rewards from your spending.

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Two of the most popular award travel strategies involve having three different cards from American Express or from Chase. These strategies are often referred to as the Amex Trifecta and the Chase Trifecta.

Amex trifecta overview

CardWelcome offerAPRAnnual feeCredit score
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type (Rates & Fees)
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type (Rates & Fees)
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type (Rates & Fees)
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
credit_score_needed

Chase trifecta overview

CardWelcome offerAPRAnnual feeCredit score
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
annual_fees
credit_score_needed

The added value of having three cards from the same provider

Travel rewards credit cards tend to come in two different types. First are the kind that offer bonus points for certain types of purchases, but just one point per dollar on all other spending. Then, there are cards that offer more than one point per dollar spent on all purchases, but don’t have any bonus categories.

By having two different types of credit cards from the same card issuer with bonus categories, you can enjoy more bonus points than you can with just one. And when you have a third card from the same issuer that offers an elevated amount of points for purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus, then you can maximize your points earnings potential, since you can pool all of your points together from all three cards from the same card issuer.

Amex vs. Chase Trifecta Compared

Both American Express and Chase offer numerous business and personal credit cards that offer points in their flexible rewards programs. Award travel experts can have different ideas as to what makes up their ideal three-card trifecta.

For the purposes of this article, let’s examine the Amex Trifecta including card_name, the card_name and card_name. For the Chase Trifecta, let’s look at the card_name, the card_name and the card_name.

FeatureAmex TrifectaChase Trifecta
Cards
  • card_name
  • card_name
  • card_name
  • card_name
  • card_name
  • card_name
Earning Categories
The Platinum Card® from American Express:
  • 5x Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with the airlines or through AmexTravel.com with a spend cap of $500,000 per calendar year
  • 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com
  • Terms Apply.

American Express® Gold Card:
  • 4x Membership Rewards® Points at restaurants, plus takeout andn delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year (1x thereafter)
  • 3x Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with the airlines or on AmexTravel.com
  • 1x on all other eligible purchases
  • Terms Apply.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express:
  • 2x Membership Rewards® Points on all purchases, up to $50,000 per year (1x thereafter)
  • Terms Apply.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®:
  • 5x points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x points on dining
  • 1x on all other purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited®:
  • 3x on dining
  • 3x at drugstores
  • 5x points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 1.5x on all other purchases

Ink Business cash® :
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (limit $25,000 each account anniversary year)
  • 2% cash back on up to $25,000 spent on gas
  • 1% cash back on all other card puchases
Total Annual Fees
$945
$550
Total Annual Credits
Up to $1,584
$300
Transfer Partners
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico Club Premier (1:1.6)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways Guest Program
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue True Blue (1:0.8)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Clubr
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyattr
Other Benefits (or Additional Perks)
  • Access to American Express Centurion airport lounges
  • Access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges (not including restaurants)
  • Elite status with Hilton, Marriott, Hertz and National
Terms Apply.
  • Access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, including restaurants
  • Redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through Chase
Redemption Options
  • Transfers to travel partners
  • Travel reservations
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back
  • Transfers to travel partners
  • Travel reservations
  • Pay with points
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back

Card combos

For the Amex Trifecta, The card_name, The card_name and card_name offer the ideal combination of benefits and bonus categories. The card_name is almost all about benefits and fee credits, while the card_name is about bonus categories and the card_name is the perfect card for spending on purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus.

With the Chase Trifecta, the card_name offers both travel benefits and bonuses for travel purchases. The card_name offers several bonus categories, while the card_name features more bonus categories plus elevated regards for all non-bonus spending.

Earnings categories

With the Amex Trifecta, The card_name offers 5x points on flights booked directly with a spend cap of $500,000 with the airlines or through AmexTravel.com and on prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com. You earn 1x on all other purchases.

The card_name has some of the most valuable bonus categories available, including 4x points at restaurants, and up to $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets (1x thereafter). You also earn 3x on flights booked directly with the airlines or on AmexTravel.com, and 1x on all other purchases.

With the card_name, you simply earn 2x on all purchases, up to $50,000 per year. This is the ideal card for all purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus.

With the Chase Trifecta, the card_name is the card you would use to earn 3x points on travel purchases. The card_name offers you 5x points at office supply stores and on telecommunications purchases, while the card_name features 3x points on dining and at drugstores, and 1.5x points on all non-bonus spending.

Total annual fees

The Amex Trifecta is certainly the most expensive when it comes to annual fees. The card_name has a annual_fees annual fee (Rates & Fees). The card_name has a annual_fees annual fee (Rates & Fees). There is annual_fees for the card_name (Rates & Fees).

The only credit card with an annual fee in the Chase Trifecta is the annual_fees fee for the card_name.

Total annual credits

With the Amex Trifecta, the card_name offers over $1,500 in statement credits towards travel fees and with merchants such as Uber, Saks Fifth Avenue, CLEAR and Equinox (Enrollment required wherever applicable). The card_name also offers $120 in annual credits with Uber and another $120 in dining credits (Enrollment required wherever applicable).

With the Chase Trifecta, the card_name’s annual_fees annual fee is largely offset by a $300 annual travel credit that’s automatically applied to any travel purchase.

Transfer partners

American Express and Chase have many travel partners in common, including Aer Lingus, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

American Express offers several partners that Chase doesn’t including:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier (1:1.6)
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Etihad Airways Guest Program
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Choice Privileges

ANA is an exceptionally valuable partner because it’s part of the Star Alliance and it offers awards for much fewer miles than most frequent flier programs. For example, round-trip business class tickets from North America to Europe are just 88,000 miles each, which is half what other programs often charge. Delta is a major American carrier that is not offered by Chase and other airlines such as Hawaiian, Etihad, Avianca and Qantas can offer particular value in certain situations. The Choice Privileges hotel program can also be very valuable.

On the other hand, Chase offers the following transfer partners that American Express doesn’t:

Among these, U.S. based cardholders are going to find both United and Southwest to be very useful. Additionally, the World of Hyatt program can offer outstanding value. Unfortunately, transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott and IHG are only at a 1:1 ratio, and don’t offer nearly as much value per point as Hyatt.

Other benefits and additional perks

In many ways, both the Chase and Amex Trifectas are as much about benefits and perks as they are about rewards. In the Chase Trifecta, the card_name is the card that has the most perks. It offers a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership that offers access to two guests and includes credits at restaurants. It also features a $300 annual travel credit and numerous travel insurance and shopping protection benefits.

The card_name offers numerous additional benefits including elite status with Marriott, Hilton, National and Hertz. It also includes the Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership for cardholder and two guests, but doesn’t offer credits at restaurants in the program. However, it includes access to Delta SkyClubs and Amex Centurion lounges for the cardholder only.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

The card_name also includes similar travel insurance and shopping protection features plus numerous statement credits for specific purchases. However these statement credits correlate with the Platinum card’s higher annual fee.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.
  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Earning rate

The Amex Trifecta does exceptionally well with supermarket and dining purchases, where savvy cardholders will use the card_name to earn 4x points. With Chase, the advantage is that the card_name offers 1.5x points on all purchases. And while you will earn 3x on dining with both the card_name and the card_name, this is less than what the card_name offers. However, the card_name does offer 3x on all travel purchases. And those with a card_name can earn an outstanding 5x on telecommunications services and purchases from office supply stores.

How to redeem

With both Chase and Amex, you can transfer your points to airline or hotel travel partners. Chase allows you to redeem your rewards directly for travel purchases at 1.5 cents per point, while Amex only offers 1.0 cents in value per point redeemed through AmexTravel.com. Both programs offer merchandise gift cards and cash back, but Chase offers 1.0 cents per point redeemed for cash back, while Amex offers just 0.5 cents.

Amex or Chase trifecta: How can you earn the most?

With both credit card issuers, the strategy is to use the card that offers the most points at any particular merchant. For example, card_name cardholders can earn 5x on things like school supplies and furniture purchased at office supply stores. And card_name users can buy numerous non-food items at supermarkets such as cleaning supplies and prescription drugs.

Why We Recommend The Chase Trifecta

It’s very close, but the Chase Trifecta comes out slightly ahead of Amex. Chase offers 1.5 cents per point towards travel reservations, which is how many cardholders will use their rewards. Chase also features United, Southwest and Hyatt as transfer partners which are not available from Amex. Finally, Chase has much lower annual fees, and the card_name annual travel credit of $300 is much easier to use than American Express’s numerous, merchant specific opportunities to earn statement credits.

Why You Would Still Opt for the Amex Trifecta

The Amex Trifecta offers 4x on dining and U.S. supermarket purchases, which is where many households will spend heavily. The card_name is also great for getting you into the superior Centurion lounges. And if you can find strong value from Amex exclusive transfer partners such as ANA Airlines of Japan, then you may wish to opt for the Amex Trifecta instead. Also, the Amex Trifecta can be a great compliment to the Chase Trifecta.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which Chase credit card Trifecta is best?

There are several credit cards you can combine to create your own Chase Trifecta, other than the credit_score_needed, credit_score_needed and credit_score_needed. For example, you can substitute the card_name instead of the Reserve, and have a much lower annual fee. However, you’ll be giving up airport lounge access and you’ll only get 1.25 cents per point redeemed. Others may prefer the card_name over the credit_score_needed, so that they can get 5x points on up to $1,500 spent on rotating spending categories.

Who is the Amex Trifecta best for?

This credit card combination works best for frequent travelers who appreciate the multiple airport lounge memberships offered by card_name. It’s also a great program for those who find strong value from transfer partners exclusive to the Membership Rewards program

Why can American Express cards be hard to get?

American Express generally has a “once per lifetime” limit on receiving the welcome bonus for their cards, so you won’t be eligible if you’ve had a particular card in the past. Most American Express cards also require that applicants have excellent credit in order to be approved.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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