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Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs ??? in March 2019 perks

Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs ??? in March 2019 perks

Old Mar 20, 19, 3:41 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 24
Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs ??? in March 2019 perks

Hi all,

It has been asked a million times and I understand that every case is different. For the last couple of years I had the Chase Sapphire Reserve and in general have liked the card. Their Global Entry, Travel credits were hassle free and the ultimate rewards program worked like a charm.
I expected more use from the Priority Pass. At least domestically the lounges seemed full or very restricted. I used to travel overseas quite a bit and it was a very nice perk in ZRH to get access to their lounge (what I expect a lounge to be). Over the last couple of years I've reduced my work travel and have let some of my statuses lapse.

I now start encountering how non frequent travelers are treated and for what one pays it can be frustrating or downright disrespectful. At Marriotts in New York (400 per night rooms). They won't give you breakfast (but if you were gold they did) or I think it was a Hilton I didn't have free wifi included in my room. Some I consider basic service features. With that in mind I'm considering switching from Sapphire to Amex. First of all I saw that it was significantly more expensive for two people. Certainly something to consider. But it seemed like the Marriott and Hilton perks were nice plus worth it and the lounge access seemed better (fly out of PHL), so I would hope to use the new Amex lounge which I've heard is very nice. I understand they downgraded lounge access a couple of years ago when they lost access to AA's network.

I didn't think I cared about the perks but once you lose them, you get a bit vain (or I do :-) ). I know that the sapphire had excellent primary car insurance. I saw that the Amex had access to the boingo wireless network which 10 years ago I subscribed to when hotels in Europe charged for wifi. Nowadays I haven't seen the need but maybe they are adding back paid basic wifi (for my needs basic is sufficient). Is the Boingo network still robust in Europe and in the states?

Long note so let me get down to it. What perks do you consider well worth their money offered by these two cards? PP doesn't seem to really help that much domestically. Are there perks I'm not thinking of? I could always buy day passes and it probably would be cheaper. It just seems like Sapphire has lost a bit of its luster. I still consider it a decent deal. Have people been able to negotiate a retention bonus? I always pay my ccs in full and have excellent credit.

Has anyone left Reserve for Amex or another program? People that have the Platinum or Gold. Do you like the card? What perks do you use? I also have a basic capital one that I used to use for foreign travel (no transaction fees), a barclays Aviator red (they have absolutely gutted that program, plan to drop by the end of the year). The Marriott visa which I never used the voucher for and have kept for unknown reasons (another one I plan to drop since I didn't see any perks from Marriott or am I missing something?). So consolidating my cards and saving those two fees. Is there another credit card I should consider? I don't use Uber so that perk would be less appealing.

I could drop all and get my 1.5% cash back at capital one and call it a day but .... I do like perks

phillyman is offline  
Old Mar 20, 19, 3:56 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 39,075
Originally Posted by phillyman View Post
....At Marriotts in New York (400 per night rooms). They won't give you breakfast (but if you were gold they did)
Marriott realigned their elite tiers during the merger with Starwood. American Express Platinum provides Bonvoy Gold, but Gold no longer includes breakfast.

...significantly more expensive for two people....
Correct, American Express Platinum is 550+175 = $725 (for up to three supplementary cards). Sapphire Reserve is 450+75=$525 (with one Authorized User). There are credits which reduce the costs at both issuers.
lounge access seemed better
Correct, Chase provides Priority Pass and nothing else. American Express provides Priority Pass plus their own Centurion lounges, plus Skyclub (when flying Delta), plus Airspace and Escape lounges which are in some airports that do not have Priority Pass lounges.

...Amex had access to the boingo wireless
This has just ended.

....Sapphire has lost a bit of its luster. .... negotiate a retention bonus?
To my knowledge Chase has not offered retention bonuses on Sapphire Reserve. American Express offers retention bonuses on Platinum, but typically not in consecutive years.

could drop all and get my 1.5% cash back ....
2% is readily available, and at least one card offers 2.5% on all spending.
mia is online now  
Old Mar 20, 19, 4:03 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 24
Thank you Mia for your detailed reply. I completely missed that Amex had dropped Boingo. My research was not too long ago. Well, that is too bad. Now the value proposition is quite different. If it is $200 more but Marriott benefit does not include breakfast and they dropped boingo what have they added to make up for it. I'll have to research the better cash back options. Can you recommend the 2.5 card?

Does anyone still like the Amex or people staying loyal to the Reserve or what is the next best thing? Also any bonus offers would not be a problem for me to meet. I can spend enough to get the full reward.

Again thank you Mia for your detailed reply.
phillyman is offline  
Old Mar 20, 19, 6:46 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 39,075
Boingo announcement just made on March 4, it looks as if it will run to 12.31.2019:

AMEX Platinum Losing Boingo [USA]

2.5% card is here:

Alliant Credit Union VISA, 3% cash 1st year, then 2.5%. Annual fee waived 1st year.

I prefer this free card for everyday domestic spending:

USA: Blue Business Plus, 2X ALL spend, $50k/yr cap. 20K TARGETED, 10K by referral.
mia is online now  
Old Mar 21, 19, 2:20 am
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Plat, UA Silver, Marriott Plat
Posts: 1,420
Iím going to cancel my Amex plat. CSR is so much better
hw711 is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 5:58 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 39,075
Originally Posted by hw711 View Post
.... CSR is so much better
Please tell us more. Posting your conclusion, without the evidence and reasoning to support it, doesn't help phillyman or others make their own decision.
mia is online now  
Old Mar 21, 19, 9:49 am
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: RDU
Programs: DL(PM), UA(Silver), Marriott(Ti), HH(Gold), Hertz(PC)
Posts: 2,101
Originally Posted by hw711 View Post
Iím going to cancel my Amex plat. CSR is so much better
As a mostly Delta flier, I disagree, as the access to the Skyclub is very valuable. I ride Uber to/from the airport a few times a month, so that benefit gets used as well, and the $200/year airline credit. The net AF for the Plat is pretty low for me, so I will keep the card

What makes the CSR a better choice than the Amex Plat for you?
fliesdelta is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 10:15 am
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Denver
Programs: AS, AA, B6, Hilton, Marriott
Posts: 853
Amex provides better benefits, some you mentioned. I.E Uber credits, Centurion+Escape+Skyclub, IAP for discount premium flight tickets, concierge service, special offers/relationships with restaurants or everyday stores, status with some hotels, and then the 5x on hotels and airline bonus.

CSR provides better travel/rewards. 3x on flights, 2x on dining out, trip interruption insurance (one of the biggest factors that I use this card over my Plat), rental car status, 300$ very easy to use travel credit, 1.5 point to $ conversion spend. It doesn't provide the level of service that you expect from Amex with their benefits, that go beyond just a travel card (for the most part).

So it'll really depend what you want out of the card. Are you planning on traveling a lot and want the insurance from your CC? Or are you looking for more use with cheaper premium cabin flights, using Uber, having a concierge to get you into a restaurant that isn't bookable, being in Centurion lounge airports more often than not etc. I think that is what differentiates the card the most. CSR is a simpler travel card and Amex is a more complex benefit card that you have to capitalize on to get more worth out of.
safari ari is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 10:16 am
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: WAS via RDU, FLL, PHL and TYO
Programs: UA Silver (working on Gold), Hilton Dia, Marriott Plat, Radisson Gold, Hertz 5*
Posts: 3,861
I think everyone has to do the math themselves on this one, but here's how I figure it:

CSR is effectively $150 a year after the $300 travel credit, which anyone who uses FlyerTalk should be able to use up very easily. If you can use the $200 Uber credit (e.g. on airport rides or Uber Eats deliveries) and $200 airline credit, the annual fee for the Plat is also effectively $150; even lower if you can get value from the Saks credit, additional lounge access and Amex discount offers. So that's the basis for my personal comparison of annual fees.

To me, CSR is worth it for $150 a year just because of the primary rental car coverage and the 5% effective return on travel and dining expenses if you assume a UR point is worth about 1.7 cents (the most common valuation cited by bloggers; YMMV as it depends on how you use the points).

For me, then, the question is whether it's worth also having a Plat. Using a valuation of 1.7 cents per MR (again the most common one among bloggers, YMMV), it earns an 8.5% return on paid airfare and a 1.7% return on most other purchases. If you spend more than about $4,500 a year on flights, the extra points from the Plat alone would make it worth the $150 net annual fee. The downside is that you lose the CSR's superior trip protection policy. I personally fly internationally on business, so I can get a lot of extra points by buying those tickets with the Plat, and the loss of trip protection isn't a big deal since I am expensing everything anyway.

So for me, it makes sense to keep holding both...
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joejones is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 4:37 pm
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Western US
Programs: Costco Executive Member, Amazon Optimus Prime
Posts: 886
If you read through this, there is lots of good info on Amex, and how their card products stack up.

They are really doing well with their referral program

akr1970akr is offline  
Old Mar 23, 19, 9:47 pm
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Flyover Country
Programs: AA Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 110
I am not loyal to any airline, but I’ve really liked the access to Delta lounges from my Plat. Much superior to PP lounges because they are near the Delta gates, while going to a PP lounge often involves a Long March to a different terminal. Unfortunately, it never seems convenient to for me fly Delta anymore, and I keep ending up on AA...Centurion Lounges are great when I can get to one, but very crowded.

The hotel benefits on the Plat are nice, but as mentioned, the SPG status has been Bonvoyed, and I got a Hilton Aspire card so no longer need the Gold Hilton status. I find some of the lesser benefits useful, though not stellar. The various fee credits are useful, even if a nuisance to use, and I’ve even gotten some use out of the benefit for free fast shipping (covered shipping fee on a flower purchase, for instance). As mentioned, the earnings rate on the CSR is in general vastly superior, airfare excepted. My girlfriend loves cruises, and some non-CSR travel cards don’t count cruises as getting a higher points return, but the points return on a cruise or two each year covers the net $150 cost of the CSR for me.

The Plat doesn’t have free primary auto insurance but it offers a supposedly superior primary insurance for a fixed cost which is trivial for a multi-day rental, though noticeable on one-day rentals.

I have three high-fee cards, and would like to ditch one. I can make a logical case why the Aspire and CSR pay for themselves. Not as clear-cut with the Plat, but from snobbery or something I haven’t cancelled it yet.

Last edited by Mike B; Mar 23, 19 at 9:57 pm
Mike B is offline  
Old Mar 26, 19, 1:14 am
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve
Posts: 740
Do you want to maximize saving money, or do you want to maximize luxury?

To save money, get the CSR. It has a very low effective annual fee ($150), and the trip delay and trip interruption benefits alone have more than covered the $150 effective annual fee on the CSR card for me. Primary car rental coverage is good, and the Silvercar discount for personal rentals has been great as well. That said Chase does have some nice events and things every now and then.

The Platinum card gives you access to luxury (lounges, reservations, dining, concierge), and can might save you money on luxury travel depending on your travel patterns. But there isn't much in terms of downside protection, other than maybe Global Assist.

Since there are two of you, have you thought about keeping the CSR and your SO getting the Platinum (or vice versa)? They are both good to have and I have both. The effective annual fee is still quite low, and very comparable to the cost of one card + one AU.
Xlr is offline  
Old Mar 26, 19, 2:26 pm
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NYC (LGA, JFK, EWR)
Programs: Delta Gold, AAdvantage Gold, Marriott/Hilton Gold, AMEX Membership Rewards
Posts: 1,385
First, let us know
1) How often do you travel now
2) If you travel for work, are you purchasing your trips with your own credit card, or using a company issued credit card
3) Do you want tot travel more, and if so, do you want to bring others with you

It seems like you value domestic lounges and breakfast at hotels. Hilton offers breakfast with gold status, and the Amex Platinum offers the broadest network of domestic lounges (particularly if you are flying Delta). Given that, the Amex Platinum may be for you - but only if you travel enough to take advantage of it. If your primary goal is to earn points to redeem for free travel, other combinations of cards may be better depending on your spending patterns.
Adelphos is online now  
Old Mar 29, 19, 2:18 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 10,454
About 2 years ago, I said the following:

CSR is all about rewards. It is not a card that can get you a taste of luxury.

AMEX is all about benefits. It is a card that can get you a taste of luxury.

I think this pretty much sums up the difference between CSR and AMEX Platinum.
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garykung is offline  
Old Apr 6, 19, 10:46 pm
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 5
I value the extra earning power of my AMEX Gold--4x on dining and groceries is a big win for me. CSR's points just seem a lot more flexible, though... I guess it just depends on what you value. There's really no wrong answer. Or at least none of the options you're considering is a wrong one. Good luck!
DarthDedalus is offline  

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