American Express Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards: Which Are Worth More?

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When it comes to the world of miles and points, American Express® Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are the most popular choices. While there are other forms of rewards, such as hotel points and airline miles, most programs are more rigid. Chase points and American Express points, which are relatively flexible, can be redeemed with a variety of different brands.

If you want to get the best out of your credit card, you may want to commit to one form of rewards card to streamline your returns. This comparison of American Express points vs. Chase points evaluates the similarities and differences between the two most popular choices.

Similarities Between American Express Points and Chase Points

At a glance, the two popular travel cards‘ programs have many similarities. Both plans:

  • Accumulate points through reward credit cards which users can redeem for many different items
  • Provide a vast number of transfer partners 
  • Provide insider access such as free travel credits, airport lounge access and some forms of insurance when using premium cards
  • Provide travel perks
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Differences Between American Express and Chase Points

Despite their many similarities, the two reward programs also have some differences. When comparing American Express points vs. Chase points, you’ll notice that they do not have similar rates when it comes to the value of an individual point.

Earning and Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards are flexible points awarded to business and personal owners. The baseline rate for American Express is one point earned per $1 spent, referred to as 1:1. However, some cards earn additional bonus points depending on the place of purchase. If you own several business cards or personal cards, American Express will combine your points into one account.

American Express has 17 airline and hotel transfer partners. It’s up to you to choose where to redeem your points. You can transfer to hotel partners or airlines, book travel with American Express Travel or redeem points for gift cards or statement credits. However, redeeming points for online shopping, gift cards and statement credits offer the lowest value.

Earning and Redeeming Chase Points

Chase also offers flexible points that can be redeemed in a variety of ways. Chase cards offer a 1:1 opportunity to earn points on your spending in general but certain cards ramp up your earning potential. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers three points per dollar on dining and two points per dollar on travel. You can also earn extra points through shopping via their portal or taking advantage of limited-time offers.

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Chase offers two primary options for redeeming its reward points 一 booking travel directly through its Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transferring points to travel partners. It has 14 hotel and airline transfer partners. Also, in order to transfer the points, you must own a premium Chase card, which comes with an annual fee. But there are options like Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited for those who don’t want to incur the annual fee.

Value Per Point

Both American Express and Chase earn an average of 2 cents per point. However, this depends on how you redeem the points. The table below shows what to expect when redeeming your points.

Value Per Point American Express Chase
Gift cards Up to 1 cent 1 cent
Shopping online 0.5 to 1 cent 0.8 cents
Transfer partners Up to 2 cents 2 cents
Booking travel 0.5 to 1 cent 1 to 1.5 cents
Pay yourself back N/A up to 1.5 cents
Cash back 0.6 1 cent

Transfer Partners

The transfer partners allow you to convert your earned points into hotel reservations and airline miles in their preferred loyalty programs. You can book higher-value reservations at discounted prices with both Chase points and American Express Points. However, American Express points are accepted at a couple more hotels and airlines than Chase Points. 

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Storing and Transfer of Points

American Express automatically transfers your pooled points to one account, enabling easy redemption. What’s more, points don’t expire nor will you lose them — unless your accounts get closed.

Chase on other hand allows pooling of points but you have to manually transfer points between accounts. The flexibility of points earned on different Chase cards varies. For instance, you can redeem points earned on Chase Freedom Unlimited through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal but cannot transfer them to partners. 

American Express Points vs. Chase Points: Takeaway

Chase brings the most out of your points since they possess higher rates than American Express, but American Express wins out in terms of flexibility. Neither credit card is outright better than the other; make the right choice for you by considering your travel habits, spending patterns and lifestyle.

FAQs about American Express and Chase Points

Here is some more info worth covering about American Express points vs. Chase points.
  • What is 50,000 American Express® Membership Rewards points worth?
    • Calculating the value of the points depends on how you plan on redeeming them. They're generally worth half a cent to one cent each. However, you could get up to two cents per point by transferring them to participating travel partners.
  • Are Chase or American Express points better?
    • Both Chase and American Express points are among the best rewards you could earn from a credit card. It's best to review this guide to learn more about how each program differs.
  • What card offers the most points at signup?
    • The best current offer from Chase is 60,000 points for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You could earn higher awards if you qualify for one of Chase's specific hotel or airline cards, such as the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (125,000 bonus points).

Cynthia Bowman contributed to the reporting for this article.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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About the Author

Lydia Kibet is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and investing. She's passionate about explaining complex topics in easy-to-understand language. Her work has appeared on GOBankingRates, Investopedia, Business Insider, The Motley Fool and Investor Junkie. She currently writes about investing, banking, insurance, real estate, mortgages, credit cards, loans and more. Connect with her on Twitter or moneycredible.com.
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