American Express Membership Rewards vs. Chase Points: Which Are Worth More?
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. Here are some similarities and differences between the two most popular choices.
Similarities Between American Express Points and Chase Points
At a glance, the two 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 free travel credit, airport lounge access and some forms of insurance when using premium cards
- Provide travel perks
Differences Between American Express and Chase Points
Despite their many similarities, the two reward programs also have some differences. For instance, they do not have similar rates when it comes to the value of an individual point.
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 per $1 spent. 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 22 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.
Chase also offers flexible points that can be redeemed in a variety of ways. You can earn these points through shopping via their portal or taking advantage of limited-time offers from Chase branches.
Chase offers two primary options for redeeming its reward points 一 booking travel directly through its 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||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|
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 many more hotels and airlines than Chase Points.
Storing and Transfer of Points
American Express automatically transfers your pooled points to one account, enabling easy redemption. What’s more, you will never lose your points even if your accounts get closed for some other reason.
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 Portal but cannot transfer them to partners.
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 is outright better than the other; make the right choice for you by considering your travel habits, spending patterns and lifestyle.
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.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.
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- The Point Calculator. "Chase Points Value: Redemptions and Cash Value Calculator."