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American Express Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards®: Which Rewards Are Best 2024?

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Editorial Guidelines

At LendingTree, we are committed to providing accurate and actionable content that helps you make informed decisions about your money. Our team of writers and editors follows these key guidelines:
  • We thoroughly fact-check and review all content for accuracy. We aim to make corrections on any errors as soon as we are aware of them.
  • Our partners do not commission or endorse our content.
  • Our partners do not pay us to feature any specific product in our content, but we do feature some products and offers from companies that provide compensation to LendingTree. This may impact how and where offers appear on the site (such as the order).
  • We review and interview both external and internal reputable sources for our content and disclose sourcing in our content.
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Flexible rewards offer tremendous value because of how many choices cardholders have when redeeming. American Express Membership Rewards® and Chase Ultimate Rewards® are two of the most powerful programs with flexible and valuable points.

Although they are both excellent programs, they each have unique strengths. Chase is best for people looking for simpler redemptions or frequenters of United and Southwest. American Express has more airline partners, so it’s best for people who want to transfer to several different airlines. Knowing the pros and cons of each ecosystem can help you decide which cards to get — or how to use both programs to maximize points.

What are the values of Chase and American Express points?

Both Chase and Amex points vary drastically in value depending on how you use them. Redeeming points for travel or transferring to airline and hotel partners will net you the highest value with both programs. Both allow you to transfer points at a 1:1 rate with numerous transfer partners, and this flexibility increases the value of your points because you can choose the best option for your travel needs. Chase has 14 partners, including United and Hyatt, while American Express has 21 partners, like Delta and Hilton. Plus, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Marriott participate in both programs.

While both programs allow you to redeem points through their travel portals, you’ll get a higher value on travel portal redemptions with Chase points. Certain Chase cards increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards points up to 50% more on certain redemptions, for a value of 1.5 cents per point. In comparison, Amex points are worth 1 cent per point at most when redeemed through the Amex portal for airfare. You’ll only get 0.7 per point on the Amex travel portal for other types of travel, including hotels and car rentals.

Be on the lookout for transfer bonuses with Amex. Limited-time offers provide additional value when transferring Amex or Chase points to participating partners. Make sure that you have a redemption in mind when transferring because you cannot reverse the transfer once it has been submitted.

Both programs offer a variety of other options that will give you a lower value than travel redemptions. Amex has more redemption options than Chase. However, it also offers lower value than Chase on many redemption options. For instance, Chase gives you 1 cent per point on statement credits, whereas Amex generally gives you 0.6 cents per point.

Chase point redemption options

  • Travel: 1-1.5 cents per point
  • Pay Yourself Back: 1 cents per point
  • Gift cards: 1 cents per point
  • Chase Dining: 1 cent per point
  • Cash back: 1 cent per point
  • Pay with Points: 0.8 cents per point

 

American Express point redemption options

  • Flights (redeemed through American Express Travel): 1 cent per point
  • Hotels/rental cars (redeemed through American Express Travel): 0.7 cents per point
  • Statement credits/covering card charges: 0.6 cents per point
  • Gift cards: Up to 1 cent per point
  • Pay with Points at Checkout: 0.7 cents per point
  • Shopping (with Amex partners): 0.5 cents per point

 

Tip: = Cash price (minus taxes and fees) ÷ Number of points needed for flight/hotel stay = Points value for that specific reservation

Earning Chase vs. American Express points

Chase and Amex both offer a wide number of options for stacking up points through everyday purchases, online shopping, travel and more.

Both programs offer a variety of credit cards that allow you to stack up points through category bonuses, welcome offers and other promotions.

You can combine the benefits of multiple credit cards with either program to earn maximum rewards. These card combinations are often referred to as “the Amex trifecta” and “the Chase trifecta.” You can match the category bonuses from two cards with your spending patterns and use a third card to maximize rewards on all non-bonus spending.

Chase credit cards vs. Amex credit cards

Getting a credit card is the most straightforward method of earning Amex points or Chase points. You can earn points through welcome bonuses, bonus categories and everyday purchases.

You’ll earn a welcome bonus when you apply for a new credit card and meet the minimum spending requirement within the allotted timeframe. For example, one of the best Chase credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and new cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Most cards offered by Amex and Chase have a bonus on categories of purchases like travel, dining, gas and groceries. Some cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, give you a high rewards rate on every purchase. These are a good option if you prefer to keep all your spending on one card, or if you’re looking for a card to pair with a card with a category bonus.

Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning cards
American Express Membership Rewards-earning cards

The information related to the American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase trifecta vs. American Express trifecta

Having more than one card that earns Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards® helps capture more bonus categories to earn additional points. The Chase trifecta and Amex trifecta are card combinations that people use to maximize their rewards.

The Chase trifecta combines the power of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is best for dining and travel purchases, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is best for its quarterly rotating categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is best for all other purchases. You can redeem points through your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to earn a 50% bonus on travel portal redemptions or to transfer to Chase’s travel partners.

Chase trifecta

Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Freedom Unlimited®Chase Freedom Flex℠
Rewards rateEarn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchasesEnjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchasesEarn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Plus, earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
Welcome offerEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual fee$550 $0$0
Other perks

  • $300 annual travel credit

  • Airport lounge access

  • Travel and purchase protections
  • Limited-time offer for partner benefits

  • Foreign transaction fees: $0


  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months then a 20.49% – 29.24% Variable APR applies

  • Travel and purchase protections

  • Limited-time offer for partner benefits


  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months then a 20.49% - 29.24% variable APR applies

  • Travel, purchase and cell phone protections

  • Limited-time offer for partner benefits

If the Chase Sapphire Reserve® fee on the $550 is too much for you, you can opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It has a $95 annual fee, and you can still combine it with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Freedom Flex℠ to earn bonus points on travel, plus a 25% bonus on redemptions through the Chase TravelSM portal.

 

The Amex trifecta combines The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card and the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. You’ll earn bonus rewards on flights, hotels, dining and U.S. supermarket purchases and a high flat rate on the remainder of your purchases with the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. This combination offers higher bonus category potential on everyday purchases than the Chase trio. Additionally, all three of these cards can transfer to Amex hotel and airline partners, while the Chase Freedom cards must be paired with eligible cards to unlock this feature.

While the Amex trifecta has significant earning power, it also comes with higher annual fees, which can be hard to justify for some people.

Amex trifecta

The Platinum Card® from American ExpressAmerican Express® Gold CardThe Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Rewards rateEarn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Welcome offerEarn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee$695$250No annual fee
Other perks

  • Numerous credits, including up to a $200 airline fee credit (enrollment required), $200 hotel credit and up to a $200 Uber Cash ($15 monthly, $20 in December) towards U.S. Uber eats and rides when you add the card to the Uber app.

  • Airport lounge access
    Complimentary Hilton and Marriott Gold status (enrollment required)

  • Foreign transaction fees: None


  • Up to $120 dining credit (enrollment required) and up to $120 Uber Cash ($10 monthly) toward U.S. Uber eats and rides when you add the card to the Uber app.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None


  • 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening then a 18.49% - 26.49% Variable APR applies

  • Free employee cards

*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

*To see rates & fees for The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, please click here.

Shopping portals

You can earn bonus points through online purchases from both Amex and Chase. Chase has its own shopping portal with exclusive discounts, points promotions and more at hundreds of stores. Participating merchants include Under Armour, Samsung, The Home Depot and Macy’s.

American Express does not have its own shopping portal, but it has a relationship with Rakuten. Members can earn rewards with the Rakuten portal and then convert Rakuten points to Membership Rewards points. Every 1% cash back earned equals one additional Amex point.

Referring friends

You can earn Amex points or Chase points when you refer a friend or family member who gets approved for a new card. The number of points varies based on which credit card they apply for. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® both earn 15,000 points for a successful referral.

American Express Refer a Friend allows you to earn up to 100,000 points per year, while Chase Refer A Friend allows a maximum of 75,000.

Bonus points for referrals are treated as income, so you’ll receive a Form 1099 for their value.

Redeeming American Express vs. Chase points

Amex and Chase both offer outstanding value and flexibility for redeeming points. Both programs are a great option for transferring points to a variety of hotel and airline partners. You can also redeem points for any travel purchase through the travel portal with both programs. However, if you prefer simpler redemption options, Chase may be the better option for you, since it provides a much better value on travel portal redemptions.

American Express vs. Chase transfer partners

Transferring points to airline and hotel partners will unlock the highest value for your rewards with both Amex and Chase. When comparing Amex points and Chase points, you’ll notice that each program offers a mix of domestic and international brands. This provides members the opportunity to maximize the value of their rewards with travel across the globe.

The best program for you may depend on which partners you prefer. Chase is better for Hyatt, Southwest and United, while Amex is a good choice if you like Delta, Hilton or Hawaiian Airlines. The programs have some overlap, such as Marriott, Flying Blue and Singapore Airlines. Most of the airline partners also belong to alliances, which can unlock even more value when searching for award flights.

Before transferring, realize that not all transfers are equal. Some points transfer different ratios, which affects how much value you’re able to get when booking an award flight or hotel stay. Even when the ratio is equal, some rewards are worth more than others. For example, United miles are worth almost twice as much as Marriott points even though they both transfer at a 1:1 ratio with Chase.

Chase

American Express
Airline partners
All partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub

  • Air Canada Aeroplan

  • British Airways Executive Club

  • Emirates Skywards

  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue

  • Iberia Plus

  • JetBlue TrueBlue

  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®

  • United MileagePlus®

  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

All partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub

  • Aeromexico Rewards (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 Guest

  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

  • Iberia Plus

  • JetBlue TrueBlue (250:200)

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer

  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club

  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel partners

  • IHG Rewards Club

  • Marriott Bonvoy

  • World of Hyatt


  • Choice Privileges

  • Hilton Honors (1:2)

  • Marriott Bonvoy

Travel portals

When it comes to redeeming points in travel portals, Chase offers more value than American Express. You’ll redeem points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at a 25% bonus and points with Chase Sapphire Reserve® at a 50% bonus. So with either card, your points will be worth 1.25 to 1.5 cents.

American Express points, on the other hand, will mostly be worth only 1 cent when you redeem them for flights through their travel portal. For all other redemption options on American Express Travel, like hotels and rental cars, your points are only worth just 0.7 cents.

There’s an exception with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: You can redeem points through the portal for airline travel for a 35% bonus with one airline that you designate at the beginning of the year — which means your points can be worth up to 1.35 cents. However, the card has a $695 annual fee, so it’s not easily accessible to many travelers.

*To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Statement credits

You’re better off sticking to travel redemptions with both Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Amex Membership Rewards. However, if you want to need to redeem your points for cash in a pinch, Chase is the better way to go. Chase offers a higher value at 1 cent per point for statement credits, while Amex offers just 0.6 cents per point. Additionally, you can redeem any amount of points with Chase at any time, while Amex requires a minimum of 100 points per redemption.

Gift cards

Both Chase and Amex let you redeem points for gift cards from hundreds of popular merchants like Chipotle, Lululemon, Starbucks and Target. However, Chase offers a far better value. Chase Ultimate Rewards® are usually worth 1 cent per point when buying gift cards. The bank even occasionally offers promos on select brands to offer more value for your points.

Gift cards from Amex are worth just 0.7 cents per point. If you’re purchasing an Amex gift card that can be used anywhere, the value is even lower at just 0.5 cents per point.

How do I determine the best rewards program for me?

Both of these flexible point programs offer tremendous value, but deciding between American Express points and Chase points can be challenging. They each offer numerous benefits that make them appealing to certain consumers. The best program for you often depends on which categories you spend the most and which travel partners you prefer.

Who is American Express Membership Rewards best for?

American Express is best for travelers who prefer Delta, Hilton or Choice Hotels, or if you want access to a greater variety of airport lounges. The American Express trifecta offers valuable benefits, but you may have to spend more to offset the larger annual fees.

If you prefer simplicity and flexibility, Amex Membership Rewards is not for you. Amex provides more redemption options than Chase; however, many options provide subpar value below 1 cent per point.

Who is Chase Ultimate Rewards® best for?

Chase is the ideal program for travelers who prefer United, Hyatt, Southwest or IHG. It’s also a better option for travelers on a budget. It offers many no-annual-fee cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll need to pair them with other cards to unlock the Chase transfer partners. However, the Chase trifecta is a much more affordable combination than the Amex trio.

Chase is also the better way to go if you prefer more flexibility and simpler travel redemptions. All redemption options are worth at least 1 cent each, and if you have certain cards, your points are worth up to 50% more when booking travel through the Chase TravelSM portal.

Using both Chase and American Express points

Instead of choosing between American Express points and Chase points, some travelers want the best of both worlds. They earn rewards in both programs and utilize transfer partners that participate in both, like Aeroplan, Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines and Marriott. However, earning points in both programs is best for serious travelers who know how to navigate each bank’s transfer partners to find the best redemptions.

*To see rates & fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

*To see rates & fees for American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

*To see rates & fees for The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, please click here.

*To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

The information related to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

American Express and Chase have valuable rewards programs that suit different types of travelers. American Express has more transfer partners and redemption options, but many redemptions are valued at less than 1 cent per point. Chase redemptions are worth at least 1 cent, and certain credit cards can unlock up to 50% more value when booking travel.

You cannot directly combine Amex points with Chase points, but you can transfer points from both programs to the travel partners they have in common. Common partners include Marriott, Aeroplan, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Chase and Amex points offer a similar value, especially if you choose to transfer points to outside loyalty programs, where you can possibly get values of 2 cents per point or higher with both Chase and Amex. When you redeem Chase points, you’ll get at least 1 cent per point in value. Some of the Amex redemption options are valued at just 0.5 cents per point.

Choosing the right trifecta often depends on which categories you spend the most and how much you spend each year. The Chase trifecta tends to be a better value because it has lower annual fees, and none of its categories have annual spending caps.