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Being able to earn bonus points on restaurant purchases is a quick way to build a balance. Depending on the card, you earn extra points at home and when you travel. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and American Express Gold offer a dining bonus. But, which of these cards has the better credit card dining credit?
You will earn bonus points with either card. Depending on how often you go out to eat and where you go determines which card is better.
American Express Gold: 4x Points and a $120 Annual Credit
The American Express Gold is the rebranded Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. With its recent update, you now enjoy more generous dining benefits.
In addition to the 4x points on U.S. dining purchases, you also earn bonus points on these card purchases:
- 3X points on airfare purchased directly from airline or AmexTravel.com
- 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X)
- 1X points on everything else
Earn Up To 4x Points on Dining Purchases
Before the rebranding, the Premier Rewards Gold only earns 2 points per $1 on dining purchases.
Now, you can earn up to 4 points per $1 on U.S. dining and grocery purchases. Note, that it only applies to restaurants and supermarkets in the U.S. Non-U.S. dining and grocery purchases, always earn 1 point per $1.
This bonus applies to the first $25,000 in combined spending for these two categories.
Once you reach the spending cap, all remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 until your next card anniversary.
For domestic dining purchases, you earn double the points of the Sapphire Preferred. Unless you spend vastly more than $25,000 annually on these two purchase types, the American Express® Gold Card helps you earn more points than the Sapphire Preferred.
$120 Dining Credit
The $120 dining credit is brand new to the American Express Gold. Each month, you get a $10 statement credit when you eat at one of these brands (enrollment required):
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
- Shake Shack
GrubHub offers the most flexibility because they partner with many restaurants. Plus, you get your meal delivered to your front door!
If you can use one of these five dining partners each month, the Amex Gold can be a good deal. This credit also helps offset the $250 annual fee.
Limited-Time 20% Statement Dining Credit
In addition to the 25,000 points welcome offer, new cardholders can also enjoy a 20% dining credit too. American Express call this program “We’ll Pick Up the Tip.”
During your first three months, you get a 20% statement credit up to $100 on dining purchases. With this credit, you essentially tip your server for free! For this reason and those listed above, the American Express® Gold Card is a great dining credit card for foodies, large families, and people who enjoy cooking or entertaining.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2 Points on Dining
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns unlimited 2 points per $1 on all dining purchases. This bonus applies to any U.S. or foreign restaurant. With the American Express Gold, you only earn bonus points at U.S. restaurants. If you travel abroad often, the Sapphire Preferred is easily the better option.
You also earn double points on all travel-related purchases too.
Unlike the American Express Gold, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® doesn’t offer a dining credit at this time. But, your annual fee is only $95 instead of the Gold Card’s $250 annual fee. Plus Chase waives the annual fee for the first year.
Redeeming Your Bonus Points
Being able to earn 4 points or 2 points per $1 is one decision. But you must also decide how you’re going to redeem your points. After all, you must look at the “whole picture” when picking a rewards card.
With both cards, award travel is always is the most valuable option. You can either transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to an airline or hotel partner. Alternatively, you can redeem them on the credit card travel portal. In most cases, the 1:1 transfer values your points at a higher rate. But, the transfer partners are only valuable if your travel with them.
American Express Gold Travel Partners
The American Express Gold earns Membership Rewards points. They are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for air travel on AmexTravel.com and select gift cards. Otherwise, they are worth less than 1 cent for other redemption options. But, transferring your points can easily make them worth more than 1 cent each.
These are the current American Express Membership Rewards travel partners:
- Aer Lingus
- Air France
- Ali Italia
- Asia Miles
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Rewards (Starwood, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton)
The Amex Gold also has an annual $100 airline travel credit. You can get up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Transfer Partners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® doesn’t have as many transfer partners, but they are just as valuable in their own right.
- Aer Linus
- British Airways
- Air France
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards (includes Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards)
- World of Hyatt
In general, your Sapphire Preferred points are worth more than American Express Membership Rewards. This is because they are worth 1 cent each for non-travel rewards.
When you redeem them on the Chase travel portal, they’re worth 1.25 cents each. This 25% bonus is for any award travel including hotels, rental cars, airfare, cruises, and guided tours. With the Amex Gold, your points only have a maximum value of 1 cent each for award flights.
Like American Express, your points can be worth more when you transfer them to one of the above Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners. Specifically, transfer your miles to one of the airline partners. It’s not uncommon for them to be worth at least 2 cents each when you book an award flight.
Who Has Better Dining Credit?
Now that we’ve seen how you can earn and redeem your bonus, it’s time to decide which credit card maximizes your dining purchases.
Overall, the American Express Gold has better dining credit because of the $120 dining statement credit and 4x bonus points. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.
American Express Gold: Better for Booking Award Flights
The American Express® Gold Card wins when you can justify the $250 annual fee. Yes, the 4x bonus points on U.S. dining and groceries is a start. And, maximizing the $120 annual credit reduces your annual fee to $130.
But, if you can’t use the $100 travel credit or the other bonus categories, it’s hard to justify the annual fee. The American Express Gold does a brilliant job of letting you earn bonus points on large, common purchases like groceries and dining. But, unless you redeem your points for award flights, it might not be the better option.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Better for Flexible Redemption Options
If you don’t benefit greatly from the 1:1 travel partners with either card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is better.
Your points are worth 25% for any award travel redemption. Plus, your points are always worth 1 cent each for cash or gift card awards.
Additionally, it doesn’t make sense the pay the $250 annual fee with American Express if you don’t use most of the annual air travel or dining credits either.
You have more earning potential with the American Express Gold. However, be sure to be able to justify the $250 annual fee. If you unable to considering its other benefits, go with the Sapphire Preferred instead.
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