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Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?

mkhan1093
Frequent Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@UpperNwGuy wrote:

@Janus wrote:

In my wildest dreams I would have never thought someone would be comparing these two specific cards, as they don't seem to even remotely be in the same ballpark.


I have often compared them in my own analyses.  Both cards earn 3x points for dining and travel, and both cards allow the points to be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs.  Sounds like the same ballpark to me.


I think they can certainly be put in the same ballpark like @UpperNwGuy wrote: same multipliers, same category of points (flexible, transferrable), and comparable regarding (effective) AF. I think oftentimes the Green and CSP are put in the same ballpark because they're both on the bottom end of the food chain in their respective families (i.e. the "lowest" Amex travel charge card and the "lower" Chase travel card) but I think Green and CSR make a more fitting comparison.

 

Anyway, thanks all for your inputs! I got the Green after revamp and my card anniversary is coming up so was considering what to do about the CSR. I really feel like downgrading, since the CSR has lost its appeal, and if they improve I could just PC back up to it again.

Message 11 of 25
CBartowski
Frequent Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@mkhan1093 wrote:

Hey all,

 

This might have been addressed when the Amex Green revamped, but I couldn't find it in the search. For people in both the UR and MR worlds, I still see the CSR being preferred over the Amex Green and I was wondering why that was. I tend to think when you're involved in both currencies, the valuations are very similar which means in terms of earning rates they provide the same value in the same categories. The CSR does have travel-specific perks like Global Entry, PP, etc but that can be had with the Platinum as well which a fair number of MR-earners in the community keep. The only unique perks of the CSR I can think of is primary rental car insurance, and being a Visa. I guess it's up to you if the extra $100 in effective AF is worth those perks, but I see more people with the CSR and fewer with the Green and was just wonderiing why that was the case.

 

Curious to hear you thoughts!


Hey OP - This is a valid question after the re vamp, one many of us have likely considered and imo it comes down to your ecosystem of choice. 

 

I am in both MR/UR and have been for about 2 years. I am a moderate to heavy traveller, even during covid but am only moderately savvy on MR point redemptions (transferring to other carriers, etc). I've tried to spend some time researching best MR travel point redemptions and it really seems like a fair amount of effort, maybe I'll feel differently when I spend more time with it. I've redeemed the points thru the travel portal and into my Schwab account so far. With the CSR and Green card both earning 3x I consider ease of obtaining value. Immediately URs will get you 4.5x if booking thru chase travel portal, which has been quite pleasant and has MANY more choices than Amex portal including some great mom and pop BnBs that we've fallen in love with and dont exist on Amex's portal.

 

Overall I have found myself favoring the CSR/UR system more as the CSR is closer to a "one size fits all" card than the Amex's. As you've mentioned the primary CDW on car rentals, for me, is huge. Assuming 30$/day for equivilent coverage from a rental agency, if you rent a car for 3-4 days during the year you've paid for your $100 difference. The $300 travel credit is incredibly easy to use, unlike Amex's, and Chase even had Gas and Groceries count for that $300 temporarily for covid. GE and PP are a dime a dozen out there and not very unique. 

 

I plan to keep my set up for a bit as I love Amex but imo Chase can be more practical. Hope this helps!

CARDS:
AMEX CS Plat | NSL -- Chase Freedom Flex | $19,000
AMEX Gold | NSL -- Citi Double Cash | $10,000
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CSR | $29,000 -- USAA Plat | $8,000
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Message 12 of 25
K-in-Boston
Moderator

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Not long ago, this comparison would have been absurd, but with similar points earnings they can be comparable for some people.  It really depends on how the points will ultimately be used and whether the additional perks on CSR would be valued or not.  If someone is moving points to a travel partner of both URs and MRs (Air France/KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, etc.) the cards could be quite comparable.  If travel portal is being used, CSR will almost always win out unless the cardholder also has a Business Platinum Card for the 35% rebate (effectively making it a 54% bonus compared to CSR's 50% bonus).  And of course if someone has other cards like Freedom for 5x categories or Gold for 4x categories, the ability to earn points to use with Green or CSR is drastically improved.

Message 13 of 25
Janus
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@UpperNwGuy wrote:

@Janus wrote:

In my wildest dreams I would have never thought someone would be comparing these two specific cards, as they don't seem to even remotely be in the same ballpark.


I have often compared them in my own analyses.  Both cards earn 3x points for dining and travel, and both cards allow the points to be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs.  Sounds like the same ballpark to me.


Alright you got me there, I was just base comparing the AF's and and thinking there's a big difference between $150 and $550. And like K mentioned Green is no longer that $95 card we used to know, whish is still the one I think of when I hear it. 






Message 14 of 25
wasCB14
Super Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

Not long ago, this comparison would have been absurd, but with similar points earnings they can be comparable for some people.  It really depends on how the points will ultimately be used and whether the additional perks on CSR would be valued or not.  If someone is moving points to a travel partner of both URs and MRs (Air France/KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, etc.) the cards could be quite comparable.  If travel portal is being used, CSR will almost always win out unless the cardholder also has a Business Platinum Card for the 35% rebate (effectively making it a 54% bonus compared to CSR's 50% bonus).  And of course if someone has other cards like Freedom for 5x categories or Gold for 4x categories, the ability to earn points to use with Green or CSR is drastically improved.


And 3x on Green could quite possible become 3.75x-4.2x with one of Amex's 25%-40% transfer bonuses.

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Message 15 of 25
notmyrealname23
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

  And of course if someone has other cards like Freedom for 5x categories or Gold for 4x categories, the ability to earn points to use with Green or CSR is drastically improved.


I think Green + Gold is more my speed on AMEX than Gold + Platinum, given that 3x all travel WAY beats 5x airlines/travel portal for my spend pattern, and Centurion lounges/Saks credit are a "meh" in value for me. 


AMEX setups aren't designed for cashback (unless you have Schwab or Morgan Stanley cards to unlock better cashback). In this case, it's designed to give me a very fat balance so I can go very far away in the pointy end of the plane with the lie-flat seats.

 

I'd probably consider the CSR/CSP and Platinum/Green as mutually exclusive long term keeper sets as travel cards just based on efficiency of putting my spend in the right bucket vs. annual fees. I could see scenarios where CSR gets the nod (if I just dump AMEX for the sock drawer with the AMEX Everyday or Morgan Stanley no-AF AMEX to keep the door open into the ecosystem,  and go for the Chase trifecta/quadfecta).

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Message 16 of 25
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@mkhan1093 wrote:

 ... I still see the CSR being preferred over Amex Green and I was wondering why...  The only unique perks of the CSR I can think of is primary rental car insurance, and being a Visa. I guess it's up to you if the extra $100 in effective AF is worth those perks


Agree with others that before AMEX refreshed the Green card last year that this would have been a ridiculous comparison!  It's obvious that CSR was one of the cards in AMEX's crosshairs when they redesigned the Green card.  Still, it's a very different animal.  IMO, the CSR is still by-far the better choice between those two for many people and it goes much farther than choice between primary rental car insurance and being a Visa.   It appears to me that AMEX wasn't trying to compete head-on with CSR in every respect but instead chipping away at the lower-AF price point market and less frequent traveler than CSR targets.  I think they were trying to offer a viable travel card at the lower end of the market to appeal to consumers who might be newer to premium-AF travel cards as an appeal to lure them into the higher-level cards including Platinum as they matured.   So instead of targeting just CSR, I think AMEX was targeting more of the CSP, Citi Premier, or WF Propel market segments at the $0 AF to $95 AF price point, while hoping that offering some great perks might also lure some CSR customers who were on the fence anyway. 

 

Here is how they are similar.  Both cards pay 3x MR/UR on dining and most travel, offer at least some travel protections and assistance, and no foreign transaction fees.  While Green is traditionally a "charge card" that requires it to be paid-in-full monthly, with AMEX's addition of Pay-Over-Time it can function as a credit card similar to CSR.   Both charge an annual fee and offer credits against that, but the usefulness of the credits on either one depend on the profile.   So while the CSR's $550 AF appears much higher on the surface than Green's $150 AF, in practice the fee differential might be insignificant or even misleading depending on the usefulness of credits to a specific consumer.

 

Both cards offer purchase return protection and extended warranty protection.  AMEX Green appears slightly superior to CSR in these areas since the extended warranty on Green covers an additional year on warranties up to five years while CSR is on warranties up to three years.  Both pay $10K per claim or $50K per account.  Also, AMEX Green's purchase return protection covers up to $1K per purchase and $50K per year while CSR is much more restrictive at $500 per purchase and $1K per year.

 

As you mentioned, CSR is a Visa which means it will have at least somewhat wider acceptance, especially internationally.

 

AMEX Green is a good travel card.  It has rewards similar to CSR and might be a better pick if the rewards rate is your primary focus, you prefer the MR ecosystem to URs, and you intend to transfer the points to partners.  However, CSR is a more serious and comprehensive premium travel card and its' travel insurance protections not only blow Green (or Platinum) away but they still lead the entire travel market segment, along with the very similar Chase Ritz Carlton card.  If travel protections are important to you, CSR is a far better card.  

 

  • Trip Delay Insurance:  AMEX Green pays up to $300 per trip with delays starting at 12 hours and a maximum of 2 claims per 12 months.  It also requires payment-in-full of a round-trip ticket with your card.  CSR pays delays over only 6 hours, pays up to a $500 benefit per claim, has no limit on the number of claims, only requires you pay a portion of your fare with your card, and does not require round-trip booking.

 

  • Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver (CDW):  AMEX Green pays as secondary insurance to your personal auto policy.  CSR pays as primary so your personal insuance would never be involved in a claim.  You wouldn't have a potential deductible payment or higher insurance premiums due to a claim.

 

  • Lost Baggage:  AMEX Green pays up to $500 for checked bags and $1250 for carry-on bags and requires entire fare to be paid with your card.  CSR pays up to $3,000 for checked (OR) carry-on bags and only requires a portion of your fare to be paid with your card.

 

CSR goes on to provide these additional protections:

  • Trip CANCELLATION insurance (in addition to Trip Delay insurance)
  • Baggage DELAY insurance (in addition to Lost Baggage insurance)
  • Travel accident insurance of up to $1 Million
  • Emergeny Evacuation and Transportation of up to $100K
  • Emergency Medical and Dental Treatment
  • See this recent thread I posted for more information: 

https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/CSR-updates-coming-10-5/m-p/6154710#M1748688

 

Also CSR provides true Roadside Assistance which not only coordinates dispatch benefits but pays the first $50 per call-out on up to four calls per year.  I've priced the equivalent AAA-equivalent membership in my area at about $55 per year. 

 

AMEX Green has a $150 AF but then offers $200 in annual credits, $100 each towards airport CLEAR membership and LoungeBuddy membership.  As usual with AMEX, these are narrowly-focused credits that may actually cost you money through non-organic spend if you decide to use them.  However, it's possible (if you were already using both CLEAR and LoungeBuddy) that you'd be $50 in the black even after the $150 AF.

 

  • CLEAR is a privately owned and operated competitor to TSA Precheck or Global Entry.  Some reviews indicate it is faster than TSA Precheck.  However, it's much more expensive, about 9x the cost on-average.  Annual cost is $179 per year versus $85 for a five-year Precheck membership or $100 for a five-year Global Entry membership which includes precheck.  The credits for cards that reimburse TSA Global Entry or TSA Precheck normally reimburse ALL of it every few years.  The CLEAR membership means you'll still be $79 out of pocket every year, so if you weren't going to buy it anyway, it's costing you $79 instead of saving you $100.   From my last count, CLEAR is only available at 34 of the largest US airports while TSA Precheck is available at over 200.  Finally, CLEAR won't help expedite your return through Customs from an international trip while a Global Entry membership does that while also helping with domestic security clearance through TSA checkpoints. 

 

  • LoungeBuddy credits for airport lounge access are nice but no comparison to the Priority Pass membership.  The $100 in credits is to be used ala carte and visits are reported to range between $15 and $89 each.  That means you could get anywhere from around one to six visits annually, depending on usage.  Priority Pass visits for you and your guests are much less restricted on CSR.  (No annual limit on number of visits; no charge for primary cardholder or authorized users; maximum of two guests per visit free of charge plus $27 per additional guest.)  The equivalent Priority Pass membership fee purchased alone is $429 for a "Prestige" membership.

CSR has a $550 AF and an automatic credit back of $300 on any travel-related spending, lowering the effective AF to $250. (This can be applied from purchases from flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, taxis or rideshares, parking, tolls, etc.)   Depending on how you can use them, there are several other additional credits.  The $60 annual Door Dash credit could lower the AF to $190.  TSA Global Entry could lower the AF to $165.  ($100 Fee/4 years = $25 per year.)  Canceling AAA membership could lead to effective credit of around $55, lowering the AF to $110.  Depending on your estimation of their added value, CSR also includes annual Door Dash "Dash Pass" membership (up to $120), annual "Lyft Pink" membership (up to $240), and the Priority Pass membership (up to $429.)

 

While AMEX Green and CSR both earn 3x MR/UR points which can have equivalent value when transferred to partners, CSR's 50% boost in rewards value for booking through Chase's online portal potentially gives them more value if you don't transfer.  And that 50% boost in value also applies to other cards in your bifecta, trifecta or quadfecta cards such as Freedoms or INKs.  While you can combine MR points with other AMEX cards, you can't magnify their value such as Chase allows.  To me, this is a huge difference and more than makes up any difference in annual fees.  However, I'm not a 'frequent flyer' with numerous memberships in airline loyalty programs, so my perception of the 50% bonus may be different from others.  But in my case, I can easily add a few hundred dollars' worth of value to my CSR from the added value of transferring points for travel redemption. 

*See my recent posting

https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/CSR-updates-coming-10-5/m-p/6157121#M1749173)

 

All-in-all, while there are many similarities to these two cards, there are still a ton of differences.  It's not just a matter of choosing a Visa/AMEX and primary rental car insurance!  There's much more to consider.



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Message 17 of 25
notmyrealname23
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?

For the record: a 100% free Delta Skymiles or United Mileage Plus membership (basic member, do not need elite status) kicks CLEAR cost down to $119, meaning your out of pocket cost for CLEAR is $19 if you hold the AMEX Green and have joined one of these programs. If you hold any status it's even cheaper ($9 or free).

https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in-security/expedited-airport-security/clear
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mileageplus/clear.html


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Message 18 of 25
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@notmyrealname23 wrote:

For the record: a 100% free Delta Skymiles or United Mileage Plus membership (basic member, do not need elite status) kicks CLEAR cost down to $119, meaning your out of pocket cost for CLEAR is $19 if you hold the AMEX Green and have joined one of these programs. If you hold any status it's even cheaper ($9 or free).
https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in-security/expedited-airport-security/clear
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/mileageplus/clear.html


 

Thanks for that point, @notmyrealname23.  I saw something about that when I looked up "CLEAR" but I thought it was a discount when paying with a Delta AMEX card so you'd get either one discount or the other, not both. 

 

Still, that's potentially $19 added cost per year so something to add into the cost analysis, whether it's $79 or $19.   If I lived near one of those 34 major airports and it was my normal airport portal, I could see the value in a CLEAR membership.  For many others who frequent a variety of airports or fly less often, it could chip away at the cost-value proposition versus a card that offers TSA Precheck-Global Entry at complete reimbursement with no added cost.  



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Message 19 of 25
notmyrealname23
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Green vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve?


@Aim_High wrote:

If I lived near one of those 34 major airports and it was my normal airport portal, I could see the value in a CLEAR membership.  For many others who frequent a variety of airports or fly less often, it could chip away at the cost-value proposition versus a card that offers TSA Precheck-Global Entry at complete reimbursement with no added cost.  

I use SEA, frequently fly to LAS, PHX, JFK, SJC so CLEAR is pretty useful to me (even though I have the $50 variant on Global Entry that includes Canada express entry and exit, NEXUS).

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Message 20 of 25
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