Amex Trifecta VS Chase Trifecta: Best Credit Card Combination

By Gavin | June 19, 2019

If you are a regular following the kind of credit card points and miles sort of scene you will undoubtedly have heard of the chase trifecta, which is a series of three cards, normally one of the Sapphire cards, one of the freedom cards, and one of the business cards.

And most commonly a b2 sapphire reserved, the ink business preferred, and also the freedom unlimited, and this is called the chase trifecta. Trifecta is just a cool sounding word people like to throw it around, but anyway you can earn a lot of points, this way combining these cards together.

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Amex trifecta have annual fees

Since Amex has been upgrading its gold card, and also over the last year actually upgraded point earning on a platinum, we now have several Amex cards that have suitably complimentary earning categories that we can put them together and call them the Amex trifecta.

And in my opinion, I used to put the everyday card in the Amex everyday card, but I'm actually going to swap that out for the Amex blue business plus cards. Basically, this trifecta is the gold card, actually will go from most valuable to least, the platinum card, the gold card with its new revamped 4x on us, supermarkets.

And restaurants and the American Express blue business plus card that is probably the best combination for an Amex trifecta. Today we are going to do a post, the AMEX trifecta versus the chase trifecta, which will earn more points, which has lower annual fees, which gives the best benefits. Let's go.

First up, we have annual fees, now the Amex trifecta will cost you $800 upfront in annual fees. So you have $550 annual fee for the Platinum on a 250 dollar annual fee for the gold card. The business card doesn't have an annual fee now, Chase will cost you five hundred and forty-five dollars up front.

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It's 450 for the sapphire reserve, ninety-five dollars for the ink business preferred and the freedom online if it doesn't have an annual fee. On the annual fees, the chase cards, the combination of chase cards is cheaper, and so chase wins. It's zero to annex one point chase.

You will get as a statement credit

Next up, we have credits, this is money back that you get as a statement credit, that will offset the annual fees. With the Amex trifecta, the Amex platinum has three credits, which are very easy to use the $200 uber credit, $200 airline fee credit, and $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, that makes five hundred dollars in value.

Then we have the gold card which has the 120 dining credit, the $100 airline credit, 220 in value combined, that's 720. Deduct that from the $800 worth of annual fees and basically, we have an effective annual fee of $80.

Now let's look at the chase, with the chase selection of cards to chase trifecta, we just have one $300 travel credit, very easy to use. Everyone can definitely get it back, we deduct about three hundred dollars from five hundred and forty-five dollars worth of annual fees.

And we get two hundred and forty-five dollars effective annual fee. What you notice is that even though Amex has more expensive fees overall, after we deduct the credit the effective annual fee is lower. So Amex wins this round and it's one or now.

The number of transfer partners and signup bonuses

Let's look at transfer partners, for the purpose of this post we're just going to look at the number of transfer partners. Of course, this is quite subjective because there may be one particular airline.

If you live in a certain place there's a hub for that airline and that's more useful than any other airline in there or whatever, but we're just going to go by the number. MX currently has 20 transfer partners airlines and hotels chase has 13 airline and hotel transfer partners, so Alex wins that one. It's 2-1 to annex now.

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Let's look at the signup bonuses, for the American Express trifecta the platinum card currently has a 60,000 signup bonus, and the gold card the public bonus is 25,000, but through a referral link which most people know about you can get 50,000 points on bonus. So 60 plus 50, and by the way, the business card doesn't have a sign of bonus. 60 plus 50 is a hundred and ten thousand points.

Now let's have a look at the chase, the Sapphire Reserve has a fifty thousand point signup bonus, the ink business preferred has eighty thousand points on a bonus, and the freedom unlimited has a fifteen thousand point signup bonus.

So we add those all together and it takes us up to one hundred and forty-five thousand points. You can earn from the signup bonuses on the chase trifecta, so Chase definitely wins this round, and that brings it two all now.

Highest earning rate

Let's look at the highest earning rate, four points, now the AMEX trifecta definitely wins this with the highest earning rate of 5x on air travel on the platen card, the chase card the highest chase trifecta that we're looking at the highest earning rate is 3x.

Now you could say but the freedom card not the unlimited, but the regular freedom has 5x, it does, but it is limited to 1500 dollars in spending each quarter, and also that's not the card we decided to use in this example.

And we will, however, talk a little bit about the chase freedom and how it can be incorporated into this at the end of this post. But for this round Amex wins and that brings us to 3/2.

We're now going to go through quickfire, several different earning categories. For dining, the American Express trifecta wins for X on the gold card for u.s. restaurants, the chase is 3x in the dining category on the CSR for us and international restaurants. But because the rate is higher we will say that Amex wins that one and that takes us to 4 2.

Then we have air travel earnings rate, the AMEX earns 5x on air travel, air tickets booked directly with Airlines with the platinum card, and chase earns 3x on air tickets, because it's part of the travel category on the Chase Sapphire Reserve also on the business card, so that Amex wins.

That one brings us to fight two long air travel spending annex, it's 2x on the business card because the business card and two points per dollar back on everything, and chase it's 3x with the CSR and also with the business preferred, so that brings us to 5/3 one extra point added for chase now.

Foreign use and special things

Let's go to foreign use, the chase trifecta does fare better for foreign use, 1 the restaurants calorie, the dining category, and the Sapphire reserved valid for restaurants all across the world, whereas the gold cards new Forex category is limited to US restaurants only, in addition to that the chase cards are Visa, whereas the American Express ones obviously are American Express and acceptance for Visa is just better over seats.

In Europe, there's a lot of places or smaller stores that will say no Amex, but it's especially outside of the big cities. Visa is much more widely accepted, Chase wins that round bringing us to five Amex and four to chase.

Our next round is called special things. Basically, all of these cards actually have little special things about them, for Amex we have Amex authors which can save you a lot of money for the hotel collection, of course, the Centurion lounges which a lot of people love.

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And then Chase the Chase Inc business preferred gives you $600 cell phone protection, obviously yet priority pass with the sapphire reserve, you get access to sapphire concerts and events. There are the sapphire lounges which have been popping up in New York City, he's kind of temporary lounge thing in the city. I would call that a draw, I'm going to add one point to each which takes us to six five.

Spending in a sort of reasonably average budget

We are now at the real big test, we're going to look at spending in a sort of reasonably average budget, and we're going to see how many points you could earn.

Now this budget I have made up myself, I did do a post before talking about the chase trifecta and looking at what could be considered, the average American households budget that comes from government research and stuff, but it was just too complicated with too many different categories, I wanted to simplify it.

I've done a sort of simpler budget based kind of loosely off of my spending with a few more things added in. Let's take a look at these categories.

First of all, supermarkets. We're going to go off spending 150 dollars a week at supermarkets, so that's seven thousand eight hundred dollars a year. The AMEX trifecta you'd use the gold card and you would earn a rate of 4x per dollar, and that's thirty-two thousand two hundred points with chase.

And you would use the freedom unlimited 1.5% olla, and you'd earn eleven thousand seven hundred points, and now we have restaurants and I'm going to estimate that we're going to spend $100 a week at restaurants from $200 a year with Amex we use the gold card again for, so that's 20800.

With chase we use the sapphire reserve, that's fifteen thousand six hundred points, air travel I'm going to say about three thousand a year, perhaps the average person would spend on air travel, that's going to be fifteen thousand points on Amex who's using the gold card at 5x, and for chase we're going to get 3x on the sapphire reserve, that's nine thousand non-air travel spending.

I'm going to put $200 per month for that because if you live in say New York City, a subway card is a little over a hundred dollars and then maybe bring up another hundred for users and taxis and stuff. Approximately two hundred vs two thousand four hundred dollars a year.

So the AMEX you would earn four thousand eight hundred points on that, with the business card at 2x, chase you down seven thousand two hundred a little bit more because you're getting three x from the CSR.

Cable and phone bill

We'll now look at cable and phone bill. I'm going to a lot a hundred dollars a month there, over the course of a year that's going to be a thousand two hundred points. With the annex trifecta, you're getting two points back per dollar with that is a blue business card, you get two thousand four hundred points. With Chase, it's three X because cell phone and cable are one of the categories on the Inc business preferred, so that's going to be three thousand six hundred points per year.

Now I've got another category which I just call random spending, no bonus category, and that's five thousand dollars a year, and so we're going to say the annex would earn ten thousand points, because that blue business card that gets to expert dollar.

So that's the card that you're going to use when there's no bonus category, just random spending the chase. When you have no bonus category use the freedom unlimited 1.5 X per dollar, so that's going to be 7500 points.

Let's total it all up now, the total spending that this family did, this person did is twenty-four thousand six hundred dollars in the course of a year, that's reasonably average, the average household income is going to be around fifty thousand. Once you take out tax and things like rent that, you normally can't pay with a credit card unless you use a service like plastic, but anyway that's kind of another thing.

How many points did Amex earn after we totaled this up

Once you take out that it's going to be around twenty-four, twenty-five thousand, something like that, and so how many points did Amex earn after we totaled this up? The annex trifecta earned eighty-five thousand two hundred points and the chase trifecta earned just fifty-two thousand two hundred points. 

I was pretty surprised by this as well. The AMEX trifecta is considerably stronger on point earning now, with this kind of sample budget now you may say what if we add in the regular freedom with its 5% quarterly categories into the mix as well, and see maybe the chase could be competitive with Amex.

If we have that card in there, the chase freedom it can earn 7500 points per quarter in those 5% categories, because it's limited to 1500 dollars in spending.

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If we add that all together, because there are four quarters in a year, so that's thirty thousand then and you would be spending six thousand dollars less, so we then have to deduct nine thousand points because spending six thousand dollars on the freedom unlimited.

It would only nine thousand points, but we're doing that spending on the freedom now, so we need to deduct the number of points, we would have earned on a freedom unlimited. Thirty thousand minus nine thousand takes us to twenty-one thousand, if we add that to chase his total of 52 thousand, we get seventy-three thousand two hundred.

So we're still behind the AMEX trifecta by about over ten thousand points behind, and we're using four cards, so that's like an unfair advantage to chases, like a Quadra factor. It's not a tri-factor anymore, so the AMEX trifecta you really can earn a lot more points, at least to the way we worked out in this post. It's a point AMEX for this last one, so that takes us to 75.

AMEX actually wins overall

So AMEX actually wins overall. The AMEX trifecta is better than the chase trifecta, it's official, not so fast, because if you own a business that has a lot of spending in certain categories, for example, postage or online advertising, you can earn a huge amount of points from the Inc business preferred.

Also if you are in the first year and your spending isn't that high, but you do get all the signup bonuses, you're going to get more signup bonuses, more signup bonus points over like 35,000, more from the chase trifecta than you will from the trifecta.

For certain people, the chase trifecta will prove better, but exactly the same spending and a sort of average budget and stuff, the AMEX trifecta is earning more points. So average budget the AMEX trifecta is earning more points, it also has lower effective annual fees and the cards are more stylish looking.

You can take that, you can look at your own budget, work it out, it's not set in stone, but that's just a little bit of an appraisal of it. As always we'll put some of our favorite credit cards down below a favorite travel credit cards, which do include some of the Chase Sapphire cards and AMEX cards.

Other web page resource

The Amex vs Chase Trifecta: the_amex_vs_chase_trifecta_which_one_is_best_for