Amex Sapphire Card: The American Express Sapphire Card is one of the premium travel rewards credit cards on the market today. With a hefty $695 annual fee, luxurious cardholder perks, and the ability to earn valuable Membership Rewards points, the Amex Sapphire card aims to provide an exceptional reward earning and travel experience.
In this 2023 review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Amex Sapphire Card’s benefits, rewards program, fees, and more to help you decide if it’s worth the high annual fee.
Amex Sapphire Card Overview
The American Express Sapphire Card offers cardholders the following key benefits and features:
- Earn 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly with airlines and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- Earn 3x points on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets
- 1x points on other purchases
- Up to $200 airline fee credit each calendar year
- Up to $200 Uber Cash annually
- Complimentary airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club)
- $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Fine Hotels and Resorts privileges
- No foreign transaction fees
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months
The Amex Sapphire Card comes with a $695 annual fee, one of the highest among premium travel rewards cards. Cardholders can add additional users for $175 per year.
Earning Points with the Amex Sapphire Card
The Amex Sapphire Card offers bonus categories to earn extra Membership Rewards points on common travel and dining purchases. Here’s a breakdown of the earn rates:
- 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- 3x points restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets
- 1x pointson non-bonus spend
Based on these bonus categories, the Amex Sapphire Card can be extremely rewarding for frequent travelers, diners, and those with monthly grocery bills. You’re looking at essentially getting 5% back on airfare, 3% back on dining and groceries, and 1% back on non-bonus spending.
The Membership Rewards program is widely considered one of the most valuable flexible point systems. Points can be redeemed for statement credits, merchandise, gift cards, and travel. However, getting the most value involves transferring points to airline and hotel partners such as Delta, British Airways, Hilton Honors, and more.
Luxury Perks and Credits
Where the Amex Sapphire Card truly shines is with its luxury travel benefits and annual statement credits.
Cardholders receive up to $200 in airline fee credits each card member year. This credit applies automatically to baggage fees, in-flight food and drink, seat upgrades, and other incidentals charged by the airline. You can designate the airline of your choice.
You also get up to $200 in Uber Cash credits each year, issued in $15 monthly increments and $20 increments in December. Use them for Uber rides, Uber Eats orders, and more.
The Amex Sapphire Card offers complimentary access to airport lounges around the world. Gain access to Amex’s own Centurion Lounges plus Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, and more. For frequent travelers, lounge access is an invaluable perk that enhances the airport experience.
Additional upscale benefits include a $100 credit toward Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fees, access to the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, and complimentary premium wifi through Boingo WiFi. There are no foreign transaction fees with the Amex Sapphire Card, a must for jet-setting globetrotters.
$695 Annual Fee
With premium rewards and benefits comes a premium annual fee. The Amex Sapphire Card carries a $695 annual fee, one of the highest among luxury travel rewards cards. However, if you can maximize the annual credits and lounge access perks, the fee can be well worth it.
For example, the $200 airline fee and Uber credits effectively reduce the net annual fee to $295. Plus, unlimited airport lounge access can save you money on food, drinks, and a comfortable place to relax before flights. For frequent travelers and those who prioritize luxury travel, the Amex Sapphire Card’s annual fee can easily pay for itself.
Pros and Cons of the Amex Sapphire Card
- Strong rewards on travel and dining spending
- Annual airline fee and Uber credits
- Airport lounge access around the world
- Fine Hotels and Resorts privileges
- Luxury cardholder benefits and perks
- No foreign transaction fees
- Very high $695 annual fee
- Requires spending significant amounts to maximize rewards
- Benefits overlap with other premium Amex cards
Who is the Amex Sapphire Card For?
The Amex Sapphire Card is designed for luxury travelers who want premium benefits, high reward rates, and excellent travel protections. It appeals most to:
- Frequent travelers who can use the airline credits and lounge access
- Those who spend heavily on dining out and ordering in
- People who appreciate high-end benefits like hotel privileges
- Anyone who values transferable rewards points for maximum flexibility
The broad rewards categories make the Amex Sapphire Card useful for many types of consumers. However, those who travel infrequently and spend less on dining may find better value in a no-annual-fee card. The annual fee is hard to justify unless you use the perks.
Alternatives to Consider
The premium travel rewards card space is highly competitive. Before committing to the Amex Sapphire Card, consider these alternatives:
Chase Sapphire Reserve® – Also has a $550 annual fee but comes with a $300 travel credit and 3x dining rewards. Strong for Chase Ultimate Rewards travel transfers.
Amex Platinum Card® – Higher $695 fee and geared more toward air travel perks and airport lounge access. 5x points on flights.
Capital One Venture X – $395 annual fee with up to $300 in statement credits. Earn unlimited 2x miles on all purchases.
Citi Prestige® Card – $495 annual fee with similar rewards to the Amex Sapphire. Also offers lounge access and credits.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa – $400 fee with a $325 travel credit. Earns 3x points on travel and mobile wallet spending.
Consider your spending habits, travel goals, and desired annual fees to choose the right premium travel card for your needs.
Amex Sapphire Card Verdict: Good Value for Luxury Travelers
The Amex Sapphire Card occupies a nice spot between ultra-premium airline credit cards like the Platinum Card and mid-tier travel rewards like the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve. It offers a compelling mix of high bonus categories, upscale benefits, annual credits, and Membership Rewards transfer ability.
Frequent travelers who prioritize luxury perks and service will find tremendous value in holding the Amex Sapphire Card long-term. However, it’s harder to justify for infrequent travelers and those with more modest spending and travel habits.
All in all, the Sapphire Card from American Express delivers rewards, amenities, and elite status worthy of its premium annual fee. Luxury travelers who maximize the card’s annual credits and lounge access will come out well ahead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Amex Sapphire Card annual fee?
The annual fee for the Amex Sapphire Card is $695 per year. Additional cardholders cost $175 per year.
What types of purchases earn bonus rewards with the Amex Sapphire Card?
You’ll earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines, 3x points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets, and 1x points on other eligible purchases.
Are there any foreign transaction fees?
No, the Amex Sapphire Card does not charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad.
What airports have Centurion Lounges?
Amex Centurion Lounges are located in popular airport hubs like New York, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, and more. You can use the lounge locator tool to find them.
Can points be transferred to airline partners?
Yes, Membership Rewards from the Sapphire Card can be transferred to over 15 airline partners like Delta, British Airways, Air Canada, and more.
Does the $200 airline fee credit work for baggage fees?
Yes, the airline fee credit applies automatically to checked baggage fees and other incidentals charged directly by the airline. You can select one airline to receive the credit each year.
Is the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee covered?
Yes, cardholders receive up to $100 in statement credits for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every 4-5 years.
The Amex Sapphire Card provides a premium travel rewards experience with bonus categories for flights, dining, and groceries. Between the annual airline and Uber credits, lounge access, hotel perks, and points transferring power, it’s a feature-packed card for luxury travelers.
While the $695 annual fee is steep, frequent travelers can more than offset it through statement credits and airport lounge perks. For jet-setters who appreciate high-end rewards, service, and amenities, the Sapphire Card from American Express will serve you well.
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