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Card Showdown: American Express Platinum vs. Continental Presidential Plus

by on April 27, 2011

Card ShowdownRoad warriors rejoice: two of the top travel cards have just expanded their benefits to offer even more value for frequent travelers.

If your travel schedule rivals George Clooney’s in the movie Up in the Air, you might as well benefit from it — but which card is the best?

Here’s our showdown comparison of the Platinum Card from American Express vs. the Continental Presidential Plus Card from Chase.   May the best card win!

    1. Annual Fees

Continental Airlines Presidential PlusThe Continental card jumps to a quick lead with its lower annual fee, $395 versus American Express’ $450. Neither card charges interest as long as you pay your bill in full each month. Your annual percentage rate (APR) is of course subject to your credit history, so your the rate will vary. You should note that the Platinum has a higher credit hurdle and does not allow you to transfer your balance from another card.

Winner: Continental

    1. Lounge Access

Platinum Card from American ExpressNo more sitting in the airport’s hard seats or hanging out in Starbucks between flights. Both cards give you access to elite airline lounges. American Express comes out on top, giving you access to more than 600 lounges in more than 100 countries — you get access to American, Continental, Delta, and US Airways lounges (although Continental will be discontinued as of September 2011).

Continental, on the other hand, only has 100 locations worldwide — you get access to Continental, US Airways, and United lounges.

Winner: American Express

    1. Reward Points

Both cards offer rewards points (generally one point per dollar spent), with American Express allowing you to redeem for a wider array of rewards from their ShopAmex site. Both cards offer double points on certain travel purchases, and points do not expire for either.

Winner: Tie

    1. International Fees

For international travelers, American Express is your best option. Since neither card charges a foreign transaction fee (i.e., a fee to make purchases out of your home country), the difference is American Express’s broader worldwide range of benefits.

Winner: American Express

Overall Winner: Platinum Card from American Express

American Express comes out the definitive winner in our showdown — and while the Continental card is slightly cheaper, the Platinum is the better status symbol. Both cards have a sign-up bonus that can help to mitigate the impact of the annual fee for the first year.

You can sign up for the Platinum Card from American Express or the Continental Presidential Plus Card from Chase here.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter April 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Another MAJOR point is Amex is not accepted overseas as well as it is here so you end up using a Visa/MC card anyways.


Kurt June 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Presidential Plus is a "electronic card". It was not accepted in several places in Italy, including
Thrifty Car Rental, because they still require an actual imprint of the credit card, and with Presidential Plus
they cannot make an imprint


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