7 signs you're better off with the Ink Business Preferred and not the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

The Points Guy

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  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best all-round travel rewards credit cards thanks to its points-earning potential and fantastic perks.
  • The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is one of the best small business cards available and earns multiple points per dollar on a broad range of purchases.
  • There are a number of reasons getting a business credit card might be better for your travel strategy and your credit score.
  • The Ink Business Preferred offers a higher sign-up bonus, more category spending bonuses, and a relatively low annual fee compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been one of the most popular travel credit cards since it first debuted in 2016. Its value-added benefits include $300 in annual travel credits, an application fee waiver for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years, and access to Priority Pass lounges at airports around the world. Altogether, cardholders can reap value well beyond the card's $550 annual fee by maximizing its benefits.

On the other hand, Chase offers a phenomenal small business card in the Ink Business Preferred Card. Its sign-up bonus is worth 100% more points than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it has great earning potential thanks to bonus categories that include travel, and its annual fee is a much more reasonable $95.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.Advertisement

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Ink Business Preferred: The biggest differences

Here's a quick look at the key differences between the two cards:
Chase Sapphire ReserveInk Business Preferred
Annual fee$550$95
Sign-up bonus50K points after spending $4K in 3 months 100K points after spending $15k in 3 months
Earning rates3x points on travel/dining10x points on Lyft rides1 point per dollar on everything else3x points on the first $150K spent per year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, online, and social media advertising (then 1x)
Redemption value through Chase travel portal1.5 cents per point1.25 cents per point
Statement credits$300 annual travel creditUp to $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and again in 2021Priority Pass airport lounge accessUp to $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application feeN/A
Travel and purchase protections$10K trip cancellationPrimary rental-car insurance$10K on purchases up to $50k per year$10K trip cancellationPrimary rental-car insurance for business rentals$10K on purchases up to $50k per year$600 cell phone protection
Additional cards$75$0


And now, the eight reasons you might want to consider applying for the Ink Business Preferred Card over the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

1. You might need a business credit card versus a personal one

One of the things that seems to hang most people up about applying for the Ink Business Preferred is that it's a business credit card rather than a consumer card. Many folks might think to themselves, "Don't I have to have a business to get a business credit card?"
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The short answer is no. Issuers like Chase offer cards like the Ink Business Preferred Card not only for the owners of small businesses, but also for professionals and freelancers who need to keep their business and personal expenses separate.

That doesn't mean just anyone should apply for a business credit card. But if you have legitimate uses for it and have income to show from your business or work, you should definitely consider this as an option. While you must use your own Social Security number to apply for a business card, once it's opened, the activity on it sits separately from that on your personal credit report. So, for instance, making large purchases with it will not affect the credit-to-utilization ratio on your personal credit report, which is a big factor in determining your credit score. The fact that work purchases will not affect your personal score can be especially helpful for freelancers and "sole proprietors" whose businesses are basically just themselves.Advertisement

2. The sign-up bonus is much better

When it first launched, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offered a whopping 100,000-point sign-up bonus. For the past couple of years, though, it's held steady at 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

By contrast, the Ink Business Preferred Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. That's a very high minimum spending requirement — while it could be easy for many small businesses to meet, this sign-up bonus could be out of reach for some sole proprietors and freelancers. (The previous sign-up bonus was 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.)

3. The annual fee is lower — way lower

There's not much to argue about here. The Chase Sapphire Reserve costs $550 per year to carry while the Ink Business Preferred costs just $95. That $455 difference might be just enough to have you thinking twice.

4. You can earn bonus points on more types of purchases

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers tremendous earning potential by accruing 3 points per dollar on dining worldwide and a broad range of travel purchases including the usual ones like flights and hotels, but also expenses like taxis, rideshares, and even parking meters. It earns 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.Advertisement

The Ink Business Preferred also earns 3 points per dollar on a wide range of travel purchases. Instead of dining, though, it racks up 3 points per dollar on shipping purchases; internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. The catch is that you only earn three points per dollar on up to $150,000 in combined purchases in these categories, including travel, per year — for everything beyond that, you earn just 1 point per dollar.

Why does this matter? If you're far outstripping that $150,000 cap specifically with a large sum of travel purchases, then you might be better off with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has no spending caps. Or if a significant portion of your monthly expenses are dining, then that card will also be a better choice.

However, if you're using your card for a combination of travel and other business-related expenses like shipping and phone or internet services, and you're not coming near the spending cap, then you'll be able to get more value from the Ink Business Preferred.Advertisement

5. You want to redeem points by transferring them to airlines or hotels

Another major difference between the two cards is the value of their points when you redeem them through the Chase travel portal. With both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points at fixed rates for things like flights, hotels, and rental cards directly through Chase.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece for travel booked through Chase. With the Ink Business Preferred (and with the Chase Sapphire Preferred), your points are only worth 1.25 cents apiece. So you're giving up around 17% of your value.

This method of direct redemption is good for folks who want a solid, fixed value from their points and intend to redeem them for specific, inexpensive travel purchases without having to deal with award availability for plane tickets or hotel nights.Advertisement

However, one of the great strengths of the Ultimate Rewards program is its travel transfer partners. As of now, they include airlines such as Aer Lingus, JetBlue, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, and United, and hotel brands such as Hyatt and Marriott. Being able to transfer points – instantly in most cases – to any or all of these partners gives travelers the flexibility to book all kinds of valuable awards, from international business or first class airline awards to hotel rooms all over the globe. As opposed to the direct redemption option mentioned above, Ultimate Rewards points earned with either card transfer at the same 1:1 ratio to all partners.

When deciding between these two cards in particular, you need to consider which redemption option you are going to use more: a fixed rate of 1.25 to 1.5 cents depending on your card, or the option to transfer to all these partners. If you're in the transfer camp, the points earned on either card have the same value.

6. You get Global Entry and lounge access through another card

One benefit that lends the Chase Sapphire Reserve value is that it will reimburse cardholders up to $100 for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years. The Ink Business Preferred has no such benefit.Advertisement

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also gets cardholders plus two guests into Priority Pass airline lounges around the world, but the Ink Business Preferred does not. So why not just go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Because you might already be carrying another card that offers one or both of these benefits. There are many credit cards that reimburse members for Global Entry and TSA application fees these days, including the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Likewise, there are plenty of other credit cards that get you Priority Pass lounge access, including the Platinum Credit Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card, and the Citi Prestige Card, among others. All three of those also offer Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursements, by the way.

Check your wallet and make sure you know your other cards' benefits because you might just be overlapping with ones you think you're only getting from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

7. You travel primarily for business

Both cards offer fairly comprehensive travel and purchase protections. The Chase Sapphire Reserve covers trip cancellation and interruption up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. It includes baggage-delay insurance that kicks in at six hours and maxes out at $100 per day for up to five days. Lost luggage is covered up to $3,000. Its trip delay reimbursement starts at 12 hours or an overnight stay and covers up to $500 per ticket. Its other main travel-related protection is primary car-rental insurance.

As for purchase protection, you are insured up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account up to 120 days after purchase.Advertisement

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers primary car rental insurance for business rentals specifically. It only covers up to $5,000 for trip cancellation or interruption, but its trip delay and baggage delay insurance is the same as the Chase Sapphire Reserve's. Its purchase protections are also the same…with one important exception.

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers cell phone protection of up to $600 per claim against covered theft or damage for the cardholder and employees listed on their cell phone bill when it is paid with their Ink Business Preferred card. Cardholders can make a maximum of three claims in a 12-month period with a $100 deductible per claim. So if you're prone to damaging or losing your cell phone this one benefit alone could make the Ink Business Preferred your top choice.

The bottom line

There's no arguing that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a fantastic travel rewards card thanks to its easy-to-use, outsize benefits, lucrative earning rates, and the incredible possibilities afforded by redeeming points through the Ultimate Rewards program.

However, for those who are looking for a higher sign-up bonus and the ability to rake in thousands of bonus points not only on travel but on a variety of business-related expenses, all for a much lower annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred might be the way to go. That is especially true for folks who might already get Global Entry fee waivers and lounge access through another premium credit card they already carry/

It's also possible to apply for this business credit card even without owning your own business, and there are great reasons for doing so, including just keeping your professional and personal purchases separate.

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