Credit card showdown: Chase Sapphire Reserve versus Ink Business Preferred

Apr 16, 2020

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Editor’s Note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information you need to make educated decisions about travel and your rewards-earnings strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route network. But we are sharing this information because these cards have great offers that could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

Chase Ultimate Rewards credits cards are among the most valuable on the market today. This is partly due to their broad bonus categories and partly due to their flexible redemption options. There are three Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points on their own: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Today, we’re comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred to see which card might be the better fit for your wallet.

Related: Should you be applying for credit cards right now? 

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Comparison overview

Card  Chase Sapphire Reserve Ink Business Preferred
Sign-up bonus  50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening. 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Bonus categories 10x on Lyft

3x on travel and dining

1x on everything else

3x on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on the following each account anniversary year:

Travel

Shipping

Internet, cable and phone services

Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

Annual fee $550 $95
Portal redemption value 1.5 cents per point 1.25 cents per point
Other benefits  $300 travel credit

Priority Pass lounge access

$60 annual DoorDash credits (in 2020 and 2021)

$100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years

Complimentary one-year DashPass membership 

Complimentary Lyft Pink membership

Cell phone protection 
Additional cards  $75 $0

The information for the Ink Business Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is obviously the more premium credit card when it comes to travel benefits (and annual cost). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you or your business.

When to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Here are a few scenarios where it is better to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Reserve card review 

You don’t own a business

Aside from the stark contrast in annual fees, the most notable difference between the two Chase credit cards is the fact that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a consumer credit card while the Ink Business Preferred is a business credit card. It’s easier than you’d probably assume to apply for a business credit card, but you do need to have some sort of small business or sole proprietorship in order to qualify. Those who don’t will want to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead.

Related reading: Do I need to get a business credit card? 

You want luxury travel benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top premium travel credit cards due to its great lineup of travel benefits. Cardholders get a $300 travel credit each account anniversary, which can be used across a number of travel purchases, from airfare to hotel stays to Lyft rides and more. The card also comes with Priority Pass Select membership (which includes a number of airport restaurants), DoorDash benefits (especially useful as more of us are ordering delivery these days), complimentary Lyft Pink Membership and a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

For someone who is constantly traveling, the benefits and rewards structure can easily outweigh the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s $550 annual fee and make the card well worth it to have in your wallet.

You book almost all travel through third-party portals

While both cards give you access to the same transfer partners, the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal for 1.5 cents per point versus 1.25 cents per point with the Ink Business Preferred. If you are almost exclusively booking your travel through a third-party portal, then you could end up getting a lot more value from your points by having the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

For example, a $500 flight would cost you 40,000 points with the Ink Business Preferred, but only 33,334 points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Related reading: When to book travel through Chase and when to transfer points 

When to get the Ink Business Preferred

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

You’ll utilize the business-specific spending categories

The Ink Business Preferred offers 3x on a wider range of categories than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. In addition to travel, you’ll also get 3x on shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising on social media sites and search engines. If you are a business owner who spends in those categories, the Ink Business Preferred will be more rewarding.

Keep in mind that the Ink Business Preferred does have a $150,000 cap on combined bonus spending each account anniversary year.

Related reading: Best business credit cards for each category

You want the more valuable sign-up bonus

While both cards do offer a valuable sign-up bonus, the Ink Business Preferred is currently offering a bonus twice the size of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Currently, new cardholders can earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points on the Ink Business Preferred after spending $15,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s a hefty spending requirement for just a three-month period, but those who can hit it will enjoy a sign-up bonus that TPG values at $2,000. Even if you book through the Chase Travel Portal, it’s still worth $1,250.

Related reading: What to do if you don’t think you’ll hit your sign-up bonus because of COVID-19

You don’t travel enough to justify the higher annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s annual fee is only worth it if you’ll utilize the benefits offered. That requires a significant amount of travel each year to take advantage of the lounge access, travel credit and other perks. If you only travel a few times per year, it may not be worth it to pay a $550 annual fee. The Ink Business Preferred comes with a low $95 annual fee that is much easier to offset, which can make it more appealing for beginner or casual travelers.

Bottom line

Keep in mind that both cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened five or more credit card accounts across issuers in the past 24 months, you’ll likely be denied for a new Chase credit card.

If you are under 5/24, you really can’t go wrong with either of these credit cards. Each makes up one third of the Chase Trifecta, which is one of the most valuable trios of credit cards out there, and both earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. It really comes down to whether you are looking for a premium travel card to help you elevate your travel experiences or a versatile business credit card that will reward you on common spending categories.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

2019 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.