Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth keeping vs the Ink Business Preferred during COVID-19?

Oct 23, 2020

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It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of our credit card strategies in 2020. Cards that were once easily justifiable slots in our wallets are now less valuable, spending habits — and the cards we use the most — have shifted and perks we once held in high esteem have sat unused.

Many have started looking at which cards they should keep and which would be better to let go of in the short or even long term.

While we write a ton of guides comparing specific credit cards at TPG, those are typically done with the backdrop of our everyday lives rather than talking about the COVID-19 era. We’ve gotten a few reader questions about Chase cards specifically — is it worth keeping both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card if travel is on hold for the time being?

Today, I’m walking through whether it still makes sense to have both cards and your options if you decide to downgrade one or the other.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Ink Business Preferred Overview

Card  Chase Sapphire Reserve Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Sign-up bonus  60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from 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 (which now includes free Grubhub+ and Seamless+ membership)

Cell phone protection 
Additional cards  $75 $0

Is it worth keeping both?

The answer to this depends on your specific spending habits and goals.

The more expensive of the two to keep in your wallet is undoubtedly the Chase Sapphire Reserve, so it’s probably the first one someone would look at canceling or downgrading. But while it does come with a much higher annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers a much higher value potential than the Ink Business Preferred — even if you aren’t traveling as much currently because of the coronavirus.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Chase has been great about adjusting perks and adding new benefits to its Sapphire cards that it has kept using them still valuable throughout 2020. While you may not be using airport lounge access, there have been other opportunities to maximize the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The card now offers a way to redeem your points for 1.5 cents each through the Pay Yourself Back program for more than just travel — including grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments, including take-out and delivery services through Sept. 30, 2021.

Additionally, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can now use their $300 travel credit for gas and groceries through June 30, 2021. And keep in mind that the Lyft Pink membership you get with the Reserve now includes Grubhub+ and Seamless+ to help you save on food delivery. All of these benefits make it easier to get the full value out of your card even if you aren’t traveling much right now.

While the Ink Business Preferred hasn’t added any knock-out perks, it is now part of the Pay Yourself Back program as well, offering the ability to redeem points for 1.25 cents each for online advertising and shipping purchases through Dec. 31, 2020.

If you can take advantage of the current set of perks and benefits offered, I’d recommend holding on to both, despite annual fees of $645. While you may not be traveling much right now, this isn’t permanent. And if the cards can still serve you in the short term well enough to justify the annual fees, it’s worth holding onto them until travel returns and you can start using them like you used to.

Related: Which card should I use? A guide to navigating COVID card bonuses and benefits

Should you cancel or downgrade?

Of course, if it simply doesn’t make sense for you to continue paying $645 in combined annual fees each year when you aren’t getting that much value from your credit cards, then you should consider canceling or downgrading.

In general, I recommend downgrading over canceling. That way, you can hold onto your credit limit and account history. And Chase has several solid options that you can downgrade to rather than outright canceling a card.

If you aren’t eligible for the current Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s sign-up bonus, then the CSP is an excellent option to downgrade from your Chase Sapphire Reserve. The card still earns 2x on Lyft (through March 2022)  and 3x on dining and 5x on travel.

You’ll also get 2x on groceries (up to $1,000 per month) from Nov. 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021. The annual fee is much lower at $95, which is easier to justify when you’re not traveling as much right now.

If you still think you’ll utilize the Chase Sapphire Reserve but have concerns about the Ink Business Preferred, you can always try downgrading to the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. The card earns 1.5% cash back on every business purchase and charges no annual fee. While you won’t earn full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points with the card, you can redeem for cash back or continue moving points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account to get maximum value.

Related: Pros and cons of downgrading your credit cards right now

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred are two excellent cards, but it can be hard to justify keeping both travel-centric cards when you may not be flying to far-flung destinations anytime soon. Luckily, Chase has been pretty good at adapting card benefits to help most people still get value from their Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.

If you maximize your $300 credit by using it on gas and groceries, take advantage of the Pay Yourself Back feature when it makes sense and still earn points on dining with your CSR, I’d recommend holding onto it.

As for the Ink Business Preferred, if you’re still able to use the more business-centric earning categories while you aren’t traveling as much, the lower $95 fee makes this card easy to justify keeping in my mind.

Featured image by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.