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Why I chose the Ink Business Preferred over the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Sept. 21, 2020
8 min read
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I entered the world of credit card points relatively late to the game.

However, I immediately dove in -- picking up premium offerings such as The Platinum Card® from American Express near the beginning of my credit card journey several years ago.

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It may come as a surprise that there is one standout card that I don't have to this day: the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Before the pandemic, I was deciding between it and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to help increase my balance of Ultimate Rewards points. In the end, the Ink Business Preferred won out.

Here are five reasons why I chose this popular business card instead of a high-end Sapphire Reserve -- and why I continue to have no regrets.

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You can't have two Sapphire cards

First, you should know that you can't hold more than one Sapphire card.

This Chase policy combines both the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve together, so you won’t be able to get the bonus -- nor be approved -- for one if you currently have the other. Additionally, the waiting period is double the normal length for Chase cards, as you can’t get the bonus for one if you earned a bonus for the other within the last 48 months.

Why is that important?

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Because I already had the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and was coming up on 48 months. Therefore, I was deciding between three options:

  • Product change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to preserve my credit history (and forgo the bonus)
  • Cancel my Chase Sapphire Preferred, take the hit on my credit history and apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and earn the bonus)
  • Keep my Chase Sapphire Preferred, preserve my credit history and apply for the Ink Business Preferred instead (and earn the bonus)

I went with the final option -- keeping my personal Sapphire Preferred card open while applying for the Ink Business Preferred.

Also, at the time I was below Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule. While business cards aren't included in your personal credit report, if you're over 5/24, you won't be able to be approved for any card, even a business one.

Related: Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Lucrative 100,000-point sign-up bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve's sign-up bonus is 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's certainly not a bad haul of points, but the Ink Business Preferred does even better.

Andaz West Hollywood (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)
Transfer Chase points to Hyatt. (Photo of the Andaz West Hollywood by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

You'd earn a whopping 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months. Note that you'll need to spend a significant amount more to reach that bonus, but for my own purposes, I knew I would be able to hit it.

Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable points currencies around, and the 100,000-point bonus is worth $2,000, according to TPG’s most recent valuations.

Related: Review of the Ink Business Preferred

The same 3x bonus on travel -- without the high annual fee

Both the Ink Business Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve earn a respectable 3x bonus on the broad category of travel.

However, the Sapphire Reserve comes with a much more significant $550 annual fee, while the Ink Business Preferred has just a $95 fee.

You'll get 3x on travel for both cards, including things like rental cars. (Photo by alexfan32/Shutterstock)

The 3x on the Ink card also includes other business categories: shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines -- on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year.

You'll forgo 3x on dining on the Sapphire Reserve though, along with other higher-end travel perks. But that doesn't matter as much as to me, as I'll explain below.

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

Cell phone protection coverage

Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Ink Business Preferred is one of the few credit cards to offer cell phone protection.

You -- and your employees if you so choose -- are covered for up to $1,000 in theft or damages per claim, provided the number is listed on your monthly bill and you pay your bill with your card. There’s a limit of three claims per 12-month period, with a $100 deductible per claim.

Related: How to submit a cell phone insurance claim for the Ink Business Preferred

I use my Amex Platinum for luxury travel benefits

One of the selling points of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is its many premium travel benefits. However, it's not something that I particularly miss since there is often an appropriate substitute -- or perk that is even better -- on my Amex Platinum card.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Get Hilton Gold status with the Amex Platinum. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

From Priority Pass lounge access to Global Entry and TSA PreCheck reimbursement, my Platinum card covers many of the same bases as the Reserve. Of course, there are still exceptions where the Reserve or Platinum might come out ahead for a certain benefit.

For instance, the Reserve's $300 annual travel credit is still infinitely easier to use than Amex's up to $200 annual airline fee credit. The Platinum's hotel and car rental elite status perks definitely outshine the Reserve, however.

The Ink Business Preferred just worked better for my needs -- and the perks on the Reserve often mirrored that of the Platinum.

Related: Why I’m keeping my Amex Platinum even though I’m not traveling

I use my American Express® Gold Card for Restaurants

Finally, I picked the Ink Business Preferred over the Chase Sapphire Reserve because I didn't require the Reserve's 3x bonus on dining. I have a card that does even better -- the Amex Gold.

(Photo by Fertnig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fertnig/Getty Images)

The Gold has been my go-to card for dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets throughout the pandemic and even way before, with its generous 4x bonus Membership Rewards points.

And if you're looking only at Ultimate Rewards points, the new no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex and refreshed Chase Freedom Unlimited also include 3% cash back (3x Ultimate Rewards points) on dining, matching the bonus on the Sapphire Reserve.

Related: How the Amex Gold pays for my lunch twice per month

Bottom line

When it came down to it, the Ink Business Preferred just fit my needs better.

While I miss out on the Sapphire Reserve's elevated 1.5 cent-redemption rates through Pay Yourself Back and Ultimate Rewards travel, I still have access to the same amazing transfer partners.

And remember, you may qualify for a business card even with a side hustle. The qualifications for having a business may be different than you might expect.

Just note that during the economic downturn, Chase has made it more difficult to be approved for small business credit cards. If you can get approved though, the 100,000-point bonus is a huge get for this stellar card.

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