Chase Ultimate Rewards showdown: Ink Business Preferred vs Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve

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We always suggest that folks new to miles and points start with Chase credit cards first, in part due to Chase’s strict application rules. But it’s also because these travel credit cards offer valuable welcome bonuses, strong earnings for your purchases and terrific travel perks and purchase protection.

The most flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards cards (which allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners) are the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Which Chase Ultimate Rewards card is right for you? It depends mostly on your spending and travel habits and goals, so let’s compare these three cards.

With so many choices in Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, where should you start? We’ll compare the Sapphire and Ink Business Preferred cards. (Photo by Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.)

Comparison: Which Chase Ultimate Rewards card is best for you?

While the Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve have similar features, they each also have their own unique set of perks. To help you get started with deciding which cards to get, here is a quick version of the biggest considerations for you:

  • If you are a small business owner, you’ll definitely want to check out the Ink Business Preferred card. The card’s welcome bonus, worth at least $1,000 in travel, easily offsets the $95 annual fee. You’ll earn bonus points for many business-related purchases and receive purchase protections to help you save time and money as a business owner.
  • The Sapphire Preferred card is a wonderful choice if you are new to the miles and points hobby and want to see how valuable points can be. The card has a low annual fee of $95 and you can earn a welcome bonus worth at least $750 in travel. You’ll can also transfer your points to airline and hotel transfer partners for potentially even more value and you’ll get travel and purchase-related protections.
  • Finally, the Sapphire Reserve is a great choice if you travel frequently. Although the card comes with a $550 annual fee, it’s incredibly easy for frequent travelers to more than make up for the fee with perks like an annual up to $300 travel credit, airport lounge access, $100 statement credit for Global Entry and much, much more.

Now that you’ve read the Cliff notes version, let’s dive into the details of each card.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

If you’re a small business owner, the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card should be at the top of your list and you may already qualify as a business owner without even realizing it. If you make any income outside of your regular nine to five job, have a side hustle for profit or run your own company even as a sole proprietor, chances are you’re eligible for this business credit card.

In the short term, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a wonderful card to have. That’s because you can earn a welcome bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That is the highest public sign-up bonus we’ve seen on a Chase business card and it’s worth at least $1,000 when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. That intro bonus is more than enough to offset the card’s $95 annual fee (which is not waived for the first year).

You’ll want to hang onto the card in the long run too, though, because you’ll earn bonus points in plenty of popular business categories.

  • 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides (until March 31, 2022)
  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet / cable / phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites or search engines
  • 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on everything else

Cell phone protection

Another reason to hang onto the Chase Ink Business Preferred card long term is the cell phone protection that’s offered to you as a card member. When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card, you’ll be covered for up to $600 against damage or theft up to three times per year. There is a $100 deductible, but that still means you could save yourself up to $500 in repairs.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred card comes loaded with lots of handy travel insurances, which can save you quite a bit of time and money.

  • Primary rental car insurance on rentals used for business purposes
  • Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per person
  • Baggage delay insurance for more than a 6-hour delay, coverage for $100 per day, up to 5 days
  • Trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance up to $5,000

Foreign transaction fees

You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees on this card, so feel free to use it if you travel overseas.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you’re just starting with the miles and points hobby, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a terrific choice. You can get an idea of how valuable points can be and you’ll be able to enjoy great travel perks.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn an intro bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth at least $750 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Though the card has a $95 annual fee, the sign-up bonus more than covers it and you can see how you like the rest of the benefits before it comes due again.

If you eat out and travel, make sure to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You’ll earn:

  • 5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides (until March 31, 2022)
  • 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, including airfare, hotels, fine dining and cafes
  • 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on everything else

If the unexpected happens, you’re covered if you used your card to pay for the trip:

  • Trip cancellation insurance covers you up to $10,000 per person for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses in the event of a cancelled trip due to sickness, weather and other covered situations
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance for more than a 6-hour delay, coverage for $100 per day, up to 5 days
  • Trip delay reimbursement covers you for up to $500 per ticket if your flight is delayed 12+ hours

This card charges no foreign transaction fees, making it another perfect card to use overseas.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you are a frequent traveler, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may just fit the bill for you. This card is loaded with top-tier travel perks and can make all of your Chase points more valuable when you book through the Chase Travel Portal.

You can earn a welcome bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Points earned on this card are worth more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal (1.5 cents each), so this welcome bonus is worth at least $750.

The card does carry a $550 annual fee which is not waived for the first year, but as you’ll quickly see below, this annual fee can be well worth paying because the card is packed with valuable perks.

$300 annual travel credit

You’ll automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits each account anniversary year on travel-related purchases. Chase’s definition of travel is very broad and based on reports online, includes items such as parking, airfare, hotels, toll charges, car rentals, buses, taxis, ferries and more. So one way you could look at it is that this perk lowers the effective annual fee down to $250 ($550 – $300) right off the bat.

Reimbursement for Global Entry / TSA PreCheck

If you don’t like waiting in long lines at the airport, trusted traveler programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck can go a long way in speeding you through the security lines.

And if you pay your application fee with your Sapphire Reserve®, you can get fully reimbursed up to $100.

Airport lounge access

As a cardmember, you can receive complimentary membership in Priority Pass to access over 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide. These airport lounges are a great place to get away from the busy hustle and bustle of the airport terminal because you can relax in a much quieter area. Many lounges also offer complimentary food, beverages and some offer showers you can use to freshen up before your flight.

Lyft Pink membership

Sapphire Reserve cardholders can receive a complimentary Lyft Pink membership. Lyft Pink normally costs $19.99/month and comes with perks, like:

  • 15% off all rides
  • Three free cancellations a month (if you rebook within 15 minutes)
  • Three free bike/scooter rides per month
  • Priority airport pickups
  • Waived lost and found fees
  • “Surprise offers” — including seasonal discounts and exclusive savings

You need to enroll in the membership by Mar. 31, 2022 and the membership is valid for one year. To enroll just add your Sapphire Reserve as your default payment method

DoorDash benefits

The Sapphire Reserve is eligible for at least one year of free DashPass membership when you register by Dec. 31, 2021. A DashPass normally costs $9.99/month and comes with lower service fees and free delivery on orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. In addition, the Reserve is also getting up to $120 in DoorDash credits, but it’s divided up over two years — you’ll get $60 in credits in 2020 and $60 in credits in 2021. These credits will automatically be applied to eligible purchases and you’ll have access to the full $60 at once, it won’t be divided out month-by-month, like with the American Express® Gold Card.

If you thought you bonus points on the Sapphire Preferred were great, this card does even better. You’ll earn:

  • 10x total Chase Ultimate Rewards point on Lyft rides
  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining worldwide
  • 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards point on all other purchases

This wouldn’t be one of the best premium travel cards without some top-notch travel protections, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve delivers. You’ll get the following coverage if you use your card to pay for the trip:

  • Trip cancellation insurance covers you up to $10,000 per person for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses in the event of a cancelled trip due to sickness, weather, and other covered situations
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement covers you for up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Trip delay reimbursement covers you for up to $500 per ticket if your flight is delayed 6+ hours

This is a great card to use if you’re traveling overseas because there are no foreign transaction fees charged.

A few important things to keep in mind

Chase has strict application rules you’ll want to be aware of before you apply for any of these cards. Knowing these rules will help improve your chances of approval for these cards.

Chase 5/24 rule

In short, the 5/24 rule means if you’ve opened 5+ cards in the past 24 months (except Chase business cards and certain other business cards), you likely won’t be approved for any of these cards.

Check out our post on how to find out your 5/24 status.

Maximum of one Sapphire card allowed

You can only hold one Chase Sapphire card at a time. In other words, you have to choose between either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can’t have both, unfortunately.

Timing of your applications

If you’re thinking of going for one of the Sapphire cards in addition to the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, it’s best to apply for the business card first. That’s because Chase business cards do not count toward your 5/24 limit. So if you do happen to get approved for the business card, you’ll still be eligible for either of the Sapphire cards.

On the other hand, if you apply for one of the Sapphire cards first and it happens to make you ineligible because of the 5/24 rule, you will likely be declined for the Ink Business Preferred card.

Sapphire card bonus rules

If you’re new to Chase, then chances are you won’t have to worry about this rule, but it’s worth mentioning. If you have earned a welcome bonus on any version of the Sapphire card in the past 48 months, you will not qualify for a new Sapphire card.

This is a stricter requirement, because most other Chase cards require just 24 months before becoming eligible to earn another welcome bonus on the same card.

Bottom line

Chase’s top Ultimate Rewards cards each have a different set of features and perks depending on your specific spending and travel patterns. Here’s the quick comparison:

  • Small business owners should consider the Ink Business Preferred card. At a low annual fee of just $95, you’ll be able to earn tons of bonus points on many of your everyday purchases and also be covered by many purchase and travel protections, like cell phone insurance, trip delay insurance, and more.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good starting point for those new to the miles and points hobby. You’ll get many travel-related protections like lost baggage reimbursement, trip delay insurance and primary rental car coverage. All of which could end up saving you tons of time and money.
  • Those who travel frequently should consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve. As a premium travel credit card, it’s loaded with tons of perks and features designed to save you time and money on your travels. Airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, travel protection and reimbursement for Global Entry / TSA PreCheck are just some of its many benefits.

Which Chase Ultimate Rewards card is your favorite?

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Andrew Wan is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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TERRUY
1 year ago

Does the Ink business card give you 12-15mos. 0 apr?/

jackie
1 year ago

for the sapphire card, when you say earned the bonus in the past 48 months – does that mean literally when you earned the bonus – or when you cancelled the card? in other words, i’ve had sapphire for 2 years, earned the bonus 1 year 9 months ago. but just cancelled the card. do i have to wait 4 years from the time i cancelled or 4 years from the time i earned the award? thanks.

Bryce
Reply to  jackie
1 year ago

Jackie – Per the Offer Details, if you have literally earned the bonus in the last 48 months, you will not qualify for the intro bonus.

If the last time you earned a welcome bonus on any version of the Sapphire card was in March 2017, you will not qualify for another intro bonus on the new Sapphire credit card application until March 2021.

kENDRA
1 year ago

I read an article that suggested applying for the personal and biz at the same time (only one hard pull) and another article that said one personal and one business card within 90 days, 31+ days apart, which is it?

NJturtlePower
Reply to  kENDRA
1 year ago

I though I understood the same but its not true. I applied for the Ink Cash and CSP a few months ago and the result was TWO hard pulls. At least I was approved for both. :/ Two personal card apps at or around the same time apparently would only be ONE pull.

Kristin
1 year ago

I have the Chase Ink Business Preferred. I use it to pay our family cell phone bill. I’m wondering if my teenager’s phones would receive the cell phone protection benefits? How would Chase really know if it was my phone, the business owner, or my kid’s phone that was damaged? Has anyone out there experienced this situation?