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Despite the fact that so few people are traveling at the moment due to COVID-19, we are seeing some of the best travel credit card offers ever arrive one right after the other. Although it isn’t offering its highest bonus ever, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is still offering a considerable cache of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
However, its small-business equivalent, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, includes a lot more points as part of its welcome offer, plus more diverse bonus spending categories, and you might want to think about applying for it instead of, or in addition to, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Ink Business Preferred: The biggest differences
Though similar — each charges a $95 annual fee that is not waived the first year — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card have very different sign-up bonus requirements and bonus spending categories. This is how the two stack up.
Deciding between these two credit cards will come down to the benefits you will be able to use, and which earning structure is more suited to your spending habits. Here’s a detailed look at the biggest differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.
Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred sign-up bonuses
There are two components to a sign-up bonus you have to take into account: The number of bonus points you can earn, and the minimum spending you must complete in order to earn those points. These cards field very different offers that might sway your decision in one direction or the other.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently offering 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. Plus, new cardholders can earn up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases within the first year. While still a substantial spending requirement, it breaks down to just over $1,300 a month for the first three months. Then you only need to spend $50 on groceries within the first year to earn the statement credit, which offsets more than half the card’s annual fee.
In its corner, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is offering a whopping 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Those are both big numbers, but the spending divides down to just $5,000 per month — well within reach of many small businesses.
That said, spending $11,000 more to earn 40,000 more bonus points might not be worth it for folks whose finances are tight at the moment. Don’t get too wowed by the larger number if the spending threshold is going to be a reach. But if it’s typical of your purchase activity, you might as well up your potential points haul.
This might not be top-of-mind, but if you currently carry, or have had in the past, other Chase cards, or if you have applied for several other credit cards recently, you might find yourself ineligible for one or both of these offers.
Chase has what’s informally known as the 5/24 rule. This means if you have opened five or more credit cards, from any bank, within the past 24 months, you won’t be approved for a new Chase card. So look at your accounts and make sure that you have not voided your ability to be considered for these cards off the bat.
Additionally, in the case of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase states: “This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.” So if you have the more-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® open, you’ll be precluded from this offer. Likewise, if you opened either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and received the bonus within the past 48 months, you won’t get this sign-up bonus, even if you have since closed your other account.
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card does not have such eligibility requirements. However, you may be asked to prove that you actually have a small business, even if it’s just a sole proprietorship for your side hustle, in order to open the card. So be prepared to jump through a few hoops unless you can very clearly demonstrate that this card is for your business and you can verify your income.
Comparing earning rates
Here, too, the cards diverge significantly. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout, as well as a wide variety of travel purchases, including flights, hotels, vacation rentals, rideshares, and more. It earns 1 point per dollar on everything else. Now through April 30, 2021, though, the card accrues 2x points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month.
For its part, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in the following categories each account anniversary year and 1x after that as well as on everything else:
- Shipping purchases
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- Internet, cable, and phone services
Depending on your spending habits, the best card for you will be the one that offers the opportunity to earn more bonus points. If your business requires a lot of purchases in the categories where the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card excels, then the card is a clear winner. Even if travel, which both cards treat as a bonus category, is your main expense, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 3x points up to its annual cap, which is pretty high, instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s uncapped 2x points.
Redeeming Ultimate Rewards points
This is one of the areas where the two cards are most similar. With either, the points you earn are worth 1.25 cents apiece toward travel reservations booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. For some perspective, that means the sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is worth $750 when cashed in this way, while the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card bonus is worth $1,250 in travel.
The interesting play here is that, if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece, upping your value even more. As mentioned above, carrying the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will preclude you from earning the sign-up bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but you might still be able to combine your points with the account of someone else in your household who has the Reserve.
Chase introduced a new feature called Pay Yourself Back for certain cards. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for dining, grocery, home improvement store, and eligible charity purchases through April 30, 2021.
With the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, only select charitable donations are currently eligible for a 1.25-cent rate, though, for a while, the card also extended it to online advertising and shipping purchases (no longer available). So the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers more flexibility in this respect. However, think again about the Chase Sapphire Reserve® double-play with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card since you can combine your points and redeem them through Pay Yourself Back at 1.5 cents apiece for the same categories as offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Aside from that, you can cash in points for one cent apiece toward statement credits, gift cards, and Apple purchases with either card, and at lower rate when redeemed directly on Amazon for purchases.
With either card, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to the program’s 13 airline and hotel transfer partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Doing so can help you score some phenomenal redemptions that way. When you’re ready to travel again, that is.
Comparing travel and purchase protections
Now for another element that might seem secondary, but that can become extremely significant for frequent travelers.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers one of the most comprehensive collections of travel protections of any rewards credit card. Its trip cancellation or interruption coverage maxes out at $10,000 per trip, $20,000 per occurrence, and $40,000 per 12-month period. If your trip is delayed 12 hours or overnight, you can claim up to $500 per purchased ticket to cover meals and lodging. Its baggage delay insurance goes into effect at six hours, with up to $100 per day for up to five days, while lost or stolen luggage is covered up to $3,000.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the few cards to offer primary rental car insurance against theft or damage. Finally, its purchase protection remains in effect up to 120 days after you buy an item, and is capped at $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
By contrast, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for interruption and cancellation but includes the same trip delay and baggage coverage as the Sapphire Preferred. Its auto rental coverage is primary for business rentals in the US and both business and personal rentals internationally. As for purchase protection, items are covered up to 120 days out, for as much as $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account — so if you’re making a large purchase, this is the card to do it on.
The other major difference is that the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers cell phone protection against theft or damage. It’s capped at $600 per claim and up to three claims per 12-month period with a $100 deductible per occurrence. Even with those limitations, though, this perk is one of the best the card offers.
Which card is right for you?
The answer to this question will mainly depend on a few key factors. First, would a business credit card be more useful than a personal one — both for things like helping you separate personal from work expenses, but also for the extensive purchase protections it might provide?
Second, which card’s welcome bonus is a better fit for your spending capacity? Of course, it’s tempting to earn 100,000 points, but not at the expense of overextending your finances. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card also doesn’t offer a grocery statement credit while the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does. Conversely, will you be able to take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card dining category enough to justify getting it, versus earning more points on travel as well as a variety of other purchases with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card?
Finally, how do you actually want to use your points? If it’s for travel, the choice between these two cards is basically a wash unless you get the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to up your redemption potential. But if statement credits and Pay Yourself Back are more your style, for the time being, you’ll have more choices with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Of course, you could always think about getting both cards. That way, you can earn even more bonus points with two welcome offers, and spread your bonus earning potential across several categories with two cards rather than having to choose between them. That might be an overreach, but if the spending requirements are within your purview, it’s something to think about.
Eric Rosen is a travel and credit card expert who has been helping readers reap the rewards of loyalty programs for over a decade. Eric is based in Los Angeles, though you’ll often find him globetrotting to destinations like Australia, Kenya, and Laos on assignment.