Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Ink Preferred

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If you are looking to build up your Chase Ultimate Reward point balance, there are two new relatively credit cards that can help you do that! Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred credit cards have been launched in the past 6 months and earn Ultimate Reward points. While I personally just recently applied (and got approved) for both cards, if you are only interested in applying for one new Chase Ultimate Reward card, I have gone ahead and detailed out the differences between the two to help you decide which one to apply for. Keep in mind that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a personal credit card, while the Chase Ink Preferred is a business credit card.

Also, both fall within Chase’s “5/24” rule which means if you’ve been approved for 5 or more personal credit cards in the past 24 months, Chase will not approve you for another card. And, even if you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus, you are still eligible to apply for and earn the sign up bonus on these two new cards as they are two entirely different products.

The similarities

Both cards earn Chase Ultimate Reward points. These are the same points you’ll earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus cards. The points earned allow you to use points through the Chase travel portal and transfer points to a partner loyalty program. The currently loyalty programs include: Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Korean Air, British Airways, United, Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic.

The differences

Although both cards earn the same type of points, they are two totally different cards on so many levels. The sign up bonus, the annual fee, the value of the points, the number of points you earn on purchases, and the benefits of the card all differ. So here we go:

Sign up bonus:

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a whopping 100,000 point sign up bonus. This is far superior to the 80,000 point sign up bonus that you’ll receive with the Chase Ink Preferred. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a whopping $450 annual fee, while the Chase Ink Preferred only has a $95 annual fee and if you apply in branch you might actually be able to get the annual fee waived for the first year. UPDATE: The Chase Sapphire Reserve sign up bonus is now 50,000 points for online applicants. You can still get the 100,000 point bonus by applying at a Chase branch by March 11, 2017.

Do not, however, let the high annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve steer you away. There are many benefits of the card that can help outweigh the fee, so make sure to read below.

Value of the points:

If you are looking to transfer your points to a loyalty partner, then the points are worth the exact same amount. All points are transferred at a 1:1 ratio regardless of the card you have any the program you are transferring to.

The real difference is if you are looking to use your points through Chase’s travel site. You can make an airline or hotel reservation directly through Chase and use your points to pay for the hotel/flight. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, all points are worth 1.5 cents per point with this type of redemption. With the Chase Ink Preferred (as well as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus), all points are worth 1.25 cents per point with this redemption. That is a big difference if you are able to rack up a bunch of points. With that being said, you are able to transfer your points freely between one Chase Ultimate Reward account to another. So, if you have both cards, for example, you can transfer your points from the Chase Ink Preferred card to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and then all points earned can be redeemed for that 1.5 cent per point value.

Points earned on purchases:

Both cards have different category bonuses on your purchases. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card you’ll earn 3x points on travel and dining out. With the Chase Ink Preferred card you’ll earn 3x points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. If most of your purchases are travel related, then you’ll earn 3x points regardless of the card. If you eat out a ton, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve will allow you to earn more. But if you are looking for a card to maximize your internet/cable/phone bill, then the Chase Ink Preferred will be much better for you.

One isn’t better then the other, it just really depends on the type of purchases you’ll be making with the card. For all other purchases not in the bonus categories, you’ll earn 1x point per dollar spent for both cards.

Benefits of the cards:

While both come with your standard Chase benefits, such as trip delay protection, trip cancellation protection, purchase protection, etc. There are some unique benefits that differ between these two cards and other Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve will reimburse you the $100 cost of Global Entry. Global Entry lasts for 5 years, so if you do not currently have it or your 5 years is running up, this is a way to get it paid for. You can also use the benefit to pay for someone else’s Global Entry application, it does not need to be just for the card holder. They will reimburse you once every five years.
  • You’ll receive up to a $300 statement credit on travel related purchases on the card. This is valid every single year. So if you get the card in January, you can receive the statement credit in February 2017 then again in January 2018, for example. This will allow you to receive the statement credit 2 times within the first annual fee year.

As I mentioned above, these are two benefits that help offset the $450 annual fee. Within just the first year of having the card, you can receive the $300 annual fee twice and $100 reimbursement from Global Entry. This means, with the $450 fee you are receiving up to $700 back! This is on top of the 100,000 bonus points earned. Keep in mind though that after the first year, the amount that offsets the annual fee will be less.

Chase Ink Preferred:

  • If you pay your cell phone bill with this card and something happens to your phone, you’ll receive up to $600 in protection per claim against damage or theft. This is for you and any other lines listed on your bill! You are also eligible to put in three claims per a 12-month period. There is, however, a $100 deductible.

For those that are necessarily the most responsible with your cell phone, this is a great insurance plan to have in your back pocket. And the fact that it covers everyone on your phone bill is great as they do not even have to be a card member!

Overall…

These are two great cards that I highly recommend if you are in the market for a new credit card. While I do not believe we will ever see a higher sign up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, there could potentially be a higher bonus for the Chase Ink Preferred card at some point. Although, since it was just launched recently, I do not foresee that happening for a long time, if ever. Currently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a sign up offer worth a minimum of $1,500 and the Chase Ink Preferred card has a sign up offer worth a minimum of $1,000.

Both of these cards are part of the “Top 10 credit card offers for the month of December.”

Comments

  1. You are comparing the Chase sapphire reserve Vs chase ink preferred. However, the article mentions cell phone insurance for the “chase sapphire preferred” if you pay your cell phone with this card. Is this an error? Your article does not discuss the “chase sapphire preferred” anywhere else.
    Did you mean chase sapphire reserve?

  2. “If you pay your cell phone bill with this card and something happens to your phone”
    Just wanted to confirm you meant the ink preferred and not sapphire preferred.

    Amazing post, thank you for the break down!

  3. Thank you for this post! I’ve been waiting on a comparison between these two cards. Would you happen to know if a tablet (that is on the same bill as the phone) is also covered under the Ink Preferred insurance? Thanks!

  4. So, I tried and it failed. I needed to use my $300 travel credit with Chase Sapphire. As a few blogs suggested given I can’t travel before the end of the year, I bought miles with my card on United. NOPE, Chase Sapphire is not allowing that to be a travel purchase. Bummer

    • @patricia – many times purchasing miles is from a third-party, a site called points.com and it does not code as travel. Purchasing some select travel gift cards will
      Work though.

  5. Great and very thorough article. I am currently debating which to apply for for a new small business — part of me wonders if the Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t a better overall deal.

    Maybe this is an odd question but is there any benefit to applying for a “business-specific” credit card for business other than what their offers are? I’m so unsure of which card would be the best for me.

    Thank you!!

    • @julie – there is not. Comes down to the offer and benefits. Many business specific credit cards have benefits that work well for small businesses I.e., extra points at office supply stores, internet, etc.

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