Travel Card Showdown: Capital One Venture Rewards vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture Rewards are both high-profile travel rewards cards for people with excellent credit. We recommend both of them frequently because they’re similar in many ways. Each has its own merits: the Chase Sapphire’s ridiculously good bonus puts it ahead in the short term, but the Capital One Venture wins out in the long run. With its industry-leading rewards rate and low annual fee, this card is a standout for the frequent flier. Nevertheless, the Sapphire Preferred has its own redeeming qualities. The best choice will depend on your time horizon.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives 2 Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else. It has no foreign transaction fee, and it has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. The kicker is that it has a bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. If you use your Ultimate Rewards Points for travel booked through Chase, they’re worth 25% more; plus…
The Capital One Venture Rewards gives 2 No Hassle Miles on all purchases – yes, all of them. That’s like bonus rewards on everything. Like all Capital One credit cards, it has no foreign transaction fee, and its $59 annual fee is also waived in the first year. It offers a lower bonus of Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel, but No Hassle Miles are actually pretty good: they don’t expire, and you can use them to offset any travel expense.
The Chase Sapphire’s ace in the hole: the signup bonus
Normally, the Venture would defeat the Sapphire Preferred easily. But the Sapphire’s got something up its sleeve, the signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. That can be worth upwards of $500 if you play your cards right. That’s an impressive jump over the Capital One Venture’s Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel.
On those grounds alone, the Sapphire’s your go-to card in the short term, because you’d have to spend, quite a bit on the Venture to make up the deficit. The bonus offer puts the Sapphire ahead of the Venture (and, truth be told, most other travel cards) if you’re holding the card for 1-3 years.
Capital One’s killer rewards rate
In the rewards department, the Capital One Venture Rewards card reigns supreme. It lets you earn a flat 2% back on all your purchases, which is pretty much the best out there. In terms of long-term value, the CapOne Venture can’t be surpassed: the Sapphire’s best rewards rate is just the Venture’s baseline. The lower annual fee, too, helps it defeat the Sapphire in terms of ongoing value.
Verdict: If you’re holding the card for only 2-3 years, the Sapphire Preferred is your best bet. If you’re looking for a long-term value, then you can’t do better than the Capital One Venture.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
on Capital One's
|Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.||Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel|
|Intro APR Promo|
|Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.||$0 intro for first year; $59 after that|
No Hassle Miles vs. Ultimate Rewards Points
How do the cards’ rewards programs stack up? The Ultimate Rewards Points are much more flexible: you can redeem for cash or gift cards at full value. Plus, with the Sapphire, you can make your points worth 25% more if you use them to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool. That’s what ups the rewards rate from a base of 1% to potentially 1.25%. You also get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall, which earns you an additional 1-20% cash back with preferred vendors.
No Hassle Miles are more restrictive. As far as travel rewards go, they’re near the top: instead of being limited to miles on a specific airline or redeeming in 25,000-point blocks, you can redeem any number of points as a statement credit offsetting any travel expense. So if you rack up $522.98 on hotel rooms, airfare, checked bag fees and minibar food, you can trade in 52,298 miles to make the expenses disappear. Still, you can’t beat the simplicity of Ultimate Rewards’ cash back.