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Travel Card Showdown: Capital One Venture Rewards vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are titans in the travel credit card market, and it can be tough to choose which one is right for you. Luckily, the Nerds are here to help.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: The basics

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Let’s start with a rundown of the basic features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. First up, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With this card, you’ll get:

  • A sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn Ultimate Rewards points with every purchase, with extra points earned on travel and dining
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip-enabled
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Now for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. With it, you’ll get:

  • A sign-up bonus: 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
  • Earn No Hassle Miles with every purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip-enabled
  • Annual fee is $0 intro for first year; $59 after that

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Rewards

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining out and 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases. In general, Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each. But if you choose to redeem rewards through Chase’s travel tool, their value goes up to 1.25 cents apiece.

And don’t forget about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s generous sign-up bonus (see above). That’s worth $500 in travel if you choose to book a trip through Ultimate Rewards.

Not to be outdone, card members will earn 2 miles for every dollar spent with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Each mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel, giving this card one of the highest rewards rates on the market.

With the  Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll be eligible for a sign-up bonus worth $400 in travel purchases (see above). This isn’t quite as high a value as you could get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but it’s still a big rewards windfall.

To learn more about or apply for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, read more here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: How to redeem

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are heavy hitters, as far as ongoing rewards and sign-up bonuses go. What differentiates them is the way that rewards can be redeemed.

Let’s start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You can redeem your points by making travel-related purchases, such as flights and hotel stays, through Chase’s online booking tool. Remember, your points will be worth 1.25 cents apiece if you take this route. There’s no minimum requirement to redeem points for travel, and it’s possible to redeem for a portion the cost if you don’t have enough rewards to pay for a booking outright.

Alternatively, you can also transfer your rewards at a 1:1 ratio, in 1,000-point increments, to participating frequent traveler programs. These include:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • Marriott Rewards
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards

For consumers who are savvy about booking award seats and stays, the ability to transfer to partners may give the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card an edge over the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

But the beauty of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that it makes redeeming rewards easy and flexible. When you’re ready to book a trip, you have two options: Purchase travel directly through Capital One using your miles, or book on your own and use Purchase Eraser to pay yourself back with your rewards in the form of a statement credit. You must request the statement credit within 90 days of your travel purchase.

In most cases, there’s no minimum number of miles needed to redeem for travel with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. The only exception is if you use Purchase Eraser to pay for part of a booking; in this case, you’ll need at least 2,500 miles.

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offer non-travel ways to redeem rewards, but this option won’t give you the maximum value per point or mile. To learn more about cash-back credit card options, check out our handy tool.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Fees

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card charge no foreign transaction fees, so both are a good choice if you’re planning to travel internationally.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card charges an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card charges $0 intro for first year; $59 after that, making it less expensive on an annual basis.

Which card is right for you?

The choice between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is mostly a question of how you want to redeem your rewards. If the idea of booking through a portal or transferring points to travel partners excites you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably a better fit.

If frequent flyer programs intimidate you, or you’d simply prefer the flexibility to book through the site of your choice and pay with rewards later, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is probably more your speed. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card may also be better for consumers with rigid work or school schedules. Award seat availability during peak travel times (winter holidays and summer) tends to be scarce, so having the ability to use rewards with any airline or hotel chain is key.

Rewards booking preferences should drive your decision, but rest assured that both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card get two thumbs up.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.


Image via iStock.

  • payingattention

    I just got a mailing for the Capital One Venture card that says it only offers 1.25 miles per $1 spent. That’s a reduction in the 1.5 miles I had seen in another article, and a lot less than the 2x that you cite here.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi @trues24:disqus – The Capital One Venture is currently offering 2x miles per $1 spent. You may have received a mailing for a similar card, the Capital One VentureOne (confusing, I know!), which offers 1.25x miles per $1 spent. The VentureOne has a lower rewards rate and sign-up bonus than the Venture, but also has no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR rate. I hope this helps answer your question!

      • payingattention

        Yes – I realized that after I posted – they call their cards very similar things. (I guess I need to re-think my screen name.) Unfortunately, I was away from my computer and couldn’t get back to my posting. Thanks!

    • Kaustav Mukherjee

      I just got the Venture card and i am accruing 2x miles per $ spent. Prior to applying i was reading across websites on Chase Sapphire v Venture, and i agreed based on those articles that the lower annual fee and better rewards conversion rates were the better bet towards Venture. However, i now observe that the redemption rate is not 100 miles to $1 but $200 miles to $1 and hence the 40,000 bonus miles will translate to $200 and not $400. this is based on the NoHassles Reward page currently showing me 1126 miles = $5.63!! not sure what is going on

      • payingattention

        So, I was having trouble finding info on the redemption/awards side, and I will redouble my efforts. If you get double points, it doesn’t help at all if they are worth half . . .. Thank you for alerting me. We haven’t applied for either card yet, but those are the two we are looking at.

      • Scot

        Venture card rewards is meant to be used for traveling expenses, if you use it for traveling expences 100 miles will be worth $1, if you want to redeem it for cash then you only get half the value, hence your misunderstanding

    • MyTwoCents

      There’re two Capital One Venture cards and both offer the same benefits with some minor differences. The Capital One Venture One offers 1.25 miles per $1 spent with no annual fees. Whereas the Capital One Venture offers 2x miles per $ spent. It took me awhile and lots of research to notice this difference. Perhaps this is the difference you’re seeing?

  • Tanner Chung

    Cool! Thanks for all the info – when you booked the Delta flight it was through the Chase portal? If so then I probably want to switch over. I fly Delta most of the time.

    Right now I only use the Bank of America Cash Rewards for everything and Amazon Chase for Restaurants (2%) and Amazon purchases (3%)

    • acb550

      I did book Delta through the portal. If you sign up now, you can still get 3% for travel. Starting in 2016, you lose the extra point through Ultimate Rewards. I think it’s still going (we signed up in April), but if you pay $4000 in the first 3 months you get 40,000 pts, and if you have a spouse or someone you trust, if you add an authorized user you get 5000 more points on their first purchase. And you don’t need to earn the 40,000 to get it. We are still working towards our 40,000, but we already earned the 5000. And I booked a Delta flight and got my 3x. And if you use Amazon Chase for Restaurants (I did) you can do Sapphire and get the same 2% (but your 2% is worth more because each point is 1.25 points when redeemed through the Chase portal) which is what I will be doing. However, as I’ve said we have the Freedom and they have 5% rotating categories. Right now dining is 5% so we’ve used that. We also had my inlaws over and ate out a lot, so we racked up a lot of points with the 5%. We’ll be transferring those over for travel. And thanks to booking through the portal and getting the 20% off the price, the 5cents saved on the dollar was really over 6 cents. I can’t complain yet. Just the juggling act is complicated :)

      What I can tell looking at Capital One Venture, while you get 2pts on all purchases, they don’t have a discount for booking. That may change because of Chase’s 20% and Barclay’s 10% back.