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Making the Most of the Capital One Savor or SavorOne

If you spend big on food and fun, you'll rack up rewards fairly easily. But you might still need a good 'everything else' card.
Oct. 22, 2019
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card are about food and fun. You earn accelerated rewards on dining in or dining out, and it’s probably your go-to card when paying for entertainment.

If you already spend a lot in those areas, you’ll earn rewards pretty effortlessly. But using either card strategically can mean an even bigger payoff.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for restaurants

Earn the sign-up bonus

Each card comes with a sign-up bonus.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Like most related cards, you have a higher required spending level to get the bigger bonus.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

If you’re a relatively new cardholder and still eligible for the cash bonus, funnel all kinds of expenses onto your card at first so you can hit the threshold to earn the bonus.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit card bonus offers

Dine, dine, dine (and drink)

  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 4% cash back on dining.
  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 3% cash back on dining.

Rewards for both of these cards are outstanding for restaurant spending. So always remember to use the card when dining out, whether for McDonald’s, Chinese takeout or Tavern on the Green. But the definition of dining also extends to other places, like coffee shops, bars and bakeries.

If you’re out with a group, volunteer to pick up the tab and have friends pay you their shares in cash or digital payment, like PayPal or Venmo. For this level of cash back, it’s worth the ask.

Especially with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’re unlikely to have another card in your wallet that’s always better for restaurant spending.

» MORE: Dining out? Don’t leave credit card rewards on the table

Entertain yourself

  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment.
  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment.

The value of this spending category depends on how Capital One defines “entertainment.” Fortunately for cardholders, the definition is liberal — meaning it’s a valuable bonus category.

Earn accelerated cash back on tickets for entertainment. That could be for a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium or zoo, as examples. Even purchases at pool halls and bowling alleys count.

However, notable exceptions include cable TV subscriptions or streaming services. Because they don’t count as entertainment, they earn just the regular 1% cash back.

Again, make the most of this category. Tell your friends you’ll buy the movie tickets, and they can pay you back.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for entertainment

Eat in

  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 2% cash back at grocery stores.
  • Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Unlimited 2% cash back at grocery stores.

If you do more cooking at home than dining out, these cards can still be a fine choice for supermarket shopping. You don’t have to worry about spending caps or what’s in your cart. Every supermarket dollar earns 2% cash back — even if you’re buying nonfood items at the supermarket.

But not all stores count. It sounds like a catch, but it’s typical with credit card categories because merchants are identified by their merchant category code, or MCC. It depends on where you buy groceries. Excluded from the higher cash-back earnings are groceries bought at gas stations, convenience stores, warehouse clubs, discount stores and superstores, like Target and Walmart. They will earn the usual 1% cash back.

You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth avoiding those types of stores for grocery purchases to get the extra cash back with these cards. Some excluded stores might offer far lower prices — more valuable than the 1% difference in cash back.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for groceries

Pack it when traveling abroad

These cards charge no foreign transaction fees. You might expect that perk on a card with an annual fee. But the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $0 and still doesn’t charge those fees, which often are 3% of your purchases.

The upshot: These cards are good candidates to charge expenses abroad.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Get an ‘everything else’ card

Both of these cards are ideal candidates to use in tandem with a good “everyday credit card,” one that earns a good flat rate of cash back regardless of what you’re charging. You would use these cards for dining out, entertainment and groceries, then use the flat-rate card for everything else. (Remember, these Savor cards give you only 1% back on “everything else.”)

You can do better.

If you want to stay in the Capital One family, consider pairing these with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. An extra 0.5% doesn’t sound like much, but if your “other” spending is $20,000 annually, that’s an extra $100 per year.

Better yet, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer gives 2% cash back on everything — 1% back when you make purchases and another 1% when you pay them off.

Homebodies might have better card options, and these cards might take a back seat. But those who spend lots on dining out and entertainment will be making the most of these cards — while earning healthy cash back.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best cash-back credit cards

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