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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are two of the best mid-range rewards credit cards on the market. Both are great for frequent travelers, but offer different earnings and benefits. Which one is best for you? In this article, we take a look at each card and compare the costs, points / miles earning rates, reward options and other benefits to find out who can get the most from each.
Mid-range options with same annual fee
We consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card as ‘mid-range’ loyalty cards. They do not provide the extensive travel benefits of the higher priced cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but do offer a solid range of rewards and benefits at a lower price.
Both cards have the same annual fee of $95. This is waived for the first year with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.
There is a generous sign up bonus for both cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months. The Capital One Venture Rewards card has a slightly lower offering of 50,000 miles for spend of $3,000 within three months.
No foreign exchange fees with either card
A great travel benefit that both cards offer is no exchange fees on foreign currency spending. This can save a lot when traveling overseas, compared to a card which charges around 3% for this.
Note that this only applies for purchases with the card, and not for cash withdrawals. ATM transactions will incur a fee with both cards.
So far, both cards have relatively similar offerings. Rewards earning is where the two cards really start to differentiate themselves.
Both earn points at different rates for different areas. The Chase and Capital One rewards schemes are very different from each other too. It is important to look at both where you will earn points and how these can later be used for maximum value when considering which of the two cards is best for you.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards Chase Ultimate Rewards points for spending. Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best rewards programs around and has a good reputation and following.
There is a lot of flexibility in where to spend points once earned:
- Redeem them for cashback at a rate of one cent per point
- Use them to book travel through the Chase travel portal at an increased value of 1.25 cents per point
- Transfer to an excellent set of airline and hotel partners. Airlines included are Aer Lingus, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic. Hotel partners are IHG, Hyatt and Marriott. All points transfers are at a 1:1 ratio, which opens up valuable redemption options with each of these airlines, as well as their partners!
For more on the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and some ideas of how best to use points, see our guide.
Our Summary: This is a very strong set of options for redeeming for travel. 1.25 cents per point is a higher rate than offered by other cards, and transferring at a 1:1 ratio to so many partners opens up many good value options.
Capital One Venture Rewards
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card awards Capital One Venture Rewards miles. These similarly have several options for redeeming:
- Booking travel through the Capital One booking portal, at a rate of one cent per mile
- Offsetting any previous travel purchase (with a wide definition including flights, hotels, car hire, taxis etc) made using the card. Again this is at a rate of one cent per mile.
- Redeeming for gift cards or cashback – but these tend to be not as good value.
- Transfer miles to an airline partner. Until recently, there were no transfer options for Venture rewards miles. The scheme was enhanced somewhat in 2018 with the addition of a number of miles transfer partners. Miles can be transferred to Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MileMiglia, Avianca LifeMiles, Emirates Skywards, Finnair Plus, Aeromexico Club Premier, Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Etihad Guest, EVA Infinity MileageLands, Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club, Qantas and Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Transfers are at a rate of 2:1 or 2:1.5.
For more on Venture Rewards, and the best value options, see our guide to the program.
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Our Summary. Whilst there is plenty of flexibility here, the scheme is not as strong as Chase Ultimate Rewards. The value obtained per point is lower, and this is weakened further if transferred to a partner. The airline transfer partners are solid and have some great options, but do lack any major US carrier, which could be limiting for many users.
Chase Sapphire Preferred card – earning points
So now we understand the main differences between the two points schemes, let’s look at how you earn points with spending.
TheChase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards two points per dollar on all travel and dining spend, and one point per dollar for all other spend.
Capital One Venture Rewards – earning miles
The base earning rate with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is higher, at two miles per dollar on all spend.
Capital One Venture Rewards also has an interesting partnership with Hotels.com, where bonus miles of ten miles per dollar are earned on all spend. This needs to be booked and paid for using the card through a special link. You will also earn standard rewards through hotels.com. For regular travelers that can use hotels.com this can be a valuable benefit.
Other card benefits
Both cards offer other benefits aside from just points / miles earning. The main areas are:
- Additional warranty for card purchases
- Basic insurance / travel protection when booked with the card
- Auto rental Collision Damage Waiver when you rent using the card
The levels and cover offered by both cards are similar – neither is significantly better here. But, as always, make sure you check the terms and level of cover carefully.
There is one area where the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gets ahead though. It offers a $100 credit when you take out Global Entry or TSA Pre Check.
Of the two, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably the stronger choice for the frequent traveler and airline mile user. The flexibility of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and the great value that can be obtained from transferring 1:1 to airline partners and then booking reward tickets is hard to beat. In our opinion this, and the 25% higher general travel redemption rate, sufficiently offsets the slightly lower earnings for non-travel spend.
For the less frequent traveler, or a user who would not make use of the airline transfers with the Chase card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great choice. It is a simpler card which offers a consistently high earning rate on all spending, as well as a good value redemption for any travel spend. Waiving the $95 annual fee for the first year and provision of Global Entry rebate offer are nice bonuses as well, especially for those new to the miles and points world.
Of course, there is no reason not to apply for both! Especially for higher spenders, or those who can use the hotels.com bonus regularly, there are benefits in splitting spending across the cards.
Notice: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.