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TPG reader Christina tweeted me to ask about how to avoid blackout dates with travel rewards:

@thepointsguy — “Your thoughts please: I want a card that lets me use points anytime with no blackouts. Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture?”

Flexibility is key these days; with airlines and hotels changing the rules, you need to have points that you can use for the travel you want, when you want it. When it comes to airline purchases, both of the cards Christina mentioned can be used to make pretty much any airline purchase.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. Those points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents apiece toward travel. However, you have to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and some airlines won’t show up there, such as Southwest and a number of smaller airlines around the world.

Both Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture allow you to redeem for whatever flight you want. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and you can redeem those miles for 1 cent apiece toward travel purchases. Basically, the card earns 2 percent back across the board.

The beauty of Capital One Venture is that you can actually wipe away regular charges that you’ve already made, so you don’t need to book through any specific portal. You can use your card on a random little airline in the Maldives and then wipe that charge off your statement with miles, whereas you may not have been able to book that flight at all through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

It’s still possible to book most flights with Chase, and technically you could be earning 2.5 percent back if you’re maximizing the travel and dining bonuses on Sapphire Preferred. But I think for flexibility, the Capital One Venture card is pretty hard to beat.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Know before you go.

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.