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Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Quicksilver

Oct. 13, 2022
10 min read
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Over the past few years, Capital One has raised its rewards game by expanding and improving its slate of credit cards. There are easy-to-use cash-back cards whose points can be redeemed at a fixed value toward travel purchases and other statement credits. These provide cardholders with a reliable rate of return on their everyday spending.

The issuer has also expanded its Capital One miles program so that certain cardholders can transfer miles to 17 airline and hotel partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club and ALL Accor Live Limitless.

Depending on where you spend the most money and how you want to redeem your rewards, deciding which Capital One credit card to apply for can be a difficult choice.

Among the products you might be deciding between are the popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. Let’s take a closer look to see which may be a better fit.

Related: Best Capital One cards

Overview of the cards

Here is a snapshot of the two cards and their respective benefits.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardCapital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee$95.$0.
Sign-up bonusEarn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.$200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Earning5 miles per dollar spent on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

5 miles per dollar spent on Turo car rentals (ends May 15, 2023).

2 miles per dollar spent on everything else.

1.5% cash back on everything.
Other benefits2 free airport lounge visits per year.

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee waiver (up to $100).

No foreign transaction fees.

Travel accident insurance.

Purchase protection.

Extended warranty.

0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months your account is open (17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months).

No foreign transaction fees.

Travel accident insurance.

Purchase protection.

Extended warranty.

Now let’s get into the details on both products and which one you can maximize if you’re thinking of applying for a new credit card.

Annual fee

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee. By contrast, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee. So, other than having to consider whether this is one of the two personal Capital One credit cards you can have open at any given time, carrying it year after year does not come at a cost. Plus, you can keep this account active as a way of building your credit history and boosting your credit score over time.

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Winner: It’s hard to beat a card with no annual fee, so the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card wins this round.

Related: The best no annual fee credit cards

Sign-up bonus

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently offering new cardholders 75,000 bonus miles when they spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. These miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed at a fixed rate for travel purchases or new bookings via Capital One Travel and for gift cards. That means the bonus is ostensibly worth $1,000 in travel.

Related: 5 reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture is a stronger earner and better for travel redemptions. ERIC HELGAS/THE POINTS GUY

However, the miles you earn with the Capital One Venture are transferable to 15 airline and 2 hotel partner loyalty programs now. Given that extra flexibility, TPG values these miles at 1.4 cents apiece, bringing the value of the sign-up bonus up to $1,400.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is considerably more modest — only $200 cash back. But you only have to spend $500 in the first three months to qualify. The card is also currently offering 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (17.99%-27.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months).

Winner: Although you have to spend more to earn it, the value of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus blows the Quicksilver’s out of the water.

Earning miles

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns a flat 1.5% back on all purchases. That makes your return on spending easy to calculate and count on. It’s also on par with competing cards from other issuers, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on most purchases, with an elevated 5 miles per dollar spent on Turo car rentals (ends May 15, 2023) and hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Winner: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card boasts an all-around better rate of return on every purchase.

Related: When you should consider the Capital One Venture card for hotels and car rentals

Redeeming miles

Here’s where the two cards diverge most dramatically.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a cash-back card, plain and simple. With a 1.5% rate of return on every dollar you spend, you can redeem your cash back in a few different ways.

Related: Best cash-back credit cards

The Quicksilver has an easy-to-maximize cash-back formula. ERIC HELGAS/THE POINTS GUY

Among them are statement credits, gift cards, Amazon.com purchases, a check or to “erase” a recent purchase within 90 days of making it. There are no minimum redemption values, so you can redeem your cash back for as little as 1 cent.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, on the other hand, earns miles that can be redeemed either for cash back or transferred to Capital One’s travel partners. In terms of cash back, you can redeem your miles at a rate of 1 cent apiece for travel purchases and gift cards. If you opt for statement credits on other types of purchases, or a check, you only get a rate of 0.5 cents per mile, essentially cutting your value in half, so you'll want to avoid this option.

However, in addition to cash back, Capital One Venture miles are transferable to partner programs.

Related: Best ways to maximize Capital One Miles

While not always as valuable as some other transferable points programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, there are still plenty of ways to maximize these partners, including Lufthansa business class and ANA first class using Avianca LifeMiles, or booking American Airlines premium tickets to Europe with Etihad Guest miles.

Capital One Venture Rewards miles could be your key to awards in Lufthansa business class. ZACH HONIG/THE POINTS GUY

Winner: If you’re just looking for a simple, cash-back rate of return, the Quicksilver might be a better option. However, if you want to redeem your cash back specifically for travel purchases, or are willing to get creative with transfers (and there are often transfer bonuses to various partners), the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes out on top.

Other benefits

Both cards waive foreign transaction fees, provide concierge services and give cardholders access to exclusive events. They also include purchase protection and extended warranty as well as secondary rental-car coverage and travel accident insurance.

Only the Capital One Venture will reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. GEORGE FREY/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, on the other hand, offers an additional outstanding perk. Like several credit cards with much higher annual fees, it will reimburse cardholders once every four years for either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, a benefit that is worth up to $100.

Winner: The Global Entry/TSA PreCheck benefit alone is worth getting the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Related: Best credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Bottom line

Both the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are great rewards card options. The Quicksilver is a useful no-brainer for folks who just want a simple cash-back formula for earning and redeeming without having to put in much effort.

However, if you want miles specifically for travel purchases and can maximize Capital One’s travel transfer partners as well as benefits such as the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee refund, then the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a much better choice. Which card is right for you will just depend on your spending habits and travel needs.

For more information, read our Capital One Venture review and our Capital One Quicksilver review.

Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Chris Dong and Benét J. Wilson

Featured image by JOHN GRIBBEN/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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