Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Quicksilver
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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.
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 Card||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 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.|
|Earning||5 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 benefits||2 free airport lounge visits per year.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee waiver (up to $100).
No foreign transaction fees.
Travel accident insurance.
|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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Additional reporting by Emily Thompson, Chris Dong and Benét J. Wilson