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Capital One vs. Chase: Which bank has better credit card offers?

Jan. 23, 2021
15 min read
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In the travel credit card world, the options can be overwhelming. You can earn cash back, miles, points — or even luxury perks such as airport lounge access or a fast track to elite status. Plus, each card you open can have an affect on which cards and bonuses you're eligible for in the future. So you want to make sure that the card you apply for is the right one for you.

Two of the best options are Capital One cards and Chase cards and both banks issue a variety of rewards credit cards. Let's take a look at which cards are the best in different categories.

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Capital One versus Chase card comparison

Capital OneChase
Transferable rewardsCapital One milesChase Ultimate Rewards
Travel cardsCapital One Venture Rewards Credit CardChase Sapphire Preferred Card
Premium travel cardsNoneChase Sapphire Reserve®
Cash-back rewardsCapital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit CardChase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Flex

Business cardsCapital One Spark Miles for BusinessInk Business Preferred Credit Card

Transferable rewards

You can use Chase points and/or Capital One miles to book Singapore Airlines business class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

To get the most value out of credit card rewards, flexibility is key. Transferable points and miles are your best friends, and both Capital One and Chase issue cards that earn these rewards.

You earn transferable miles with these Capital One cards:

  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The information for the Capital One Savor and Capital One Spark Miles Select cards as been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

And you can earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these Chase cards:

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Travel partners: Capital One miles transfer to 13 airline and two hotel partners; Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to 10 airline and three hotel partners -- but the number of transfer partners doesn't tell the whole story. First, Chase points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to all of its partners, while Capital One miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio to 13 partners and a 2:1 ratio to the other two.

You also need to consider the usefulness of the partner loyalty programs. Capital One has valuable partners, including Air Canada's Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer and Air France-KLM's Flying Blue. But Chase points also transfer to Singapore Airlines and Flying Blue, but at a better transfer ratio. Plus, Chase has other excellent partners, such as Virgin Atlantic (great for ANA and Delta awards, even though there was recently a slight devaluation for Delta awards), United Airlines (book Star Alliance awards) and Hyatt (amazing for high-value luxury stays).

Earning rewards: All of the cards that earn Capital One miles earn 1.5x to 2x miles per dollar on every purchase. With Chase it depends on which card you have. The Sapphire cards earn bonus points on travel and dining: The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on travel and 3x points on dining. The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card earns triple points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year in these categories:

  • Travel
  • Shipping
  • Telecom, including internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

All other purchases made with these Chase cards earn only 1 point per dollar. However, if you pair your premium card with the no-annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex, that will open up even more bonus categories.

Given how easy it is to earn unlimited double miles everywhere with the Capital One Venture and Capital One Spark Miles card, you'll find it's easier to earn Capital One miles unless you spend heavily in Chase's bonus categories.

Rewards value: According to TPG's monthly valuations, Capital One miles are worth 1.4 cents each and Chase points are worth 2 cents apiece. This value is based on the average value you can expect to receive when transferring to travel partners.

You can also use your rewards as fixed-value points to "erase" travel charges or pay for travel. You can use Capital One miles to erase eligible travel charges at a rate of 1 cent per mile, but Ultimate Rewards points can top that number in a few ways. First, Chase points can be redeemed for 1 cent each as cash back or you can use them to pay for travel booked through the Chase travel portal. When you use points to pay for travel booked through the Chase portal, they are worth 1.25 cents each with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that number jumps up to 1.5 cents each.

Related: Sapphire Preferred versus Sapphire Reserve

Winner: Between its better transfer ratios and more lucrative travel partners, Chase Ultimate Rewards is the clear winner when it comes to travel partners.

Travel cards

Use the miles and points you earn on select Capital One and Chase credit cards to book a vacation. (Photo by wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

The best consumer cards that Chase and Capital One offer are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture cards.

Bonus: The Sapphire Preferred has an intro offer of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The Venture card comes with a bonus of 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual fee:

  • Sapphire Preferred card: $95
  • Venture Rewards card: $95

Benefits: The Sapphire Preferred earns 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2x points on all other travel, 1x point on all other purchases. It also comes with excellent travel protections. You'll get primary rental car coverage, trip delay reimbursement, trip interruption protection and baggage delay insurance. This card also comes with at least a year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (must activate by March 31, 2022), which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more at DashPass restaurants.

The Venture card earns 2x miles on every purchase with no limit to the number of miles you can earn. It also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit worth up to $100 (once every four years).

Related: Key things to know about Global Entry

At first glance, these two cards seem to be evenly matched, but once you understand how much more valuable Ultimate Rewards points are compared to Capital One miles, the Sapphire Preferred comes out ahead. Again, TPG values Chase points at 2 cents each and Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each. That puts the value of the Sapphire Preferred's intro offer at $1,105 after you pay the annual fee, compared to the Venture's bonus value of up to $1,400 (based on TPG valuation and not provided by the issuer) — and they both have the same $95 annual fee.

This valuation means you're getting 4.8% in value for travel and dining (10% in travel on Lyft rides take through March 2022) with the Preferred and 2% everywhere else, while the Venture earns a flat 2.8% back in travel rewards on all purchases.

Winner: While the Venture card is likely a better choice for your everyday spending, once you take into consideration the Sapphire Preferred's travel insurance perks and the value of Ultimate Rewards points, it comes out on top.

Related: Mid-tier travel card showdown: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture

Premium travel cards

(Photo courtesy of Star Alliance.)
Priority Pass lounges include the Star Alliance lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. (Photo courtesy of Star Alliance.)

Capital One doesn't issue a "premium" card with higher annual fees that are offset by high-end benefits. The premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Bonus: The Reserve card has an intro offer of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Annual fee: $550

Benefits: The top two perks that come with this card are its $300 annual travel credit and the Priority Pass Select membership, which gets the cardholder and two guests access to 1,200+ airport lounges. You'll also get the same complimentary DashPass membership that comes with the Sapphire Preferred card. You can also use your Reserve to get a complimentary year of Lyft Pink as long as you activate the membership by March 2022. Lyft Pink normally costs $19.99/month and gets you 15% off Lyft rides and a handful of other perks.

The Reserve earns 3x points on travel and dining (except for the purchases reimbursed with the $300 travel credit), 10x points on Lyft rides taken through March 2022 and 1x point everywhere else.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Cash-back cards

Among cash-back consumer cards, the Capital One Savor and the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom Flex are the top options from each issuer.

Bonus: The Savor card has a $300 cash bonus which you can earn after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the card. Both the Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex come with a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account.

Annual fee:

  • Freedom Unlimited: $0
  • Freedom Flex: $0
  • Savor: $95

Benefits: The the Freedom Unlimited and the Freedom Flex earns 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and 3% back at drugstores. The Freedom Flex then offers 5% rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 per quarter you activate) and the Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% back on all other purchases. Both cards also come with three free months of DashPass and you can get the next nine months for 50% off. The Freedom Flex also offers cellphone insurance when you pay for your bill with the card.

The Savor card earns 4% back on dining and entertainment; 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. You'll also have no foreign transaction fees.

Reading: Best cards for groceries

Winner: The Savor is one of the top cards for dining and its bonus is double the value of the two Chase cards, so it's a better choice for just about everyone. However, the gap closes when you pair the Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited with a more premium Chase Ultimate Reward card since you'll be able to then transfer your points to Chase's travel partners.

Business cards: Chase wins

(Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)
Using a business card is a great way to get rewarded for your hard work. (Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images.)

The top business credit cards for these issuers are the Capital One Spark Miles and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Bonus: The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has a welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The Spark Miles card earns 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account.

Annual fee:

  • Ink Business Preferred: $95
  • Spark Miles for Business: $95, waived for the first year

Benefits: The Spark Miles card earns 2x miles on all purchases. You'll also get a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee credit worth up to $100 once every four years.

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card earns 3x points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases made each account anniversary for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines; 5x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022); all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. You'll also get cellphone insurance when you pay for your bill with the card.

Related reading: Chase Ink Business Preferred versus Capital One Spark Miles

For businesses with expenses that fall outside the Ink Preferred's bonus categories, the Spark Miles card is better for spending; outside of that, the Ink Preferred is a better card. Not only is the intro bonus significantly more valuable, but again, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so much more useful and provide more flexibility than Capital One miles. You can't beat Chase's travel partners and 1:1 transfer ratio. As an example, the Ink Preferred's welcome bonus can convert into 100,000 airline miles, while the Spark Miles welcome bonus would only convert into 37,500 airline miles at best.

Who should get a Capital One card?

Most of the Capital One card offers are great if you prefer simplicity. For example, the top three Capital One cards, the Venture Rewards card, Spark Miles Business card and Capital One Spark Cash for Business all have a $95 ongoing annual fee (waived for the first year for the Spark Miles and Spark Cash cards) and earn 2x miles or 2% cash back on every purchase.

If you don't want to worry about juggling cards in your wallet to maximize bonus categories, any one of these cards is a great choice to make the most of your spending. Plus, the rewards you earn are super easy to use and there's a huge value in not having to spending hours figuring out how to squeeze the most from your miles.

Who should get a Chase card?

To qualify for any Chase card you'll need to be under the Chase 5/24 rule. That means you'll need to have been approved for five or fewer cards from any bank in the past 24 months. If that's you, then start your journey into the world of miles and points with a Chase credit card. Many of the best airline credit cards, top hotel cards and most valuable general travel cards are issued by Chase. So it makes sense to get them before you get locked out by the 5/24 rule.

Related: Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your first card

Should I get cards from both banks?

There are some strict application restrictions on applying for cards from both Capital One and Chase, but it definitely is possible to get cards from both. Other than the aforementioned 5/24 rule, there really is no reason not to open cards with both Chase and Capital One.

Among the restrictions, Capital One limits you to two personal Capital One cards at a time; cobranded cards and business cards generally aren't included in this limit. You're also limited to being approved for one Capital One card every six months. With Chase, you can't hold both Sapphire cards at the same time. Also, if you've earned an intro bonus on a Sapphire card in the previous 48 months, you won't be able to open a new Sapphire card.

Bottom line

When it comes to earning credit card rewards, two of the top issuers are Capital One and Chase. Between these banks you'll easily be able to find a card to fit your needs. Chase has cards that earn the super valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer to useful hotel and airline loyalty programs. Capital One has a lineup of cards that earn 2x miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, so you can't beat the simplicity.

Which card is best for you depends a lot on your travel goals and what you want to get out of a card. In most cases Chase has the more rewarding options, but if cash back is what you're after, you'll want to take a look at what Capital One offers.

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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How we chose these cards

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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