Comparing the best fixed-value point credit cards

Jun 22, 2022

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Earning and redeeming points from travel rewards credit cards can be a challenging endeavor. Whether it’s remembering which one offers the best earning rates at certain merchants or figuring out which transfer partner offers the best redemption rate, there’s the potential for lots of complexity. Many of my friends and family members prefer simpler products, especially ones with points that can be redeemed for travel at a fixed value however they wish.

For those who want to keep things simple, I want to compare the most popular and rewarding credit cards in this category.

Before getting into the analysis, a few notes about how I selected the below cards. This post focuses on cards for which the best redemption isn’t cash back — after all, why not take the cash back when that’s the best redemption? As a result, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and Discover it Miles are excluded. Likewise, the Citi® Double Cash Card and other cash-back cards are excluded since the only redemption option is cash back.

This post instead considers the best credit cards with points that can be redeemed for a fixed value toward travel. But, cash is great, so here’s an article on the best cash-back cards.

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Best fixed-value point credit cards for 2022

Comparison of the best fixed-value point credit cards

Card Bonus Annual fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. $95.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. $395.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. $550.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. $95.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. $95 (waived the first year).
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card 50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days from opening the card. $400.

The information for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Earn double miles with the Venture card. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Bonus value: $750 in travel.

Rewards rate: 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $95.

Our take: Redeeming Capital One miles for a fixed value toward travel charges couldn’t be easier; just make a purchase and you have 90 days to use miles — at a rate of one cent each — to erase the eligible travel charge. The Capital One Venture card has a low annual fee and earns double miles for purchases that fall outside of the bonus categories you find on other cards, so it’s a great choice for those purchases.

It’s really hard to go wrong with this card and it even comes with up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And if you want to get even more value for your miles, you can transfer them to Capital One’s airline partners. But, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple and using the miles to just erase the travel charges you charge.

Apply for the Capital One Venture card here.

Capital One Venture X 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.

Bonus value: $750 in travel.

Rewards rate: 10 miles per dollar on hotels & rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $395.

Our take: The same simple setup for redeeming points with the Venture Rewards card applies here, too — you can redeem each mile you earn for 1 cent in travel purchases. The Venture X also more than makes up for its pricier annual fee thanks to its $300 annual travel credit (effectively knocking its $395 tag down to $95, equal to the Venture Rewards’ fee). Plus, you’ll get a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit as well as lounge benefits.

Apply for the Capital One Venture X card here.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Bonus value: $900 in travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Rewards rate: 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards when you make prepaid restaurant reservations, order takeout or join our virtual cooking events; 3 points per dollar on all other travel worldwide, after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3 points per dollar on other dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $550.

Our take: With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, when you book travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each. The best part is that you can pool the points you earn with other Chase credit cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with the Sapphire Reserve and they’ll instantly be worth more when you redeem via this manner. This ability makes having the Reserve card advantageous if you prefer to redeem Chase points for a fixed-value.

The $550 annual fee might put some people off, but every year the card comes with a $300 travel credit, which effectively brings the annual fee down to a more reasonable $250. It also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, granting the cardholder and up to two guests unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge access. And it has excellent travel protections, like trip delay reimbursement, car rental insurance and baggage delay coverage. Plus, Chase has added perks with DoorDash and Lyft to the card.

While the points can transfer to hotel and airline partners, you can also just ignore that functionality and use them to book travel via the easy-to-use Chase travel portal.

Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Bonus value: $750 in travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Rewards rate: 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out; 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 2 points per dollar on all other travel; 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025); 3 points per dollar on select streaming services and online grocery purchases; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $95.

Our take: Though the Chase Sapphire Preferred only redeems points booked through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal at 1.25 cents each — not the 1.5-cent rate of the Reserve — you’re still able to pool the points you earn with other Chase credit cards, making the Preferred a more-than-viable option when it comes to fixed-rate cards.

You’ll also get a $50 annual hotel credit, a 10% anniversary points boost and complimentary access to DoorDash DashPass, among other perks.

Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Bonus value: $500 in travel.

Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 2 points per dollar on every purchase.

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year.

Our take: You can redeem the miles you earn with Capital One Spark Miles card in the same way that you do with the Venture card. Just make an eligible travel purchase and erase the charge at a rate of one cent per mile. Spark miles also transfer to the same airline partners as the other Capital One cards in this guide and this card comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit.

Apply for the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business here.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days from opening the card.

Bonus value: $750 in travel.

Rewards rate: Earn 3 points per dollar on travel and mobile wallet purchases; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $400.

Our take: You can redeem the points you earn with the Altitude Reserve card for airfare, hotel stays and car rentals at 1.5 cents per point when you book them through the U.S. Bank travel site. Or, you can redeem them instantly for eligible travel purchases with U.S. Bank’s Real-Time Rewards. Real-Time Rewards is a great feature.

The way it works is once you enroll and make an eligible purchase you’ll get a text asking if you want to redeem points for the purchase. Simply, respond with yes or no and you’re good to go. But with the Altitude Reserve, you aren’t able to go back and erase eligible purchases after the fact in the same way that you can with Venture and Spark Miles cards. That means you need to have the points in your account before you can use them.

This card also has an easy-to-use $325 in annual travel credits, which apply to a wide range of purchases including rental cars, airfare, hotels, taxis, trains and cruise lines. You’ll also get a Priority Pass Select membership with eight complimentary visits per year. It also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

Fixed-value points versus flexible points

Although this post is focused on fixed-value point credit cards, you can transfer the rewards you earn to travel partners with all but one of the cards (notably the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card). Generally, you can get a lot more value from transferable currencies by transferring your points to make a high-value redemption, such as flying in a lie-flat seat to Europe for 70,000 points. But, it’s certainly less complicated to redeem points at a fixed value.

Related: How to redeem miles for your first flight award

Plus, if you redeem your points toward airfare at a fixed value, you’ll still earn airline miles since your booking will be treated as a revenue ticket in the eyes of the airline. This can really help if you are chasing airline elite status.

Whether or not you transfer your points generally comes down to convenience versus value. The only credit card reward that is easier to use than fixed-value travel points is cash back. As long as you are making a qualifying travel purchase you’re good to go, although there are some gray areas. For example, Airbnb counts as a travel purchase with most cards, but vacation rentals like VBRO typically don’t always.

There are even instances where you can book flights or hotels using fewer fixed value points compared to transferring points. This is especially true with cheaper flights and hotel stays. For example, take a look at how many IHG points you’d need to book these L.A. hotels if you transferred Chase points to IHG at a 1:1 rate.

Related Reading: How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value

Now look at how many Chase points you need to use if you booked the exact same hotel, on the exact same night through the Chase travel portal with the Sapphire Reserve.

By using Chase points as a fixed-value reward you end up saving 50% of your points per night. But if you’re booking expensive flights, especially business- and first-class tickets, having the option to transfer points can be a game-changer.

For example, Lufthansa business-class flights between New York and Munich can regularly run $3,000-5,000 per round-trip ticket. You can book the same flight with only 126,000 Avianca LifeMiles and Capital One miles transfer to Avianca at a 1:1 ratio. But if you redeemed your miles at a fixed value, you’d need 300,000-500,000 miles for the exact same ticket!

Related: How to redeem Ultimate Reward points for a business class seat

What about Amex Membership Rewards points?

Just like with Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Capital One miles, Membership Rewards points are transferrable points you can redeem for a fixed value but with more restrictions. You can apply 5,000 Membership Rewards points or more to pay the full or partial amount of airfare booked through Amex Travel at a value of one cent per point. You can also use your points to book prepaid hotels, vacations and cruises through Amex Travel but you’ll only get a value of 0.7 cents per point for these types of bookings.

Related reading: Everything you need to know about how to use Amex Pay With Points.

However, if you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express you’ll receive 35% of your redeemed points back (up to 1,000,000 points per calendar year) for all business- and first-class bookings or any class of service with your selected airline when paying with points. The American Express® Business Gold Card has a similar feature, but the points rebate is only 25% (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year, terms apply). So as you can see, redeeming Amex points for a fixed value isn’t quite as easy as with some other types of points and miles.

Bottom line

Diversifying your points and miles is a critical strategy in this hobby and fixed-value credit cards represent a great way to do just that. Fixed-value points definitely have compelling uses, above all, convenience. However, you may find that a transferrable rewards card that also allows you to get decent value when you book through its travel center is a better value, especially if you may want to transfer points periodically to top off loyalty account balances for redemptions.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Katie Genter and Jason Stauffer.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.