Battle of the sign-up bonuses: Capital One Venture 100k vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred 80k
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I’m planning and booking a lot of trips right now. After all, I hope to return to the skies later this year once I’m fully vaccinated. If you’re also looking to travel later this year, now could be an excellent time to sign up for a new card. After all, several of the best rewards credit cards are currently offering higher-than-usual sign-up bonuses.
In particular, two of the best starter travel rewards cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — are now offering elevated sign-up bonuses. I’ve had the Capital One Venture for many years and I added the Chase Sapphire Preferred to my wallet last year. So, I can attest that both of these cards are excellent options if you’re looking for a new travel rewards card.
Since both cards currently offer increased sign-up bonuses, there are arguments for choosing each card as the next addition to your wallet. So, today I’ll compare the sign-up bonuses offered by both cards. I’ll also compare the value that you can get from each bonus and highlight some differences in each card’s redemption options. This way, you can choose the card and sign-up bonus that provides the most value to you.
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Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a popular beginner card, primarily due to its straightforward earning and redeeming scheme. In particular, the card’s structure is why TPG’s Brian Kelly picked the Capital One Venture as the one card he’d keep if he could only keep one.
The Capital One Venture was initially popular because it allowed consumers to redeem rewards to offset recent travel purchases. But, in 2018, Capital One added the option to transfer your miles to select airline and hotel partners. And, through June 30, 2021, you can also redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per point toward select non-travel purchases.
100,000-mile sign-up bonus
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card currently offers an elevated sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. Or, if this is a bit more than you can spend in 12 months, you can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
If you redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value of 1 cent per mile, the full 100,000-mile bonus will be worth $1,000. But, if you transfer Capital One miles to airline and hotel partners, TPG’s valuations estimate that the 100,000-mile bonus will be worth $1,400. In particular, two of the best Capital One transfer partners are Avianca Lifemiles and Etihad Guest.
However, you may not be eligible for this bonus if you are an existing or previous Venture cardholder.
Who should get the Capital One Venture?
- 2x miles on all other purchases (2.8% return)
However, the Capital One Venture does have a $95 annual fee. The card’s sizeable sign-up bonus and the up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit every four years can initially justify this annual fee. But, in subsequent years, you should consider how much value the card’s earning rates and transfer partners are providing.
You may be able to justify paying the annual fee for many years to come if you frequently use your Capital One Venture for non-bonus category spending for items including exercise and home improvement stores. But, if the card mainly sits unused in your wallet or sock drawer, you likely won’t be able to justify the annual fee year after year.
To learn more, read the Capital One Venture card review.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the cards I often recommend to friends looking for a new travel rewards card. After all, there are many reasons to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. TPG’s Summer Hull even believes the Sapphire Preferred should be the first rewards card in your wallet.
80,000-point sign-up bonus
Now is a perfect time to add the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to your wallet. After all, the card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, you can earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year from account opening.
If you redeem the 80,000-point bonus for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you’ll receive a 25% points bonus. But, if you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, TPG’s valuations estimate the bonus is worth $1,600. And the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has some valuable transfer partners, including World of Hyatt and Virgin Atlantic.
However, you’ll only be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you don’t currently have any Sapphire card, you haven’t received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months and you are under Chase’s 5/24 rule. You can always check in your Chase account to see if Chase has targeted you for a card offer that may bypass some of these restrictions.
Who should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a solid mid-tier card for dining and travel purchases. Specifically, the card earns:
- 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022 (10% return based on TPG’s valuations)
- 2x points on travel and dining (4% return)
- 1x points on everything else (2% return)
But the Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers various travel and purchase protection benefits. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s primary auto rental collision damage waiver protects most rentals made with the card. And, if a common carrier delays your trip for more than 12 hours (or you’re stranded overnight), Chase may reimburse up to $500 per ticket for reasonable additional expenses.
If you incur many dining and travel expenses each year, you might consider signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. But, since the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a higher bonus currently, I recommend signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now.
To learn more, read the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review.
Which sign-up bonus is better?
It’s difficult to say which sign-up bonus is better without knowing how you’ll use the bonus. Plus, there’s a lot more to a card besides its sign-up bonus. But, this guide does focus on sign-up bonuses. So, let’s look at a few reasons why each sign-up bonus might be better for you.
Sign-up bonus value
First off, let’s look at the pure value of the bonuses. The Capital One Venture‘s bonus is worth $1,000 if you redeem at a fixed rate. And, TPG’s valuations estimate the value of 100,000 Capital One miles at $1,400 if you transfer your miles to hotel or airline partners.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s bonus is worth $1,000 if you redeem for travel through the Chase Travel portal. But, based on TPG’s valuations, 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth about $1,600 when transferred to hotel and airline partners. And you can get up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
If you plan to transfer your sign-up bonus to airline and hotel partners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus should provide about $250 more value.
But, it gets more complicated if you don’t plan to transfer your bonus to partners. In this case, the estimated value of the points bonus is the same. So, mathematically I’d give the edge to the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of its up to $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases. However, the Capital One Venture may be a better choice if you need more time to reach the minimum spending requirements to earn the bonus.
Sign-up bonus and product eligibility
Your eligibility for each bonus is also an essential factor to consider. So, before applying for either card, read the ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions as well as the guide to Chase’s 5/24 rule. After all, there’s no point in applying if you have zero chance of being approved.
If you’re currently under Chase’s 5/24 rule but expect to go over 5/24, it’s likely best to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now. Then, you can focus on building a Chase Trifecta or Chase Quartet to maximize your earnings.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card both offer impressive sign-up bonuses currently. Assuming you are eligible for the bonus on both cards, I’d generally recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. After all, the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus is more valuable based on TPG’s valuations. And, it’s generally best to snag a Chase credit card when you have an open Chase 5/24 slot.
However, especially if you find the fixed-value redemption structure of the Capital One Venture appealing, there are certainly arguments for snagging the Capital One Venture now. But, since both cards currently offer elevated sign-up bonuses, I wouldn’t let the sign-up bonus dictate my card choice. Instead, I’d choose the card that best fits my spending habits, redemption preferences and lifestyle.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
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.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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