Battle of the sign-up bonuses: Capital One Venture 100k vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred 80k

Oct 13, 2020

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Credit card sign-up bonuses haven’t been all that impressive during the coronavirus pandemic. But, even though this crisis isn’t over, we’re beginning to see a few outstanding credit card 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 Rewards Credit Card for many years, and I added the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to my wallet earlier this year. So, I can attest that both of these cards are solid options if you’re looking for a new travel rewards card. And since both cards currently offer increased sign-up bonuses, there are arguments for choosing each card as the next addition to your wallet.

Related: The 7 best elevated credit card offers to sign up for in October

So, today I’ll compare the sign-up bonuses offered by both cards. In particular, I’ll 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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In This Post

Capital One Venture

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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 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 the end of 2020, you can also redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per point toward select non-travel purchases.

Related: 7 types of purchases you should make with your Capital One Venture card

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.

Related: To transfer or not to transfer: What to do with Capital One miles

Who should get the Capital One Venture?

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent everyday spending card. You’ll earn:

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 the Capital One Venture for non-bonus category spending. 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 full Capital One Venture card review.

Related: 5 reasons to apply for the Capital One Venture Card right now

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the cards I often recommend to friends looking for a new travel card. After all, there are many reasons to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Related: What credit score do you need to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

80,000-point sign-up bonus

Now is a particularly good 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.

If you redeem these points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, this bonus is worth $1,000 in travel. 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. However, 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.

Related: Sweet spots: The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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 shopping protections. For example, the Sapphire Preferred’s primary auto rental collision damage waiver protects most rentals made with the card. And, if your trip is delayed by a common carrier for more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, the Sapphire Preferred 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 much higher bonus currently, I recommend signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now. You can always product change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve at a later point.

To learn more, read the full Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review.

Related: Should the Chase Sapphire Preferred be your next card?

Which sign-up bonus is better?

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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.

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

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 these miles to hotel or airline partners.

The 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.

If you plan to transfer your sign-up bonus to airline and hotel partners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus should provide about $200 more value.

But, it gets more complicated if you don’t plan to transfer your bonus to partners. In this case, the estimated value is the same. But, I’d give the edge to the Capital One Venture. After all, you can book directly with airlines and hotels and then redeem Capital One miles to offset recent travel purchases. Plus, through the end of 2020, you can also redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value for select recent non-travel purchases.

Related: Which card is better for airline transfers? Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture go head-to-head

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 eventually be 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.

However, Capital One can be skittish when it comes to recent inquiries. So, there’s an argument for snagging the Capital One Venture now if you don’t have any recent inquiries on your credit report.

Related: 7 ways to maximize your chances of being approved for a credit card

Bottom line

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 The Points Guy

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.

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