Capital One Savor credit card review
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Capital One Savor Overview
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers strong cash-back earning rates on popular and often overlooked categories, including 4% back on dining and entertainment. If you spend enough in those categories to offset the card’s modest $95 annual fee, the Savor card can be a great addition to your wallet. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Many people have come to associate credit cards rewards with the world of frequent flyer miles or transferable bank points, but every time an airline devalues its award chart (or removes it entirely in favor of more expensive dynamic pricing), fixed value and cash-back credit cards start to look more attractive by comparison. Normally the biggest downside to cash-back cards is low earning rates and a lack of bonus categories, but that’s definitely not true of the Capital One Savor.
The information for the Capital One Savor 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.
Who Is This Card For?
While transferable points currencies such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are still the best way to get outsized value from your credit card rewards, we’ve recently seen a trend toward cash-back cards offering more competitive bonus categories. These cards, including the Capital One Savor, cater to a middle ground: Those who are conscious about which credit cards they use while they work to increase their rewards, but also aren’t willing to put a large amount of time into maximizing redemptions.
The Savor card offers an unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, as well as 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. This 4% is the highest cash-back amount currently offered across all credit cards for both dining and entertainment, which happen to be two categories that many people spend significant money on. So if the Savor card can help you squeeze an extra 1-2% back out of those purchases, it might be worth making the switch.
The Savor card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of $300 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. While this isn’t as high-value as some other cards on the market right now, it’s one of the highest bonuses around for a personal cash-back card. To put it another way, a $300 bonus isn’t going to put this card on the top of any lists, but if the bonus categories appeal to you, it’s a respectable amount to help you justify adding a new card to your wallet.
Capital One has some interesting application rules to be aware of that might restrict your eligibility for this card. First off, you can only have two personal Capital One cards at a time, so if you currently have the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, you won’t be eligible to apply for the Savor. Capital One also tends to restrict you to one new card every six months, including both business and personal cards. This means if you’ve opened a card such as the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business in the last six months, you won’t be eligible for the Savor. The information for the Capital One Spark Cash has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Savor card doesn’t offer a long list of perks like the big premium credit cards do, but there are a few worth mentioning. In addition to a lack of foreign transaction fees, cardholders will enjoy secondary car rental insurance, roadside assistance, purchase protection/extended warranty and complimentary concierge services. I think premium concierge services are one of the most underrated credit card perks, and I frequently use mine for restaurant reservations or trip planning advice.
Capital One Savor cardholders will also get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more as part of their card membership. Events include the iHeartCountry festival in Austin, Texas, the South Beach Wine & Food festival in Miami, and ongoing benefits for sports games and concerts at the Capital One arena in Washington D.C. (including for hockey’s Capitals and basketball’s Wizards).
With most cash-back cards today, the name of the game is simple, uncapped bonus categories that reward you where you spend the most. This is exactly what the Capital One Savor aims to do, offering unlimited cash back at the following rates:
- 5% on Uber Eats (through Sept. 30, 2020)
- 4% back on dining
- 4% back on entertainment
- 4% back on select streaming services (through Sept. 30, 2020)
- 2% back at grocery stores
- 1% on everything else
The real highlight here is the 4% back on dining and entertainment. Entertainment is defined as tickets to “a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall or bowling alley. Also, making purchases at record store and video rental locations.” Note that this definition explicitly excludes “non-industry entertainment merchant codes such as cable, digital streaming and subscription services,” so you’ll want to use a different card for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
There are no foreign transaction fees with the Savor, so you can take this card on your overseas vacation and continue earning. Just remember that the Savor card does carry a $95 annual fee, so you’ll have to look at your personal spending habits and make sure you earn enough rewards to justify the fee going forward.
One of the biggest benefits of cash-back rewards is that there’s no “analysis paralysis” where you have to agonize over getting the best possible redemption value. One dollar will always be worth one dollar, so you should cash out your rewards on the Capital One Savor as frequently as possible and get that money back into your checking or investment account. Savor rewards don’t expire as long as your account stays open, and there’s no minimum redemption amount.
When you’re ready to redeem your cash back, you can request it as a statement credit or check, or redeem it for gift cards and charitable donations. I recommend getting a check or statement credit no matter how you plan to actually use your rewards. If you want to purchase gift cards or donate to charity, you should put those purchases on your credit card to earn more points, and use the cash-back rewards to pay your bills.
Which Cards Compete With the Capital One Savor?
If you like the idea of the Capital One Savor card but aren’t sold on the $95 annual fee, then consider getting the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card instead. This lite version comes with a smaller sign-up bonus ($200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months) and only 3% back on dining and entertainment, but has no annual fee. It also has no foreign transaction fees, which is a rare surprise for a no-annual-fee card.
While the simplicity of cash-back rewards is undeniably appealing, it’s possible to get more value without spending any more money. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on travel and dining which, at TPG’s valuation of 2 cents per point, comes out to a 4% return. The CSP’s annual fee is the same as the Savor card, at $95, but the 80,000-point sign-up bonus earned after you spend $4,000 in the first three months is worth a staggering $1,600. However, keep in mind in order to get that kind of value, you’ll need to do some homework by learning award charts, staying on top of award availability and so on. Cash back is generally easier to deal with than points.
If you spend enough each year in the Savor’s 4% bonus categories, especially dining, to justify the card’s $95 annual fee, you might be better off opting for the Amex Gold card instead. After a top-down refresh a few years back, the Amex Gold earns 4x Membership Rewards points on dining worldwide, and on your first $25,000 per calendar year (then 1x) spent at U.S. supermarkets. TPG values Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, meaning that 4x is really worth 8%, or double the return from the Savor. The Amex Gold has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) that is almost entirely offset by two statement credits, including up to $100 annual airline incidental fee credit and an up to $120 annual dining credit ($10 a month) at the following partners: Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, some Shake Shack locations and Boxed.
It’s always exciting to see a new and/or improved credit card become available. More competition benefits consumers as banks are willing to spend more money and offer better perks to attract business. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Card is a strong option in the world of cash-back cards. You can get more value playing with points, but what you gain in value, you lose in simplicity.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re spending enough in the bonus categories to offset the annual fee — otherwise, the no-annual-fee SavorOne card might be a better choice. But if you spend a lot each year on dining, entertainment and groceries and you’re interested in a simple cash-back card, make sure to put the Savor card on your consideration list.
For rates and fees of the American Express Gold, please click here.
Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.
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