Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture X vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Mar 30, 2022

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For years, the unquestionable leaders of the premium card market were The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

That all changed last year when Capital One shook up the industry with its debut of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card — undercutting both of its rivals by offering competitive perks at a lower $395 annual fee.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Perhaps you’re one of the many Sapphire Reserve cardmembers who’ve questioned your loyalty to Chase with the launch of the Venture X (and the increased annual fee on the Reserve, which kicked in last year). Or, maybe you’re on the hunt for your first premium card as most of international travel has opened back up.

Today, we’ll help you decide whether the Capital One Venture X or the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the better card for you.

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In This Post

Comparing the Capital One Venture X and the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Feature Capital One Venture X Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee $395. $550.
Welcome bonus Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Earning rate
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 5 points per dollar on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 3 points per dollar on all other travel and dining.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Statement credits
  • Up to $300 in annual statement credit toward travel booked through Capital One travel.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, every four years.
  • Up to $300 in annual statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/Nexus credit, every four years.
Other card benefits
  • Priority Pass membership and Capital One Lounge access for the primary cardholder and up to two guests.
  • 10,000 bonus miles distributed every card anniversary.
  • Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status.
  • Travel and purchase protections.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Priority Pass lounge access for the primary cardholder and up to two guests.
  • Complimentary car rental elite status with National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercar.
  • Partner benefits, such as a DoorDash DashPass membership (through 2024) and Peloton statement credits (through June 2022).
  • Travel and purchase protections.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Annual fee

(Photo by The Points Guy)

In 2020, Chase increased the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve from $450 to $550, without increasing many of the benefits to justify this $100 jump. Note that it costs an additional $75 to add an authorized user.

At $395 per year, the Capital One Venture X is one of the most affordable premium cards. Best of all, you can add up to four authorized users for no additional cost. 

Winner: The Capital One Venture X for its lower annual fee for the primary cardholder and no additional cost for up to four authorized users.

Welcome bonus

Capital One Venture X_2_2021_CCSL
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Both cards require the same amount of spend in a given time frame ($4,000 in the first three months of account opening) to unlock their introductory offers.

TPG values Chase Ultimate Rewards points slightly higher than Capital One miles due to its better range of transfer partners — we estimate that Ultimate Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece while Capital One miles are worth 1.85 cents apiece.

Therefore, the Capital One Venture X’s welcome bonus of 75,000 miles is worth about $1,388, while the Sapphire Reserve’s bonus of 50,000 points is worth $1,000.

Winner: Capital One Venture X.

Earning

Which premium card will offer better returns in the long run?

For this analysis, we factored in the value of each currency to their rewards rates.

Capital One Venture X Chase Sapphire Reserve
Earning rate
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel (18.5% return).
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel (9.25% return).
  • 2 miles per dollar on all other eligible purchases (3.7% return).
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Ultimate Rewards (20% return).
  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked through Ultimate Rewards (10% return).
  • 3 points per dollar on all other travel and dining purchases (6% return).
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases (2% return).

Both the Venture X and the Sapphire Reserve offer fantastic returns for travel purchased through their respective portals.

While the Venture X offers simplicity, with 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers higher returns for two lucrative bonus categories — travel (booked outside of Ultimate Rewards) and dining purchases.

Travel is a broad category defined by Chase, including everything from rental homes, buses, rideshares, parking fees and more. Similarly, dining purchases include takeout and delivery services, widening the spectrum for what falls under this category.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve as it offers bonus categories beyond travel portal bookings. However, non-bonus purchases only garner 1 point per dollar. If you’re the type of consumer who has a ton of varied spend outside of travel and dining, then the Venture X may be a better card for you for its simple earning rate.

Redeeming

Turkish Airlines Business Class
(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

With both of these programs, the most rewarding way to redeem your points and miles is by transferring your points to travel partners.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is a long-time crowd favorite. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points at a simple, 1:1 ratio (so every 1,000 Chase points equates to 1,000 points or miles in a Chase transfer partner program).

On the other hand, the Capital One miles program is much newer, but the issuer has done a great job of adding new participating partners in recent months. While most transfer at a 1:1 ratio, there are a few exceptions that transfer at a less favorable ratio.

Let’s compare the partners side-by-side (all transfer at a 1:1 ratio unless otherwise stated).

Capital One miles Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Aeromexico Club Premier.
  • Air Canada Aeroplan.
  • Air France/KLM – Flying Blue.
  • ALL Accor Live Limitless (2:1).
  • Avianca LifeMiles.
  • British Airways Executive Club.
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
  • Choice Privileges.
  • Emirates Skywards.
  • Etihad Guest.
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5).
  • Finnair Plus.
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
  • TAP Portugal Miles&Go.
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.
  • Virgin Red.
  • Wyndham Rewards.
  • Aer Lingus AerClub.
  • Air Canada Aeroplan.
  • Air France/KLM – Flying Blue.
  • British Airways Executive Club.
  • Emirates Skywards.
  • Iberia Plus.
  • IHG Rewards.
  • JetBlue TrueBlue.
  • Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards.
  • United MileagePlus.
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • World of Hyatt.

As you can see, there are quite a few overlaps. While Capital One offers more loyalty partners, there are no domestic airlines (after it lost JetBlue TrueBlue as a partner in the fall).

Meanwhile, Chase offers three domestic airlines — JetBlue, Southwest and United — as well as one particularly lucrative hotel program, World of Hyatt.

Of course, both the Venture X and Sapphire Reserve offer other (less lucrative) redemption options, such as gift cards, cash back and more.

However, with the Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 50% more toward any travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, making your points worth 1.5 cents apiece. While this isn’t as rewarding as transferring your points to Chase’s transfer partners, this redemption option is great to have if you are having trouble finding award space.

Meanwhile, the Venture X offers fixed-rate travel redemptions at just 1 cent per mile — and while this can be applied to any travel purchase you charge to the card, it’s still notably lower.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve. More partners doesn’t necessarily equate to more value, which is why we peg Ultimate Rewards points at a higher value than Capital One miles. And even the fixed-value redemption option is 50% more lucrative.

Other benefits

Thoughtful dining at the Capital One lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Let’s talk about what makes these cards truly premium.

For starters, there’s an up to $300 annual travel statement credit on both cards. However, the Venture X’s travel credit is less flexible, since you’ll have to book all travel on the Capital One portal in order to receive reimbursement. Meanwhile, the Sapphire Reserve will automatically reimburse for any purchases under the “travel” umbrella up to the $300 limit — and they don’t necessarily have to be booked directly with Chase.

Both cards offer Priority Pass membership, giving you access to 1,200-plus lounges worldwide.

But the Venture X goes a step further with its new Capital One Lounges. The first-ever Capital One Lounge opened in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in late 2021, and two more locations in Denver International Airport (DEN) and Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) are set to open later in 2022.

These locations take lounges to the next level with chef-curated meals, nap pods and even Peloton bikes, so we’re excited for the lounge network to continue to grow over the years.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

It’s worth noting that Chase Sapphire Lounges are in the pipeline, with five locations actively in the works. But for now, the Venture X outdoes the Sapphire Reserve in the lounge department.

Finally, both are Visa Infinite cards, giving you high-level travel and purchase protections. Both also come with ancillary benefits that won’t necessarily move the needle for prospective applicants (such as the 10,000-mile anniversary bonus on the Venture X and partner benefits with the Sapphire Reserve), but these perks are all worth taking advantage of if you decide to apply for either card.

Winner: Tie. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit is much more flexible, the Capital One Venture X comes with 10,000 bonus anniversary miles and access to the Capital One Lounge network.

Bottom line

Both the Venture X and the Sapphire Reserve have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s impossible to generalize which card comes out on top.

However, for a much more manageable annual fee, the Venture X is a fantastic offering — if you don’t mind using the travel portal to unlock many of the benefits on the card.

For those who prefer to book directly with travel providers, the Sapphire Reserve is likely the better option for you — but at the cost of a higher $550 annual fee.


Official application link: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve.


Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Citi Premier® Card

This card offers a 80,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Plus, earn 3 ThankYou points per $1 at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets and on air travel and hotels. 1 ThankYou point per $1 on all other purchases.

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More Things to Know
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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.