Credit card showdown: Capital One Savor vs. Capital One Quicksilver

Oct 4, 2019

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Travel rewards credit cards come in many forms. Some are co-branded with a specific airline or hotel loyalty program. Others earn transferable points like American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Cardholders can then convert them into airline miles or hotel points with a number of different travel partners.

Then there are credit cards that earn cash-back points, which can be redeemed at fixed rates toward travel and other purchases. For many consumers, these are the most useful types of travel credit cards. They take the guesswork out of earning and redeeming, and typically offer a solid return on spending.

Capital One fields several of the best cash-back rewards cards, including the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card  and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (not to be confused with the Capital One SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® QuickSilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card versions). Here is a quick look at their respective benefits:

Benefit Savor Rewards Quicksilver
Welcome offer $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months $150 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months
Earning 8% on tickets booked through Vivid Seats

4% on dining and entertainment

2% at grocery stores

1% on everything else

1.5% on everything
Additional benefits Access to premium dining and entertainment experiences

24/7 concierge service

Travel accident, rental car insurance, extended warranty

Access to premium dining and entertainment experiences

24/7 concierge service

Travel accident, rental car insurance, extended warranty

Annual fee $95 (waived the first year) $0

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit 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.

Now for the details on each, and factors you might want to consider if you are thinking of applying for one of them:

Annual fee

The Quicksilver does not have an annual fee. The Savor Rewards’ annual fee is $95, although it is waived the first year.

Welcome offer

The Savor Rewards offers the higher welcome bonus – $300 cash back after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

The Quicksilver offers a mere $150 cash back — but you only have to spend $500 in the first three months to qualify. It is also currently offering an intro APR of 0% for purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then a variable APR of 15.49% – 25.49% applies).

If you intend to make one of these cards a primary fixture in your wallet, you might want to go for the higher bonus offer. However, if earning cash-back rewards is just a small part of a larger points strategy, you might be better off with the Quicksilver’s lower spending requirements.

Just beware when applying that Capital One has some potentially confusing application rules that might restrict your eligibility for either card. In general, you can only have two open personal Capital One credit cards at a time. So if you have another one or two open, such as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, your application might be denied. The issuer is also known to restrict consumers to opening just one new card every six months, so if you’ve applied for another product within that time frame, you might want to hold off.

Earning rates

Earning is another area where key differences between these two cards become evident. The Quicksilver earns a flat 1.5% back on all purchases. That is a very decent rate of return, and in line with competitors from other issuers, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, though less than you can expect with the Citi® Double Cash Card.      

By contrast, the Savor Rewards maintains a tiered earning structure that will most benefit folks whose major spending categories include dining and entertainment. Thanks to a recently-announced partnership, the card now earns 8% back on all purchases made with Vivid Seats through May 2020. Vivid Seats is a marketplace for tickets to concerts, theatrical performances, sporting events and more.

The Savor also earns an impressive 4% back on dining and entertainment. Entertainment includes tickets to movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls and bowling alleys as well as purchases at record and video stores. Dining applies to a broad range of businesses, including restaurants, cafés, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries. This benefit is worthwhile worldwide since the card does not charge a foreign transaction fee.

Savor cardholders also earn 2% back at grocery stores, and then 1% back on everything else.

If you dine out a lot and attend live events, or the bulk of your credit card spending is at grocery stores, the Savor’s special earning rates will be much more beneficial. However, if you plan to use your cash-back card for other types of purchases, the Quicksilver might be the better option.

Other benefits

While neither of these cards offers a major slate of other benefits comparable to more premium rewards cards, they do still have a few perks worth taking note of.

Both waive foreign transaction fees, offer concierge services, secondary rental-car coverage, travel-accident insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.

Both will also get cardholders access to exclusive events such as pop-up dinners at the James Beard House in New York and concerts and sporting events at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Which one should you get?

Which of these two cards is right for you depends on your spending habits and rewards goals.

The Quicksilver from Capital One is a great no-annual-fee option for folks who want a simple 1.5% return on their spending and tend to make purchases at a wide variety of merchants.

The Savor Rewards from Capital One is tailor-made for people who tend to spend the most on dining and entertainment — you know, the fun people — since these categories earn a fantastic 4% rate of return.

The card’s 2% back at grocery store bonus is also decent. Of course, its $95 annual fee starting the second year you carry it is a consideration, so before you commit to this card, be sure you will get your value back in terms of return on spending.

While both cards are solid options, you might also want to consider competitors like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, with its universal 1.5% earning rate, or the Chase Freedom, which earns between 1-5% cash back. Likewise, the Citi Double Cash earns 2% back (1% when you buy, plus 1% as you pay) and cardholders can now convert their cash back into ThankYou points if they have a linked account with a card like the Citi Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%; 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% back on transit and at U.S. gas stations; and 1% back on everything else.

Bottom line

Both the Savor Rewards and the Quicksilver are strong cash-back options. The former earns up to 8% back on purchases and is a particularly strong choice for consumers whose major spending categories are dining, entertainment and groceries. The latter is a stable, no-annual-fee card with a fixed 1.5% return on spending that makes earning and redeeming easy.

As with any credit card choice, think about where you spend the most money and which card will earn you a better return on that spending. Then weigh that against any costs to carrying it, such as whether it will prevent you from applying for a more lucrative product in the future, or whether you will be able to make up for its annual fee with your savings. By asking a few simple questions like that, you will be able to make your choice quickly and easily.

Featured image by mediaphotos/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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