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

Aug 27, 2020

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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, such as 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 issues 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 no-annual-fee 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
Sign-up bonus $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months
Earning 8% on tickets booked through Vivid Seats through January 2023

4% on dining and entertainment

4% on popular streaming services

3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)

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 $0

The information for the Capital One Savor 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.

In This Post

Annual fee

The Quicksilver does not have an annual fee. The Savor Rewards’ annual fee is $95.

Sign-up bonus

(Photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy)

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

The Quicksilver offers a $200 cash back — but you only have to spend $500 in the first three months to qualify for it. It is also currently offering an intro APR of 0% for purchases for the first 15 months (14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that).

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 remember 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 other Capital One cards 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.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

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 decent rate of return and in line with competitors from other issuers such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but it’s 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.

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. Plus,

The card also earns 8% back on all purchases made with Vivid Seats (a marketplace for tickets to concerts, theatrical performances, sporting events and more) through January 2023.  Additionally, Capital One has added a 4% cash back category on popular streaming services.  All of these benefits can also be used while traveling worldwide since the card does not charge a foreign transaction fee.

Savor cardholders also earn 3% back at grocery stores, 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 3% back at grocery store bonus is also decent. Of course, its $95 annual fee every 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.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

While both cards are solid options, you might also want to consider competitors such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, with its universal 1.5% earning rate, or the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), which earns 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter you enroll. 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® CardThe information for the Chase Freedom and the Citi Prestige cards 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 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per calendar 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. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

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, popular streaming services 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 The Points Guy.

Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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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