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

Mar 16, 2020

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Two of the most popular Capital One® consumer cards are the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Both of these cards charge a modest sub-$100 annual fee and the earning rates and benefits can justify paying the annual fee.

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.

Although the cards share some benefits, there are also many notable differences. Let’s take a closer look at both cards so you can decide which card is a better fit for your lifestyle and spending.

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In This Post

Comparing Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Savor

Capital One Venture Capital One Savor
Sign-up bonus Earn up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months
Annual fee $95 $95
Earning rates 2x miles on every purchase 4% cash back on dining and entertainment

2% at grocery stores

1% on all other purchases

Standout benefits Transfer miles to airlines and hotel partners or redeem at a fixed rate

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every four years

8% cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats through January 2022

Related reading: The best Capital One credit cards

Sign-up bonus

Capital One Venture

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Capital One Venture offers a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You can redeem these miles to book new travel through the Capital One portal or offset recent travel expenses at a fixed value of one cent per mile, which would make the bonus worth up to $1,000. But, TPG’s valuations peg the value of Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each due to the value you can get when you transfer your miles to partner airline and hotel loyalty programs.

So, you can expect to get between up to $1,000 and $1,400 in value from this sign-up bonus, although you may be able to get a much higher value if you transfer your miles for select redemptions.

Capital One Savor

The Capital One Savor offers a sign-up bonus of $300 cash-back rewards once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from your account opening.

Analysis

Both cards have the same minimum spending requirements — $3,000 in three months — to earn the sign-up bonus. But even if you redeem your miles at a fixed value for travel, the Capital One Venture‘s sign-up bonus will provide $500 of value, while the Capital One Savor‘s bonus will only provide $300 of value.

Winner: Capital One Venture wins this category.

Related reading: The best limited-time credit card offers to sign up for now

Earning

Capital One Venture

An interior view of the Delta A220. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Earn miles when you book a flight on Delta Airlines using the Capital One Venture card. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The Capital One Venture earns two Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases. This means you don’t have to worry about how many miles you’ll earn based on the specific merchant or spending category, which makes the card a solid choice for everyday non-bonus spending. And, there’s no cap on the number of miles you can earn.

Capital One Savor

(Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Earn the most cash back on the Capital One Savor for dining and entertainment. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Capital One Savor earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There’s no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn, and bonus categories are defined as follows:

  • Dining: Purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.
  • Entertainment: Ticket purchases made at movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls and bowling alleys.
  • Grocery stores: Supermarkets, meat lockers, freezers, dairy product stores and specialty markets. Excludes superstores like Walmart and Target.

Analysis

These two cards have very different earning schemes: the Capital One Venture earns 2x miles on all purchases, while the Capital One Savor earns bonus cash-back rewards on dining, entertainment and groceries. So, to pick the best card for you, you must consider what earning style you prefer and what earning gaps currently exist in your credit card portfolio. In particular, you should consider whether you’d get more value out of the Capital One Savor’s 4% cash back earnings on dining and entertainment or the Capital One Venture’s 2x earning on everyday non-bonus spending.

Winner: I’m not going to pick a winner in this section, as it depends on your spending habits and the other credit cards you currently carry.

Related reading: Cash back vs. points and miles credit cards: The pros and cons of each

Redeeming

Capital One Venture

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Las Vegas property. Photo by Shutterstock.com
Transfer the points you earn on the Capital One Venture card to airline and hotel partners, including Wyndham. (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

To get the most value from the Capital One miles earned by the Capital One Venture, you’ll want to redeem your miles in one of two ways:

So, you can get the best of both worlds with the Capital One Venture: the flexibility of transferrable miles but also the simplicity of fixed value redemptions. This is one of the reasons why The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, recently said the Capital One Venture would be the only card in his wallet if he could only have one card.

Capital One Savor

(Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
Use the cash back earned on the Capital One Savor card to “erase” previous travel, such as a flight on United Airlines. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Redeeming is simple and straightforward with the Capital One Savor. As long as your account is open, your rewards won’t expire. And you can redeem your cash-back rewards for any amount by signing into your account or using Capital One’s mobile banking app.

Analysis

Redeeming rewards for one cent each is simple with both cards, as you can redeem for cash back with the Capital One Savor or redeem to erase a previously made travel purchase or make a new travel purchase with the Capital One Venture. However, the Capital One Venture also provides the ability to transfer miles to hotel and airline partners, which can provide more than one cent per mile in value.

Winner: If you’ll utilize the transfer partners for at least some redemptions, the Capital One Venture wins in terms of redeeming.

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

Other benefits

The benefits on these two cards are admittedly less extensive than what you’ll find on many of the premium travel rewards cards. But the Capital One Venture and Capital One Savor both provide extended warranty protection, OpenTable premium access and no foreign transaction fees.

The Capital One Venture also provides a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years (up  to $100), while the Capital One Savor provides 8% cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats through January 2022.

Winner: I give a slight edge to the Capital One Venture when it comes to benefits.

Related reading: Reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards card

Which one should you choose?

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

There are two main aspects to consider when deciding whether to get the Capital One Venture or the Capital One Savor:

  • Will you get more benefit from 4% cash back on dining and entertainment or 2x Capital One miles on everything?
  • Do you prefer to earn cash back or Capital One miles?

If 4% cash back on dining and entertainment is a vast improvement on your current earnings in these categories, then the Capital One Savor may be the best choice. But, if you can get solid value from Capital One miles and are currently earning less than 2.8% return on everyday non-bonus spending, then the Capital One Venture may be the better choice.

Of course, nothing is keeping you from getting both cards if you believe the earning rates on both cards justify the $95 annual fee that you’d need to pay on each card after your first year.

If you want a card like the Capital One Savor but without an annual fee, you can consider the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Likewise, if you want a card like the Capital One Venture but without an annual fee, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card may be a good fit. However, both of these cards are light versions, so they’ll offer lower earnings in exchange for no annual fee.

Apply now for the Capital One Venture or the Capital One Savor

Related guides

Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
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  • 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

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.