Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Quicksilver
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.
Over the past few years, Capital One has raised its rewards game by expanding and improving its slate of credit cards. There are easy-to-use cash-back cards whose points can be redeemed at a fixed value toward travel purchases and other statement credits. That provides cardholders with a reliable rate of return on their everyday spending.
Among the products you might be deciding between are the popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. Let’s take a closer look to see which may be a better fit.
Related: Best Capital One Cards of 2020
Overview of the cards
Here is a snapshot of the two cards and their respective benefits.
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||$200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
|Earning||2x miles per dollar on everything||1.5% cash back on everything|
|Redeeming||2% cash back on travel purchase
1% back on other purchases & gift cards
Airline and hotel transfer partners
|1.5% back on everything|
|Other benefits||Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee waiver (up to $100)
No foreign transaction fees
Travel accident insurance
|0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months your account is open (14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that)
No foreign transaction fees
Travel accident insurance
Now let’s get into the details on both products and which one you can maximize if you’re thinking of applying for a new credit card.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee. By contrast, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee. So, other than having to consider whether this is one of the two personal Capital One credit cards you can have open at any given time, carrying it year after year does not come at a cost. Plus, you can keep this account active as a way of building your credit history and boosting your credit score over time.
Winner: It’s hard to beat a card with no annual fee, so the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card wins this round.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently offering new cardholders 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. These miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed at a fixed rate for travel purchases or new bookings via Capital One Travel and for gift cards. That means the bonus is ostensibly worth $1,000 in travel.
However, the miles you earn with the Capital One Venture are transferable to 13 airline and two hotel partner loyalty programs now. Given that extra flexibility, TPG values these miles at 1.4 cents apiece, bringing the value of the sign-up bonus up to $1,400.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is considerably more modest — only $200 cash back. But you only have to spend $500 in the first three months to qualify. The card is also currently offering 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (14.99%-24.99% variable APR after that).
Winner: Although you have to spend more to earn it, the value of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus blows the Quicksilver’s out of the water.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns a flat 1.5% back on all purchases. That makes your return on spending easy to calculate and to count on. It’s also on par with competitors from other issuers, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles per dollar on purchases.
Winner: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card boasts an all-around better rate of return on every purchase.
Here’s where the two cards diverge most dramatically. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a cash-back card, plain and simple. With a 1.5% rate of return on every dollar you spend, you can redeem your cash back in a few different ways.
Related: Best cash-back credit cards
Among them are statement credits, gift cards, Amazon.com purchases, a check or to “erase” a recent purchase within 90 days of making it. There are no minimum redemption values, so you can redeem your cash back for as little as 1 cent.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, on the other hand, earns miles that can be redeemed either for cash back or transferred to Capital One’s travel partners. In terms of cash back, you can redeem your miles at a rate of 1 cent apiece for travel purchases and gift cards. If you opt for statement credits on other types of purchases, or a check, you only get a rate of 0.5 cents per mile, essentially cutting your value in half, so this is to be avoided.
However, in addition to cash back, Capital One Venture miles are transferable to several partner programs at the following ratios:
|Program||Transfer time||Transfer ratio|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Premier Points)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Aeroplan Miles)|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Flying Blue Miles)|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 MilleMiglia miles)|
|Avianca LifeMiles||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 LifeMiles)|
|ALL Accor Live Limitless||1 business day||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 ALL Rewards points)|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||5 business days||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Asia Miles)|
|Emirates Skywards||Instant||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 Skywards Miles)|
|Etihad Guest||24-hour turnaround||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Etihad Guest Miles)|
|EVA Infinity MileageLands||36-hour turnaround||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands Miles)|
|Finnair Plus||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Finnair Plus Award Points)|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 TrueBlue points)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||24-hour turnaround||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Qantas Points)|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||36-hour turnaround||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 KrisFlyer miles)|
|Wyndham Rewards||Instant||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards Points)|
While you do not get a 1:1 ratio like you do with some other transferable points programs, such as American Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, there are still plenty of ways to maximize these partners, including Lufthansa business class and ANA first class using Avianca LifeMiles, or booking American Airlines premium tickets to Europe with Etihad Guest miles.
Winner: If you’re just looking for a simple, cash-back rate of return, the Quicksilver might be a better option. However, if you want to redeem your cash back specifically for travel purchases, or are willing to get creative with transfers (and there are often transfer bonuses to various partners), the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes out on top.
Both cards waive foreign transaction fees, provide concierge services and give cardholders access to exclusive events. They also include purchase protection and extended warranty as well as secondary rental-car coverage and travel-accident insurance.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers one additional outstanding perk though. Like several credit cards with much higher annual fees, it will reimburse cardholders once every four years for either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, a benefit that is worth up to $100.
Winner: The Global Entry/TSA PreCheck benefit alone is worth getting the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Both the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are great rewards card options. The Quicksilver is a useful no-brainer for folks who just want a simple cash-back formula for earning and redeeming without having to put in much effort.
However, if you want miles specifically for travel purchases and can maximize Capital One’s travel transfer partners as well as benefits such as the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee refund, then the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a much better choice. Which card is right for you will just depend on your spending habits and travel needs.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong and Benét J. Wilson
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!