Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture Rewards vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Mar 23, 2020

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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.

The issuer has also overhauled its Venture and Spark miles program so that certain cardholders can transfer miles to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, JetBlue and Accor.

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Depending on where you spend the most money and how you want to redeem your rewards, deciding which Capital One credit card to apply for can be a difficult choice.

Related reading: Best Capital One Cards of 2020

That’s especially true because the bank only allows each person to carry up to two of its personal cards at one time, and will only approve up to one new credit card application – counting both personal and business cards – within any six-month period. So if you want to apply for one or more Capital One credit cards, you have some decisions to make.

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 (not to be confused with the no-annual-fee Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card).

Related reading: Why the Capital One Venture Rewards Card now has a front spot in our wallets

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
Annual fee $0 the first year then $95 $0
Sign-up bonus 50,000 miles after $3,000 in the first 3 months $150 after $500 in the first 3 months
Earning 2%/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

17 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

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

0% intro APR on purchases & balance transfers for 15 months your account is open (then a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49% applies)

No foreign transaction fees

Travel accident insurance

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

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.

In This Post

Annual fee

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee, but it is waived the first year, so you can open an account and see if you can maximize it for those first 12 months at no cost.

Related Reading: The best no annual fee credit cards for 2020

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.

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
The Capital One Venture is a stronger earner and better for travel redemptions. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is currently offering new cardholders 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of 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 as well as for gift cards. That means the bonus is ostensibly worth $500.

Related reading: 5 reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

However, the miles you earn with the Capital One Venture are transferable to 15 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 closer to $700.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is considerably more modest — just $150 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 (then a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49% applies).

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.

Earning rates

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 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 and the Discover it Miles.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. The card also now earns 5x miles per dollar on hotel bookings and car rentals made with the card through Capital One Travel.

Winner: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card just boasts an all-round better rate of return on every purchase.

The Quicksilver has an easy-to-maximize cash-back formula. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Redemptions

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 reading: Best credit cards for earning cash back in 2020

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 17 partner programs at the following ratios:

  • Accor Live Limitless (2:1)
  • Aeromexico Club Premier (2:1.5)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (2:1.5)
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue (2:1.5)
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia (2:1.5)
  • Avianca LifeMiles (2:1.5)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (2:1.5)
  • Emirates Skywards (2:1)
  • Etihad Guest (2:1.5)
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5)
  • Finnair Plus (2:1.5)
  • Hainan Fortune Wings Club (2:1.5)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1.5)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore KrisFlyer (2:1)
  • Wyndham Rewards (2:1.5)

Related reading: Best ways to maximize Capital One Miles

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.

Capital One Venture Rewards miles could be your key to awards like Lufthansa business class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Other benefits

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.

Related reading: Best credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

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.

(Photo by George Frey/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Only the Capital One Venture will reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. (Photo by George Frey/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Bottom line

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.

For more information, read our Capital One Venture Review and our Capital One Quicksilver Review.

Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

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Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% 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.

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