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

Sep 25, 2020

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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.

The issuer has also overhauled its Capital One miles program so that certain cardholders can transfer miles to 10+ 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.

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

In This Post

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
Annual fee $95 $0
Sign-up bonus 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. $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Earning 2x miles per dollar on everything

5x on hotel stays and car rental purchases booked and paid with the card through the Capital One Travel portal

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

Purchase protection

Extended warranty

0% intro APR on purchases 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.

Annual fee

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.

Related: The best no annual fee credit cards for 2020

(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 the chance to earn up to 100,000 bonus miles —  after spending $20,000 on the card in the first 12 months of account opening. Or still earn, 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on the card 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 and for gift cards. That means the bonus is ostensibly worth up to $1,000.

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

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 closer 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 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 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 UnlimitedThe information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles per dollar on purchases. Plus it earns 5x miles per dollar on hotel bookings and car rentals made with the card through Capital One Travel.

Related: When you should consider the Capital One Venture card for hotels and car rentals

Winner: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card boasts an all-around 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: 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)

Related: 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 in 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: 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.

Additional reporting by Chris Dong and Benét J. Wilson

Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

SIGN-UP BONUS: Up to 100,000 Miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,400

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Miles are now transferrable to several airline partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 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
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named ‘Best Stand-Alone Card' by The Points Guy, 2019
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
$0
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.