Capital One vs. Chase: Which bank has better credit card offers?

Feb 12, 2020

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In the travel credit card world, the options can be overwhelming. You can earn cash back, miles, points — or even luxury perks such as airport lounge access or a fast track to elite status. Plus, each card you open can have an affect on which cards and bonuses you’re eligible for in the future. So you want to make sure that the card you apply for is the right one for you.

Two of the best options are Capital One cards and Chase cards and both banks issue a variety of rewards credit cards. Let’s take a look at which cards are the best in different categories.

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In This Post

Capital One versus Chase card comparison

Capital One card Chase card
Transferable rewards Capital One miles  Chase Ultimate Rewards
Travel cards Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Premium travel cards None Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Cash-back rewards Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Business cards Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

In This Post

Transferable rewards: Chase wins

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
You can use Chase points and/or Capital One miles to book Singapore Airlines business class. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

To get the most value out of credit card rewards, flexibility is key. Transferable points and miles are your best friends, and both Capital One and Chase issue cards that earn these rewards.

You earn transferable miles with these Capital One cards:

And you can earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these Chase cards:

Travel partners: Capital One miles transfer to 15 different airline and two hotel partners; Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to 10 airline and three hotel partners, but the number of transfer partners doesn’t tell the whole story. First, Chase points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to all of its partners, while Capital One miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio to 13 partners and a 2:1 ratio to the other two.

You also need to consider the usefulness of the partner loyalty programs. Capital One has valuable partners, including Air Canada’s Aeroplan, Avianca, Singapore Airlines and Flying Blue. But Chase points also transfer to Singapore Airlines and Flying Blue and they transfer at a better ratio. Plus, Chase has other excellent partners, like Virgin Atlantic (great for ANA and Delta awards), United Airlines (book Star Alliance awards without carrier-imposed surcharges) and Hyatt (amazing for high-value luxury stays).

Between the better transfer ratios and more lucrative travel partners, Chase Ultimate Rewards is the clear winner when it comes to travel partners.

Earning rewards: All of the cards that earn Capital One miles earn 1.5 to 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. With Chase it depends on which card you have. The Sapphire cards earn bonus miles on travel and dining: The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x miles on those purchases and the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x miles. The Ink Business Preferred card earns triple points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year in these categories:

  • Travel
  • Shipping
  • Telecom, including internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

All other purchases made with these Chase cards earn only 1 point per dollar. Given how easy it is to earn unlimited double miles everywhere with the Capital One Venture and Capital One Spark Miles card, you’ll find it’s easier to earn Capital One miles unless you spend heavily in Chase’s bonus categories.

Rewards value: According to TPG’s monthly valuations, Capital One miles are worth 1.4 cents each and Chase points are worth 2 cents apiece. This value is based on the average value you can expect to receive when transferring to travel partners.

You can also use your rewards as fixed-value points to “erase” travel charges or pay for travel. You can use Capital One miles to erase eligible travel charges at a rate of 1 cent per mile, but Ultimate Rewards points can top that number in a few ways. First, Chase points can be redeemed for 1 cent each as cash back or you can use them to pay for travel booked through the Chase travel portal. When you use points to pay for travel booked through the Chase portal, they are worth 1.25 cents each with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, that number jumps up to 1.5 cents each.

Related reading: Sapphire Preferred versus Sapphire Reserve

Any way you slice it, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable.

Travel cards: Chase wins

The best consumer cards that Chase and Capital One offer are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture card.

Bonus: The Sapphire Preferred has an intro offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from opening the account. The Venture card comes with a bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Annual fee:

  • Sapphire Preferred card: $95
  • Venture Rewards card: $95, waived for the first year

Benefits: The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x Chase points on travel and dining purchases, 5x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 1 point per dollar for all other spending. It also comes with excellent travel protections. You’ll get primary rental car coverage, trip delay reimbursement, trip interruption protection and baggage delay insurance. This card also comes with at least a year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more at DashPass restaurants.

The Venture card earns 2x miles on every purchase with no limit to the number of miles you can earn. It also comes with a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit worth up to $100 (once every four years).

Related reading: Key things to know about Global Entry

At first glance, these two cards seem to be evenly matched, but once you understand how much more valuable Ultimate Rewards points are compared to Capital One miles, the Sapphire Preferred comes out ahead. Again, TPG values Chase points at 2 cents each and Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each. That puts the value of the Sapphire Preferred’s intro offer at $1,105 after you pay the annual fee, compared to the Venture’s bonus value of only $700 (based on TPG valuation and not provided by the issuer). This valuation means you’re getting 4.8% in value for travel and dining (10% in travel on Lyft rides take through March 2022) with the Preferred and 2% everywhere else, while the Venture earns a flat 2.8% back in travel rewards on all purchases.

The Venture card is likely a better choice for your everyday spending, but once you take into consideration the Sapphire Preferred’s travel insurance perks and the value of Ultimate Rewards points, it comes out on top. For more details, read our Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture comparison article.

Premium travel cards: Chase wins

(Photo courtesy of Star Alliance.)
Priority Pass lounges include the Star Alliance lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. (Photo courtesy of Star Alliance.)

Capital One doesn’t issue a “premium” card with higher annual fees that are offset by high-end benefits. The premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Bonus: The Reserve card has an intro offer of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account.

Annual fee: $550

Benefits: The top two perks that come with this card are its $300 annual travel credit and the Priority Pass Select membership, which gets the cardholder and two guests access to 1,200+ airport lounges. You’ll also get the same complimentary DashPass membership that comes with the Sapphire Preferred card, except the Reserve also comes with $60 in DoorDash credit in 2020 and another $60 in credit in 2021. You can also use your Reserve to get a free year of Lyft Pink as long as you activate the membership by March 2022. Lyft Pink normally costs $19.99/month and gets you 15% off Lyft rides and a handful of other perks.

The Reserve earns 3x points on travel and dining (except for the purchases reimbursed with the $300 travel credit), 10x points on Lyft rides taken through March 2022 and one per dollar everywhere else.

Cash-back cards: Capital One wins

Among cash-back consumer cards, the Capital One Savor and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are the top options from each issuer.

Bonus:  The Savor card has a $300 cash bonus which you can earn after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the card. The Freedom Unlimited comes with a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account.

Annual fee:

  • Freedom Unlimited: $0
  • Savor: $95, waived the first year

Benefits: The Freedom Unlimited earns 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 1.5% back on all other purchases. The card also comes with three free months of DashPass and you can get the next nine months for 50% off.

The Savor card earns 4% back on dining and entertainment; 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. You’ll also earn 8% back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020 and pay no foreign transaction fees.

Related reading: Best cards for groceries

The Savor is one of the top cards for dining and its bonus is double the value of the Freedom Unlimited, so it’s a better choice for just about everyone. The Freedom Unlimited closes the gap if you can pair it with on of the annual-fee Ultimate Rewards cards because then you’ll be able to transfer the points you earn to Chase’s travel partners.

Business cards: Chase wins

(Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)
Using a business card is a great way to get rewarded for your hard work. (Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images.)

The top business credit cards for these issuers are the Capital One Spark Miles and the Ink Business Preferred card.

Bonus: The Ink Business Preferred has a welcome bonus of 80,000 Chase points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The Spark Miles card earns 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account. The Spark Miles card has moved from Visa to Mastercard and moves to  Mastercard World Elite. The switch from Visa to Mastercard is for new applicants only.

Annual fee:

  • Ink Business Preferred: $95
  • Spark Miles for Business: $95, waived for the first year

Benefits: The Spark Miles card earns 5x miles on hotel and rental car bookings made with the card through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases. You’ll also get a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application-fee credit worth up to $100 once every four years.

The Ink Business Preferred earns 3x Chase points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases made each account anniversary for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines; 5x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022); all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. You’ll also get cellphone insurance when you pay for your bill with the card.

Related reading: Chase Ink Business Preferred versus Capital One Spark Miles

For businesses with expenses that fall outside the Ink Preferred’s bonus categories, the Spark Miles card is better for spending; outside of that, the Ink Preferred is a better card. Not only is the intro bonus significantly more valuable, but again, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so much more useful and provide more flexibility than Capital One miles. You can’t beat Chase’s travel partners and 1:1 transfer ratio. As an example, the Ink Preferred’s welcome bonus can convert into 80,000 airline miles, while the Spark Miles welcome bonus would only convert into 37,500 airline miles at best.

Who should get a Capital One card?

Most of the Capital One card offers are great if you prefer simplicity. For example, the top three Capital One cards, the Venture Rewards card, Spark Miles Business card and Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business all have a waived annual fee the first year (then $95 ongoing annual fee) and earn 2x miles or 2% cash back on every purchase.

If you don’t want to worry about juggling cards in your wallet to maximize bonus categories, any one of these cards is a great choice to make the most of your spending. Plus, the rewards you earn are super easy to use and there’s a huge value in not having to spending hours figuring out how to squeeze the most from your miles.

Who should get a Chase card?

To qualify for any Chase card you’ll need to be under the Chase 5/24 rule. That means you’ll need to have open five or fewer cards from any bank in the past 24 months. If that’s you, then start your journey into the world of miles and points with a Chase credit card. Many of the best airline credit cards, top hotel cards and most valuable general travel cards are issued by Chase. So it makes sense to get them before you get locked out by the 5/24 rule.

Related reading: Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your first card

Should I get cards from both banks?

There are some strict application restrictions on applying for cards from both Capital One and Chase, but it definitely is possible to get cards from both. Other than the aforementioned 5/24 rule, there really is no reason not open cards with both Chase and Capital One.

Among the restrictions, Capital One limits you to two personal Capital One cards at a time;  cobranded cards and business cards generally aren’t included in this limit. You’re also limited to being approved for one Capital One card every six months. With Chase, you can’t hold both Sapphire cards at the same time. Also, if you’ve earned an intro bonus on a Sapphire card in the previous 48 months, you won’t be able to open a new Sapphire card.

Bottom line

When it comes to earning credit card rewards, two of the top issuers are Capital One and Chase. Between these banks you’ll easily be able to find a card to fit your needs. Chase has cards that earn the super valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer to useful hotel and airline loyalty programs. Capital One has a lineup of cards that earn 2x miles or 2% cash back on every purchase, so you can’t beat the simplicity.

Which card is best for you depends a lot on your travel goals and what you want to get out of a card. In most cases Chase has the more rewarding options, but if cash back is what you’re after, you’ll want to take a look at what Capital One offers.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $700

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Miles are now transferrable to over a dozen 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
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
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.