Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

03/22/2017 07:16 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2017

If you are looking for a flexible travel rewards credit card with an annual fee below $100, two cards worth your consideration are the Capital One Venture and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both allow you to earn reward points on every purchase and redeem those points on future travel purchases. While either card will reward you for travel, you need to determine the winner in the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Preferred battle.

Capital One Venture or Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Let's start with the Capital One Venture and see what they have to offer.

Annual Fee: $0 first year then $59

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 miles ($400 value) after spending $3,000 in first 3 months

Purchase Rewards: Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on all purchases

Redeeming Rewards: Can be redeemed through Capital One travel portal or as a statement credit for other travel purchases. Both redemption options have a 1% redemption rate (100 miles=$1/10,000 miles=$100)

Additional Card Benefits: Secondary Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver & additional Visa Signature benefits

Now, let's see what the Chase Sapphire Preferred has to offer.

Annual Fee: $0 first year then $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: None

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points ($625 value in travel redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards wesbsite) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months & opportunity to earn 5,000 additional points by adding an authorized user in the same time period

Purchase Rewards: Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all travel & dining purchases and 1 points for everything else

Redeeming Rewards: Can be redeemed through Chase travel portal for award travel & are worth 1.25 cents each (1,000 points=$12.50/10,000 points=$125) or transfer on a 1:1 basis to many airline or hotel travel programs.

Additional Card Benefits: Primary Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance & additional Visa Signature benefits

An In-Depth Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

It wouldn't be a complete comparison of the two cards without going into more detail on the various categories to help pinpoint your travel needs.

Annual Fee

Both cards waive the annual fee for the first year. If cost is your primary issue, Capital One is the better option because it's only $59 a year instead of $95.

To be fair, Chase Sapphire Preferred does offer some additional card benefits and redemption options to help sweeten the pot.

Sign-Up Bonus

Both cards offer pretty good sign-up bonuses. Not many credit cards offer bonuses worth at least $400. The spend minimums of $3,000 and $4,000 might be a little high, but, they are still relatively low for what you get in return.

Regardless of the fact that the Capital One Venture award doesn't have as high of a face value ($400 compared to $625), the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus is probably better all around because of its flexibility.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your points through Chase for any type of travel reward from plane tickets, hotel stays, to rental cars. Or, you can transfer the points to one of the Chase Ultimate Reward travel partners on 1:1 basis. This means your points could be worth even more than $625 by being redeemed outside of Chase.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Purchase Rewards

Hands-down, the Capital One Venture card has a better purchase reward rate and will be able to accumulate them more quickly. You get 2 points on any purchase, not just travel and dining as the Sapphire Preferred does.

So if you spend $40 at Red Lobster, you will earn 80 points (miles) with either card. But, if you buy a new flat screen tv for $500, you will earn 1,000 miles on Capital One and only 500 points with Chase.

If you only use either card almost exclusively for travel & dining, it's probably a tie in terms of accumulating points. Although as will be discussed in the next section, Chase probably wins the tie breaker when it comes to redeeming the points.

Redeeming Rewards

Depending on what you buy with your card, you will accumulate points more quickly with the Capital One Venture if you charge everything to it. Meaning you potentially will have more points to redeem than with the Sapphire Preferred.

The only difference is the Capital One Venture has a flat rewards redemption rate of 1% for any award travel. Redeeming 40,000 points will always be worth $400 in tickets from the Capital One travel portal or a travel statement credit if you bought them directly from the airline and want to be reimbursed.

With the Sapphire Preferred, your points have a 1.25% redemption rate on the Chase travel portal. Or, you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to your favorite airline or hotel loyalty program to complement your existing point balance and have a better reward rate as hotels and airlines keep some of the deals for themselves.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Additional Card Benefits

The main reasons you & many others apply for a particular credit card is for the sign-up bonus and the rewards points options. A secondary reason might be the additional benefits that you get from the issuer like complimentary upgrades, a free annual hotel night, purchase protection, etc. These are benefits that help add value to the card to further offset the annual fee.

Both the Capital One Venture and the Sapphire Preferred are Visa Signature cards and include benefits from Visa including a 24/7 concierge service, complimentary upgrades to certain events, and discounted prices with select merchants.

Once again the Sapphire Preferred has more benefits. Both offer rental card collision damage coverage when you decline the CDW coverage from the rental car agency. But, only the Sapphire Preferred offers additional travel insurance when your trip is interrupted or cancelled due to extenuating circumstances like weather or medical emergencies. If your baggage is delayed, you can also be reimbursed costs for essential purchases.

You may not plan to use any of these additional benefits, but, they can be a nice addition.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Who wins the Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred debate?

Both cards are very good and you can't go wrong with either one. It ultimately depends on how you plan to use the card & how you travel.

The Capital One Venture card is simple to use. It earns 2% on all rewards and you get 1% back on all points redeemed for travel. You have the ability to accumulate more rewards faster than with the Sapphire Preferred, but there is a lower redemption rate. If you don't need the additional travel benefits or simply want a lower annual fee, these are two other reasons to choose this card as well.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred you get a stronger sign-up bonus & have more point redemption options from one the most highly regarded credit card rewards program (Chase Ultimate Rewards). You have a 1.25% redemption rate on award travel using the Chase travel portal or can transfer the points to travel partners like United, Southwest, IHG, Marriott, or Hyatt. And if you normally spend a few extra dollars to buy a travel insurance plan, you can save a few bucks here as well as it is a complimentary perk with Chase.

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