Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Which Should You Pick?

Lyle Daly is a personal finance writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have garnered an enduring popularity as practical “must-haves”. We think that is well-justified: Both include best-in-class travel rewards, big sign-up bonuses, and annual fees that are lower than those of many premium competitors.

Cardholders will certainly be enticed by the sign-up bonuses for each card that are valued at as much as a few roundtrip flights -- the cost of a roundtrip flight to Iceland can cost as little as $199!

But the battle to pick the right card may depend on which camp you fall in. Do you prefer the convenience and flexibility of redeeming miles for statement credits against travel purchases, or are you willing to devote more time to stretch the value of travel and airline miles through points-transfer strategies? We’ll help you figure out which of these two competing travel cards may be a fit, by comparing each card benefit side by side. Let’s dive in.

Side by side comparison

As of Nov. 18, 2019
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Worth $750 redeemed for travel through Chase's portal. Bonus: 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months, equal to $500 in travel
Rewards Program: 2x points on travel and dining, 1x points on all other purchases. 25% more points for travel booked through Chase's portal. Rewards Program: Unlimited 2 miles per $1
Intro APR: Purchases: N/A, N/A Balance Transfers: N/A, N/A Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Regular APR: 17.74% - 24.74% Variable Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee: $95 Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

Highlights:

  • 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. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

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On Capital One's Secure Website.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® benefits at a glance:

  • Sign-up bonus -- Cardholders earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months; that’s a bonus worth up to $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® for 25% more value.
  • Ongoing travel points -- 2 points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, 1x point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Annual fee -- $95

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card benefits at a glance:

  • Sign-up bonus -- Cardholders earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within three months of account opening; that’s a bonus worth $500, applied as statement credits against travel.
  • Ongoing travel miles -- Flat, unlimited 2 miles per $1 on all purchases. 10 miles per $1 on Hotels.com purchases made through a specified link.
  • Annual fee -- $0 intro annual fee, $95 thereafter.

Sign-up bonuses

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® has a higher bonus, but Capital One® Venture Rewards has a slightly lower spending hurdle to qualify for the bonus -- it requires spending $3,000 within three months to qualify, not $4,000 like Chase Sapphire Preferred®.

Cardholders typically spending less than $1,333 each month on credit may be better off with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card since it may not make sense to increase your spending just to qualify for a sign-up bonus.

Ongoing travel rewards

Credit card spending habits may also justify one card over the other, especially for people without large budgets for travel and dining.

Running the numbers on a sample budget can help decipher which card will earn the most rewards. Let’s assume a monthly credit budget of $3,000, with $500 spent on travel and dining and the remaining $2,500 spent on routine purchases. Here’s a comparison of the annual rewards earned on both cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® (42,000 points) -- This annual number comprises travel and dining purchases worth 12,000 points and other purchases worth 30,000 points.
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (72,000 miles) -- Recall that most purchases earn at the same rate, which explains the higher level of travel rewards.

Clearly, Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders without big travel and dining expenses as a proportion of their budgets won’t earn as many points as they would with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

If you take advantage of the 10x rate for Hotels.com purchases frequently, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card may be the best option, since the sky-high earn rate is unmatched.

The latter card may seem like a no-brainer, but busy travelers and diners may earn more value when redeeming points. And the above analysis stops one step short of accounting for the redemption value of each card’s rewards currency.

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points Worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 25% more redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® for travel, which works out to $0.0125 apiece for travel booked with Chase, or $0.01 for cash back. In the prior budget scenario, points booked for travel would be worth $525, or $400 cash back. If the entire monthly credit budget was instead used for travel and dining purchases, the points would be worth $900 for travel, or $720 cash back.

What are Capital One® Venture® Rewards Miles Worth?

Venture® Rewards miles are best redeemed for travel to get the most value; they are worth $0.01 apiece when applied as statement credits for travel, or an inferior rate of $0.005 apiece redeemed for cash back. Thus, $3,000 spent each month on this card would result in rewards valued at $720 for travel.

The contrasting scenarios highlight why spending habits may justify one card over the other. Clearly, people with budgets geared toward travel and dining can get more value from Chase Sapphire Preferred®, while cardholders with more varied budgets may be best off with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, at least from a straight rewards-earned perspective.

Travel rewards redemption options

Chase’s long list of transfer partners and Capital One’s flexible redemptions further explain why these two cards have become so popular.

Specifically, Chase Sapphire Preferred® is popular among savvy travelers who know how to stretch the value of their points. Points can be used as the travel currency for purchases through Chase’s travel portal, or points can be transferred (many on at least a 1:1 basis) to Chase Sapphire Preferred®’s transfer partners, including:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards®
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®
  • World of Hyatt

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card miles are flexible in that cardholders can search for cheap travel (airfare, hotel, trains, taxis, and more, as long as they’re coded as travel) through their preferred portal, or apply miles as statement credits against purchases. There’s no limitation to a card issuer’s booking portal or transfer partners.

What’s more, miles can be redeemed as partial statement credits -- a rarity among competing cards, which have minimum thresholds as high as $100 or don’t allow for partial statement credits at all.

Annual fee and foreign transaction fees

The $0 intro annual fee with the Capital One® Venture Rewards in the first year makes its sign-up bonus that much more enticing, while the absence of a foreign transaction fee amps up the value for both cards. Let’s be honest, we’re all a bit looser with our wallets when traveling abroad, so avoiding a transaction fee on each swipe is a welcome perk, especially knowing that 3% is the de facto standard among many credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit score

Approval for a Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card tends to require a FICO credit score in the low to mid-700s, but travelers with credit scores as low as 646 have reported approvals.

Chase’s well-known, but not officially published, stance on approval also factors in what’s called the 5/24 rule. Cardholders with more than five newly opened credit cards in the past 24 months may not be approved.

Capital One® Venture Rewards credit score

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card similarly is meant for people with excellent credit, but Capital One® goes into further depth to define its criteria.

Specifically, a cardholder with excellent credit:

  • Has never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan.
  • Is no more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill, or loan in the last year.
  • Has held a credit card for more than three years with a credit limit over $5,000.

Keep in mind that while credit scores are heavily weighted in an approval decision, other factors are considered as well; these include current credit utilization, reported income, and other factors listed in your credit report.

Other travel perks worth considering

Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers a deeper bench of travel protections than Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, such as trip cancellation, baggage-delay insurance, trip-delay reimbursement, lost-luggage reimbursement, and travel accident insurance. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers fewer protections, but does include travel accident insurance.

Where Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card stands out is that it now offers a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®, which are must have's for frequent travelers, and defrays the cost of the annual fee.

Which travel credit card should you pick?

Both travel cards have loyal fans for obvious reasons and each is a best-in-class pick. Choosing between the two ultimately comes down to your spending habits; how much you value the versatility of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® points for transfers, versus miles redeemed for statement credits with Capital One; if you spend heavily on Hotels.com purchases; and how you feel about secondary perks like travel insurance.

Ultimately, we believe cardholders should be wedded to their credit cards for the long term. This suggests placing more importance on ongoing rewards versus one-time sign-up bonuses.

For the majority of Americans, their travel and dining budgets don’t constitute much of their total spending needs, so Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s higher base rewards rate for all purchases means pocketing more travel value.

But cardholders with big travel and dining budgets will earn more value with Chase Sapphire Preferred®. The card’s higher cash-back conversion rate may also play into the decision; there’s no denying that cash in hand can be valuable when needed, even if that means converting at a lower rate than for travel.

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On Capital One's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

Few travel cards can go toe-to-toe with this offer's lineup, including the sign-up bonus, unlimited rewards, and best-in-class hotel rewards program.

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What we Like:
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus
  • 10 miles per $1 at Hotels.com
  • 2 miles per $1
  • No foreign transaction fees
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
2.5 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 2.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Highlights
  • 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. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Chase's Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

It's one of the most popular travel cards for a reason. This offer is practically a must-have for travelers seeking a big sign-up bonus and if you spend enough on credit to justify paying a small annual fee.

Read Full Review
What we Like:
  • 60,000 points sign-up bonus
  • 2 points per $1 for travel & dining
  • Flexible points transfer program
Key Scores:
4.5 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
1.5 5 APR
Perks 4.5/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 1.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 17.74% - 24.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A, N/A Balance Transfers: N/A, N/A
Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
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