Capital One® SavorOne Review: A Top Card for Dining and Groceries
Among its slate of marquee features, the premium, unlimited earn rates for dining and groceries make this a hard card to pass up.
Best for: Restaurants and groceries Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74% - 24.74% variable APR after that
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74% - 24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
- No foreign transaction fee
- No annual fee
Do you like to eat? If food is an important part of your life, consider adding the Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One also piles on a few perks, intro bonuses, and other features to attract and keep non-foodie customers. Let’s take a seat at the table and tuck in to this specialty credit card.
Why you can trust me
The bulk of my professional life has been spent writing, editing, publishing, and analyzing business news and developments. I have written extensively on finance. My coverage on the credit card industry goes back several years, and I still occasionally write an article looking at the operations of the Big Three card brands (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express).
Perhaps it goes without saying that, as an American consumer, I’m a credit card owner too. Since moving back to the U.S. from Europe in 2007 I’ve opened six card accounts; all are in good standing, despite often frequent use.
What I like about the card
3% cash back on dining and 2% cash back on groceries -- The card reserves its highest cash-back level for comestibles. All other purchases earn at the card’s standard 1% rate. Unlike some cards with elevated rewards categories, Capital One doesn’t put a cap on how much cash back you can reap. You’ll earn all you can eat.
$150 intro cash bonus -- You can earn a relatively easy $150 by spending only $500 within three months of the account opening.
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months -- I tend to be partial to cards with 0% intro APR regimes that last more than a year and 15 months leaves plenty of time to effectively finance expensive purchases interest-free.
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months -- A duration of 15 months is long enough to whittle down high balances incurred with other cards.
No annual fee -- It isn’t unusual for an issuer to tack an annual fee onto a rewards card; thankfully, that’s not the case here.
Extremely flexible cash-back redemption options -- ou can redeem cash back for any amount you choose, and you don’t have to be quick about it -- the cash back you earn never expires as long as you hold the card.
No foreign transaction fee -- Eat your way around the world! Cardholders pay no foreign transaction fees on any of their purchases outside the U.S.
What could be improved
3% balance transfer fee -- The 0% intro APR on balance transfers has a big catch -- the 3% balance transfer fee during the promotional period. For balances that run into the thousands of dollars, this could add up to a hefty charge.
What to look for in a specialty cash rewards card
There are thousands of credit cards on the market, so it’s no surprise that they’ve atomized into increasingly specialist groups. From the issuer side, this makes them easier to market; an easily identifiable audience is an easily targeted audience.
That said, specialty cards tend to be focused on fairly broad specialties. A good example is the travel rewards card, a product aimed squarely at the world’s many airport warriors. Everyone has to eat, and many of us elevate this into a hobby; hence the foodie-friendly Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Not all specialty cards, of course, are created equal. Here are a few must-have features.
- Earns bonus cash back -- Your hobby isn’t going to earn too much in terms of cash rewards if said rewards aren’t particularly generous. This one, for example, rewards foodies with an enhanced cash back rate.
- The valuable perks go beyond just bonus cash back -- A one-dimensional card is going to be limited in utility, no matter how handsomely it rewards your habits. If it has a poor or clunky redemption program, charges a foreign transaction fee, or falls short in a few other ways, it’s probably not worth holding.
- The fees are justifiable -- Unless you’re racking up rewards constantly and at high rates, a specialty card isn’t worth the plastic it’s printed on if it’s a pricey affair. Does it have a rich annual fee and you don’t spend enough on credit to justify it, for example? Then perhaps you’re better off with a no-annual fee credit card..
- The credit limit is high enough for your budget -- You won’t rack up much of a points/miles/rewards tally if you have a low credit limit. Limits are movable targets, of course, set by the issuer. But it’s worth taking the time to gauge the kind of limit the issuer tends to set with new cardholders. Too low, and it might not be to your best advantage to own their plastic.
Layering these “must-have’s” on to the feature set offered with Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card, it’s clear that the card delivers on these essentials.
How much cash back you can earn
Let’s run a quick comparison of this card’s potential yearly earnings on its specialty categories with a theoretical rival earning at a rate of 1% for both:
|Credit Card||Spend on dining||Spend on groceries||Spend on other products/services||Total cash back earned|
|Capital One® SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||$5,000||$4,000||$7,000||$340|
|Generic rival card||$5,000||$4,000||$7,000||$160|
As you can see, in this example the Capital One card earns more than double the cash back of the cash-back credit card.
Suggested credit score
You will need a strong credit history to qualify for this card. Capital One wants potential cardholders to have excellent credit, by which it means that you have:
Held a credit card or loan for over three years, at a credit limit/amount over $5,000.
Not paid a credit card, loan, or medical bill more than 60 days late over the past year.
Never once declared bankruptcy.
Never defaulted on a loan.
That said, Capital One stresses that these are only guidelines in its decision to award you the card. Other factors can and will be considered.
Some cardholders report in online forums that they’ve been approved with a FICO® Score in the mid-700s. Credit limits seem to be generous, with some people claiming that they’ve been granted ones above $10,000.
How to maximize your cash back
It’s good to use a specialty cash-back rewards card in tandem with other cash-back cards that have elevated rewards levels.
Use the Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card to (sorry!) savor those restaurant meals and buy groceries for your own kitchen wizardry. Then use the other cards to get high cash back on non-food spending.
For example, Chase Freedom® earns 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories you activate (on up to $1,500 of spending each quarter), which have included online shopping, gas, and more.
Of course, there will always be some categories that will earn at the standard rate with all your cash-back cards. In that case, you might want to compliment this strategy by obtaining a card that pays a higher standard rate than the typical 1% (yes, they’re out there!).
The Citi® Double Cash Card’s earnings program, for example, effectively has a standard rate of 2% -- with 1% as you spend, and an additional 1% when you pay your card’s statement.
The card is right for you if…
Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best credit cards for gourmands and gourmets. The combination of the top 3% earning rate for restaurants, and the unlimited cash back rewards offers much potential to the frequent eater.
Other good reasons to own the card:
The $150 intro cash bonus is low-hanging fruit considering that an average of less than $167 in spending per month is needed to earn it.
The 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers can be very useful for those who want to, respectively, finance a large purchase interest-free, and consolidate debt.
For those who don’t devote much of their budget to food, this might not be the ideal card. Competing products offer better cash back rates, either on a flat-rate basis or in several categories.