The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Capital One Venture card offer some of the finest travel benefits you can get on a mid-tier rewards card – especially in the first year. See what else we found when comparing the two cards.
If you’re willing to invest up to $95 a year in an annual fee for a credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offer some of the finest travel benefits you can get on a mid-tier rewards card – especially in the first year.
Choosing between the two travel cards, though, can be tricky – especially if you aren’t sure which card best matches your spending habits and rewards preferences.
For cardholders who travel and eat out often, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers some enticing benefits as well as an excellent sign-up bonus. But for a cardholder who doesn’t want to put much time into tracking spending or maximizing their rewards earnings, the Venture card’s unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase is hard to beat. Here’s what else we found when comparing the two cards:
|Rewards rate||2X miles on general purchases|
|Sign-up bonus||60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in first three months||60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||None|
|Estimated yearly rewards value over three years (with $15,900 yearly spend)||$326||$447|
If you’re comparing cards based solely on annual rewards earnings, the Capital One Venture card nearly always comes out on top. A leader in the travel card category, the Venture card offers an unlimited 2-mile bonus on every purchase, allowing you to stockpile miles each time you shop or pay a bill using your card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, by contrast, only offers 2X points on travel not booked through its portal and 3X points on dining purchases. Although Chase Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable (we value them at 1.26 cents per point, compared to 1 cent per mile for the Capital One Venture card), that’s still not enough to catch up with the Venture card – even if you’re a heavy traveler or restaurant-goer.
Based on the average person’s spending habits, the Venture card’s consistent rewards rate on every purchase will be much more accessible. You also don’t have to buy a lot of extras to earn a large number of miles. Just using your card on everyday expenses, such as clothing or grocery runs, will earn you a significant amount.
For example, imagine that you travel once a month and eat out a couple of times a week, racking up roughly $8,000 per year in travel and dining expenses. If you redeem your points through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, you’ll earn slightly more from travel and dining with the Sapphire Preferred card. However, once you factor in all your other spending, you will earn more overall with the Venture card.
If your spending averages around $15,900 a year and you spend $8,000 on travel and $7,900 on all other purchases, you’ll earn up to $299 worth of rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and $318 worth of miles with the Capital One Venture card – a small but meaningful difference.
Rewards earnings on $15,900 annual spend ($8,000 travel and dining spend)
|Chase Sapphire Preferred card||Capital One Venture card|
|(($8,000 x 2 points) + ($7,900 x 1 point)) x 1.25 cent point value = $299||$15,900 x 2 miles x 1 cent mile value = $318|
The Venture card’s simple rewards structure also puts it ahead for cardholders who are too busy to deal with a complicated rewards card: With this card, you can expect the same generous rate for every purchase.
However, if you’re a die-hard Chase customer and book air travel and hotel stays through its Ultimate Rewards program, you’ll earn 5X points on your purchases, worth $500 in value. You could outstrip the earnings rate on the Venture card as long as you stick to Chase’s redemption portal.
Sign-up bonuses and spending requirements
Cardholders who use the same card for every purchase will likely earn more over their card’s lifetime with a Venture card instead of a Sapphire Preferred card. When it comes to the first year, however, both cards deliver some of the best credit card sign-up bonuses.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn an introductory bonus of 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, so if you redeemed your bonus in this way, it would be worth around $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase travel portal.
The Venture card, meanwhile, also offers 60,000 miles by spending a more reasonable $3,000 in your first three months instead. Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each, so Capital One’s bonus is more accessible, but it’s only worth $600 toward travel.
Amount you need to spend each month to earn a sign-up bonus
|Chase Sapphire Preferred card||Capital One Venture card|
|$4,000 / 3 months = $1,333 per month||$3,000 / 3 months = $1,000 per month|
As you can see, the Venture Card’s bonus is a little easier to earn, but if you’re looking for maximum bang for your buck in the short term, the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus will be the more practical choice for most cardholders.
If you’re looking for straightforward rewards and easy redemption, the Capital One Venture card has the edge. The Venture card lets you book travel yourself, on any travel website you choose and will reimburse you with a statement credit. That provides a lot of flexibility if you’re a bargain hunter who regularly scans third-party sites for the cheapest flights and hotel rooms. It also makes claiming your rewards miles easier.
But if you’re collecting frequent flyer miles or hotel rewards from other loyalty programs, the Sapphire card’s slightly lower rewards rate could be a small price to pay for more flexible redemption options.
The Sapphire Preferred card also lets you transfer rewards on a one-to-one basis to a variety of other travel loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, United, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, IHG and Hyatt. This is a big plus if you’re already stockpiling airline or hotel loyalty points and could use an infusion of rewards.
While Capital One has over 15 transfer partners for Venture cardholders and continues to build out the list of partners, there are no major U.S. airlines on the list. Capital One miles also transfer at a rate of 2:1.5 rather than 1:1 for most partners, making the option far less valuable than it is with the Sapphire Preferred.
See related: Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners
You can also transfer rewards between different Chase cards. So if you apply for other high-earning Chase cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Chase Freedom Flex, and use those cards for everyday spending, you could potentially earn just as much – or possibly more – with your Chase cards as you would with the Venture card.
Chase Sapphire Preferred redemption options
|Redemption option||Point value||Value of 60,000-point sign-up bonus|
|Ultimate Rewards travel portal (25% redemption bonus)||1.25 cents||$750|
|Statement credit||1 cent||$600|
|Direct deposit||1 cent||$600|
|Gift cards||1 cent||$600|
|Amazon.com purchases||0.8 cent||$480|
|Chase Pay purchases||0.8 cent||$480|
Imagine, for example, if you used the Sapphire Preferred card on travel and dining purchases and used the Chase Freedom Unlimited card – which offers at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases – on everything else, pushing your average rewards rate up to 1.61%. With an average point value of 1.25 cents, we estimate you would earn $320 in value each year on average with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and possibly more if you transfer your points to a frequent flyer partner.
Average rewards earnings in first year ($15,900 spend)
|Chase Sapphire Preferred card + Chase Freedom Unlimited card||Capital One Venture card|
|1.61 points per dollar x $15,900 x 1.25 cent point value = $320||2 miles per dollar x $15,900 x 1 cent mile value = $318|
Bottom line: How much work do you want to put into your rewards card?
For the average cardholder, the Capital One Venture card offers more value and is simpler to use than the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But power card users who don’t mind taking the time to maximize their rewards may find that the Sapphire Preferred card offers some enticing opportunities, especially if you’re a frequent traveler who likes to pool the points you earn from various loyalty programs.
See related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve