Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture — we compared 2 of the top travel rewards cards and named a winner

source
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been one of the most popular rewards credit cards since it launched over a decade ago. It gives you 2 points per dollar on restaurant and travel purchases and 1 point everywhere else.
  • The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you a flat 2 miles per dollar everywhere, but rewards are not as valuable as the Preferred’s when you transferred to partner airlines.
  • Both cards come loaded with useful travel and purchase protections.
  • If I had to pick a winner, though, it would be Chase Sapphire Preferred. The benefits and value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points are tough to beat. But depending on your travel preferences, either card could be a good fit for your needs.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages! In the blue corner, weighing in at 13 grams of blue stainless steel: Chase Sapphire Preferred. In the red corner, made from a 75% recycled blue stainless steel and weighing in at 16 grams: Capital One Venture.

While both of these rewards credit cards are made from blue stainless steel, each offers a unique set of rewards, benefits, and costs. Depending on where you spend most and how you like to travel, you might find that either Chase’s card or Capital One’s makes more sense for your needs.

Here’s a head-to-head face-off on which card dominates for 2019 and beyond.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture: the biggest differences

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture are both travel rewards credit cards with annual fees of $95, but with the Venture card, the annual fee is waived for the first year. The way you earn and redeem points with each card is different, so it’s important to look at what sets them apart to decide which could be best for your needs.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1 points per dollar everywhere else. That compares to an unlimited flat 2x miles with the Capital One Venture card. But Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Capital One Venture miles work differently, and each may appeal to a different type of traveler.

In general, Chase Sapphire Preferred is better for those who want to squeeze out more value per point and are willing to put in a little time to figure out the best way to redeem points with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

The Capital One Venture is better for those looking for really easy and flexible redemptions. To understand why, let’s dive into the details of each program and how the redemption options work.

Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards

Puerto Rico Jan 2019_Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card 25

source
The Points Guy

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining purchases and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. You can redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1.25 cents each, with no limits or blackout dates.

Points can be worth a lot more, however, when you transfer to partner airlines. You can also transfer to hotel partners, but airlines tend to offer the best value. I recently got a huge value when I took my dad to Israel in business class with Chase points transferred to my United account.

All Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers are at a 1:1 ratio, meaning one Chase point = 1 mile or point at the airline’s or hotel’s program.

Chase’s airline-transfer partners:

  1. United MileagePlus
  2. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  3. JetBlue
  4. British Airway Executive Club
  5. Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  6. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  7. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  8. Iberia Plus
  9. Aer Lingus AerClub

Chase’s hotel-transfer partners:

  1. Marriott Bonvoy
  2. World of Hyatt
  3. IHG Rewards Club

This card lived in my wallet for a very long time until I decided to upgrade it to the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve. But I still often call the Sapphire Preferred the best card for people new to travel rewards. It gives you a ton of value, a lot of protections, and if you ever have any trouble, Chase customer support for these cards is very good.

Read more: After months of contemplation, I finally upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 10-minute phone call

Don’t overlook the value of the Sapphire Preferred card’s other benefits too. Chase just helped my sister get her money back after a bad experience with an African tour guide operator. But that’s a story for another day.

The card charges a $95 annual fee and currently offers a 60,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. That starts you with at least $750 in value toward free and discounted travel when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

Capital One Venture rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

source
The Points Guy

The Venture card from Capital One gives you 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. You can redeem miles through Capital One’s portal with no blackout dates or restrictions with a value of 1 cent each. That means each purchase gives you an equivalent 2% cash back toward travel.

You can also use Capital One’s Purchase Eraser feature to “wipe” travel charges from your Venture card statement. You’ll also get 1 cent per mile with this redemption option. If you value simplicity above all else, this is the easiest way to put your Venture card‘s rewards to work for you.

It used to be that miles were only redeemable through Capital One, but Capital One added its own list of airline-transfer partner.

Here’s a current transfer-partner list from Capital One:

  1. Aeromexico Club Premier
  2. Air Canada Aeroplan
  3. Flying Blue Air France/KLM
  4. Alitalia MilleMiglia
  5. Avianca LifeMiles
  6. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  7. Emirates Skywards
  8. Etihad Guest
  9. EVA Infinity MileageLands
  10. Finnair Plus
  11. Hainan Fortune Wings Club
  12. JetBlue TrueBlue
  13. Qantas Frequent Flyer
  14. Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  15. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

There are a few noteworthy things about this list.

First, you’ll notice that it does not contain a single major US airline – the closest thing is JetBlue, the most recently added partner. Next, you may notice that it offers a wide array of international airlines, including some of the most luxurious in the world – Singapore, Emirates, and Etihad often battle for the title of the world’s most luxurious airline.

It is also important to note that you can’t always transfer them at a 1:1 ratio. Because Venture miles may become fewer airline miles, you might get the best value by redeeming right through the Capital One portal. Like with Chase, you can always run the numbers for a specific flight to compare.

The card charges a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and currently offers a 50,000-mile bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account.

Read more: The Capital One Venture card comes with valuable travel benefits – we break down whether they are worth a $95 annual fee

Comparing the benefits

For benefits, these cards are neck and neck.

Both come with no foreign transaction fees and a wide range of travel and purchase coverage.

Chase Sapphire Preferred includes trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay insurance, and travel emergency assistance. At the checkout counter, it offers purchase protection and an automatic extended warranty.

Capital One Venture comes with travel accident insurance, secondary car rental insurance, and travel assistance. It gives you an extended warranty at checkout. One big benefit you don’t get with the competitor in this case: an up-to-$100 credit for TSA’s Global Entry or PreCheck programs when you pay with this card.

For benefits, Capital One’s card is a little lighter than what you get from Chase. Depending on how much you travel and the anticipated costs along the way, those insurance and protections benefits can be very valuable.

Comparing the costs

Both cards have a $95 annual fee, though Capital One Venture waives it the first year. Otherwise, costs are fairly comparable if you pay off the card in full each month by the statement due date.

If you can’t afford or can’t handle paying off the card each month, a rewards credit card may not be the best choice for your needs. Credit card interest usually costs a lot more than you get back in rewards, so a card with an intro APR offer and low interest rates is best if you need to carry a balance.

Outside of the annual fee, you can avoid all costs on both of these cards by avoiding some less common activities like balance transfers and cash advances. Always pay your card in full each month no matter what card you have. My credit card philosophy is very similar to Atlanta-based money guru Clark Howard.

Choosing the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture

If I had to pick a winner, it would be Chase Sapphire Preferred.

While Capital One Venture gives you more miles per dollar and offers more transfer partners, its airline partners won’t be as useful to many US travelers, and your miles usually don’t transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so you get less value.

Advanced travelers and those who are willing to research award availability on major US travel partners can get the best results from Chase Sapphire Preferred. Those who just want to keep things easy and flexible will enjoy Capital One Venture’s structure a little more. The Sapphire Preferred also has the edge when it comes to travel protections like primary car rental insurance and trip delay insurance – hopefully you don’t have to put these benefits to use, but if you do they can save you some serious cash.

Either way, regular travelers looking to get a travel rewards card with an annual fee around $100 will do very well with one of these cards.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture card.