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Capital One and Chase have each introduced huge new welcome bonuses: Earn up to 100K bonus “miles” with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card; or earn 80K Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Which is better?
The headline for the Venture Rewards card (100K!) makes it sound like a better offer right off the bat. 100K is better than 80K, right? Well, not really. 100K Capital One “miles” can be used to offset $1,000 in travel purchases. And, guess how much travel can be purchased through Chase with 80K Sapphire Preferred points? Yep: $1,000. Further, Capital One requires $20,000 of spend to get the full bonus. Chase requires only $4,000. And for those who prefer real airline miles, Chase allows one to one transfers whereas Capital One transfers are usually 1,000 to 750 (get 750 airline miles for each 1,000 Capital One “miles).
Let’s compare aspects of the offers side by side:
|Venture Rewards||Sapphire Preferred||Greg’s Verdict|
|Spend required for full welcome bonus||$20K||$4K||Chase wins|
|Travel value of full bonus||$1,000||$1,000||Capital One wins*|
|Number of airline miles you can get by transferring full bonus||75,000||80,000||Chase wins|
|Points earned with $20K spend||40K (worth $400 in travel or 30K airline miles)||20K** (worth $250 in travel or 20K airline miles)||Capital One wins|
* When travel value is equal, Capital One is preferred because all travel purchases get this value whereas Chase requires booking through their site.
** Assumes none of this spend is in bonus categories. If half of spend is for travel & dining, which earn 2X, then you would earn 30K points with $40K spend.
While both are good offers, in my opinion most people will be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred 80K offer. It offers similar purchased travel value and more miles. Most importantly, the Chase offer requires only $4,000 spend whereas Capital One requires $20K spend to get the full welcome bonus.
The verdict changes for big spenders who don’t have another card great for everyday spend (see our list of best options here). The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2X for travel and dining, and 1X everywhere else. The Capital One Venture Rewards card, meanwhile, earns 2X everywhere. This makes the Capital One a much better option for spend outside of the Sapphire Preferred card’s bonus categories. That said, Chase has other cards that are great companions to the Sapphire Preferred. One great choice, for example, is the fee-free Chase Freedom Unlimited card which has great 3X and 5X categories and earns 1.5X everywhere else.
How about both?
While most readers would do better with the Sapphire Preferred offer (in my opinion), both offers are worth considering. If you can handle the big spend and if you can get approved for both, it may make sense to go for it. Keep both cards for a year. At the end of the year, decide which you want to keep and then cancel or downgrade the other to a fee free card.
Of course, I always recommend doing your homework first. Summary details about each of these cards are shown below. Click into the links for more detailed info:
More About Capital One Venture Rewards
|Card Offer and Details|
- Capital One Venture Application Tips
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Perks
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Earn Points
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Redeem Points
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Manage Points
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Lifecycle
- Related Cards
More About Chase Sapphire Preferred
|Card Offer and Details|
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Application Tips
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Perks
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Earn Points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Redeem Points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Manage Points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Lifecycle
- Related Cards
Greg, why is venture first year valuation only $775? With 100k bonus = $1000, shouldn’t valuation be at least $905 ($1000-$95 annual fee)?
Because we also subtract out the “cost of minimum spend” of the required $20K spend for the bonus. See this post for more: https://frequentmiler.com/credit-card-signup-bonus-estimation-details/
Greg, I never fully understood your affection for the Venture. No matter when I look into it, there are always better options for either churners or optimizers. I suppose it’s a good fit for someone who wants simplicity, but those people are probably not credit hobbyists. If it were many other blogs, I’d assume financial incentives, but FM has proven itself entirely trustworthy on that front, so I fully expect there is something here I just can’t see.
For the first time in a while, however, I’d say the Venture is looking like an option, mostly for those who are willing to MS. I probably wouldn’t put $20K in organic spend on this card, as the opportunity loss would be massive. Maybe for someone with very high organic spending, including specifically on non-category.
I agree 100% that the Venture isn’t good for churners or optimizers. I think it’s a good choice for those who want the simplicity of just a single card. It’s the only consumer card that I can think of that offers decent “everywhere” value, is accepted everywhere (e.g. not Amex or Discover), has no foreign transaction fees, plus has the ability to transfer to airline miles. I used to also see it as a good option as an “everywhere else” card, but other everywhere else cards have since gotten better IMO.
One other type of person it makes sense for (not necessarily with this offer though) is someone getting started on churning cards. I believe that the only time that person will get approved is right in the beginning so it’s a good time then to pick up the 50K offer.
Any tips on how to lower your credit score enough to qualify for the Venture?
Utilization ratio- if you’ve got a newer card with a 0% intro rate, you could carry a high balance when it reports to credit bureaus, this would be effective, reversible and free.
Average account age- if you are an AU on someone else’s very old account, it might help to temporarily cancel your AU status. I think account age of AU cards factors into average account age but I’m not confident of that.
Most other methods would cost you money or have more permanent lasting score effects, making them not worth it. It’s debatable if the effort is worth it at all. It’s been said that Capital One may be more averse to any other card opened in the last 6 months than they are to perfect credit scores?
Only have to close… Checks 5 wallets…25 cards for this plan to work 🙂
Only problem with running high balances to artificially lower your score would be if it triggered a review at Chase/Amex/Citi and you are MS’ing. There have been reports that they have become more jittery since the pandemic and are actively trying to anticipate accounts that might be about to go bad.
Why do you want to lower your credit score?