Capital One Venture Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Preferred


We get tons of emails asking us to highlight the differences between the Capital One Venture Card vs the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. So rather than answering each individual, here is the post that will highlight their differences, and suggest circumstances where one card might be preferable to the other. Or when it makes sense to actually get both cards.

Cards capital one venture one picture chase sapphire preferred card picture
Points Formula 2 pt/$1 2 pts/$1 For Travel & Dining
1 Pt/$1 For Regular Purchases
How Points Are Redeemed? Book with anyone and then claim statement credit Book with anyone and then claim statement credit
Use Travel Portal & Earn 2X Points
Transfer Points to Airline & Hotel Partners
Annual Fee $59 $95
Foreign Transaction Fee 0% 0%

How Does One Earn Points – The first real difference between the two cards is how does one earn points. For the Venture, you will be able to earn double miles for every dollar that you spend on the card (regardless of expense type). This is exactly how the Discover Escape Card works as well. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, allows you to earn double points on travel (airfares and hotels) and dining expenses. For other regular purchases, you earn one points per dollar spent.

Both Capital One and Chase also have online shopping portals with various partners that allow you to earn more than one point for every dollar that you shop with their partners from the portal.

How Does One Redeem Points – Once again, there are some significant differences in this area. The Venture allows you to book your travel with anyone. That means you can use, Orbitz or even an offline travel agent. You can then use your “miles” for a statement credit. This flexibility allows you to get the best rates for yourself. Aside from travel, Capital One allows you to redeem your points for merchandise and gift cards as well. Most folks who get the Venture Rewards (I think) are more concerned about the travel rewards than regular rewards.

The Sapphire Preferred has various ways for you to redeem points. For travel, you could book them with their online portal (which allows you to earn double points). You could also book any travel yourself (just like the Venture and Discover Escape), and then use your points for a statement credit. But more importantly, you could transfer your points to airline and hotel partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Their airline partners include Continental United (the largest airline in the US – for now), SouthWest (the largest discount carrier in the US), British Airways and Korean Skypass. Their hotel partners include Marriott, Hyatt, Priority Club and also Amtrak. The ability to transfer to Amtrak is important because you can actually transfer Amtrak points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio.

Aside from travel, you can use your points for gift cards and merchandise. From our research on “Reward Points and Apple Products” and my experience of using my Ultimate Reward points for a XBox for my son’s Christmas present, I would say that Ultimate Rewards is much better than Capital One’s merchandise catalog.

Annual Fee – The Venture Rewards has an annual fee of $59, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a 95 annual fee.

No Foreign Transaction Fee – One of the best features of both cards is that they both have no foreign transaction fees.

Feature Comparisons – The Venture Rewards has a lower annual fee than the Sapphire Preferred. But the Sapphire Preferred has more ways to redeem and use your points. For example, the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners is present only in Amex charge cards with Membership Rewards. In fact, you could argue that with United and SouthWest, Marriott and Hyatt as their partners, they are even more valuable now than Membership Rewards.

The Ultimate Rewards has also has better value when you redeem points for their merchandise than Capital One’s program. So in the event that you chose to use your points this way, Chase has the better value.

The only feature that the Venture beats the Sapphire Preferred is the fact that you can earn double “miles” on all purchases. This is valuable because it allows the “low spenders” (whatever your definition is) to accumulate more points than he or she would if they had used a more conventional rewards card.

Which consumer are these cards suited for? – Overall, I feel that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is better than the Venture Rewards. That does not mean that everyone has to get it. There are circumstances where one card will suit certain people better.

The Venture Card will suit folks who are not really heavy spenders and would like to fly domestically and they live in areas where flights are cheap relative to the miles required if you are a member of frequent flier programs. Many frequent flier programs have tier awards based on demand and seasonality. Domestic flights can range anywhere from 20,000 miles to 50,000 miles. If your typical ticket cost about $200 to $400 and you spend moderately on the card (say around $30,000 to $40,000), then getting a Venture Card will allow you to earn enough points to get about two domestic trips a year. If you take international flights and do not spend a lot, this card is not suit you. The reason is because most programs require about 60,000 to 80,000 miles for international flights. But if you did not use miles, many of them cost a thousand dollars or more (unless you are always traveling during off-peak season and getting great deals from the airlines). It simply makes more sense to use miles for international flights or use them for business class upgrades.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is really geared towards folks have have a few frequent flier or guest programs and who know how and when to use their miles or points to get better deals. The ability to transfer points to miles is also great for international travelers who can use their points for business class upgrades. In fact, using miles for international business class upgrades will probably get you the most bang for the buck. Also, because Continental United and SouthWest are exclusive partner of Ultimate Rewards (no longer on Membership Rewards or Diners Club Rewards), the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is almost a must have card for the frequent traveler.

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