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“What credit card should I get?” Lots of people wonder which card to sign up for when starting the pursuit of points and miles. The Capital One Venture and Chase Sapphire Preferred have long been frontrunners in this discussion. I first compared the two cards in 2019. Then I updated the scorecard last year as the value proposition for each card had changed. With some recent changes, it’s time to revisit the standoff between the Venture and Preferred yet again.

I’ve had both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture cards and so has my wife. The Preferred was the first annual fee card we signed up for back in 2011. We were on our honeymoon, which was a 13-month round the world trip, and the foreign transaction fees on my Chase Freedom card were eating us alive.

After some research, I settled on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which had no foreign transaction fees and a 50k sign-up bonus. You always remember your first! Since the Preferred was the one that introduced me to award travel, it has always held a special place in my heart. In 2019, Capital One made some enhancements to the Venture card offering that gave the CSP a run for its money. In 2020, it was pretty clear that the CSP had the upper hand. However, as Dan recently pointed out, the Venture has made some positive changes. I realized it was time to revisit these two mid-range cards to see if one is better.  Let’s review the details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture: Annual fee

  • The Capital One Venture is $95 for the first year.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is $95 for the first year.

Winner: This is a tie obviously. At one point, the Venture card waived the annual fee for the first year, but that is no longer the case.

Comparing the welcome offers

The current Capital One Venture welcome offer is 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. The Venture recently had a sweeter offer of 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months of opening an account, but unfortunately that offered ended on July 18.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Winner: I would give the CSP the edge by a long shot. The Venture miles are worth one cent per mile when redeemed for travel. This makes the welcome offer worth $600 when redeeming directly for travel. Capital One has massively increased the value of miles by adding transfer partners and increasing the transfer rate for some current partners. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred provides a much better value at a slightly higher spend. A total spend of $4,000 on the CSP will net you 100k points. These are redeemable for $1,000 in cash or $1,250 in travel credit on the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal or through the Pay Yourself Back feature.

Rewards

The Venture card earns 2 miles per dollar spent. This applies to every purchase, every day.

The CSP card earns 2 points for travel and dining (including delivery services) and 1 point on all other spend. On top of that, through March 2022 the CSP earns 5x points on Lyft.

Winner: Edge to Venture.  If you use your card for dining or travel, then the earnings on the CSP may be better. This is because the redemptions or “Pay Yourself Back” option could provide a value of 2.5 cents per point. However, the Venture provides 2x miles on all purchases and is great for those who want to simplify their award earnings. It’s certainly easier to maximize your points and value with the Venture. All points earn the 2x miles and can be redeemed for most any travel if you decide to do that instead of transferring the miles.

Redemptions and transfers

The Venture allows you to use miles to “erase” travel purchases from your activity at a 1 cent per mile ratio.  There is a lot of flexibility for redemptions. Most types of travel will qualify.  You can also transfer to 19 travel partners. While this was previously at a 2:1.5 ratio (or worse), Capital One did recently up the transfer ratio to 1:1 for 7 partner programs. This update offers a lot more potential value for Venture card holders. In addition, the simplicity of the program when redeeming for travel purchases is good for newbies. It’s also great for those who are heavy into the miles game already but need a card that has added flexibility. In 2019 we used AA miles to book flights to Europe and used the Venture card to absorb the taxes and fees.  If you redeem for cash the miles are worth 0.5 cents each…don’t do this.

CSP gives you a redemption value of 1.25 cents per point when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.  This is now run by Expedia. You can also transfer UR points to 13 travel partners.  Chase has also rolled out a new “Pay Yourself Back” feature which allows cardmembers to cash out points at 1.25 cents per point in select categories. Currently, these include grocery, dining and home improvement, the annual fee, select charities or funding a vaccine ride with Lyft. If you decide to redeem for cash the value is 1 cent each.

Winner: Too Close to Call. With the addition of travel partners, improved transfer rates and the simplicity of erasing the travel purchases, the Venture card gives the CSP run for its money. Previously, more experienced travel hackers may have found better opportunities for transfers or redemptions with the CSP. The Venture card has certainly stepped up their offering for those looking to maximize redemption sweet spots. The CSP does offer the flexibility of the Pay Yourself Back option which provides a lot of value for redemptions. This makes it easier for less frequent travelers to benefit. It was also a valuable benefit during the pandemic for those who were traveling less often.

Other benefits of the cards

My favorite ancillary benefit to the Venture card is the statement credit of up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application. Besides this, it offers benefits such as a “Credit Wise” credit score tracker, secondary auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, no foreign transaction fees and extended warranty protection. They will also be opening airport lounges in Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington Dulles in the near future. One downside is that Capital One pulls credit reports from all 3 bureaus.

The Preferred has a ton of travel benefits for its $95 annual fee. These include primary CDW on car rentals, $10,000 in trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and extended warranty protection among others. In addition, cardholders can get a $60 credit on an eligible Peleton Digital or All-Access Membership. Lastly, the CSP provides one-year DoorDash DashPass subscription when activated through the end of 2021.

Winner: Depends. If you need Global Entry or TSA Precheck, the Venture is pretty compelling here. Otherwise, if you are looking for top tier ongoing benefits at the $95 annual fee charge, the Preferred has a leg up.

And the winner is…

The Chase Sapphire Preferred! While this was a tough call a few months ago, the winner is pretty clear now. The CSP’s increased bonus and the Venture’s lower one definitely tip the scales. The Venture card has drastically improved the value proposition compared to last year, but the recent drop in the sign up bonus is too much to overlook. Previously the CSP was a far better option than the Venture card and it looks like that is the case once again. For years, I recommended the CSP card due to its great benefits and low annual fee. In 2019, Capital One made some adjustments that led to the Venture card offering a great value. These changes gave the CSP a run for its money. When several of those benefits ended in 2020, it erased the advantage that the Venture held over the CSP. During my review in 2020, Chase had strengthened the Preferred card’s offerings. This led to the CSP easily taking back its place as my top choice for a mid-range travel card. Capital One has since updated their value proposition with more travel partners, improved transfer ratios. If the Venture card brought back the larger sign up bonus this would have been a closer call.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred certainly offers superior value and a substantially larger sign-up bonus. It also is a great card to hold over the long run due to the slightly better benefits. It could make sense to get both cards if you utilize the Global Entry/ TSA Precheck benefit of the Venture. However, the caveat is that you need to get approved for both, hit both sign up bonuses, and make sure to avoid carrying a balance.  This will give you the maximum flexibility when it comes to redemptions, transfer partners, and earning options. With that being said both cards offer a ton of value for the $95 annual fee and would be a great addition to your wallet.

Which card would you pick between the Capital One Venture and Chase Sapphire Preferred? Is there another card that is better than both of these? Leave a comment below and let us know why!


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