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KEY LINKS

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 60,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months – Read more and apply here
  • Capital One Venture – 75,000 Venture miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 4 months. – Read more and apply here

“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 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. The Venture has 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 offer is no longer available.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Winner: Tie. You might think that the signup bonus on the Venture is better since it’s more miles, but Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred as compared to 1 cents per mile for Venture Rewards miles. Capital One has massively increased the value of miles by adding transfer partners and increasing the transfer rate for some current partners. Which transfer partners are better will depend on how and with whom you want to travel – I’ve gotten outstanding value from transferring Venture miles to Wyndham for Vacasa vacations.

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 most 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.  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 Capital One Venture Card! When we first wrote this post back a few years ago, the Sapphire Preferred came out on top. But with the lower bonus on the Sapphire Preferred (it has been as high as 100,000 Ultimate Rewards), I think the Venture card comes out on top. The Venture card has drastically improved the value proposition compared to last year. 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.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred certainly offers and it is also 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.

If you want to sign up for either of these cards and want to support the site, you can do it from our top credit cards page

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 60,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months – Read more and apply here
  • Capital One Venture – 75,000 Venture miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 4 months. – Read more and apply here

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!


Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them
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