Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

May 27, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue

Many frequent flier programs have become a source of frustration for consumers. Cardholders used to earn free flights with a specific airline’s credit card by making their everyday purchases on their credit card and earning miles on that certain airline. But airlines starting cutting back on the number of “free” seats they award per flight as well as the number of flights to a certain destination, making it very difficult to use these frequent flier miles to get a free flight to your desired destination.

That’s why a credit card where the airline miles can be used on just about any carrier has such appeal to consumers. You are now able to earn these miles and use them on the airline that best fits your needs, and at a time that works for you.

Two of the most attractive travel credit cards are the Capital One Venture Rewards card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Let’s take a look at the special features of each of these cards.

Capital One Venture Rewards

The Capital One Venture Rewards card is a card that has generated a tremendous amount of awareness due to a strong television advertising campaign. It is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. It offers two miles per dollar spent, and there are no limits on the number of miles you can earn. Plus, the miles do not expire and can be used on a number of different airlines. The miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel expenses.

Capital One offers new cardholders a very strong up-front bonus on the Venture card: 40,000 miles which are worth $400 after the new applicant spends $3,000 during the first three months of opening the account.

Miles can be redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rental, and cruises. Cardholders purchase their travel through the normal channels, and then apply their miles towards the transactions they desire. A statement credit will be applied to their account. The travel can be booked through any travel provider and no blackout dates or limits on seats apply. As an added bonus, passengers would receive frequent flier miles for purchasing the flight, since the travel was originally booked as a normal transaction.

There is no introductory APR on this card, and the interest rate is 12.9% to 22.9% depending on your credit worthiness.

Cardholders are also able to benefit from Capital One’s Credit Tracker app, which offers a free monthly credit score as well as showing the effects that certain actions will have on your credit, such as paying down your balance.

There is an annual fee of $59 on this card but it is waived during the first year. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is also one of the top travel cards on the market, giving some excellent rewards for frequent flier miles and hotel points. Cardholders earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be used in a variety of ways: on many airlines, hotel chains and even as Amtrak Guest Rewards.

Chase has an attractive introductory offer for new customers: 40,000 points after spending $4,000 on new purchases within the first three months of being a cardholder. In addition, if you add one authorized user to your account and they make a purchase within the first three months of the account opening, you will earn another 5,000 points.

As a cardholder, you earn two points for all dining and travel expenses, as well as one point per dollar spent on all other transactions. There are no limits on the amount of points you can earn with this program.

The Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for one cent each or used for one mile or point on a partner airline or hotel program. If you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through the Ultimate Rewards website, your points are actually worth 1.25 each.

The Chase Sapphire card comes with free 24/7 concierge service. Simply call and you can get assistance with reservations and travel questions. In addition, they have 24/7 Dedicated Customer Service. When you call, you’ll be connected with a real person immediately.

Chase Sapphire Preferred customers are also part of Chase’s Blueprint program. This free program enables the cardholder to not be charged interest by completely paying off some purchases, while they extend payments on other charges. Blueprint includes a number of helpful features to assist cardholders in paying off their balances in a quicker time period.

But unlike many other cards on the market, there is no introductory offer on the APR for a certain period of time. The APR for the card is 15.99%.

The annual fee on the card is waived for the first year and is $95 thereafter. There are no foreign transaction fees.

How These Cards Compare

These cards are very similar in many ways. They are both terrific cards that allow the cardholder to use the points or miles for a variety of airlines and hotels.

The up-front bonus is the same (40,000 points or miles) but the Venture Rewards card requires $1,000 less in purchases ($3,000 vs. $4,000) during the first three months. On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire has the additional bonus of 5,000 points if you add one authorized user to your account and they make a purchase within the first three months of the account opening.

The ongoing rewards are good for both cards, but the Venture card gives two points for every purchase; the Chase Sapphire gives two points for just the dining and travel transactions. But if you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises with the Chase Sapphire card through the Ultimate Rewards website, your points are actually worth 1.25 each.

Both have an annual fee that is waived for the first year. The Chase Sapphire card’s annual fee is slightly higher ($95) than the Capital One Venture Rewards card ($59).

Neither card has an introductory offer on your APR. For a person that has excellent credit, the APR for the Venture Rewards card (12.9%) is lower than the APR for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (15.99%). But the Chase Sapphire Preferred customers are part of Chase’s Blueprint program which enables them to not be charged interest by completely paying off some purchases, while they extend payments on other charges.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 27, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About John H. Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of LowCards.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers credit card rate issues for LowCards.com.
View all posts by John H. Oldshue