People get rewards credit cards for all kinds of different reasons: cash back, bonus miles, reward points. Regardless of your reason, the vast majority of rewards cards have a one-time sign-up bonus if you spend a certain amount within a certain window of time. People that know how to work the system can reap the benefits of these bonuses without putting themselves in financial jeopardy. Entire schools of thought have sprung into existence on how to best utilize these bonuses; travel hacking is just an example. By taking advantage of signup bonuses, travel hackers get free flights and a host of other rewards by using a credit card to pay for things they would have to spend money on anyway.
If you're reading this, then you're no doubt interested in Capital One's specific offerings. We've gone through their options and compared them to give you the best one-time bonus cards, as well as the best options from Capital One's major competitors.
What are the best one-time bonuses from Capital One?
Capital One has several fantastic reward cards, and the best ones come with great sign-up bonuses. That said, there is no one "best" overall card. Value-wise, a single card can be determined, but it isn't the best for everyone. We've broken down the top four cards (cash back and travel for businesses and individuals) and laid out the particulars for you.
Best One-Time Travel Bonus: Capital One Venture Card
The Capital One Venture Card is one of the best travel rewards cards out there. Not only is there no annual fee for the first year, but you earn double miles on every purchase. 100 miles equates to $1 in travel rewards.
The one-time bonus is 40,000 miles, or $400 in travel, if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. While this is an impressive value, it's not the highest value bonus Capital One offers. It is, however, the highest consumer level reward from Capital One.
Now for the less fun part of the card: the fees. The Venture Card has an annual fee of $59 after the first year and a late payment fee of up to $35. The cash advance fee is either $10 or 3% of each cash advance, depending on what is higher. The minimum payment will be $25 or 1% of the outstanding balance, plus any interest and/or late payment fees.
Finally, those that want to apply for a Venture Card should have Excellent credit. In other words, a rating of 720 or higher.
Best One-Time Cash Back Bonus: Capital One Quicksilver Rewards
We've reviewed the Quicksilver before, and for good reason: it's one of the best cash back rewards cards a person can get. With 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with none of the hassle of activating categories and keeping up with the rotation, the Quicksilver has a lot going for it.
The one-time bonus is $100 cash back if you spend $500 within the first three months. Yes, you read that right; you get $100 for free. $500 isn't a huge amount to spend over a three-month period, either. For consumers, this is the best one-time cash back card you can get from Capital One.
The Quicksilver has no annual fee, and a 0% APR for the first nine months. This makes it feasible as a balance transfer card. The late payment fee is $35, and the minimum payment is $25 or 1% of your balance, as well as any late fees and interest payments. The cash advance is $10 or 3% of the advance, whichever is higher. Finally, to apply for a Quicksilver card, you should have a credit rating of Excellent or higher.
Best One-Time Travel Bonus for Business: Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Capital One divides its cards between normal consumers and business cards. While a normal person could probably apply for one of the business cards, the requirements are much higher. The Spark Miles for Business card yields the highest value travel rewards of any Capital One card, hands down.
If you spend $4,500 within the first three months, you receive a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles. That's equal to $500 in travel rewards. For a business, $4,500 isn't a particularly large barrier to entry, but the average consumer isn't likely to spend that much.
Like the Venture Card, the Spark Miles for Business card yields double miles on every purchase for your business, and as an added bonus there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions, and you don't have a minimum limit on what you can redeem. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $59 per year after that.
Late payment fees can reach $39. The minimum payment is $15 or 1% of the balance plus any interest and penalty fees. As with most of Capital One's reward cards, you will need Excellent credit before you apply for this card.
Best One-Time Cash Back Bonus for Business: Capital One Spark Cash for Business
While the header for this section might be long, the card is well worth it. It's a lot like the Quicksilver, except for businesses instead of individuals. The Spark Cash for Business card yields 2% cash back on every purchase. If you spend $21,000 for your business, that's the same as getting $5,040 cash back.
The one-time bonus is also impressive. If you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months, you'll receive a $500 cash bonus. For some people, that's enough to pay the lease on their office.
The annual fee is $0 for the first year, and then $59 per year after that. Other fees included a late payment fee of up to $39, balance transfer rates of $10 or 1%, whichever is higher, and a minimum payment of as little as $15 plus any interest charges and late penalties.
You'll need at least an Excellent credit score to qualify for the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card.
Do one-time bonus cards differ from other types of cards?
Almost all Capital One cards include some form of a sign-up bonus, as do most rewards credit cards in general. The bonus is a further incentive for consumers to utilize the card's services. That said, "standard" credit cards — those without rewards — do not offer one-time bonuses.
How do Capital One's one-time bonuses compare to the competition?
Capital One has quite a few great sign-up bonuses, but they aren't alone in that. There are several different cards that offer huge bonuses, but there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, not all companies redeem points the same way; while Capital One might have a 100 points to $1 travel rewards ratio, other companies may differ. Here are a few of the one-time bonuses that give Capital One a run for its money.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of those cards that gets touted constantly on the television; you've no doubt seen it advertised in commercials countless times. There's good reason, too; the rewards system is impressive. You receive double points on all travel-related expenses, as well as double points on dining worldwide. For every other purchase, you receive one point per dollar spent.
There are no foreign transaction fees, and more than 43.3 million merchants around the world accept the Chase Sapphire Preferred. There is also complementary travel insurance, reimbursement for delays, baggage delay insurance, liability protection, and 24/7 access to customer service specialists. The annual fee is a bit steep — $95 per year after the first year — but in our opinion, well worth it.
As for the one-time bonus, if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening an account, you'll receive 50,000 bonus points. That's the equivalent of $625 on airfare or hotels, or $500 in cash. You can also earn another 5,000 bonus points by adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first three months. Not bad, huh?
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Amex Platinum is one of the most well-known cards out there, if only for the sheer amount of prestige it carries. That said, it's a powerful rewards card that yields tremendous results for those who qualify. That said, it takes a lot to qualify for this card. First, take a look at the benefits: five times the points when you book a flight directly with the airline or via American Express Travel, and five times the points when you book an eligible hotel through amextravel.com. You also receive $15 Uber credit reach month, plus a $20 credit in December. This can add up to $200 per year in free Uber rides. You can also receive up to $200 in airline credits.
More benefits include a $100 fee credit if you apply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck, as well as access to more than 1,000 American Express Global Lounges across the world.
As for the one-time bonus, you'll receive 60,000 membership rewards points if you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of owning the card. The downside is that the American Express Platinum carries an annual fee of $550, and also that you must pay off your balance in full each month. It goes without saying that only those with Excellent credit qualify.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card
Compared to the first two heavy-weight competitors, the BankAmericard is more middle-weight. It grants 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, carries no annual or foreign transaction fees, and your points never expire. There's an introductory APR of 0% for 12 months, which then increases to as high as 23.74% depending on your credit.
The bonus is 20,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 within three months. That's a much lower barrier to entry than some of the other cards, which makes the BankAmericard a good starting point for a beginner without much credit card experience.
While Capital One has quite a few enticing bonuses, so do its competitors. Take the time to evaluate whether a Capital One card or one of its competitor's cards will be the best fit for you.
What do others have to say about the Capital One Bonus Cards?
Looking at consumer feedback is one of the best ways to get a feel for whether a card is actually worth having or whether it is too good to be true. There's a good reason for this. There are only certain types of people that leave reviews: the very satisfied and the very unsatisfied.
The Capital One Venture Card has a 4.6 out of 5 rating with 8,441 reviews. For a card to carry such a high rating after almost 10,000 people have reviewed it is nearly unheard of.
The Capital One Quicksilver also has a 4.6 out of 5 rating, but only 4,768 people have reviewed it.
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business has a 4.4 out of 5 rating, but has only been reviewed by 369 people. This is largely because the business-oriented credit cards serve a much smaller demographic than the consumer-oriented cards.
The Capital One Spark Cash for Business has the lowest rating of the four with 4.3 out of 5, with 580 reviews.
If you opt for a one-time bonus card, it will be a rewards card of some type. Keep a few things in mind. First of all, all rewards cards require excellent credit. If your credit rating is too low, you won't qualify. If you are looking for the Capital One card with the single best value that is most widely available to people, then you can't go wrong with the Capital One Venture. Its rewards structure and bonus yields a huge amount of value, especially to frequent travelers. Make sure to pay the balance off in full each month and you can avoid the potential negative effects of credit cards: i.e., interest payments and late penalties. Utilizing these cards properly can result in free travel, cash, and much more.
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