Of the thirteen different credit cards offered by Capital One, eleven are rewards credit cards. Seven of those are based around consumer rewards. People "in the know" have realized that rewards credit cards are the key to making the most of your shopping experience. After all, why not be rewarded for money you were going to spend anyway?
That said, it can be hard to choose what credit card is best, especially when there are so many options. We've examined every credit card offered by Capital One and determined which ones are best for what categories.
Capital One breaks down its rewards cards into two categories: travel and cash rewards. The cards can be broken down further by popular, secured, student, and business cards, and also by the minimum required credit score. We looked at the rewards structure, purchase rates, annual fees, and several other data points in our evaluation of which rewards card best fit the bill.
Best Travel Rewards Credit Card: Venture Card
Capital One offers two main travel rewards cards for consumers: the Venture Card and the VentureOne Card. The Venture Card is by far the best choice, and has been recommended on numerous "best of" lists as the go-to card for frequent travelers. Why? Check out it's perks:
- Double miles on every purchase. No rotating categories to keep track of. It's hassle-free rewards that yield 2 miles per dollar spent. The exchange rate is easy to keep track of, too; 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards. And these rewards can be spent on everything from flights to hotels to car rentals.
- 40,000 bonus miles. If you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of owning the Venture Card, you'll receive a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles. (Check out our list of the best one-time bonuses that Capital One has to offer.)
- No annual fee the first year. After the first year, the annual fee increases to $59.
- Travel upgrades. The Venture Card makes you eligible for complimentary upgrades at various hotels and resorts, as well as qualifying you for special savings.
- Concierge services. Need to know what's good to eat around where you are? Looking for a particular shop that you know is nearby, but you can't seem to find? The Venture Card makes you eligible for Visa Signature Benefits, one of which is 24/7 complimentary concierge services.
- Auto rental insurance. No one likes spending money on car rental insurance, but it's necessary. After all, actually purchasing the vehicle would be far worse. The Venture Card grants cardholders free collision and theft coverage for no additional cost when renting a vehicle with the card.
- Extended warranty. Any items purchased with the Venture card receive added protection for no added cost.
- Shopping discounts. Certain stores and online merchants provide discounts for customers using a Visa Signature card.
- Emergency card replacement. Losing your credit card is never good, but it's far worse when you're in a foreign country with no mailing address. One of the most useful Visa Signature Benefits is the emergency card replacement; if your card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency card sent to you, as well as a cash advance to hold you over until the card arrives.
If those benefits aren't enough, all Capital One cards come with the following benefits.
- No foreign transaction fees. Traveling abroad can be expensive, not because of airline costs, but because of the fees you're hit with every time your bank converts currency for the purchases you make.
- Fraud coverage. If your card is ever stolen or used fraudulently, you're covered. Capital One provides fraud coverage for all its cardholders.
- Security alerts. You can create customized alerts to your email or phone so you know when your card is used and where.
A card with this many benefits does have drawbacks, however. For starters, the Venture Card requires a person to have Excellent credit in order to qualify. This means a score of 720 or higher is needed. Purchase rates can vary between 13.74% and 23.74% based on your creditworthiness, and late fees can be up to $35 per incident—not to mention the additional interest penalties added onto late payments.
If you're a frequent traveler, either for pleasure or business, then the Venture Card is a solid choice. If you don't quite qualify for this card, you can always try the VentureOne, the Venture's less-powerful cousin. While the rewards structure isn't as lucrative, the qualification requirements are a bit lower.
Best Cash Back Rewards Card: Quicksilver Rewards
Like their travel categories, Capital One offers two separate cash back rewards cards: the Quicksilver and the QuicksilverOne. The Quicksilver is an oft-lauded card for its solid rewards structure and easy to understand points system. Take a look:
- 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There's no limit on the rewards you can earn, and you don't have to worry about changing categories. Every purchase, no matter what it is, earns you 1.5% cash back.
- $100 cash back bonus. If you spend $500 within the first three months of owning the card, you'll receive a one-time bonus of $100. That's a free c-note for spending money you'd likely spend anyway. Why not make the most of it?
- No annual fee. Owning the Quicksilver couldn't be more simple. There's no annual fee. No hassle.
- World Elite MasterCard Benefits. Like the Venture Card, the Quicksilver is eligible for all of the benefits of a World Elite MasterCard, including extended warranties, concierge services, travel upgrades and protections, identity theft resolution services, and much more.
- Included Capital One card benefits. The Quicksilver also has the same benefits that all Capital One cards have: no foreign transaction fees, fraud coverage, and security alerts.
The Quicksilver's rates are reasonable, as well. With a 0% introductory APR for nine months, it is the most feasible balance transfer card in Capital One's repertoire. After those nine months, the APR increases to anywhere from 13.74% to 23.74% depending on your credit score. The late payment penalty is $35, plus your outstanding balance and additional interest fees.
The Quicksilver requires a credit score of 720 or higher to qualify. If your credit score isn't quite that high, you might still be able to qualify for the QuicksilverOne, the lesser-powered alternative. Like the VentureOne, it yields a lower level of rewards than the Quicksilver, but may be easier to obtain.
Best Dining Rewards Card: Premier Dining Rewards
The Premier Dining Rewards card is a new addition to Capital One's lineup. While technically a cash back rewards card, the Premier Dining Rewards is aimed specifically at people that want to benefit from money spent on food. The card is so new, in fact, that it has no customer reviews on Capital One's website. If we had to guess, though, it will be very popular once it catches on. Take a look at these rewards.
- 3% cash back on dining. Enjoy going out to eat? Travel often for business and rely on restaurants? You'll be rewarded for it.
- 2% cash back on groceries. Grocery shopping isn't a fun task, but getting cash back makes it a bit more bearable.
- 1% cash back on everything else. While not as rewarding as the Quicksilver, when paired with the other cash back bonuses it is hard to beat what the Premier Dining Rewards has to offer.
- $100 cash back bonus. If you spend $500 within the first three months, you'll receive a one-time bonus of $100.
- No annual fee. There is no annual fee when using the Premier Dining Rewards card. Just sign up and enjoy the benefits.
- World Elite MasterCard Benefits. Like the Venture Card, the Premier Dining Rewards card is eligible for all of the benefits of a World Elite MasterCard, including extended warranties, concierge services, travel upgrades and protections, identity theft resolution services, and much more.
- Included Capital One card benefits. The Premier Dining Rewards card also has the same benefits that all Capital One cards have: no foreign transaction fees, fraud coverage, and security alerts.
Like the rest of Capital One's rewards cards, the Premier Dining Rewards card requires an Excellent credit rating or higher to qualify. Purchase rates range from 15.24% to 24.24%, as do the transfer rates; however, there is no balance transfer fee. Late payments can reach $35.
While there is no lower-tier alternative to the Premier Dining Rewards card, it is possible one might be added in the future. This card is still a new addition to Capital One's lineup, so the company may make further decisions after seeing how this one performs.
Best Student Rewards Card: Journey Student Credit Card
For students just starting to build credit, it's hard to beat the Journey Student Credit Card. It's designed to help students learn how to manage their credit and make the most of their spending without tempting someone to be financially irresponsible. A few of the benefits include:
- 1% cash back on all purchase. If you pay your bill on time, the total cash back for that month increases to 1.25%.
- CreditWise monitoring. Capital One's proprietary CreditWise system allows users to keep an eye on their credit score and see how they can best improve it.
- No annual fee. The Journey Student Credit Card is designed to be as easy to use as possible, which means there's no need to worry about an annual fee.
- Higher credit limit within five months. If you make your first five monthly payments on time, you'll receive access to a higher credit limit.
- No foreign transaction fees. If you travel abroad, you wont have to pay currency conversion fees when using the card—great for students on study abroad trips.
- Fraud coverage. If the card is lost or stolen, you aren't liable for it; Capital One has you covered.
While this card doesn't come with the World Mastercard Elite benefits like the Quicksilver or the Venture, it does come with Visa Platinum benefits that include:
- 24-hour travel assistance. If your lose your credit card while traveling, you can have an emergency replacement issued, as well as a cash advance to tide you over until the card arrives.
- Extended warranty. Any items purchased with your Journey Student Credit Card automatically get additional warranty.
- Auto rental insurance. If you rent a car using the Journey Student Credit Card, it is automatically covered for theft or collision damage.
- Travel accident insurance. If you purchase your bus/plane/train ticket with your Journey Student Credit Card, you receive automatic travel insurance for loss of life or limb at no extra cost.
The APR is set at 20.74% for both purchase rate, cash advances, and balance transfers. The late payment can reach up to $35. Unlike the others on this list, the Journey Student Credit Card requires only average credit to apply, making it perfect for those with little to no credit.
How do Capital One rewards cards compare to the competition?
Capital One is one of the most well known credit card companies and competes directly with others like Discover, American Express, Chase, and others.
Best Competitor Travel Rewards Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred yields double points on travel and dining at restaurants across the globe, and one point per dollar on every other purchase you make. There are no foreign transaction fees, and if you redeem your points via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you receive 25% more value.
To make the offer even better, you'll receive 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account. There are no blackout dates or travel restrictions, and the 1:1 points exchange rate means you'll be getting the bang for your buck that you expect. The first year is free, but every year after the first sees a $95 annual fee.
That said, the Chase Sapphire is only valuable to people who spend a lot of money on travel and other purchases; if you spend less than $10,000 per year, then the $95 annual fee negates the value of the rewards you receive. The card is only available to people with Excellent credit, which limits its usefulness to the average individual
Best Competitor Cash Back Rewards Card: Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is an oft-recommended cash back card for several reasons. First, cardholders receive a set rate of 1% cash back on all purchases at the time of purchase. They then receive another 1% cash back when that purchase is paid off. There are other benefits, as well. There's no annual fee to use the Citi Double Cash Card. If you purchase an item but find it at a lower price with 60 days, you can be refunded up to $300 per item, to a total of $1,200 per year.
The main downside to this card is the lack of a sign-up bonus. The short-term value isn't great as a result; while using the card over a long period of time makes it worthwhile, a signup bonus would make the card even more valuable. If you aren't going to use the card over an extended period of time, it isn't worth the investment; you would be better off going with a card that includes a better one-time bonus.
What do other customers have to say about Capital One?
If you're unsure whether a card might be a good fit for you, the best thing to do is take a look at what other customers have to say.
The Venture Rewards card has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars after 8,441 reviews. 94% of its reviewers recommend it to other people.
The Quicksilver has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating after 4,748 reviews, with a total of 93% of its reviewers recommending it.
The Journey Student Rewards Credit Card has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating after 7,204 reviews, with 94% of total reviewers recommending it.
The Premier Dining Rewards card has not yet been reviewed by customers.
Do you need a rewards card?
For many people, owning a credit card is a burden; the monthly payments to get out from under debt can drag anyone down. However, if you use your card properly and pay off its balance every month, a credit card can be incredibly beneficial. Rewards cards like the Venture, the Quicksilver, and the others listed here give make every dollar you spend more valuable than it would be otherwise. Whether you're a frequent traveler looking to earn a free flight somewhere, or just an everyday person that would like to reduce the cost of everything you buy via a cash back card, choosing the right rewards card can change the way you spend money. Take the time to evaluate the options here and decide which Capital One card is right for you.
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