Comparing the Mastercard Titanium card to the Sony card from Capital One is a bit like comparing apples to caviar—they're two completely different credit cards, designed for people with significantly different lifestyles and tastes.
Yes, both are rewards cards, but they're structured differently and they function in two different realms.
The Titanium card—issued through Barclays under the Luxury Card brand—is a travel-friendly rewards credit card for those looking to taste a bit of the high life.
The Sony card from Capital One, on the other hand, is a credit card that's more for the person who has immersed themselves in the modern, tech-filled world—and who's also looking to be rewarded for their lifestyle choices.
If you're looking for better everyday rewards, then the Sony card is the better option
There's a lot that sets the Sony card apart from the Titanium card.
Like most of Capital One's rewards credit cards, the Sony card is built to maximize rewards while making the rewards accessible to everyone.
First and foremost, the Sony card offers way more earning potential, with five points for each dollar spent in two categories, and one point on every other purchase.
Compare that to the Titanium's one point per dollar spent on everything.
The Sony card is also unique in that it's the only card on the market that rewards users for online subscription services.
Meaning you could earn five points per dollar spent on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify.
Then, there are the fees for each card.
The Titanium's $195 yearly fee is astronomical compared to the zero-annual-fee Sony card.
Overall, that means your already high-earning potential won't be diminished in any way due to fees, which is a downside of other rewards cards.
All in all, the Sony card is a lot more rewarding to the everyday consumer than the Titanium card.
Here's a detailed side-by-side comparison of the two cards:
|Sony card by Capital One||Mastercard Titanium card|
|How high of a credit score do you need?||>750||>650|
|Average APR?||15.24% – 24.99%||16.24%|
|How big of a sign-up bonus do you get?||One-time bonus of $50 statement credit||None|
|How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?||One purchase within 90 days||N/A|
|How many points do you get for every dollar?||5 points for certain purchases, 1 point for every other purchase||1 point|
|Any restrictions?||Points can only be redeemed on Sony Rewards portal||None|
|If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?||$5, or $1, depending on the purchase type||$1|
|How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)?||$0||$9,750|
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How the Cards Compare
If you prefer everyday goods over luxury experiences, then you can't pass up the Sony card
While both cards will earn you rewards points in the realm of a Diner's rewards card, the Sony card offers higher earning potential with its higher-tiered categories.
Both cards, however, are somewhat restrictive in nature when it comes to redeeming points for rewards.
Sony card has a higher earning potential. The Sony card has three categories in which you can receive points.
Cardholders will receive 5x points on Sony products at authorized retailers with purchase confirmation.
They also get 5x points for certain entertainment purchases, including digital streaming and subscription services, concerts and sporting events, music and video downloads, and movie and theater tickets.
The digital streaming/subscription services is a key factor, as it includes the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Spotify.
This is a rarity, and the Sony card is the only card on the market that offers rewards for spending on these types of services.
The Titanium card, in comparison, only offers one point per dollar spent on all purchases.
Let's look at a real-world example.
Say, over the course of a year, you subscribe to a basic Netflix account for $95.88 (475 points), buy a Sony 4K Ultra HD TV for $2,000 (10,000 points), and spend $5,000 on groceries (5,000 points).
That's a total of 15,475 points.
If you were using the Titanium card, you'd only garner 7,095 points—a stark contrast, indeed.
The Sony card offers a good one-time bonus. If you make a purchase within the first 90 days of opening your account, you'll receive a $50 statement credit to redeem for entertainment, electronics, games, and more.
Because Sony rewards points typically average out to $.01 per point, that $50 reward is equivalent to racking up 5,000 points—all for making a single purchase.
Most cards that come with bonuses require you to spend a certain amount of money—usually in the hundreds of dollars—to obtain a similar amount of points.
That's especially good considering that, in comparison, the Titanium card comes with no sign-up bonus at all.
The Sony card has a bit of an annoying rewards structure. While you'll earn 5x rewards on Sony products, it's a bit of a hassle.
When you initially purchase a Sony product at an authorized retailer, to receive the additional four points, you have to submit a Sony Rewards Bonus Points form.
Both rewards programs are somewhat limited. One of the biggest downsides to the Sony card is that you're limited to redeeming your points solely through the Sony Rewards catalog.
The way it works is this: Products (from Sony electronics, to games, to DVDs) are listed with their prices and the corresponding amount of points needed to redeem.
Generally, redeeming an item from this list of rewards works out to exchanging 100 points per dollar.
For instance, a Sony High Zoom Point and Shoot Camera, valued at $169.99 will run you 16,999 points.
But, sometimes you'll get subpar value.
A $25 AMC gift card, for example, is redeemable for 3,500 points—working out to a value of about $.007 per point.
If you're not a fan of Sony products or want a bit more freedom in redeeming rewards points, then you should definitely look elsewhere for a rewards-based credit card, such as the Amex Everyday card.
The Titanium card, as a travel-friendly card, gives you incentives to redeem your points for airline flights. If you redeem your points for travel, you'll get 2x value.
That means that for every 50,000 points you redeem on airfare, you can get a $1,000 ticket.
But, should you decide to use your points as a statement credit, the value is just 1x, meaning those 50,000 points are now only equal to a $500 statement credit.
The Titanium card's benefits are more experiential. As a travel- and luxury-based card, its most enticing benefits exist in those two realms.
Cardholders can take advantage of VIP travel perks.
Some of the highlights include airport "meet and greets," where you'll get a professional representative to meet and escort you through the airport process in an expedited fashion.
You can also enjoy global luggage delivery where you can send your luggage ahead of you so you don't have to lug it through the airport, and receive complimentary room upgrades and spa credits.
Since the Titanium card is a Mastercard, you'll receive MasterCard Priceless benefits, which include unique outings, privileged access to exclusive events, and insider opportunities.
You'll also receive a subscription to Luxury Magazine.
Costs & Fees
If you're looking for a card with lower overall fees, then avoid the Titanium card
Every credit card comes along with some type of fees attached, be it an annual fee or APR.
These fees can make or break a card, especially when the fees eat into what would be attractive rewards—and that's especially true when it comes to the Sony card and Titanium card.
Both cards have positives and negatives in terms of fees.
The Sony card has no annual fee. With other rewards cards, you could expect to pay some type of annual fee, somewhere in the realm of $60–$90.
That means you'd have to use the card quite a bit to earn enough rewards to make up for that fee.
But with the Sony card, you pay nothing.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Titanium card, whose $195 annual fee is more than double the typical annual fee for a rewards card.
Since you'll only get one point per dollar spent, and points are worth, at most, $.02, you'll have to accumulate at least $9,750 in card purchases each year just to offset that annual fee.
If you're interested in a travel rewards card with no annual fee, look into something like the Hilton Honors by Amex.
Both cards have somewhat hefty APRs. The good news is that both cards come with an introductory APR of 0%.
The Sony card comes with 0% APR until July 2018 while the Titanium card offers new cardholders 0% APR for 15 months.
But, after those initial periods are up, expect to pay slightly higher-than-normal APRs.
The Sony card comes with a variable APR that ranges from 15.24–24.99%.
The Titanium card comes with 16.24%.
So, with either card, you'll be paying a higher interest rate than the market average of 12.8%.
Neither card carries foreign transaction fees. Most credit cards charge cardholders a fee ranging 3–5% when using their card overseas.
But, whether you opt for the Sony or the Titanium card, you won't have to worry about paying extra while traveling abroad.
The Sony card has a more attractive balance transfer fee.
If you're looking to consolidate some of your debt from other credit cards, you won't be charged extra for balance transfers on the Sony card.
The Titanium, while offering a 0% introductory rate for the first 15 billing cycles, will hit you with an APR of 16.24% on balance transfers.
Both have cash advance fees. If you want to use your Sony card like a debit card and withdraw cash from an ATM, be prepared to pay a cash advance fee of 3% (with a $10 minimum).
That means the fee will be 3% the cash advance amount, but never less than $10.
To use the Titanium card as a debit card to withdraw cash, you'll pay an even larger amount: 5% of the amount, or at least $10 (whichever is higher).
If you're looking for an above-average customer service experience, the Titanium card is the way to go
Whether it be to dispute a charge, ask basic billing questions, or just to get started, you're likely going to need to deal with your credit card issuer's customer service representative at some point.
So you want to know that you'll be in good hands.
Luckily, both the Sony and Titanium card have good customer service departments, but in different ways.
Sony card's customer service is highly regarded. While it's a basic dial-up customer service experience, current cardholders think highly of the customer service that comes with the Sony card.
Reviewers describe the customer service as friendly, helpful, and easy to work with when dealing with a problem.
The Titanium card offers a touch of the high life. Of course, a luxury card that comes with a $195 fee wouldn't just offer run-of-the-mill customer service.
And, true to its luxury brand, the Titanium card comes with 24/7 concierge service.
This service offers cardholders a team that personally arranges travel, entertainment, reservations, and other requests, as well as makes referrals and recommendations for all cardholders on subjects from travel to gifts.
Key Digital Services
If you're looking for digital features, the Sony card is the way to go
These days, constant account access via apps and digital platforms is almost as important as fees and interest when it comes to choosing credit cards.
Unfortunately, neither card comes with a robust companion app.
But the Sony card does have some great digital upsides.
The Sony card's digital platform is a great feature. Clean and user-friendly, the Sony card's web platform allows cardholders to do a tremendous amount of account-related functions.
The site has it all: Learn ways to earn more points, upload movie tickets to earn extra points, track your rewards, shop the marketplace to redeem rewards, and create wish lists.
The Titanium card, though, does not come with any digital feature worth mentioning.
- How do I get started?
- What type of credit do I need to be accepted?
The Sony card is for people with "Excellent" credit, so a score somewhere between 750 and 850.
The Titanium, although a luxury card, only requires you to have "Good" credit, meaning a score of at least 700.
Of course, it pays to keep track of your credit score before applying for cards.
- Where are these cards accepted?
The Sony card is a Visa-issued card, whereas the Titanium (although issued through Barclaycard) is a Mastercard.
These are two of the most widely accepted forms of credit card around the world, so cardholders should have no problem finding vendors that accept either card.
- How does the Titanium card compare to other cards, like the Platinum card or Black card?
Capital One offers the Mastercard Platinum card, which is a basic, non-rewards card.
The Mastercard Black card—also issued through Barclays under the Luxury card brand—is an even more luxurious card to have.
The Black card has a higher annual fee of $495 but comes with better rewards than the Titanium card.
You'll get 2% value for airfare redemption and 1.5% value for cash back redemptions.
The Platinum card is meant for those with fair credit and who are trying to rebuild their credit, as it has no transfer fees and no annual fee.
The biggest downside of a Platinum card is the high APR: 24.99%.
And speaking of rebuilding credit, did you know that taking out a small personal loan can actually help?
- Does either card come with an EMV chip?
Yes, both cards are equipped with an EMV chip.
The Sony card is a better rewards card than the Titanium card
Rewards cards are meant to be just that—rewarding.
But with its high fees and low earning potential, the Titanium card is hardly recommendable to anyone, except for a very specific few.
The Sony card, on the other hand, is a decent rewards card that we recommend to the average consumer, as its features help you enjoy earning and redeeming points and you also get to benefit from its lower overall fees.
In looking at the Sony and Titanium cards, we've come to the conclusion that, although both offer highly reviewed customer service, there's a lot differentiating the two.
- The Sony card offers a higher earning potential than the Titanium card.
- The Titanium card's high annual fee makes it less appealing than the fee-free Sony card.
- When it comes to digital tools, the Sony card has the edge.
Do you use either the Sony or the Titanium card?
How has it worked out for you?
Any helpful tips or stories you'd like to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.