Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

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You may think the Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve comparison stops at the differences in annual fees and a few perks. However, there is much more to each rewards credit card. While the Capital One Venture and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are both travel rewards credit cards, they cater to two different types of travelers. Let’s take a further look at how you earn and redeem the most travel rewards.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Link: SEE HERE FOR MORE INFO

Apply Now: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

capital one venture vs chase sapphire

The Annual Fee: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

There is a major difference between the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee. The Capital One Venture has an annual fee of $95, although it’s $0 for the first year of ownership. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll pay $450 a year beginning with your first monthly statement.

While the Sapphire Reserve’s $450 annual fee is steep, it’s not as expensive as it appears when you look at all of the benefits. As you’ll see, the annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve is more like $150, thanks to a $300 annual travel credit received as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus might be a one-time deal, but it can pay the annual fee for the first year and then some. Which one is better for you between the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Capital One Venture

Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This bonus is worth $500 in award travel as every Venture mile is worth 1 cent each.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve also earns 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, but these same points are worth $750 in award travel.

How are the exact same number of points worth 50% more with Chase instead of Capital One? When you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for award travel, they are worth 1.5 cents each. However, they can be worth more when you transfer them to a travel partner.

On the other hand, Capital One rewards miles are only worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel statement credits or for booking future award travel through the Capital One Venture travel portal.

Earning Rewards Points: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

Do you want to earn flat-rate rewards on every purchase? Or perhaps you prefer tiered rewards? Your preference and spending habits will dictate which credit card offers better purchase rewards.

Capital One Venture

The Capital One Venture has a flat-rate rewards program that earns unlimited 2x miles on every $1 spent. If you spend more on non-travel purchases, the 2x bonus can help you earn more points long-term compared to the Sapphire Reserve.

As an added bonus, you will earn 10x points on all purchases that you pay for with your Venture card. Note that this offer is good through January 31, 2020.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve has a tiered purchase rewards program:

  • Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 on dining purchases
  • Earn 3x on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all remaining purchases

capital one venture vs chase sapphire

Redeeming Your Purchase Rewards

How you can redeem your purchase rewards is just as important as how you can earn your rewards. After all, what’s the purpose of having a mountain of award miles if you can’t spend them?

Capital One Venture

Each Venture mile is worth one cent each. So that makes 1,000 points worth $10. You get $10 in travel rewards for every $500 you spend.

You have two different point redemption options:

  • Redeem for travel statement credits on recent travel purchases
  • Book award travel through Capital One travel portal powered by Orbitz

If you like simplicity, you might prefer this award redemption option because you earn 2 points for every $1 spent.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

You have multiple redemption options with the Sapphire Reserve including cash statement credits and gift cards. With non-travel award redemptions, your points are only worth 1 cent each.

Instead, you should only redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for the following award travel redemptions:

  • 1:1 point transfers
  • Book award travel through Chase

When booking travel through Chase, your points are worth 1.5 cents each for all travel purchases. Most Sapphire Reserve users prefer to transfer their points on a 1:1 basis because you can usually make each point worth at least 2 cents each.

There are currently 13 Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners:

Airline Transfer Partners

  • British Airways Avios
  • AirFrance FlyingBlue
  • Singapore KrisFlyer
  • United MileagePlus
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Iberia Plus
  • Aer Lingus AerClub

Hotel Transfer Partners

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Additional Card Benefits: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

The additional card benefits are where you can decide if the Sapphire Reserve is worth the $450 annual fee. You will benefit the most from the Sapphire Reserve’s benefits if you are a frequent flyer.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is chock full of travel benefits that can easily outvalue the annual fee:

  • $300 annual travel statement credit
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck Fee Credit
  • Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection on-site benefits and credits
  • Primary rental car collision damage waiver
  • Special rental car agency benefits
  • Trip cancellation protection up to $10,000 in non-refundable travel purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

With the $300 annual travel credit, the first $300 in travel purchases each year are reimbursed as a travel statement credit and effectively reduces the $450 annual to $150. When you take this annual credit into consideration, the annual fee comparison is actually $150 vs. $95.

Capital One Venture

Although an increasing number of travel credit cards with a sub-$100 annual fee are adding travel benefits like Global Entry application fee reimbursement, that hasn’t happened to the Capital One Venture yet.

For now, you can enjoy these additional card benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Visa Signature benefits

Besides the 0% foreign transaction fee, you probably won’t use these other travel benefits on a regular basis. If that’s the case, you need to determine if the purchase rewards and redemption rewards justify the $95 annual fee.

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Better

It’s obvious why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is considered a “premium” travel rewards credit card. Although it costs $450 each year, regular travelers (especially air travelers) can recoup the annual fee and enjoy a few extra fringe benefits in the process.

Besides the $300 travel credit and the extra air travel benefits, the 1:1 point transfer capability is a huge benefit that very few travel credit cards offer.

When the Capital One Venture is Better

You should go with the Capital One Venture for these reasons:

  • Want to earn 2x points on every purchase
  • 1:1 point transfers aren’t important
  • Don’t travel enough to justify the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee

Maybe you won’t earn enough in purchase rewards or use the additional benefits enough to afford the $450 annual fee, but want 1:1 point transfers. When that’s the case, you can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred which has the same annual fee but only earns 2x points on travel and dining. Although you earn fewer purchases rewards, the additional redemption flexibility can be worth the tradeoff.

Conclusion: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

Who wins the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve debate?

It comes down to how often you travel. Frequent flyers will probably be better off with the Sapphire Reserve because of the 1:1 transfers, 50% travel redemption bonus, and Priority Pass airport lounge membership. Don’t forget that the $300 travel credit effectively reduces the annual fee to $150 while you earn 3x points on these reimbursed purchases.

Occasional travelers that won’t benefit from the upscale air travel benefits or the 3x bonus on travel and dining purchases should go with the Capital One Venture. Even though the rewards points aren’t as valuable, it’s still a solid flat-rate travel reward credit card.

Further Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card information: See Here
Further Chase Sapphire Reserve information: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Mary Renking

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Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
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About the Author

Mary Renking
Mary writes about how to book travel with award miles & points, reviews top travel credit cards, and basic rewards news.

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