Of the 13 different credit cards offered by Capital One, 11 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 for people with a "Good" or "Excellent" credit score.
We've examined every credit card offered by Capital One and determined which ones are best across different 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 or business needs and also by 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 its perks:
- 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 means a person will likely need to have Excellent credit in order to qualify. You'll need at least a "Good" score of 690 as a bare minimum for consideration. Purchase rates can vary based on your creditworthiness, and late fees can be substantial also. And that's before you add 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 cashback 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:
- 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 an introductory APR for incentive, it is the most feasible balance transfer card in Capital One's repertoire. After the intro period, the APR increases depending on your credit score. The late payment penalty is the same as other Capital One cards, plus your outstanding balance and additional interest fees. The Quicksilver requires a credit score of 690 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: Savor Cash Rewards
The Savor card is a relatively new addition to Capital One's lineup. While technically a cashback rewards card, this card 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—just take a look at these rewards:
- Most cash back on dining.Enjoy going out to eat? Travel often for business and rely on restaurants? You'll be rewarded for it.
- Secondary cashback rewards on groceries.Grocery shopping isn't a fun task, but getting cash back makes it a bit more bearable.
- Standard cash back on everything else.While not as rewarding as the Quicksilver, when paired with the other cashback bonuses it is hard to beat what the Savor has to offer.
- World Elite MasterCard Benefits.Like the Venture Card, the Savor 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 Savor 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 Savor card requires an "Excellent" credit rating or higher to qualify. Purchase APR rates range as do the transfer rates. However, there is no balance transfer fee. Late payments fees aren't astronomical. While there is no lower-tier alternative to the Savor 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:
- 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.
- Higher credit limit within months. If you make your first several 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.
There is a variable APR that ranges for purchase rate, cash advances and balance transfers. The late payment fees are in line with other Capital One cards. 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.
Measuring Up 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 Travel Rewards Competitor: 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 more value. To make the offer even better, you'll receive bonus points if you spend to threshold within the first few 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 card is only available to people with "Excellent" credit scores, which limits its usefulness to the average individual.
Best Cashback Competitor: Citi Double Cash
The Citi Double Cash Card is an oft-recommended cashback card for several reasons. First, cardholders receive cash back on all purchases at the time of purchase, then receive cashback again 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 within a specified time, you could be eligible for a refund, but restrictions apply.
The main downside to this card is the lack of a signup 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.
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 cashback 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.