Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card - no annual fee.
Two of the highest profile travel credit cards right now are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Capital One Venture.
Both are quality cards.
It’s hard to go ‘wrong’ with either one since they both earn a lot of points you can use without a lot of hassle.
The Capital One Venture gives you double points on everything, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 2x points on dining and travel spending.
Both let you use points to pay for travel on nearly any airline, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card adds the ability to turn your points into real airline miles and hotel points, which can make some trips even more affordable.
Here’s a rundown of how they compare..
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Capital One Venture|
|Intro bonus||50,000 points ($625 value)||40,000 points ($400 value)|
|Point earning||2x points dining, travel; 1x all else||2x points on all purchases|
|Use points as $ toward any travel||Yes, 1 point = 1.25 cents||Yes, 1 point = 1 cent|
|Annual fee||$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95||$ introductory annual fee the first year, then $59|
|Transfer points to airline mile accounts||Yes, to United, Southwest, British Airways, Korean, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore||No|
|Transfer points to hotel point accounts||Yes, to Hyatt, Marriott, IHG||No|
|Combine points with friends / family||Yes - with your spouse||Yes|
|Foreign transaction fees||None||None|
|Apply Now||Apply Now|
How the Capital One Venture works
It’s a pretty simple ‘miles as cash’ credit card:
How the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card works
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can also be simple…
When you should consider the Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture is best if you don’t want to spend any time doing homework on the best mile deals and don’t have a miles and points stashed in other places it’s.
Here’s what you should consider giving up with the Venture…
1. You’re willing to cap your earnings at 2 cents per dollar spent
The Capital One Venture’s points are always worth 1 cent each toward travel. Since you earn 2x points per dollar you spend, you’re getting 2 cents in value (2%) in earnings per dollar you spend. So with Capital One if you want to use points for a $500 ticket you will need 50,000 points. A $250 ticket will need 25,000 points. The price in points is always directly related to the price in dollars it would cost to buy a ticket.
However airline miles aren’t always worth 1 cent each toward travel. In some cases they can be worth much more. That’s because most airlines require one or two mileage amounts for a ticket regardless of the cash cost to buy it. For example, most domestic tickets cost 25,000 miles roundtrip with airline programs. That’s the mile cost regardless of whether the cash price of the ticket is $200, $500, or $750.
Basically the rule of thumb is — if the tickets you want generally cost $500 or less, you’re better off using Capital One points.
That’s because for a 25,000 mile airline mile ticket to be worth the Capital One’s 2 cents per point you would need to use it for a $500 or higher ticket.
For international travel, you’ll also tend to find airline miles are a better value than using Capital One points.
2. You don’t want to be able to move miles from into your existing airline or hotel mile accounts.
Capital One miles can’t be transferred into your existing airline mile or hotel point accounts.
So if you have a bunch lying around your credit card spend won’t be able to supplement this directly. But if you’re not someone without a lot of miles, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
3. You don’t want to fly first class
Capital One miles can’t be used for upgrades to first class. Yes, you can use them to buy first class tickets, but you’re rarely going to find a good value there. Usually first class tickets cost $1,000 or more. That costs more than 100,000 Capital One miles.
If you are using a native airline mile program you can usually get a ticket outright for 50,000 miles roundtrip. Or you can upgrade to first class from a paid ticket for 15,000 miles in many cases. That’s not possible with Capital One miles. You can do it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card which lets you transfer points into airline mile accounts.
Do the math yourself
If you want to dig further, check out MileCards.com’s CardFinder. You can input your personal spending habits and it will tell you which card has the highest value for you.
We tend to recommend the Sapphire Preferred often because it gives you the ability to turn points into real airline miles whenever you want, but also has the backup of being able to use them to buy flights at a reasonable rate.
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