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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture:Which is Better?

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Editorial disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

If you’re looking for a lucrative travel rewards credit card with a reasonable annual fee, two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards are Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Both cards are great choices, especially for beginners. There are some differences that you need to know before deciding which card is right for you, though.

Prior to 2018, this post never would have happened. That’s because the Capital One Venture card was nothing more than a cash-back credit card. For that reason alone, I never gave the card much attention on this blog. Cash rewards may be simple to use, but the most valuable credit card rewards are those that are transferable to airline and hotel programs. Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards points are two examples of these types of rewards. In 2018, Capital One stepped up the rewards earned on the Venture card by adding transfer partners.

Now that transfer partners are on the table, I want to analyze how the Capital One Venture card stacks up against the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I’ll discuss earn rates, redemption options and transfer partners, and other benefits of each card.

Capital one venture miles vs. Chase ultimate rewards points
Cute pic of my kids because we just got back from the beach

Welcome bonus offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Click here for more information. Value: $750 or 60,000 airline miles. (Read my post that lists 25 ways to redeem the welcome bonus. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards can easily be redeemed for over $1000 worth of travel if you transfer to airlines)

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Capital One Venture: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Click here for more information. Value: $500 or 25,000-37,500 airline miles.

capital one venture miles, best credit card offers 2019

The clear winner here is Chase Sapphire Preferred, but when we get into earning and redeeming, the best card depends on one’s spending habits, travel goals, and willingness to put in time to learn about transfer partners.

capital one venture vs. chase ultimate rewards points

Annual fees on Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture

Annual fees on premium travel credit cards are a deterrent for many people. This is understandable, especially if you’re new to award travel. It makes sense to start with credit cards that have reasonable annual fees. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture have reasonable annual fees. For the average person, the rewards earned are valuable enough to offset an annual fee of $95.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: $95. Click here for more information.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Capital One Venture: $95, but the fee is waived for the first year! Click here for more information.

capital one venture, best credit cards 2019

With $0 in annual fees for the first year, Capital One Venture wins this one. But if you’re looking at which card you want to keep long-term, both fees are going to be the same after the first year.

Earn rates on Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture

Before you open ANY credit card, I encourage you to learn about the reward currency said card earns.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The Capital One Venture card earns Capital One Venture miles.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Capital One Venture: Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. If you use your card to book hotels at hotels.com/venture, you will earn 10 miles per dollar! Note that this hotels.com deal is set to expire in January 2020. Click here for more information.

Although it appears that Capital One Venture is the winner here, it’s not that simple. This is the part that seems to confuse people the most. When it comes to redemption, not all miles and points have equal value. A card that earns 2 points per dollar on all purchases is not necessarily better than a card that earns 1 point per dollar. You have to consider the redemption potential of each of the currencies.

Redemption options

There are two ways to redeem either Chase Ultimate Rewards or Venture miles for travel:

  1. Redeem miles/points at a fixed rate for travel purchases.
  2. Transfer to airline partners*. Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Venture miles become airline miles and you can redeem them according to the rules and redemption prices of the airline program to which you transfer.

*Chase Ultimate Rewards also has hotel transfer partners

Option 1: Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards or Capital One Venture miles at a fixed rate for travel purchases

The first way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards and/or Venture miles for travel is to use the points/miles for travel purchases. The way this works is different for each program. More importantly, the fixed values of points in each program are also different.

The advantage to this (as opposed to transferring to airline partners) is that you have lots of options. Also, some prefer this because it’s a little less complicated than learning how to utilize transfer partners.

The disadvantage is that you will be redeeming the points at a fixed rate. Sure, there are no blackout dates to worry about. You also don’t have to worry about award seat availability. The problem is, a more expensive plane ticket (think holidays) is going to require more miles/points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

You can ‘pay’ for all or part of your hotel, airfare, rental car, and more by redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. This portal is powered by Expedia, so they should have the same options for flights, hotels, rental cars, and tours as what Expedia.com offers.

The value of an Ultimate Rewards point earned from a Chase Sapphire Preferred card is 1.25 cents per point when redeeming for travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal.  

For example, the 60,000 welcome bonus points would be worth $750 if you use them in the redemption portal. The math is simple:

  • 60,000 X 1.25=75,000
  • 75,000/100=$750
Capital One Venture miles
capital one venture miles vs chase ultimate rewards

To redeem Venture miles as cash for travel purchases, you use the card to book the travel. After that, you have 90 days to log in to your Capital One account and use your miles to ‘erase’ all or part of any travel purchases. People who prefer cash-back type travel rewards tend to favor this card because it is about as simple as you can get.

The value of a Venture mile is 1 cent per point when redeeming. The welcome bonus of 50,000 miles is worth $500 in travel.

  • 50,000 X 1=50,000
  • 50,000/100=$500

Option 2: Transfer points/miles to airlines

The second way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards or Capital One Venture miles is to transfer them to airline partners. Chase also has hotel partners, but Capital One does not. That in itself puts Ultimate Rewards at an advantage, but I’ll focus on airline partners for this comparison.

capital one and ultimate rewards transfer partners, business class to italy, best credit card offers 2019
If you want to use miles and points to book long-haul business class flights, transferring points to airline partners is going to result in a MUCH lower redemption rate!

Transferring bank points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Venture miles to airline partners is how you can potentially get more value out of your points than 1-1.25 cents per point.

A lot of people don’t want to bother with this, but it’s how Ryan and I have stretched our points to make all of our travels happen over the past 6 years! Using transfer partners can make your points at least two times more valuable than if you redeem them as cash. More on that a little later.

Each program has its own set of airline transfer partners. More importantly, the transfer ratios are also different. I’ll explain why you will not actually earn 2 miles per dollar with the Capital One Venture card if you’re going to transfer the miles to an airline.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to 10 different airline frequent flyer programs or 3 different hotel loyalty programs.  The transfer ratio to any airline or hotel partner is 1:1. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points=60,000 airline or hotel miles/points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners 2019
Capital One Venture miles
capital one venture vs. chase sapphire preferred

You can transfer Capital One Venture miles to 15 different airline programs.

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus
  • Hainan Fortune Wings Club
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore KrisFlyer

The transfer ratio is 2 Venture miles: 1.5 airline miles for all partners except  JetBlue, Singapore and Emirates. Those 3 programs have a 2:1 ratio. This is what 50,000 Venture miles would yield:

  • 37,500 miles for 12 of the airline partners OR
  • 25,000 miles for JetBlue, Singapore, or Emirates

Which card has better transfer partners?

Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred, Which travel rewards credit card is best?

There isn’t really a clear winner because it depends on your home airport, where you want to fly, etc. In my opinion, Chase Ultimate Rewards has better transfer partners if I had to choose between the two. For beginners, it’s probably also best because you at least have Southwest and United as partners.

Capital One’s partners are mostly foreign carriers, which I don’t mind, but using them will require more steps when you’re trying to book flights on US airlines like American Airlines or Delta*. The fact that Chase also has hotel partners such as Hyatt gives Chase some extra value.

*Some people may look at the partners and immediately write off a card based on the fact that their preferred airline isn’t a partner. That is where indirect partners come into play, though!  For example, I used Etihad miles to book American Airlines flights to Japan.  The best part is that the amount of miles required by Etihad was less than if I had used AAdvantage miles. So in that case, I would have wanted to use Etihad even if AA was a transfer partner.

Which card wins overall for redemption options?

Overall, Capital One Venture probably wins on paper for cash-back travel redemptions. But in reality, the extra point per dollar on dining and restaurants with the Chase Sapphire Preferred makes a big difference (math to follow). Also, my personal opinion is that Chase Ultimate Rewards has better transfer partners.

Since redeeming points by transferring to partners is the method I use most, transfer partners are important to me. Therefore, even though the Capital One Venture may have better numbers, I still consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred a better card for redemption options.

Those who don’t spend a lot on travel or at restaurants and/or those who favor simplicity will probably find the rewards earned with Capital One Venture more lucrative.

Analyzing your spending habits and doing a little math will help you decide which card is best. It is important to consider the earning and redeeming sides of both cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards vs Capital One Venture miles transfer partners. Which credit card has the best transfer partners?
Grab some wine and get ready for some math. I promise it’s simple math. Just a lot of numbers.

Is the Venture earn rate of 2 miles per dollar better than 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar?

I used the welcome bonuses for the examples in the redemption section, but now I want to show what your potential is going to be on everyday spending. There are two different values I’ll discuss, and they are NOT interchangeable. It’s important to understand the difference.

  • Cents per point value: this is exactly what it says. It’s the value you get out of a point when you redeem. Usually I try to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for value of at least 2 cents per point, but higher is better! Your cents per point is always going to be a fixed rate if you choose to redeem rewards from either card as cash/through the redemption portal. The only way to get a higher cpp is to use transfer partners.
  • Return rate: this looks at both sides of the equation (earning and redeeming). Your return rate is the cash value of your redemption compared to how much money you spent on a credit card to earn the points needed for that redemption. Again, the higher, the better.

The math

I’m going to use non-category bonus earn rates first. Remember, with the Capital One Venture, you earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you earn 1 point per dollar on non-category bonus purchases.

This is what $10,000 in non-category bonus spend would yield with each card:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: $125 or 10,000 miles

  • 10,000 X 1=10,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points=10,000 miles to any of the 9 Ultimate Rewards airline partners or
  • If you redeem 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points for travel in the redemption portal, they’re worth $125 (1.25 cents per point).

Capital One Venture: $200 or 10,000-15,000 miles

  • 10,000 X 2=20,000 miles
  • 20,000 Venture miles=15,000 miles to 12 of the airline partners or
  • 20,000 Venture miles=10,000 miles for JetBlue, Singapore or Emirates or
  • If you redeem 20,000 miles as cash for travel purchases, they’re worth $200 (1 cent per point)

Capital One Venture wins for non-category bonus everyday spending. Obviously, $200 is better than $125. As far as transfer partners, your net return on spending is 1-1.5 miles per dollar on the Capital One Venture.  That is as good or better than non-category bonus spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  But still, it’s not 2 miles per dollar.

Those numbers were for non-category bonus spending. Remember, Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points per dollar on travel and at restaurants. If you have a lot of travel and dining expenses, that extra point per dollar could make a big difference.

This is what $10,000 in spend for travel and restaurants would yield with each card:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: $250 or 20,000 miles

  • 10,000 X 2=20,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points=20,000 miles to any of the 9 Ultimate Rewards airline partners or
  • If you redeem 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points for travel in the redemption portal, they’re worth $250.

Capital One Venture*: $200 or 10,000-15,000 miles

  • 10,000 X 2=20,000 miles
  • 20,000 Venture miles=15,000 miles to 12 of the airline partners or
  • 20,000 Venture miles=10,000 miles for JetBlue, Singapore or Emirates or
  • If you redeem 20,000 miles as cash for travel purchases, they’re worth $200

*Note that until January 2020, you will earn 10 miles per dollar with the Capital One Venture at hotels.com/venture. Since most people aren’t going to spend $10,000 in a year at hotels.com, I’m not even going to show the math. But if you do use hotels.com often, this would be the card for you. All other travel is the normal rate of 2 miles per dollar.

Now Chase Sapphire Preferred wins (unless you use hotels.com/venture quite a bit).

If you redeem Ultimate Rewards points earned from bonus category spend (meaning 2 points per dollar) in the redemption portal, your net return on spending is 2.5%. Here is the math if you want to see how I got that:

  • $10,000 X 2=20,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • 20,000 UR X 1.25=25,000
  • 25,000/100=$250 to spend in the redemption portal
  • $250/$10,000=0.025
  • 0.025 X 100= 2.5%

With either card, you could potentially get an even higher cents per point value and overall return by transferring to partners rather than redeeming as cash for travel.

Tip: If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred (or other transferable Ultimate Rewards earning card) you can potentially earn even more on non-category bonus everyday spending by adding an additional card to your wallet. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee and earns 1.5 points per dollar instead of just one point per dollar. That results in an even higher return rate! Click here for details.

Redeeming as cash for travel vs. transferring to partners

Capital One vs Chase Sapphire, Best travel rewards credit cards
This trip to Cabo happened before I educated myself on miles and points. We were babies!

For this example, I will use a nonstop American Airlines roundtrip flight in economy from DFW to Cabo in December. I encourage you to learn how to do the math, but if math stresses you out, I understand. You can skip to the next section titled “Too much math?”.

Redeeming using the Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Capital One Venture miles as cash for travel:

This itinerary is $626.

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards and Capital One Venture transfer partners to book American Airlines tickets.

To book a $626 plane ticket by redeeming Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase redemption portal here is how many Ultimate Rewards points you would need:

  • 626/1.25=500.8
  • 500.8 X 100=50,080 Chase Ultimate Rewards points

To book a $626 plane ticket with Capital One Venture miles, you would need:

  • 626/1=626
  • 626 X 100=62,600 Capital One Venture miles

The spend required to earn 50,080 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is between $25,000 and just over $50,000, depending on how much spend is at restaurants and on travel. The spend required to earn 62,600 Capital One Venture miles is just over $31,000. That’s a lot. But you can book the exact same AA flights for significantly less by using transfer partners. Less points means less spend is required!

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Capital One Venture miles by transferring to airlines

This exact itinerary is also available to book as a milesAAver award ticket. This means that other airline programs that partner with American Airlines are able to book the ticket.

American Airlines is not a partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards or Capital One. But each of the two has airline partners that can book American Airlines flights. I’ll use British Airways for the Chase Sapphire Preferred example and Qantas for the Capital One Venture example.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

British Airways Executive Club (a Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 transfer partner) can be used to book American Airlines flights. Click here to learn how to use British Airways to book American Airlines award flights.

For this nonstop American Airlines itinerary from DFW to Cabo, the amount of avios (their name for miles/points) required for the roundtrip economy ticket is 18,000 Avios. I can transfer 18,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my British Airways account and then use that program to book this ticket.

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards and Capital One Venture transfer partners to book American Airlines tickets.

Note that most of the $93 in fees are collected by Mexico. An award ticket for this route on any airline would have these fees, but to keep the numbers accurate I’ll subtract that number from the ticket value. $626-93=$533. I’ll use $533 as the value.

  • 533/18,000=0.03
  • 0.03 X 100=3
  • 18,000 points for $533 is a value of 3 cents per point. Remember, each point is worth only 1.25 cents per point if you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Depending on how you earned the points, your overall return on Chase Sapphire Preferred spending is somewhere between 3% (if all spend is earning 1 point per dollar) and 6% (if spend is earned in bonus categories which are 2 points per dollar).

There is no reason to redeem 50,000 points when you can get the exact flight for only 18,000 points!

Capital One Venture

The frequent flyer program of Qantas, a Capital One Venture 2:1.5 transfer partner, can be used to book American Airlines flights.

How to use capital one venture miles to book American Airlines flights
capital one venture miles transfer partners can book American Airlines flights

For this nonstop American Airlines itinerary from DFW to Cabo, the amount of Qantas miles required for the roundtrip economy ticket is 24,000 miles. I would need to transfer 32,000 Venture miles to get 24,000 miles in my Qantas account and then use that program to book this ticket.

Again, I’ll use $533 as the value.

  • 533/32,000=0.017
  • 0.017 X 100=1.7
  • 32,000 Venture miles for a ticket valued at $533 is a cents per point value of 1.7, but this is a deceivingly low number. Remember, your actual return on spending is different than the cents per point value.

It is important to remember that you would have spent $16,000, not $32,000 since you earn 2 miles on all purchases. So here’s the return rate:

  • $533/$16,000=0.033
  • 0.033 X 100=3.3%

Your overall return rate is 3.3% if you book this ticket by transferring Capital One Venture miles to Qantas. If you redeem those miles as cash for travel, the return rate on the Capital One Venture is always 2%.

There is no reason to redeem 62,000 miles when you can use a transfer partner to book the same ticket for only 32,000 miles!

Yeah, so I know that’s a lot of tedious math but it’s important. Earning the best credit card rewards and then stretching those miles and points for 2-3 times more value when redeeming potentially means 2-3 times more plane tickets!

Capital One Venture or Chase Sapphire Preferred? Which credit card is best for travel rewards?

Too much math? Just look at these numbers:

To summarize using this specific flight itinerary here are your options:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Use the Ultimate Rewards portal and redeem 50,080 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Return on spending is 1.25-2.5% (depending on how much of the spend is at restaurants and on travel).

OR

  • Transfer 18,000 Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways to book the American Airlines ticket. Return on spending is 3-6% (depending on how much of the spending was at restaurants and on travel).

Capital One Venture

  • Redeem 62,600 Capital One Venture miles to cover the ticket. Return on spending is 2% when you redeem Venture miles as cash for travel.

OR

  • Transfer 32,000 Venture miles to Qantas and then use Qantas to book the AA ticket. Return on spending is about 3.3%.

Chase Sapphire Preferred probably wins in this example because the return rate potential is the highest. But keep in mind this is just one example and using transfer partners to book premium cabin travel and other expensive itineraries will probably result in an even higher return value! The important point is that both cards give you to the option to squeeze more value out of your points and miles with transfer partners.

Spanjola Fortress, Hvar, Croatia, Ultimate Rewards
Hvar, Croatia

Other notable travel benefits of Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture cards

Both have no foreign transaction fees. Both are Visa Signature cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred:

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers
  • Trip delay and cancellation insurance (reimbursement of prepaid nonrefundable travel purchases up to $10,000 per trip)
  • Primary auto rental collision coverage (this is one of the few credit cards on the market that has primary car rental insurance)
  • Baggage delay insurance

Capital One Venture:

capital one venture, best credit cards 2019
  • $100 in Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance (up to $250,000)
  • Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000)
  • Secondary auto rental insurance

Click here for more information about the Capital One Venture card.

The winner is a toss-up. The Global Entry credit on the Capital One Venture card is certainly a plus. But the trip protection and insurance on the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be very valuable.

Final Thoughts: Which card is best?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card definitely wins the welcome bonus match up. $750 or 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points can go a long way. Long-term, it is probably going to give you more value than the Capital One Venture if you’re willing to learn how to utilize transfer partners.

If you prefer a simple redemption system while still having the option of transferring, Capital One Venture may be a better option.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred is best for:

  • Earning points that I (and many others) consider some of the most valuable rewards points out there
  • Those who spend a lot at restaurants and on travel
  • Beginners. This is due to Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you do not make this one of your first cards, you may miss out on your opportunity to open one.
  • Valuable stays at Hyatt
  • Those who fly Southwest often (but aren’t working towards earning the Companion Pass as Ultimate Rewards transferred to Southwest do not qualify for the Companion Pass). Click here for my argument about why Chase Sapphire Preferred is better than Southwest co-branded cards, even for Southwest loyalists.

Capital One Venture is best for:

  • People who are looking for a simple travel rewards credit card. The return rate of 2% is decent for a cash-back type card. If you decide later to explore transfer partners, you still have a few great partners to which you can transfer.
  • Those who have plans or the ability to spend a lot at hotels.com
  • If you’re over 5/24, you may still be able to get this card.

Click here for more information about the Capital One Venture card.

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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