The 5 Best Capital One Credit Cards for Every Purchase

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Capital One offers a wide range of credit cards—from student and secured cards designed to help build credit to premium rewards cards offering great travel benefits. With the introduction of airline transfer partners and steady improvement of the credit-card products on offer, Capital One is well established as one of the top rewards-card issuers in the U.S.

In today’s post, we’ll review the welcome offers, earning rates, and feature benefits of our favorite Capital One cards. We'll also explore when it makes sense to hold the no-annual-fee version of the card if available. Four of the five cards listed below charge no annual fee for the first year, so you can road test them for almost a full 12 months before deciding if it deserves a long-term spot in your wallet.

Capital One Credit Card Top Picks

Capital One has an expansive rewards card portfolio, including top student cards and plenty of options for folks looking to build their credit file. However, rather than list out all the Capital One cards, we’ve focused our attention on the five that we think offer top value for points-and-miles fans.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Following the revamp of Capital One's rewards program and the addition of airline transfer partners, the Capital One Venture has catapulted into our list of top travel rewards cards. The ability to earn 2X miles on every purchase, and up to 10X points on hotels provides a decent return on spending, plus the card offers some great perks.
  • 50,000 Miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening; worth $500 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles on every purchase, plus earn 10 Miles on hotels at hotels.com/venture, through January 2020
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
  • 10 Miles per dollar on hotels at hotels.com/venture, through January 2020

Signup bonus: 50,000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards: Earn 2X miles on every purchase. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture.

Feature benefits: Sporting a high-value signup bonus of 50,000 miles after you meet the minimum spend, the Capital One Venture is one of the best travel cards available in its price point. In addition to operating as traditional fixed-value points redeemable for 1¢ per point towards any travel purchase, Venture Miles earned on your Capital One Venture can now be transferred to 15 airline partners.

Most partners receive a transfer ratio of 2:1.5, so you are effectively earning 1.5x airline miles for every dollar you spend on your Capital One Venture. Emirates Skywards, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Singapore KrisFlyer are the three exceptions with a 2:1 transfer ratio, making this card a 1x earning tool for these programs.

Cardholders receive a TSA Pre✓® / Global Entry fee credit, travel insurance benefits, and pay no foreign transaction fees. The Capital One Venture also makes it into our top rewards cards for travel purchases, in part, thanks to earning 10x miles per dollar spent at Hotels.com/Venture. But the deal gets even better when you consider the Hotels.com Rewards program offer of one free night for every ten nights booked. (This second deal is available even if you don't have the Capital One Venture.) The free night is worth an additional 10% back, so you can get a total return of 20%+ on hotel spend.

Since the 10x Venture Miles on Hotel.com purchases is being eliminated at the end of January, it shouldn't be a major factor in your decision to get this card—unless you have a lot of hotel reservations to make before February. That said, we're holding out hope that Capital One will compensate by adding a new perk to the card.

Capital One gets top marks for making it easy to combine, share and use your miles. Capital One Venture cardholders have the ability to combine Venture Miles and Spark Miles into a single account. Even more unique is the option to share your miles (at no cost) with any other Capital One customer who has a miles-earning card.  Other bank loyalty programs like Chase and Amex restrict sharing your points to authorized cardholders or members of your household. Citi lets you share miles with other ThankYou rewards members, but the miles you share with others expire after 90 days. Capital One is a refreshing outlier with by far the most generous sharing policy.

If you're curious to learn more, we have a detailed post on how to extract maximum value from the Capital One Venture.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer $300 Cash Back after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $300 Cash Back after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on all other purchases
  • Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020

Signup bonus: Earn 4% Cash Back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1 % on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards: 4% Cash Back on dining. 4% Cash Back on entertainment. 2% Cash Back at grocery stores. 1% Cash Back on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.

Feature benefits: Following its relaunch in August 2018, the Capital One Savor now comfortably sits inside our top ten best rewards cards for dining and restaurants. New cardholders earn $300 cash back after meeting the minimum spend. Plus, the card makes a massive 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, plus 8% cashback on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020. This is a great card to hold if you’re looking to supercharge your cashback strategy, rather than for any benefits you might gain from holding the card.

You could comfortably swap the Capital One Savor out for the no-annual-fee Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, particularly if you don’t maintain a sizeable monthly spend in the dining and entertainment categories. Year one, you’ll come out comfortably ahead holding the Capital One Savor thanks to the waived annual fee for the first year and the higher cash signup bonus. But, from year two onwards, you would need to spend at least $9,500 per year on dining and entertainment to come out ahead with the Capital One Savor over the no-annual-fee version of the card.

See the full list of card benefits in our Capital One Savor review.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
New Cardmember Bonus $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee
  • 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day.

Signup bonus: $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0

Rewards: Earn 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase, every day.

Feature benefits: The only no-annual-fee card on the list, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a simple flat-rate rewards card with no complex bonus categories. Capital One rewards never expire as long as your account is open, and there is no minimum amount to redeem your cashback. A great feature for folks that don’t put a lot of spend on their credit cards. The Capital One Quicksilver also offers attractive intro APR rates if you’re looking to fund a large purchase without paying interest:

  • Purchase: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then a regular APR of 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable).
  • Balance transfer: 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months , then a regular APR of 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable). The balance transfer fee is 3%

For a full list of card benefits, read our full Capital One Quicksilver review.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer $500 Cash Back once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business provides a strong return on business expenses of 2% on every $1 spent. Unlike many other cash back business cards, here is no cap on the cash back you can earn, plus the card offers a standout initial welcome offer of $500 Cash Back.
  • $500 Miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 2 % Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.

Signup bonus: $500 Cash Back once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards: 2 % Cash Back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.

Feature benefits: We consider the Spark Cash the benchmark business rewards card for earning cash back. Cardholders receive a solid 2% cash back on every purchase with no cap on what you can earn back. You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees, and the annual fee is waived for the first year.

This is as straightforward as a rewards strategy can get and a fantastic complement to the $500 cashback bonus you receive when signing up to the card. Similar to the Capital One Savor, thanks to the waived annual fee and the signup bonus the Spark Cash is a profitable card for the first year. However, from year two onwards, you need to be charging around $1,600 per month to the card to warrant holding the Spark Cash over its no-annual-fee stablemate, the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business—which earns a solid 1.5 % Cash Back on every purchase. That means you'll need over $19,000 annual spend to come out ahead on the Spark Cash annual fee over the long run.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer 50,000 Miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is one of just a handful of business rewards cards returning a minimum 2% back on business expenses. No bonus categories to worry about, you receive an uncapped 2 Miles per dollar spent on every purchase, and your rewards never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
  • 50,000 Miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening; worth $500 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.

Signup bonus: 50,000 Miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Rewards: 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.

Feature benefits: Choosing between the Spark Cash and Spark Miles cards used to be an easy decision. Cash is more flexible than fixed-value travel points, so it made sense for most business owners to choose the cashback card. However, the Spark Miles earns the same valuable miles as the Venture cards, which you can now transfer to 15 airline partners at a ratio of 1,000:750. This makes the Spark Miles a much more valuable card than it once was, particularly if you can leverage the rewards earned for premium-cabin award travel.

Application Rules

The key rule to know is that you can only apply for one Capital One card every six months, including both business and personal cards. If you're interested in multiple cards featured in this post, you'll need to prioritize the one that can get you the most value for the immediate future. Capital One is known to pull your credit report from all three credit bureaus. For most, this isn't a big deal, but if you're carefully monitoring your inquiries, it's good to know. Although there isn't a published rule, those with more than five personal cards opened in the past 24 months may not be approved for a new account. This final item doesn't seem to be a concrete policy like Chase's 5/24 rule, but if you've opened a lot of cards, it may be best to look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

Capital One offers value-focused credit cards aimed at maximizing the rewards you earn on everyday spending, rather than cards loaded with travel credits and elite status perks like some of its high-cost rivals. They also offer a great mix of traditional travel rewards and cashback cards. No matter what your travel or rewards goals, you can fill your wallet with high-earning cards with a low out-of-pocket cost.

For those who travel frequently—and especially those willing to put in a bit of extra effort to utilize the transfer partners, the miles-earning cards are the best way to go. Even if you don't use the transfer partners, you can redeem your miles to “erase” any travel-related charge with a statement credit at a value of one cent per mile. This makes cards like the Capital One Venture and Spark Miles equivalent to 2% cashback cards if you can spend your miles on travel. But, with the miles cards, you also retain the huge upside of oversized value with the Capital One transfer partners.

On the other hand, if easy and flexible are your top priorities, Capital One offers some of the best cashback products on the market.

In either case, there's no shortage of options for small business or consumer spending. If you keep a tight budget (or are just allergic to annual fees), there are plenty of no-annual-fee products. The generous first-year waiver on cards that do come with an annual fee, gives you a solid 12 months to try out the card and ensure you are getting value before you commit longterm. If you have any questions about Capital One cards, or you think we’ve missed a card that deserves a spot on the list, reach out in the comments below.

The 5 Best Capital One Credit Cards for Every Purchase
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Comments

  • I think it’s difficult to recommend any of these cash back cards over the Citi Double Cash, for example, which has no annual fee. The Savor has superior earning, but unless you’re a really big spender, the Double Cash is the way to go because of the Savor’s $95 annual fee.

    • Use these cards when you have maxed out the bonuses of the more rewarding cards.

    • The Savor One has no AF. If you want a single card, sure the DoubleCash is good (except overseas) but there are many cards that are better than the DoubleCash (Savor One, Amex Blue Cash, etc).

    • It’s at least useful in the first year when the signup bonus more than makes up for the annual fee. And you may be able to call after the annual fee posts and get it waived.

  • Capital One seem to have a good range of reward cards available.

  • I really like Capital One. The trick for me is making those spending requirements though.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    My favorite feature here is the ability to “erase” any travel-related charge with a statement credit at a value of one cent per mile. That’s a real plus.

  • I remember when the Capital One card was just a cash back card that you could only use for travel. Not interesting at all. Now, with the addition of transfer partners and other perks, it has become one of the best deals in the business. Unfortunately, Capital One seems to be allergic to approving me for cards despite an excellent credit score! I do realize that I have too many cards for their liking. I certainly would get a Venture card if they would approve me but until then, I’ll have to make do with my Chase and Amex trifectas.

  • Wow it looks like Capital One is determined to catch up (or even exceed) other major travel card providers like Chase and Citi.
    I’m waiting for better sign up offers though.

  • Wow. the email didn’t tell me it was all 5 Cap One cards. Oh well…

  • Can you combine points and cash back rewards so they are all points?

  • Thanks for the info. I’m not wow’ed by the lineup here. I guess like the other comments, these are good secondary or tertiary cards to have.

  • I wish Capital one was more interested in not rejecting applicants.

    • Thanks for mentioning this. I had a few old cards with them, that were once worthwhile, like a card that paid 1.25% back, the best at the time, and an old HSBC card they bought. They cancelled all three cards a year and a half ago, for lack of use, with an invitation to apply again for any of their cards. A few monthes later, I applied for one of their newer cards, using my 820 or so FICO, and was rejected. Now, I would be leary to waste inquiries on my credit reports to apply for any card with them.

  • If you can put $100,000 with Bank Of America, including their discount brokerage Merrill Edge, you get a 75% bonus on credit card rebates, which brings cash back as high as 5 1/2% on a category of your choice with their Cash Rewards card, and, for a $95 annual fee for their Premium Rewards card, a minimum of 2.625% on non bonus category purchases (with a $500 sign up bonus, $100 airline incidentals credit, TSA precheck or Global Entry fee rebate). Also a free safe deposit box and 100 free Merrill trades a month.

    • Thanks for pointing out this route to boosting their cashback rate to a point other card options will have a hard time competing with.

  • The only downside with Capital One is that they pull from all three credit bureaus. Not a deal breaker, but definitely something to be aware of.

  • wow! thanks for sharing

  • Great options! evaluate the benefits is appropriate. But I don’t like to change too often or even have too many cards with me.

  • I recommend the Quick Silver. If I remember correctly there is also no foreign transaction fee on this card

  • Great summary of the various cards and their earning categories for an often overlooked issuer.

  • I received a Venture mailer and a Savor One mailer. If I use the codes in the letter to check for prequalify online, does that result in a hard pull?

  • Capital One has improved but still has to catch up to chase and amex.

    • They’ve got a long way to go (probably too far to catch up) but they’re at least showing that they want to be a contender.

  • It would be nice if they have the same % on everything. Because I can never predict what I will spend in the coming months.

  • Capital One is getting better and better. We’ll have to acknowledge the effort, but let’s see where it will go.

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