The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a recent entrant to the field of premium travel cards, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been popular with travelers for years. But despite that head start, the two cards are in close competition and boast some comparable benefits.
||50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months|
|Intro APR||No introductory APR||No introductory APR|
Capital One Venture X vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve highlights
Although there’s overlap between the cards’ features, there are also notable differences. You might prefer one or the other based on how they perform in the following categories.
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Venture X
As a welcome bonus, the Venture X offers 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 within your first six months of owning the card. According to valuations from The Points Guy, a Capital One mile is worth up to 1.85 cents when transferred to travel partners, so the welcome bonus works out to up to $1,850 in value.
The Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 within your first three months. Chase Ultimate Rewards points have a higher valuation at up to 2 cents each when transferred to travel partners (according to The Points Guy), but this bonus amounts to up to $1,000 value—or $850 less than the Venture X’s bonus.
However, the Sapphire Reserve welcome bonus is more accessible. You can reach its threshold if you spend $1,334 each month for three months. With the Venture X, you have to spend a little over $1,666 a month for six months to score the bonus. So, you can earn a more valuable welcome bonus from the Venture X, but it’s somewhat easier to qualify for the Sapphire Reserve’s bonus.
Rewards rate winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Once you’ve spent your first $300 on travel for the year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 10X points on hotels and rental cars booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and 5X points on airfare booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Likewise, the Capital One Venture X offers 10X miles on hotels and rental cars when you book them through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel. So far, the rewards are nearly identical.
But, when you consider other travel expenses and dining, the cards start to diverge. The Sapphire Reserve pays 3X points on general travel spending (after earning the $300 travel credit), 10X points on Chase Dining purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3X points on all other restaurant purchases. And through March 2022, this card offers 10X points on Lyft purchases. Lastly, it pays 1X points on spending that doesn’t fall into any of the above categories.
In comparison, the Venture X offers no bonus rewards for miscellaneous travel or dining. Its 2X rewards rate on other spending beats the baseline 1X rewards rate for the Sapphire Reserve, but if you want to earn more than 2X points on eating out and travel spending beyond hotels, rental cars and airfare, you should probably choose the Sapphire Reserve.
Annual fee winner: Capital One Venture X
The Venture X’s annual fee is $155 less than the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee. If your goal is to minimize your upfront card ownership costs, the Venture X is the less expensive option.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, so they are equally good choices if you’re heading out on an international journey.
Which card earns the most?
The card that’s most lucrative for you depends on a few factors, such as whether you spend enough to earn a welcome bonus and how your spending fits into the rewards categories.
Capital One Venture X vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve spending example
Let’s say you book purchases through your card’s portal whenever possible, and your spending for the year looks like this:
- $3,300 in miscellaneous travel
- $4,000 on hotels and rental cars
- $5,500 on airfare
- $2,500 at restaurants
- $2,700 on all other spending
Suppose you’re using the Venture X. If $10,000 of that spending takes place in the first six months, you get 100,000 bonus miles. You also earn 40,000 miles from your hotel and rental car spending, 27,500 miles from airfare and 17,000 miles from the rest of your spending.
In total, you earn 184,500 miles, with a value of up to $3,413.25 when redeemed toward travel, or $1,845 at the standard one-cent-per-point rate. After covering the $395 annual fee, you’re left with up to $3,018.25 in earnings, or $1,450 at the standard rate.
Next, let’s crunch the numbers for the Sapphire Reserve. If $4,000 of your spending occurs in the first three months after account opening, you earn 50,000 bonus points. The first $300 you spend on travel doesn’t contribute to your points earnings, so if that first $300 came from miscellaneous travel, you’re left with $3,000 in spending in that category. You earn 40,000 points on hotels and rental cars, 27,500 points on flights, 25,000 points at restaurants, 9,000 points on other travel and 2,700 points on the remaining spending.
That’s 154,200 points earned in all, with a value of up to $3,084 redeemed toward travel or $1,542 at the standard one-cent-per-point rate. After paying the $550 annual fee, you’re left with up to $2,534 in earnings, or $992 at the standard rate.
The Venture X comes out ahead in this example thanks to its large welcome bonus. But when you subtract rewards earned by both cards’ welcome bonuses, you’re looking at:
- 84,500 miles earned with the Venture X (up to $1,168.25 in value when you subtract the annual fee)
- 104,200 points earned with the Sapphire Reserve (up to $1,534 in value when you subtract the annual fee)
In other words, the Sapphire Reserve’s second-year value trumps that of the Venture X.
Why should you get the Capital One Venture X?
On top of its hefty welcome bonus and strong rewards on travel spending, the Venture X offers several credits and perks that together can be well worth the $395 fee. There’s an annual $300 credit for Capital One Travel purchases, and in your first year, you can also get up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals. Plus, after each anniversary of your account opening, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus miles.
The Venture X’s travel benefits include Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you unlimited admission to over 1,300 airport lounges (and would cost $429 if paid for directly), as well as access to Capital One Lounges. You also get up to $100 in credits to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees every four years.
Through Capital One Entertainment, you can enjoy a variety of event-related perks, including early access to tickets, the opportunity to buy inclusive passes to sports games and concerts and invitations to experiences just for cardmembers.
Additionally, if your cellphone is lost or stolen, the card’s protection plan has you covered for up to $800.
You can redeem miles for credits toward past travel purchases, use them to book new travel through Capital One’s portal or transfer them to one of Capital One’s 15+ partner loyalty programs. Alternatively, you can cash them in for a check or statement credit or exchange them for gift cards.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need excellent credit to be approved for the Venture X. Typically, a FICO score of 800 to 850 or a VantageScore of 781 to 850 is considered excellent.
Why should you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Although the Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee may seem like a high hurdle, it’s not hard to get at least that much value from the card if you take full advantage of its benefits. To start, you receive a $300 travel credit each year that’s automatically applied to eligible purchases; everyday travel expenses like bus fares and road tolls count toward the credit.
In terms of Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits, if you activate an account by the end of March 2022, you get 12 months of Lyft Pink membership for free. Purchasing a membership yourself would ordinarily cost at least $199 for the year. Activating your card within that time frame also gives you 12 months of complimentary DashPass membership.
Similar to the Venture X, the Sapphire Reserve also offers complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Additionally, once every four years, you can get up to $100 in statement credits to cover the cost of applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Lastly, this Chase credit card grants numerous protections like coverage in case of rental car collisions, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
You can redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (where each point is worth 1.5 cents thanks to a 50 percent boost in point value), or redeem them for cash with a direct deposit or statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point. Another option is to get credits for purchases with eligible merchants, with each point translating to a value of 1.5 cents. Or, you can transfer points on a 1:1 basis to a variety of partner loyalty programs.
You can exchange points for gift cards, pay with points when you shop with PayPal or at Amazon.com or use them to gain admission to events and experiences. Lastly, you can use your points to shop at Apple or redeem them for restaurant reservations or takeout through Chase Dining.
Recommended credit score
You’ll likely need excellent credit to be approved for the Sapphire Reserve. That means you may have the best chance with a FICO score of 800 to 850 or a VantageScore of 781 to 850.
The bottom line
Both the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire Reserve are great cards for avid travelers, but the most valuable card for you depends on how you plan to use it.
The Venture X has the advantage of a lower annual fee, and its larger welcome bonus and 2X baseline rewards rate may make it an attractive choice. But the Sapphire Reserve offers a more accessible welcome bonus and better rewards rates on dining and some travel purchases.
Choosing between these cards requires thinking about how much you intend to spend and in which categories—and maybe taking out a calculator.