The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture are both offering record-high intro bonuses. The best option for you depends on how you want to use your rewards.

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  • Two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, are currently posting their best-ever sign-up bonuses.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering 80,000 points after new cardholders spend $4,000 in three months.
  • The Capital One Venture is offering up to 100,000 bonus miles – 50,000 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, and another 50,000 miles after you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a slight edge in terms of how you can redeem points, but the Venture card could make more sense if you don't spend much on travel or dining.
  • See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards »

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards of all time. Part of that is due to how easy it is to earn and redeem points and miles with them for travel. However, each offers some unique benefits that can save cardholders time and money in the long run.

Making the choice between the two even more difficult than usual is the fact that both cards are posting their highest-ever sign-up bonuses … at the same time.

Which is better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer of 80,000 points, or up to 100,000 miles on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card? It will really come down to how you want to use the rewards you earn, your typical spending habits, and what other card benefits you can maximize. Let's focus on the bonuses themselves, though, and determine which one might be the best option. Here's how the two stack up.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

  Chase Sapphire Preferred Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Welcome bonus 80,000 points after you spend $4k in the first 3 months 50k miles after you spend $3k in the first 3 months, plus another 50k after you spend $20k in the first 12 months 
Annual fee $95 $95
Earning rewards

5x points on Lyft through March 2022

2x points on dining and travel

1 point per dollar on everything else

5x miles on Uber Eats through January 2021

2x miles on everything else

Using rewards

1.25 cents per point on travel through Chase

1.25 cents per point with Pay Yourself Back for groceries, home improvement, dining, and eligible charities

Transfer to 10 airlines, 3 hotels

1 cent per mile on travel and gift cards through Capital One

1 cent per mile on streaming services and dining through December 31

0.5 cents per mile for cash back

Transfer to 13 airlines, 2 hotels

Other benefits

No foreign transaction fees

Comprehensive travel protections including primary car rental insurance

No foreign transaction fees

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100)

 

Now for the details.

Earn 80,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

To be eligible, you cannot have the Chase Sapphire Preferred already. Nor can you have an active Chase Sapphire Reserve®, since people are automatically precluded from carrying both Sapphire products. Also keep in mind that if you do not currently have a Sapphire card but have received a bonus for one in the last 48 months, you are also ineligible for this offer.

Earn up to 100,000 miles with the Capital One Venture

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

By contrast, Capital One Venture miles are valued at just 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel reservations through the Capital One travel portal. So the 100,000 miles you could earn with this offer are also worth $1,000. The one advantage of using the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card over the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that you can also redeem miles toward travel purchases you make with your card within 90 days, so even if you book through a different channel – say, directly with an airline or hotel, or at a car rental agency – you can still get the same decent rate of return on your spending.

Aside from travel purchases, Capital One Venture miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed toward retail gift cards, and, for a limited time, streaming subscriptions and dining purchases including takeout and deliver through December 31. Otherwise, they are worth 0.5 cents each toward cash back.

Though Capital One Venture miles have a slight edge in versatility when used for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards points maintain more value across a broader range of fixed-value redemptions.

Transfer time

Here's where things get interesting. In addition to redeeming directly for travel through Chase or Capital One, both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Capital One Venture miles can be transferred to a number of different airline and hotel loyalty program partners. Here's how these two programs compare.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to the following airline and hotel programs at a 1:1 ratio.

Airline partners:
Aer Lingus AerClub
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
British Airways Executive Club
Emirates Skywards
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel partners:
World of Hyatt
IHG Rewards Club
Marriott Bonvoy

Capital One Venture Miles transfer to these airlines and hotels at the ratios denoted next to each partner.

Airline partners:
Aeromexico Club Premier (2:1.5)
Air Canada Aeroplan (2:1.5)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (2:1.5)
Alitalia MilleMiglia (2:1.5)
Avianca LifeMiles (2:1.5)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (2:1.5)
Emirates Skywards (2:1)
Etihad Airways Guest Program (2:1.5)
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5)
Finnair Plus (2:1.5)
JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1.5)
Qantas Frequent Flyer (2:1.5)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2:1)

Hotel partners:
ALL Accor Live Limitless (2:1)
Wyndham Rewards (2:1.5)

Both lists have some great options, including some in common, like JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

The difference is Chase points transfer at par, while you always take a hit if converting Capital One Venture miles to a travel partner like this. Not only that, but the sole US frequent-flyer program among Capital One's partners is that of JetBlue, while Ultimate Rewards also works with Southwest and United, providing US-based flyers in particular with more accessible options.

Earning arithmetic

While Ultimate Rewards points are probably more useful for a lot of folks, you also have to look at how each card earns points or miles to determine whether those transfer ratios are enough to put you off the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Aside from earning the bonuses themselves, the other major factor to consider with these offers and the redemptions available is which card's earning structure you can optimize.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card operates according to an easy-to-understand formula: You simply earn 2 miles per dollar spent. So essentially, you'll get a 2% return on your spending, or enough for 1 – 1.5 partner miles or points per dollar you spend, depending on the transfer. Now through January 31, 2021, the card also earns five miles per dollar on Uber Eats orders as well as on hotel bookings and car rentals made through the Capital One portal.

For its part, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 1 point per dollar on non-bonus category purchases. However, it racks up 1 points per dollar on a broad range of travel purchases and at restaurants, including takeout and delivery orders. Cardholders who register can earn 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2022.

If travel and dining are your main spending categories, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the contender to beat, but if you're using your card for other purchases, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card pulls ahead.

The perks perspective

The final criterion to consider is which card offers perks you'll actually take advantage of. Both cards waive foreign transaction fees, making them excellent choices for making purchases while traveling internationally.

For a card with a $95 annual fee, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has an ace in its pocket: Cardholders are eligible for a statement credit worth up to $100 for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee once every four years. Taking advantage of that in the first year basically covers the cost of your annual fee.

On the other hand, the travel protections extended by the Chase Sapphire Preferred, including trip interruption and cancellation coverage up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, as well as primary rental car insurance, far exceed those included with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. So if you do travel frequently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be a better option to pay for your plans in case things go wrong.

Choosing between the Sapphire Preferred and the Venture

Both of these cards are standout products in their own right, and either sign-up bonus is well worth applying for.

In terms of fixed-value redemptions, you'll get an equal value of $1,000 toward travel from either bonus. However, if you are interested in transferring your points or miles to a partner airline or hotel, or for cash back toward other purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the winner.

That said, if you are eligible for both cards, now might just be the exact right time to apply while they are each offering these historically high bonuses plus limited-time perks to boot.

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