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You may think the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve® in 2023 comparison stops at the differences in annual fees and a few perks. However, there is much more to each rewards credit card. While the Capital One Venture Rewards and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are both travel rewards credit cards, they cater to two different types of travelers.

The Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550. Ouch. The Venture only has a $95 annual fee.

The huge difference in annual fees makes the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card a more logical choice for most travelers, though Capital One transfer partners may not be as valuable to you.

Let’s take a further look at how you earn and redeem the most travel rewards.

View from Royal Continental Hotel in Naples. Credit: Johnny Jet

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Capital One Venture Sign-Up Bonus

The sign-up bonus might be a one-time deal, but it can pay the annual fee for the first year and then some. Which one is better for you between the Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

How are the exact same number of points worth 50% more with Chase instead of Capital One? When you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for award travel, they are worth 1.5 cents each. However, they can be worth more when you transfer them to a travel partner.

On the other hand, Capital One rewards miles are only worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel statement credits or for booking future award travel through the Capital One Venture travel portal.

Earning Rewards Points: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

Do you want to earn flat-rate rewards on every purchase? Or perhaps you prefer tiered rewards? Your preference and spending habits will dictate which credit card offers better purchase rewards.

Capital One Venture Rewards

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a flat-rate rewards program that earns unlimited 2x miles on every $1 spent. However, earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

If you spend more on non-travel purchases, the 2x bonus can help you earn more points long-term compared to the Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a tiered purchase rewards program. Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Redeeming Your Purchase Rewards

How you can redeem your purchase rewards is just as important as how you can earn your rewards. After all, what’s the purpose of having a mountain of award miles if you can’t spend them?

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Each Venture mile is worth one cent each. So that makes 1,000 miles worth $10. You get $10 in travel rewards for every $500 you spend.

You have two different point redemption options:

  • Redeem for travel statement credits on recent travel purchases
  • Book award travel through the Capital One travel portal powered by Orbitz

If you like simplicity, you might prefer this award redemption option because you earn at least 2 miles for every $1 spent.

Plus, you can receive more value from your Capital One miles by transferring them out to several airline partners.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

You have multiple redemption options with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, including cash statement credits and gift cards. With non-travel award redemptions, your points are only worth 1 cent each.

Instead, you should only redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for the following award travel redemptions:

  • 1:1 point transfers
  • Book award travel through Chase

When booking travel through Chase, your points are worth 1.5 cents each for all travel purchases. Most Sapphire Reserve users prefer to transfer their points on a 1:1 basis because you can usually make each point worth at least 2 cents each.

There are several Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners:

Airline Transfer Partners

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • World of Hyatt

Additional Card Benefits: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

The additional card benefits are where you can decide if the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth the $550 annual fee. You will benefit the most from the Sapphire Reserve’s benefits if you are a frequent flyer.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is chock full of travel Sapphire Reserve benefits that can easily out-value the annual fee:

  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
  • Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection on-site benefits and credits
  • Primary rental car collision damage waiver
  • Special rental car agency benefits
  • Trip cancellation protection up to $10,000 in non-refundable travel purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

For now, you can enjoy these additional Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Visa Signature benefits
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Fee Credit

Besides the 0% foreign transaction fee and the TSA PreCheck, you probably won’t use these other travel benefits on a regular basis. If that’s the case, you need to determine if the purchase rewards and redemption rewards justify the $95 annual fee.

The Annual Fee: Capital One Venture Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

There is a major difference between the Capital One Venture Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee. The Capital One Venture has an annual fee of $95. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll pay $550 a year beginning with your first monthly statement.

While the Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee is steep, it’s not as expensive as it appears when you look at all of the benefits. As you’ll see, the annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve is more like $250, thanks to a $300 annual travel credit received as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Better

It’s obvious why the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is considered a “premium” credit cards for travel rewards. Although it costs $550 each year, regular travelers (especially flyers) can recoup the annual fee and enjoy a few extra fringe benefits in the process.

Besides the $300 travel credit and the extra flight benefits, the 1:1 point transfer capability is a huge benefit that very few travel credit cards offer.

When the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is Better

You should go with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card for these reasons:

  • Want to earn at least 2x miles on every purchase
  • Don’t travel enough to justify the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee
  • Don’t have excellent credit

Maybe you won’t earn enough in purchase rewards or use the additional benefits enough to afford the $550 annual fee, but want 1:1 point transfers. When that’s the case, you can also consider applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus and benefits which has the same annual fee but earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Although you earn fewer purchase rewards, the additional redemption flexibility can be worth the tradeoff.

Conclusion: Capital One Venture vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

Who wins the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Capital One Venture?

It comes down to how often you travel. Frequent flyers will probably be better off with the Sapphire Reserve because of the 1:1 transfers, 50% travel redemption bonus, and Priority Pass airport lounge membership. Don’t forget that the $300 travel credit effectively reduces the annual fee to $250 while you earn 3x points on these reimbursed purchases.

Occasional travelers that won’t benefit from the upscale flight benefits or the 3x bonus on travel and dining purchases should go with the Capital One Venture. Even though the rewards miles aren’t as valuable, it’s still a solid flat-rate travel reward credit card, especially since you can now transfer Capital One miles to airlines.

75,000 bonus miles: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

60,000 bonus points: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

6 Comments On "Capital One Venture Rewards vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve Review"
  1. H Sol|

    What is considered a “frequent flyer” or “frequent traveler” I currently have a capital one venture card and travel with my job about 6 times a year. When traveling I do eat a nice restaurants and stay in nice hotels. I’m in sales. Would I benefit more from switching to Sapphire?

    1. Mary Renking|

      I think so, especially with the new offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Plus, the Chase travel partners are better, imho.

  2. Chris|

    The article says transferring points 1:1 allows the user to make the points worth 2 cents each. How does this work?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      You can get more value from your miles by transferring them out to a travel partner. That’s because airline and hotel award programs have better redemption values in most cases. For example, 30,000 Chase UR points transferred to United can get a one-way ticket to Europe, which is more valuable than if you did a straight redemption on the UR website.

  3. trish|

    does it make sense to get both cards? setting aside the chase card for dining and travel, and the capital one for everything else where we wouldn’t get 3 points? both have an annual fee -so wondering if it make sense given the benefits.

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      Absolutely! I have both the Capital One Venture and Sapphire Preferred for their benefits.

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