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Rebeca wrote in last week asking which was the better card – the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

She wrote:

“The sign on bonus (for the Capital One Venture card) is only 25000, but with double points per dollar I think they would add up quickly if I actually used this on for my everyday spending. I usually put about 1200 or 1500 on my card every month and pay the balance in full.”

Capital One Venture Rewards versus Chase Sapphire Preferred

A few readers wrote in that Rebeca should choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because the 50,000 point sign-up bonus is higher than the 25,000 mile bonus on the Capital One Venture Reward card.

I agree because it usually is much more profitable to choose a credit card with double the sign-up bonus than one with a lower sign-up bonus.

Let’s do the math to compare exactly how many miles or points Rebeca will earn with each credit card.

Chase Saphire vs Venture Rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards:

Total Miles Earned: In 1 year, Rebecca will earn 61,000 Venture Reward miles.

  • 25,000 Venture Reward miles from the sign-up bonus
  • 36,000 Venture miles from her monthly spending ($1,500 per month X12 months X 2 Venture Reward Miles earned per $1 spent)

Redemption Value: You can redeem 100 Venture Reward miles for $1 in travel, which is a value of 2 cents per dollar spent (since you earn 2 miles per $1 spent).

Rebeca will therefore be able to redeem her 61,000 Capital One Venture miles for $680 in travel (air, hotel, car etc.)

It costs ~$900 for a round trip coach ticket to Europe, so even after earning 2 miles per dollar on the Capital One Venture card, Rebeca will be unable to get 1 ticket to Europe!

Chase Sapphire Preferred:

Total Points Earned: In 1 year, Rebeca will earn 68,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points.

  • 50,000 Ultimate Reward Points from the sign-up bonus
  • 18,000 Ultimate Reward miles from her monthly spending ($1,500 per month X12 months)

Redemption Value: In my earlier review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I explained how you could get a value of 1 cent per point for non-travel redemptions, 1.25 cents per point for travel redemptions, and greater than a 1.25 cent per point redemption by transferring Ultimate Reward points to hotels or airline partners.

Rebeca could redeem her 68,000 Ultimate Reward points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Reward portal and get a $850 value (68,000 X 1.25%) or almost the cost of a round trip ticket to Europe.

An economy round trip ticket to Europe costs 60,000 Continental Airline miles.  Rebeca could also  transfer 60,000 out of her 68,000 Ultimate Reward points to Continental Airlines and then redeem for an economy award ticket to Europe via the Star Alliance.

She will even have 8,000 Ultimate Reward points left over which she could redeem for a $80 credit towards the taxes and fees on the award ticket to Europe or transfer to Hyatt for a 1 night stay in a category 2 hotel.

So even though Rebeca can earn 2 Venture Reward miles per $1 on the Capital One Venture Reward card, the increased sign-up bonus together with the ability to transfer to airline and hotel partners makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card a better choice (compared to the Capital One Venture Reward card) for Rebeca’s travel goals.

Extra Credit

Many readers wrote in that Rebeca shouldn’t limit herself to only the Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture card, but should apply for other cards as well.

Reader Swag noted that Rebeca’s annual spending on the credit cards will not cover even 1 ticket to Europe!

The only way Rebeca will be able to meet her travel goals is by focusing on the large sign-up bonuses offered on credit cards.

Reader mike and Swag suggested that Rebeca and other credit-worthy members of her family apply for the 75,000 American Airlines credit cards and redeem AA miles to travel to Europe since American Airlines allows stop-overs in the North American gateway city (in this case, New York).

By applying for both the 75,000 American Airlines Visa and AMEX at the same time using the 2-browser trick, Rebeca would earn 150,000 AAdvantage miles!

Rebeca can use 150,000 AAdvantage miles for 3 off-peak (from October 15 to May 15) round trip economy tickets @40,000 miles each or 2 regular round trip economy economy tickets @ 60,000 miles each.

She could earn another 75,000 AAdvantage miles by applying for a Citi Business card 95+ days after she applies for the 2 personal Citi AAdvantage cards.

If Rebeca’s husband also applies for 2 personal & 1 business Citi AAdvantage card, they would have a total of 450,000 AAdvantage miles which is more than enough for the entire family of 6 to fly to Europe and back with a stop-over in New York!

Bottom Line: Rebeca’s goal of traveling with her family of 6 to Europe is best accomplished by taking advantage of credit card sign-on bonuses, since her yearly spending won’t earn her enough miles for even 1 ticket to Europe.

The  Citi 75,000 AAdvantage credit cards offer the largest current sign-on bonuses and Rebeca can redeem AAdvantage miles for economy class tickets on American Airlines with a stop-over in New York.

Now redeeming for 6 coach tickets on the same flight will be difficult, so her family may have to travel separately to Europe.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a better alternative to the Capital One Venture Reward card, because of the higher sign-on bonus and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners.

In general, you can apply for only a limited number of credit cards in a period, so it makes sense to apply for those cards which provide the most value or the largest sign-on bonus first!

In Rebeca’s case, the Citi 75,000 mile AAdvantage cards will provide her with the best way to meet her travel goals and have Big Travel with Small Money!

Thanks to everyone who commented and helped Rebeca out!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Thanks for putting the time into this. I really appreciate it!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Rebeca – You’re welcome! Do let us know what you decide to do!