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Despite what we may wish, our wallets and lifestyles can’t accommodate every credit card. The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card are 2 cards that reward folks very well when they spend on dining and entertainment.
The Capital One® Savor earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, and you’ll earn $500 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
And the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card earns 2X ThankYou points per $1 on dining and entertainment. You’ll also earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. That’s worth at least $750 toward travel!
Each card has its merits which makes it hard to choose a clear winner in a head-to-head competition. Let’s dive into each card to see which is best for your spending and travel habits.
Which Card Is Better? Capital One Savor vs Citi ThankYou Premier
Apply Here: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Here: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Best Sign-Up Bonus
Okay. Let’s do some calculations and we’ll assume all minimum spend is on entertainment and dining to be fair! 🙂
After spending $3,000 on entertainment and dining purchases, you’ll earn $620 cash bonus ($500 welcome bonus + $120 from spending) with the Capital One® Savor Card. You earn 4% on the $3,000 spent, which is $120. So, you essentially earn ~21% cash back for the first $3,000 if spending on entertainment and dining only. Not bad!
After spending $4,000 on entertainment and dining purchases, you’ll earn 68,000 ThankYou points (60,000 point welcome bonus + 8,000 points from spending) with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card. You earn 2X points per $1 on the $4,000 spent, which is 8,000 Citi ThankYou points. If you redeem your points using Citi’s ThankYou travel portal, you’ll get $850 worth of travel because your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward airfare, hotels, rental cars, and cruises.
Again, you essentially earn ~21% back for the first $4,000 in purchases if spending on entertainment and dining only. Pretty decent!
But you can also transfer your points to a number of Citi’s travel partners which can skyrocket the value of the sign-up bonus.
Winner: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Best Point Earning
Entertainment for both cards looks the same and includes things like concerts, movies, and music downloads. See more about eligible entertainment and dining purchases here.
Lastly, for all non-category spending, each card earns 1% cash back or 1X points.
Your spending habits should help you decide which card here is the winner. For me, I’d prefer the straight 4% cash back on dining and entertainment from the Capital One® Savor card.
Best Redemption Value
However, here’s where things get interesting. If you transfer points to Citi’s travel partners, you can unlock much more value.
For example, you can transfer 20,000 Citi ThankYou points to Cathay Pacific to book a round-trip award seat from New York to Vancouver. The cash value of this ticket varies, but in my search I found round-trip tickets early next year for ~$800 each. Fees were ~$85 in either case.
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific’s award program) operates on a distance-based award chart, so this route only costs 20,000 miles. That’s an incredible value and much better than redeeming through Citi’s ThankYou travel portal.
Meanwhile, the Capital One® Savor has one very simple redemption option: Cash back.
Winner: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Best Annual Fee
Both cards carry the same annual fee of $95 and have the first year waived. But let’s look at how you can earn your annual fee back once it sets in.
To earn $95 in value from the Capital One® Savor card, you’d need to spend at least $2,375 in dining or entertainment. We calculate this by dividing $95 by 4% for dining and entertainment and then you can take the cash back redemption of $95.
And to earn $95 in value from the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you’d need to spend at least $2,533 in travel or gas. We calculate this by dividing $95 by 3% for travel and gas, then dividing by 1.25 because of the power of redeeming through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
Best Additional Benefits
The only real mentionable difference is Citi Price Rewind. This free service, offered by Citi, will use your purchase history to search for price differences within 60 days of your purchase. If they find a lower price, they’ll refund you up to $200 per item and $1,000 per year!
Winner: Citi ThankYou Premier
Best Worldwide Acceptance
Both cards have no foreign transaction fees.
- Best Sign-Up Bonus: Citi ThankYou Premier Card – The Capital One Savor Card has a solid $500 cash back welcome bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements, but that can’t beat the minimum value of $750 in travel from the welcome bonus on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card
- Best Point Earning: Capital One Savor Card – Earning 4% cash back on dining and entertainment beats 2X points that the Citi ThankYou Premier Card earns
- Best Redemption Value: Citi ThankYou Premier Card – Redemption for travel gets you 1.25 cents per point! Transferring points to partner airlines unlocks even better value!
- Best Annual Fee: Tie – Both have $95 annual fees with the first year waived!
- Best Additional Benefits: Citi ThankYou Premier Card – They are both part of the World Elite Mastercard program but the Citi ThankYou Premier Card can save you money with Citi Price Rewind
- Best Worldwide Acceptance: Tie – Both are accepted worldwide and have no foreign transaction fees
Sometimes we don’t see a clear winner in these types of analyses. That said, each card lends itself towards certain spending and travel habits.
The Citi ThankYou Premier Card is the clear choice for anyone looking to use their hard earned rewards on travel. You’ll get $750 in travel from the welcome bonus by using Citi’s ThankYou travel portal and even more if you transfer points to Citi’s travel partners.
For folks who want simplicity, the Capital One Savor Card offers an easy way to earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.
In each case, you’ll have the annual fee of $95 waived for this first year and need to meet the minimum spend requirement within 3 months of account opening.
Which card you think fits your style best? Let us know in the comments!