Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Quicksilver: There’s a clear winner for travelers

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Readers often ask whether travel rewards cards or cards that earn cash back are a better option. There’s no easy answer — it comes down to your personal spending habits and goals for travel or savings.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, one of our favorite travel rewards cards, and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which  earns a solid cash-back rate on every purchase and has no annual fee.

We’ll walk you through a comparison of the Captial One Venture and Captial One Quicksilver to help you decide which card is best for you. (Photo by ra2 studio/Shutterstock)

Capital One Venture or Capital One Quicksilver

Best sign-up bonus

Earning a sign-up bonus when you open a new card is one of the fastest and easiest ways to earn miles and points for free travel.

The Capital One Venture sign-up bonus is up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You can redeem your Venture miles at a rate of one cent per mile toward travel, so the bonus is worth up to $1,000. But you can also transfer Venture miles to airline partners, which can increase your return.

In comparison, the Capital One Quicksilver card comes with a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

It’s pretty clear that the Venture card beats out the Quicksilver card in this category, even with the larger minimum spending requirement. That’s because you’ll have the flexibility to use your rewards to “erase” travel purchases or transfer those miles to travel partners for potentially even more value.

Winner:  Capital One Venture

Best earning rate

Once you get your new card, it’s time to start spending and earning points. Each card earns points in different ways.

With the Capital One Venture you’ll earn

  • 2x Venture miles on purchases

With the Capital One Quicksilver you’ll earn:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Capital One Venture miles are worth at least 1 cent each toward paid travel, so you get a return of at least 2 cents per dollar spent, which is essentially like earning 2% cash back, as long as you’re using those rewards for paid travel.

So again, the Capital One Venture card comes out ahead, as long as you value a rewards card that’ll help you offset the cost of travel purchases.

Winner: Capital One Venture

Best redemption value

Capital One Venture miles are simple and straightforward to earn and redeem. You can use your miles for nearly any travel purchase at a value of 1 cent per mile, like taxi rides, hotels, room service and free flights. You can also redeem Capital One miles for cash back, but you’ll only get .5 cents per point, so it’s not a good deal.

Capital One miles also transfer to airline partners like Singapore Airlines or Emirates, but the Capital One miles’ transfer ratios aren’t that great. You can transfer miles at a 2:1.5 ratio to most of the Capital One transfer partners, but three only have a transfer ratio of 2:1.

To redeem your miles for travel, make eligible purchases with your card. You have 90 days to sign into your online account, find the travel purchase and erase it with your miles. There’s no minimum redemption increment when redeeming miles, unless you’re using miles to partially pay for a travel purchase. In that case, the minimum is 2,500 miles ($25).

With the Capital One Quicksilver card, you’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase. When it comes to redeeming your cash back, you can request a check or statement credit at any time with no minimum redemption amount. Or you can set up an automatic redemption of, for example, $25 per month. Whatever makes sense for you.

This card could work for anyone looking for a rewards card that’s truly zero hassle. But when it comes to the value you’ll get for your rewards, the Capital One Venture is still the better bet.

Winner: Capital One Venture

Best travel protection benefits

If you travel often, consider the insurance and protection benefits each card provides. Delays, cancellations and mishaps can occur.

Neither the Venture card or the Quicksilver card makes our list of the best cards for travel insurance because neither of the cards offers important coverage like primary rental car insurance or trip delay/cancellation reimbursement.

Winner: It’s a tie (but check out this list if you’re really looking for a card with travel protection benefits).

Best annual fee

The Capital One Venture card has a $95 annual fee; the Capital One Quicksilver has no annual fee.

Winner:  It’s a tie the first year, but the Capital One Quicksilver wins after that.

Best for foreign transactions

With both the Capital One Quicksilver Card and the Capital One Venture card, you never have to worry about foreign transaction fees.

Winner:  It’s a tie.

Best worldwide acceptance

The Capital One Venture and Capital One Quicksilver are equally accepted around the world. You won’t pay a transaction fee when making a purchase outside of the United States.

Winner: It’s a tie.

Bottom line

For most people, the Capital One Venture is a better deal. It tops the Capital One Quicksilver card in most areas and you can get more value (when it comes to travel) from your Venture rewards.

  • Best sign-up bonus: Capital One Venture offers $350+ more value.
  • Best points earning: Capital One Venture offers a straightforward 2x Venture miles on everything.
  • Best redemption value: Capital One Venture can get you more value when you transfer points to travel partners.
  • Best travel protection benefits: It’s a tie.
  • Best annual fee: It’s a tie the first year.
  • Both cards tied in worldwide acceptance and no foreign transaction fees.

You’ll find our in-depth review of the Capital One Venture and Capital One Quicksilver here.

For more travel and credit card news, deals and analysis sign-up for our newsletter here.

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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