Why I applied for the Capital One Savor card

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Until recently, all of my focus on credit card rewards was directed at accumulating airline miles.

A free flight can save you thousands of dollars so airline credit cards seemed far and away the most valuable route. Plus, my husband and I travel frequently enough that I couldn’t imagine needing any other rewards card outside of an airline or travel credit card. We had our spending system totally worked out and adding another card to the mix felt like it would only complicate things.

But I’ll share how and why the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card changed my mind.

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

I use the Capital One Savor card almost exclusively, especially on large purchases. The cash I accrue can offset purchases abroad that I can’t redeem for cash. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

An offer I couldn’t refuse

Again, I hadn’t considered opening a cashback credit card — or any other credit card, for that matter. I was totally content accumulating miles on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (which I still use regularly, but my strategy has changed).

Then a friend sent me a note that the Capital One Savor was offering a $300 cash bonus for all new cardholders who spent $3,000 within the first three months and I jumped at the opportunity. The time was right to expand my rewards benefits and add a cash back card to the mix.

When opening a new card, it’s important to decide if you’ll be able to make the initial spending requirement. Knowing my current budget and how my husband and I use our other cards, this would have been close, but I had a business trip coming up and knew I’d be charging a lot of reimbursable expenses to a credit card. That meant I could easily meet the requirement of $3,000 in three months on this card. Planning out when to apply for a credit card is an important part of the process.

The #1 reason I love the Capital One Savor

There’s one very specific reason that I love using this credit card: It’s so fun to check my statements and see how much credit I’m accumulating. I’m kind of hooked, actually. I love to check every morning to see what my current credit is, and it’s really easy to cash in the credit whenever you want. Everyone has a different strategy, but I like to save my rewards credit for the end of the statement cycle, so I can reduce my monthly bill by as much as possible and all at once.

How to use this card

Essentially, the question is: How much money did I earn in cash-back rewards this year and was it significantly more than the $95 annual fee? If so, I’ll keep it. I imagine that this card will easily pay for itself over the next year, but I want to be sure before committing fully. Since I also use my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I’ve had to re-assess my spending strategy to maximize rewards between the two cards.

Here’s how the Capital One Savor card earnings break down:

  • $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the card
  • 4% cashback on dining and entertainment purchases
  • 2% cashback at grocery stores
  • 1% cashback on all other purchases

Because the Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers great rewards on travel purchases, I use this card when booking flights, rental cars, hotels, and anything else travel-related. If I want to ramp up my miles, I’ll also use the Chase card for restaurant purchases. Otherwise, I’m using my Capital One Savor card for everything else, especially entertainment like concert tickets, which currently earn 8% cashback when booked through Vivid Seats.

I used the $300 bonus to adopt a dog

I could have used my bonus on anything, but I wanted to spend it on an item or experience that I wouldn’t be able to purchase with rewards points. There was one item that I’d had my eye on for a week and didn’t want to wait any longer to make the purchase. So I used my $300 for…

Meet our new (well, nine-year-old) pup, Lolo. She’s a perfect addition to our family and it was love at first sight. (Photo by Erin Lizzo/Million Mile Secrets)

My husband and I had been thinking about adopting a senior dog for a few weeks, and when we saw Lolo at the Boulder Humane Society, we were totally smitten right away. After learning that she’d been there for several months and that no one had expressed interest we were heartbroken for her, which made our decision so much easier.

I knew that receiving $300 for free was a great opportunity to pay it forward and use the money for something that would really mean something to both us and her. So we pulled the trigger and adopted our pup. Between the adoption fees, medicine, food, pet bed, leash, collar and a few toys we were right at $300. It was the perfect way to spend our bonus and ensure that the money spent would give us (and her!) years of happiness. The timing was perfect, and I’ve never been so happy to spend $300 before!

The Capital One Savor is a great card for vacation expenses

The Capital One Savor is also a solid pick if you’re looking for a cash back credit card to wipe out vacation expenses like dining out, groceries and entertainment. Capital One says entertainment includes movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums, zoos, dance clubs, pool halls or bowling alleys, record stores and video rental locations.

Jasmin used the Capital One Savor almost exclusively for meals and attractions when they were in Hawaii, and used the cash back bonus to erase a chunk of those expenses. It’s really easy to redeem cash back with the card. You can request a check or statement credit, any time, with no minimum redemption amount.

The card is especially great for restaurants and takeout, and it’s saving me a bunch of money during this coronavirus period of social social distancing and delivery-centric spending.

In the past, the Capital One Savor bonus has been as high as $500 cash back after meeting minimum spending, but we don’t know if that offer will ever return. This was actually the first Capital One card I’d ever applied for, so I was a little nervous, but fortunately it was an instant approval.

Side note — the Capital One Savor is a metal credit card and it is heavy (it feels even chunkier than the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve®. So it’s got a bit of a cool factor going on for it.

Do you have a cash-back rewards card that you can’t live without? What made you choose this card over all the other options? Or are you considering opening a cash-back card and weighing the pros and cons? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

Erin Lizzo 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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Susan
3 months ago

I love that you adopted a senior dog. She is beautiful! Adopt don’t shop.

Dan
1 year ago

Not a fan of the annual fee on this card. The 2nd year of this card is really weak because you need a lot of spend to make up for the high annual fee which has no dining or entertainment credits to make it worth the fee. I think the best path to take is the 1st year get the Savor for the bonus, and downgrade it to the Savor One in year two, since the One card has no annual fee, but still has 3x cashback.

I hope in the future they score a deal with Postmates or something to get monthly credits for food, that would make it more enticing. Since it is an entertainment card, it would also be beat if you got special discounts on amusement park season passes.

Casey W Kaim
Reply to  Dan
3 months ago

Just for your information me and my family have 1 venture card and 2 savor cards after the first year I told them Capital one almost always gives you a credit

David
1 year ago

What I haven’t seen in articles about the Savor card is how it’s any better than the Amex Gold. Gold earns 4x on dining (same as Savor), and 4x on grocery stores (double Savor), plus has other perks and credits to up its value and offset the annual fee. Then you can either treat it as a cash back card like Savor and use points for statement credits, or transfer to travel partners. It’s a win-win in both flexibility and earning potential.

connie
Reply to  David
1 year ago

The Amex gold’s annual fee is $250 vs Savor’s $95. The sign up bonus stated in the article is $300 cash back to statement. I just looked at Amex gold, the sign up bonus is 50,000 points after spending $2,000. I’m not sure what you get for 50,000 points.