Capital One vs. Chase Credit Cards – Which Is Best? [2021]

Comparison

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Chase and Capital One are 2 of the largest banks in the U.S. And while they both have drastically different structures, products, and focuses, it is worthwhile to put the 2 of them against each other and figure out which is best.

In the past, Chase has been an absolute powerhouse in credit cards, whether you were looking for cash-back, travel rewards, or business credit cards. However, Capital One has been playing catch-up in recent years, and this has ultimately resulted in comparisons being drawn between the 2.

So in this guide, we’ll be comparing the credit cards offered in each category by both banks and showing you the top (and runner-up) credit card choices between Chase and Capital One.

We’ll first discuss the differences between the 2 rewards programs and why it’s important to know the characteristics of each. Then we’ll break down the top credit card categories and determining which cards come out on top and in second place.

Let’s get started!

Comparing Capital One Miles & Chase Ultimate Rewards

Singapore Airlines First Class Suites Frankfurt to Singapore - Middle Seats
Capital One miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can both be redeemed for Singapore Airlines First Class Suites. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Capital One’s main rewards program is known as Capital One Miles, while Chase’s rewards program is known as Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You can earn Capital One miles by making purchases using Capital One Miles credit cards, and you can earn Ultimate Rewards points by making purchases using Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards.

Each credit card earns points at different rates and on different categories, such as dining or travel.

Capital One miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can both be used for statement credits, gift cards, experiences, and more. In general, using your points in these ways will get you a value of 1 cent per point. For example, you can redeem 10,000 Capital One miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $100 in statement credits or for a $100 gift card.

However, where these 2 rewards systems start to diverge is when we talk about the other (better!) ways to redeem your points. For example, since these 2 are both known as flexible points, you can transfer them to different airline and hotel partners.

Capital One Miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards each have different transfer partners. Some transfer partners, such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Air France/KLM Flying Blue are part of both rewards systems, while others, such as United Airlines MileagePlus (with Chase) and Avianca LifeMiles (with Capital One) are only partners with 1 of the rewards systems.

Also, Chase maintains a 1:1 transfer ratio with all of its partners, while Capital One maintains a 2:1.5 or 2:1 transfer ratio with its partners.

That means that if you want to earn 1,000 United miles, you only need to transfer 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. On the other hand, if you want to earn 1,500 Avianca LifeMiles, you will need to transfer 2,000 Capital One miles.

Both of these rewards systems have excellent transfer partnerships, overall.

And if you’re not looking to redeem points through transfer partners, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase travel portal at up to 1.5 cents each, which is a 50% bonus compared to the normal redemption value.

On the other hand, Capital One maintains a pretty consistent value of 1 cent per mile when redeeming for anything besides transfer partners.

There are less than a handful of credit cards that can earn Capital One miles, while there are many credit cards that can earn Ultimate Rewards points. In general, the most you can expect to earn with Capital One miles is 2 miles per dollar, while the most you can expect to earn with Chase Ultimate Rewards points is up to 10 points per dollar.

When you take everything into consideration, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around 2 cents each, and Capital One miles are worth around 1.4 cents each, according to our valuations.

Bottom Line: Chase Ultimate Rewards is the superior points currency, with a small caveat that Capital One has a few niche transfer partners, such as Air Canada Aeroplan and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, that could be useful in some situations. And unless you never want to think about bonus categories and are willing to accept a lower earning structure, Chase Ultimate Rewards is the clear winner over Capital One Miles.

Best Premium Travel Rewards Credit Card

The best premium travel rewards credit cards offer exceptional rewards without a huge price tag. And luckily, both Chase and Capital One offer exceptional products in this arena.

So, let’s compare the top 2 contenders!

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel credit cards in the U.S. It also happens to be the best beginner rewards credit card available.

Even so, the most seasoned points enthusiasts love keeping this card in their arsenal.

One of the things that make this credit card exceptional is the fact that its welcome bonus is consistently awesome — with a bit of monthly spending after opening the card, you’ll see a massive pop in your point balance.

But if you look past the introductory offer, you’ll find a very attractive earning rate of 2x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases worldwide. You can also earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on Lyft purchases, which is incredible.

Remember, we value Ultimate Rewards points at around 2 cents each, which means that on your travel and dining purchases, you’d earn a 4% return on spending. On Lyft purchases, you’d earn a whopping 10% return on your spending!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also offers a $50 grocery store statement credit within your first year of account opening, a $60 Peloton Digital and All Access Membership statement credit through December 31, 2021, and a complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription as free added-value perks.

There are no foreign transaction fees, and you’ll have the ability to flexibly redeem your points with transfer partners like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt.

But the cherry on top is the awesome travel coverage you can access with this card, including trip delay insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and primary rental car insurance.

Lastly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers essential purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and zero fraud liability to round out the main benefits.

The annual fee is $95.

Runner-Up: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card

Capital One’s flagship credit card, the CapOne Venture card, draws plenty of comparisons to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but in reality, the 2 cards are for 2 totally different groups of people.

The CapOne Venture card is similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in the sense that it also offers an excellent welcome bonus and a low annual fee of $95. Both cards also have access to transferable rewards, albeit with 2 different rewards systems.

That’s where the similarities end, so let’s get into the CapOne Venture card’s selling points! First of all, the biggest reason why you’d want to have this card is that you don’t need to worry about bonus categories like dining or travel to earn an unlimited 2x Capital One miles on every purchase, every day.

That means all of your spending on the CapOne Venture card will consistently return around 2.7%.

Also, this credit card offers a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, so if getting these memberships was on your to-do list, the CapOne Venture card can help you get it for free.

As with almost all of Capital One’s credit cards, this product doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

You’ll find numerous travel benefits available, including secondary car rental coverage, travel assistance, travel accident insurance, lost luggage coverage, roadside dispatch, and more.

The extended warranty, purchase security, and zero fraud liability are standard perks that many credit cards have, but still worth pointing out as benefits.

As we mentioned above, the annual fee is $95.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers better bonus categories, transfer partnerships, more value in statement credits, and superior travel perks like primary rental car coverage. The CapOne Venture card offers straightforward rewards earning on all purchases, a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, and decent travel insurance. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the clear winner in this showdown.

Best Business Credit Card

Woman Running Shipping Business
You could be earning up to 3x points for your small business’s shipping expenses. Image Credit: Sushiman via Shutterstock

Credit cards for small businesses are almost in a totally different realm compared to consumer credit cards.

This shouldn’t be terribly surprising because a business spends a lot more money on a lot of other expenses than a consumer probably would — and vice versa!

With business expenses, you may make a lot of purchases on advertising, office supplies, and more.

So in this next section, we’ll show you the 2 best business credit cards available.

Winner: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Credit CardKey Benefits & Info
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Apply Now
(at Chase's secure site)
  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • $2,000
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95

Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.

The Ink Business Preferred card is colloquially known as the king of business credit cards. And it’s easy to see why — the bonus categories, sign-up bonus, and other perks are out of this world.

The Ink Business Preferred card offers an incredible welcome bonus, worth upwards of around $2,000! And once you’ve pocketed this bonus, you’ll pivot your focus to the bonus categories (there are a ton).

You can earn up to 3x Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases made each account anniversary year on the following categories:

You can also earn 5x points on Lyft purchases through March 2022.

One of the exceptional benefits of this card worth pointing out is its cell phone insurance. If you charge your (and your employees’) cell phone bills to this card, you are eligible for coverage if you break or damage your cell phone or if it’s stolen.

This insurance covers $600 per claim with a $100 deductible and a maximum of 3 claims per 12 month period, meaning up to $1,500 in value every year.

It doesn’t end there because you get access to superb travel protections (similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card), including trip interruption and cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage insurance, baggage delay protection, travel accident insurance, and primary rental car coverage when renting for business.

There are no foreign transaction fees, and this card affords you purchase protection, extended warranty protection, zero liability, fraud protection, and more.

The annual fee is $95.

Runner-Up: Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited card is our runner-up because this credit card actually out-performs Capital One’s flagship business credit card — Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business — despite being a no annual fee card.

Specifically, the Ink Business Unlimited card offers a huge welcome bonus, even though it has no annual fee.

After that, you’ll earn 1.5% cash-back on all your purchases that is convertible to Ultimate Rewards points if you have a credit card like the Ink Business Preferred card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Plus, earn 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022.

If you convert your Ultimate Rewards points, your 1.5% or 5% cash-back is equal to 1.5x or 5x Ultimate Rewards points, respectively.

Additionally, you’ll enjoy a 0% introductory APR benefit that could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars in saved interest fees.

All employee cards are free, and you’ll enjoy primary rental car coverage, travel and emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, zero liability fraud protection, and more.

To be clear, the CapOne Spark Miles card has access to transfer partners by itself, while the Ink Business Unlimited card requires an Ultimate Rewards credit card to transfer points to travel partners. Also, the CapOne Spark Miles card has no foreign transaction fees, while the Ink Business Unlimited’s foreign transaction fee is 3%.

But unless you’re planning on making a lot of foreign purchases, the Ink Business Unlimited card is the better choice, even compared to the $95 annual fee CapOne Spark Miles card.

Hot Tip: Can’t choose between our Chase business favorites? See how they compare head-to-head in our article: Ink Business Preferred Card vs. Ink Business Unlimited Card.

Best Ultra-Premium Travel Rewards Credit Card

So if you’re a frequent traveler and have enough expenses to make the most of the rewards overall, you should be looking for the highest-tier credit card.

You might be charged a larger annual fee up-front, but by making the most of the enhanced bonus categories, you’ll actually end up ahead in terms of value earned from credit card spending.

So without further ado, let’s get into our best ultra-premium travel rewards credit card.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the undisputed winner in the ultra-premium category as Capital One doesn’t even have a card that competes in this segment.

The card comes with a sizable welcome bonus, but the real selling points come from the accrual structure and the stellar travel benefits.

You’ll earn:

  • 3x points per $1 spent on all travel and dining purchases
  • 10x points per $1 spent on Lyft purchases
  • 1x points per $1 spent on all other purchases

This credit card also comes with a $300 annual travel credit (renewed after each card anniversary). From June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your travel credit, which makes it easier than ever to use it.

As far as other benefits go, you’ll get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit, a Lyft Pink membership (plus Grubhub+/Seamless+ membership via Lyft Pink), a DoorDash DashPass subscription and $60 statement credit, a $120 Peloton Digital and All Access Membership statement credit through December 31, 2021, access to the Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection, and so much more.

You’ll get rental car benefits, including elite status with National (Emerald Club Executive Level) and Avis (Preferred), discounts, and more.

But the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers the best travel coverage of any credit card out there, including primary rental car insurance for up to $75,000 for car rentals 31 days or shorter, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay and lost luggage insurance, and roadside assistance.

To round out the major benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and zero fraud liability protection.

The annual fee is $550.

Best Cash-Back Credit Card

If you’re looking for the best cash-back credit card, perhaps because you don’t travel all that often or if you just believe “cash is king,” then don’t worry!

In this next section, we’ll identify the best cash-back credit cards that Capital One and Chase offer.

Winner: Capital One® Savor® Rewards Card

The CapOne Savor card is one of the most tempting cash-back credit cards out there. While there are many cash-back credit cards out there that have come and gone, this awesome product offers up to 4% cash-back with no caps.

You’ll start off with a 1-time cash bonus. Then, you will earn according to the following structure:

  • 4% cash-back on dining and entertainment
  • 8% cash-back on tickets at Vivid Seats
  • 2% cash-back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

Impressively, this credit card has no rewards caps! Other perks include roadside assistance, secondary car rental coverage, roadside assistance, purchase protection, travel accident insurance, price protection, extended warranty, and zero liability fraud protection.

There are no foreign transaction fees, no authorized user fees, and more. The annual fee is $95.

Runner-Up: Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

The Freedom Unlimited card is one of the most popular credit cards from Chase. This cash-back credit card easily becomes the runner-up in this category, with the potential to earn you some lucrative rewards.

When you apply for this card, you’ll usually spot a decent welcome bonus. Plus, enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers as part of the welcome offer.

You’ll earn up to 5% cash-back in the following structure:

  • 5% cash-back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash-back on dining and drugstores
  • 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases

The Freedom Unlimited card offers secondary rental car coverage, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and zero liability fraud protection.

If you hold this card and an Ultimate Rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you have the ability to convert your cash-back to Ultimate Rewards points. That means your 5%, 3%, or 1.5% cash-back could be equal to 5x, 3x, and 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points!

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card

Chase and Capital One compete fiercely for various credit card types. And no annual fee credit cards are no exception. Indeed, there’s a very clear winner for the best no annual fee credit card.

Let’s talk about it!

Winner: Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card

Credit CardBenefits & Info

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card


Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)

  • Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommendation (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $0

A new entrant to the credit card scene, the Freedom Flex card is making quite a splash and is our winner for the best no annual fee credit card by quite a wide margin.

Why? The card features a great welcome bonus, ongoing earning categories up to 5% cash-back, and excellent travel benefits.

As the successor to the famous Chase Freedom® card, this credit card starts with a great welcome bonus for newly-approved cardholders meeting certain requirements within their first 3 months.

Here’s how the Freedom Flex card earns cash-back:

  • 5% cash-back per $1 spent on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash-back per $1 spent on quarterly rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending (past categories include gas, groceries, warehouse clubs, Amazon, and PayPal)
  • 5% cash-back per $1 spent on purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • 3% cash-back per $1 spent on all dining purchases, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash-back per $1 spent at drugstores
  • 1% cash-back per $1 spent everywhere else

Basically, if you pay attention to these quarterly rotating bonus categories, or spend a lot of money on travel, dining, or drugstores, you’ll come out way ahead!

If you like ordering food delivery, this card offers a complimentary 3-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass and the ability to renew it at 50% off for another 9 months after the initial 3-month period.

The Freedom Flex card also has an introductory 0% APR benefit, cell phone protection ($800 per claim and $1,000 per year with a maximum of 2 claims in a 12-month period and a $50 deductible per claim), secondary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and more.

Runner-Up: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Card

Our runner-up credit card is the CapOne VentureOne card because of its simple, straightforward earning structure.

As the no-annual-fee version of the CapOne Venture card, when you consider the benefits you get and the ability to access Capital One Miles without paying for an annual fee, you’ll quickly notice that it’s a worthwhile option you should look at.

When you sign up for the card, you can earn a modest welcome bonus. You’ll also enjoy a great 0% intro APR perk on purchases.

Beyond that, this card earns an unlimited 1.25x Capital One miles on every purchase, every day. No need to worry about rotating or bonus categories!

The miles you earn never expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem them for travel when you want (with no blackout dates) and fly any airline or stay at any hotel, anytime.

The CapOne VentureOne card offers secondary car rental coverage, lost luggage coverage, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, travel assistance services, purchase security, extended warranty, and access to other Visa Signature travel benefits.

This card has no foreign transaction fees and no fees for authorized users.

Final Thoughts

We are huge fans of Capital One and Chase credit cards. Whether you’re looking for cash-back or luxury travel rewards, both of these banks have a product that can fit your needs.

In general, Chase focuses on those who want to really maximize rewards, whether it’s with its Ultimate Rewards program or with cash-back on specific categories that may rotate over time.

On the other hand, Capital One loves offering bonus points on all purchases without bonus categories. Capital One also focuses on low annual fee credit cards and cash-back rewards, but it does have a great transferable rewards program in Capital One Miles.

We hope you found this complete guide comparing Capital One versus Chase credit cards useful! For even more, check out our comparison of Chase and Amex cards.


The information regarding the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card, Capital One® Savor® Rewards Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, and Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


Frequently asked questions

Which is better, the Chase Freedom card or Capital One® Quicksilver® card?

The 2 credit cards are completely different, but the Chase Freedom card is probably better because you can earn anywhere from 1% to 5% cash-back, whereas the Quicksilver card earns a flat 1.5% cash-back on all purchases. So if you maximize the Freedom card, you’ll come out ahead compared to the Quicksilver card. Plus, with the Freedom card, you have the ability to convert your rewards to Ultimate Rewards points, which will double the value you earn on your purchases!

The Freedom card is no longer open to new applications, so consider the similar Freedom Flex card instead.

Does Capital One have a bank?

Yes! There are many Capital One branch locations in many states, but this bank is mostly an online bank. Still, you can find physical branches, ATMs, and cafes around the U.S.

Should I get a Capital One credit card?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for straightforward cash-back or don’t want to think about bonus categories and are also willing to leave some points on the table, you could consider getting a Capital One credit card.

However, if you can pay attention to bonus categories like dining and travel, then Chase credit cards are almost always superior to Capital One credit cards. Also, Chase points are generally more valuable than Capital One miles.

Which bank is better, Chase or Capital One?

Chase has the most valuable points and the best credit cards to earn rewards for travel. Capital One focuses on low annual fee products and rewards without bonus categories. It depends on what you’re looking for, but we are generally huge fans of Chase credit cards.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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