Edited by: Stella Shon
& Juan Ruiz
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Capital One and Citi are 2 large financial institutions in the U.S. Both offer standard banking products like checking accounts and savings accounts, as well as a variety of credit cards.
Citi seems to be shrinking in the world of credit cards compared to its heyday, while Capital One continues to be growing more every year. Still, both credit issuers offer compelling credit card products worthy of consideration.
But choosing the right card for your situation can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re considering not 1, but 2 credit card issuers.
So in this guide, we’ll look at separate credit card categories and isolate the 2 best products available in each segment.
Before we do that, let’s take a look at how Capital One miles compares to Citi ThankYou Rewards.
Capital One’s proprietary rewards program is called Capital One Miles, and the miles you earn and redeem are Capital One miles.
Similarly, Citi’s proprietary rewards program is called Citi ThankYou Rewards, and the points you earn and redeem are Citi ThankYou Points.
Currently, Citi has a small portfolio of credit cards that participate in ThankYou Rewards, while Capital One’s portfolio is slightly larger.
Remember, Citi and Capital One operate totally independent points programs, but Capital One miles can be redeemed in these ways:
Similarly, Citi ThankYou Points can be redeemed as follows:
Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards both share similar redemption pathways, but you’ll almost always want to avoid PayPal, Amazon.com, online shopping, or cash-back, as these will definitely yield the lowest redemption value. You’ll often get less than 1 cent per point through these redemptions.
Specifically, Capital One miles are worth:
On the other hand, Citi ThankYou Points are worth:
In comparison, when you transfer Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou Points to travel partners, you can get upwards of 10 cents per point of value.
To get maximum value from your Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou Points, you’ll need to pay attention to each program’s transfer partners.
Simply put, you can transfer your bank’s points to airline frequent flyer programs or hotel loyalty programs.
At the moment, there are a series of transfer partners that are offered to both Capital One and Citi (all at a 1:1 ratio unless otherwise noted):
Capital One offers a couple of useful partnerships beyond what Citi offers:
Overall, we believe Capital One has the slight edge over Citi, simply because of how useful Air Canada and British Airways are as frequent flyer programs.
Still, Citi’s enhanced transfer ratio with Choice Privileges of 1:2 allows savvy travelers to book Preferred Hotels for some terrific value.
In the end, we value Capital One miles at 1.8 cents each and Citi ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents each.
Between Capital One and Citi, travel rewards credit cards are a big focus. Let’s take a look at our winning products in this section!
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
The Citi Premier card is currently Citibank’s flagship credit card in the U.S.
This mid-tier rewards credit card offers impressive overall travel rewards with a streamlined structure that’ll make it easy for you to maintain all personal expenses on a single card while earning lots of rewards.
It earns 3x ThankYou Points on air travel, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1x ThankYou Points.
This credit card also offers an annual $100 hotel savings benefit when a single stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) is booked through thankyou.com.
You’ll get access to Citi Entertainment, contactless payments, digital wallets, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free authorized user cards, too.
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.
Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.
The Capital One Venture card has been around for many years — over time, its benefits and rewards have transformed, and today, it earns up to 5x Capital One miles:
As we mentioned earlier, Capital One miles are worth 1.8 cents per mile, which translates to a maximum return on spending of 9%. You’ll also find that the Capital One Venture card earns at least 2x miles on purchases, which guarantees a minimum return on spending of 3.6%.
The Capital One Venture card also includes a handful of useful travel benefits:
Lastly, there are no additional annual fees for authorized users with this credit card (rates & fees).
If you’re running a business, you’ll need the best business card possible to help you be successful, and the best overall business cards in this instance are issued by Capital One.
The Capital One Spark Miles card is a low-annual-fee business card that earns 2x transferable miles on every $1 you spend. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is a great option for business owners looking for an uncomplicated rewards card that earns double miles on every purchase they make and offers access to transfer partners, all for a low annual fee.
The Capital One Spark Miles card is our favorite overall business card. It entitles you to great rewards on business purchases, low fees, and travel benefits.
Right now, you’ll find a welcome bonus on this card, as well as the ongoing ability to earn up to 5x Capital One miles on purchases:
This credit card is one of the best cards for business owners because you can confidently use this credit card and get a return on spending of at least 3.6%.
You won’t need to worry about any specific bonus categories; instead, you’ll earn at least 2x miles on all purchases.
The Capital One Spark Miles card also comes with 2 free visits to Capital One Lounges or Plaza Premium Lounges every year and an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit every 4 years.
Lastly, the Capital One Spark Miles card comes with purchase security, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free employee cards.
(Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business is an excellent option for business owners looking for straightforward earning with no blackout dates, no seat restrictions, and no minimum when redeeming your miles.
Our runner-up best business credit card is the Capital One Spark Miles Select card, which is just a step below the Capital One Spark Miles card.
Notably, this card has no annual fee and still earns up to 5x Capital One miles:
So while you’re not going to earn at least 2x miles on your purchases like you would with the Capital One Spark Miles card, you will still earn at least 1.5x miles on all business purchases, which is equivalent to a 2.7% return on spending.
The Capital One Spark Miles Select card also comes with purchase security, extended warranty, zero fraud liability, roadside assistance, and no-additional-cost employee cards.
If traveling in style is a top priority for you, getting a premium travel rewards card should be at the top of your to-do list.
Citi doesn’t really compete in this segment, but Capital One offers a fantastic product that fits this niche perfectly.
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.
Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.
Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.
The Capital One Venture X card is one of the hottest credit cards available right now, and it’s easy to see why.
To start, the welcome offer alone will have you itching to add this card to your wallet.
Capital One’s flagship premium credit card enjoys a terrific earning structure of up to 10x Capital One miles:
If you earn 10x Capital One miles, you’re getting a return on spending of 18%, which is huge.
Every anniversary year, you’ll enjoy a bonus of 10,000 miles. That’s on top of the up to $300 Capital One Travel credit and the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
This credit card enables you to gain unlimited complimentary visits to Capital One Lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and Priority Pass Lounges, as well.
And when you’re booking car rentals, get top-tier Hertz President’s Circle status as a complimentary benefit.
The Capital One Venture X card even includes cell phone insurance, exceptional travel insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and up to 4 authorized users for no additional annual fee (rates & fees).
For some people, it’s easier to avoid annual fees altogether, especially if you are cash-constrained.
Here are the best no-annual-fee credit cards offered by Capital One or Citi.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
The Double Cash card represents perhaps the most complete embodiment of the cash-back, low-fee credit card product.
Indeed, it even offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers, and it may even offer an additional cash-back offer as part of its welcome bonus.
The Double Cash card earns 2% cash-back on all purchases, which is split up into 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay.
Just remember that even though the Double Cash card’s rewards are ThankYou Points, you’ll only be able to transfer your points to Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Wyndham Rewards at reduced ratios.
To get access to the complete list of airline partners, you’ll need to also hold the Citi Premier card. If you do have the Citi Premier card, your 2% cash-back is effectively convertible to 2x ThankYou Points, which is equivalent to a 3.2% return on spending.
Otherwise, you can use your ThankYou Points for a fixed value through cash-back, gift cards, or direct deposit.
This credit card also offers access to Citi Entertainment, fee-free authorized user cards, and fraud protection.
The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, the no-annual-fee version of the more popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.
But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?
Our second-favorite no-annual-fee credit card is the Capital One VentureOne card, which is a terrific choice if you have good credit and want to dip your toes in Capital One’s rewards ecosystem without committing to an annual fee just yet.
The rewards of up to 5x Capital One miles include:
Additionally, the Capital One VentureOne card gets you access to Capital One miles without an annual fee, plus secondary car rental coverage, extended warranty, no foreign transaction fees, and no-additional-fee authorized users (rates & fees).
Our favorite no-annual-fee business credit card is the Capital One Spark Miles Select card, which we actually discussed above.
It’s worth mentioning again because you’ll earn at least 1.5x Capital One miles on all purchases, which is equal to a return on spending of 2.7%.
Here is the breakdown:
This no-annual-fee credit card earns rewards that can be transferred to Capital One’s full list of travel partners, which is a game-changer for business owners looking to avoid annual fees.
Also, the Capital One Spark Miles Select card includes purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance, zero fraud liability for unauthorized purchases, secondary rental car coverage, no foreign transaction fees, and employee cards for no additional annual fees.
The Capital One Spark Cash Select card is a great no-annual-fee business credit card that earns 1.5% cash-back on all purchases.
If you’re looking for a cash-back business card with no annual fee, Capital One Spark Cash Select card offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
The Capital One Spark Cash Select card is the cash-back version of the Capital One Spark Miles Select card.
The good news is that this card offers an impressive welcome bonus for a no-annual-fee card, plus the following rewards structure:
Plus, the Capital One Spark Cash Select card has no-additional-fee employee cards, roadside assistance, no foreign transaction fees, and extended warranty.
Cash-back is the most flexible type of rewards. And for some people, it could be totally worth it.
In this section, we’ll show you some of the best credit cards that earn cash-back from Capital One and Citi.
An excellent cash-back card that offers rewards for categories like dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
When it comes to rewards credit cards, you can break up most savvy consumers into 2 camps: those who prefer travel rewards and those who prefer cash-back.
Both options can be very lucrative to you and your wallet, especially if you’re using the right card. For those who fall in the “cash is king” camp, you’ll likely find the Capital One Savor card quite compelling.
The Capital One Savor card is one of the most impressive cash-back credit cards available. With this card, you’re eligible to earn a welcome bonus, plus up to 10% cash-back in unlimited rewards:
This credit card also offers shopping and travel benefits like extended warranty, zero fraud liability, no foreign transaction fees, and fee-free authorized users.
Earn big on purchases in your top eligible spend category, up to the first $500 each billing cycle, with no annual fee!
The Citi Custom Cash® Card is inventive when it comes to cash-back credit cards. Instead of earning a set amount of cash-back on predetermined bonus categories, the Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash-back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle, without an annual fee.
Thanks to that unique perk, you’ll never need to worry about whether you’re using the right card for the right purchase, as your Citi Custom Cash card will always pay you 5% back on whichever category you end up spending the most on each month.
One of the best credit cards for cash-back, especially if you’re a relatively low spender from month to month, is the Citi Custom Cash card.
The card currently offers a welcome bonus, plus a 0% introductory APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers.
The Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash-back in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent) from the list below:
Although earning 5% cash-back on these categories is potentially fantastic, there’s a limit of just $500 per billing cycle in these purchases. On other purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash-back.
One of the secrets of this card, though, is that your rewards are earned as ThankYou Points, which means that you can convert your 5% cash-back to a maximum of 8% return on spending if you also have the Citi Premier card.
The Citi Custom Cash comes with access to Citi Entertainment, contactless payments, digital wallet capabilities, zero fraud liability, and fee-free authorized users.
If you’re running significant expenses through your business, saving an extra 1% or 2% could make an enormous difference in the long run.
So if you’re looking to maximize your business’s transactions through cash-back cards, let’s look at our top picks.
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus card offers an unlimited 2% cash-back on all purchases and helpful features for business owners. (Information collected independently. Not reviewed by Capital One.)
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card is great for business owners looking to improve their bottom line by earning 2% cash-back on all purchases without a high annual fee. Further, with no preset spending limit, the ability to get your $150 annual fee refunded every year you spend at least $150,000, and free employee cards, there is something that every business owner will love.
Our winning cash-back business card is the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card. Right now, you can qualify for a substantial welcome bonus, and this product happens to be a charge card with no preset spending limit.
Earn up to 5% cash-back on purchases:
You’ll note that you’ll get your $150 annual fee refunded every year you spend at least $150,000.
Standard benefits are included, like purchase protection, extended warranty, zero fraud liability, roadside assistance, no foreign transaction fees, and no-additional-fee employee cards.
Earn 4% cash-back on gas/EV charging purchases, 3% cash-back at restaurants and travel, 2% cash-back at Costco, and 1% on all other purchases.
The Costco Anywhere Business card is our runner-up cash-back credit card for business owners.
Although the card is co-branded with Costco, you can earn cash-back on so much more than just Costco purchases.
Currently, the rewards of up to 4% cash-back are broken down as follows:
With this card, you can also use contactless payments, digital wallets, purchase protection, and Citi Entertainment. Lastly, there are no foreign transaction fees. There’s also no annual fee with your paid Costco membership, and authorized users come with no additional annual fees, too.
Citi and Capital One both possess unique credit card offerings that fit neatly into specific target markets.
That’s because Citi and Capital One both offer excellent cards for travel rewards or cash-back rewards. There are both ultra-premium options and no-annual-fee options, too.
And lastly, while we value Capital One miles slightly higher than Citi ThankYou Points, you might end up earning points more quickly with certain cards with the Citi Premier card, for example. With a wide selection of options, you’re bound to find one you’re happy with!
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.
Enrollment required through Capital One website or mobile app. Upon enrollment, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Information regarding the Capital One Spark Miles for Business was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
It really depends on what customer segment you fall under. We really like the Citi Premier card for middle-of-the-road travel rewards, but it’s also hard to beat the Capital One Venture X card for premium travel rewards.
Consider also the Capital One Venture card, Double Cash card, Citi Double Cash card, Capital One Spark Miles card, or Capital One Spark Cash Plus card.
Capital One and Citi are not the same bank. Capital One is headquartered in Virginia, while Citi is headquartered in New York. Capital One and Citi are considered to be competitors.
Right now, Citi’s best credit card is probably the Citi Premier card. It offers 3x points on air travel, hotels, supermarkets, restaurants, and gas.
Capital One’s best cards are the Capital One Venture X card, Capital One Venture card, Capital One VentureOne card, and Capital One Savor card.
On the business side, the best cards are the Capital One Spark Travel Elite card, Capital One Spark Miles card, Capital One Spark Cash Plus card, Capital One Spark Miles Select card, or Capital One Spark Cash Select card.
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