Edited by: Chris Dong
& Kellie Jez
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Having a rewarding credit card to pay for purchases made on a daily basis makes economic sense, especially if you’ll be getting a return on what you buy.
Today, we’ll be looking at 2 popular cards with simple earning structures with elevated flat-rate rewards on every purchase made.
The rewards earned on the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card are also flexible rewards — with the Capital One Venture card getting the slight edge — that give you exciting options at redemption time.
Either card could serve well as an everyday spending card but one card might be a better fit, depending on spending preferences and whatever else is in your wallet.
Up next, we’ll walk through everything you’ll need to know to determine which may be the best overall card for your situation.
We’ll cover the features and benefits in more detail shortly, but first, let’s look at an overall comparison of the Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card side-by-side.
Here’s how the cards stack up when comparing their attributes.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card|
|Welcome Offer||SPECIAL OFFER: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year! There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn.||Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.|
|Travel Protection and Benefits||
|Shopping Protections and Benefits||
|Annual Fees and Authorized Users||
|Additional Benefits||0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.||N/A|
* Premium Chase cards include those with an annual fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Once you’re approved for either the Freedom Unlimited card or Capital One Venture card, you’ll have the opportunity for increased earnings via a generous welcome offer. These bonus offers give you the unique opportunity to earn cash-back or miles in an amount above and beyond the normal rewards-earning rate.
Welcome offers fluctuate, so you’ll want to review the most current offer before applying for any card. Here are the most current offers for our featured cards:
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.
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.
Both the Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card make it easy to consistently earn rewards on purchases you make every day as well as on travel purchases. Both cards also offer an elevated flat earnings rate on every purchase.
Additionally, you’ll find bonus-earning categories on each card that earn a greater level of rewards. Here’s how the cards compare in the earnings category:
|Earning Category||Freedom Unlimited Card||Capital One Venture Card|
|Dining and Drugstores||3% cash-back||2x miles|
|All Other Purchases||1.5% cash-back||2x miles|
The Freedom Unlimited card offers 5% cash-back earnings on travel via its associated Chase Ultimate Rewards portal while the Capital One Venture card limits 5x miles earnings to just car rentals and hotels via Capital One Travel. You’ll earn 2x miles on flights purchased via Capital One Travel and all other travel regardless of where it is purchased.
If you spend a lot on dining and at drugstores, you’ll have better earnings with the Freedom Unlimited card. If you have elevated expenses in non-bonus categories, the Capital One Venture card has the edge with 2x miles versus 1.5% cash-back.
To help determine which card would work better for your spending mix, you can estimate your annual expenditures in each category and apply the earnings rate to those categories. We estimate the potential value of Chase Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each and Capital One miles at 1.8 cents each (when utilizing airline and hotel transfer partners). An estimated expense calculation can help determine which card might earn the most rewards for your spending.
Keep in mind that while earnings levels are important, the value you actually receive for your rewards will depend on which redemption option you select.
Let’s continue and talk about the actual value at redemption time.
The Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card both earn rewards that offer flexible options at redemption time. Redemption options are as important as the value of the rewards you’ve earned.
Here’s a breakdown of your choices at redemption time for both of our featured cards — and an estimated value for each option:
|Redemption Option||Freedom Unlimited Card||Capital One Venture Card|
|Additional Redemption Options||Cash, transfer to bank account, shopping with select retailers, Pay Yourself Back, charitable donations||Statement credits, gift cards, shopping with Amazon, redeem via PayPal|
Both the Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card allow you to redeem points for 1 cent each for travel via the cards’ associated travel portals. However, the best value for redeeming rewards may be realized by transferring rewards to airline or hotel partners — and then redeeming them for award flights or free hotel nights.
The Capital One Venture card offers the option to do a transfer directly to Capital One’s transfer partners, while the Freedom Unlimited card requires you to have a more premium Chase card in order to facilitate the transfer to one of Chase’s transfer partners. Premium Chase cards include those with an annual fee, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and Ink Business Preferred card.
You can redeem Capital One miles for a statement credit to redeem against previous travel purchases (from the previous 90 days). Similarly, you can do the same with the Freedom Unlimited card. Both offer a point value of 1 cent each for this redemption.
The better card for you at redemption time will depend on your preferences (and whether you have a Chase premium card).
Travel protections help provide coverage during your travels and can even save you money. Here are the travel protections and benefits you’ll find on both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Capital One Venture card:
The Capital One Venture card has these additional travel protections and benefits:
Shopping protections and benefits can provide coverage if something goes wrong with an eligible purchase, save you money when making a purchase, or provide added convenience.
Here are the shopping protections you’ll find on both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Capital One Venture card.
Here are the additional shopping protections and benefits you’ll find on each individual card:
While the Freedom Unlimited card is easy on the wallet with a $0 annual fee, the Capital One Venture card charges an annual fee of $95 (rates & fees).
There is no charge to add authorized users to the Freedom Unlimited card or the Capital One Venture card (rates & fees).
It is recommended to have a good to excellent credit score to qualify for either the Freedom Unlimited card or the Capital One Venture card. According to Experian, one of the nation’s 3 major credit bureaus, a good score is considered 670 to 739, a very good score is 740 to 799, and an excellent score is 800, or above.
The Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card, depending on creditworthiness determined by the issuer, can be issued as a Visa Signature card or a Visa Platinum card. The level of benefits will differ if issued as a Visa Platinum card.
Note that the Freedom Unlimited card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on the total amount of every foreign purchase. The Capital One Venture card does not charge a foreign transaction fee (rates & fees).
Our article does not include all of the features and benefits available with each card, just key ones for comparison purposes. We’ve also abbreviated descriptions and not included all terms and conditions. Additionally, offers and benefits do change, so be sure to review any current card information before applying and access each card’s Guide to Benefits for additional details.
The Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture card are both excellent choices for an everyday spending card. The better card for you will depend on if you have, or will have in the near future, a premium Chase card and whether you’re comfortable paying an annual fee.
Since the Capital One Venture card charges a $95 annual fee, you’ll need to receive at least that amount in extra value over the Freedom Unlimited card (rates & fees). The generous Capital One Venture 100k welcome offer could add enough value in the first year of card membership.
If you have a large number of expenses that do not fall into bonus categories, the Capital One Venture card, even with the annual fee, could be a better choice as it offers 25% more earnings on those purchases (2x miles vs. 1.5% cash-back).
The Freedom Unlimited card earns rewards that are easily redeemed for cash-back. The Capital One Venture card offers statement credits for travel purchases (from the previous 90 days) but the cash redemption option yields just 0.5 cents per point. And, while not the best redemption value for points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card, if cash-back is important to you, the card is a much better choice with 1 cent in value for each point redeemed for cash-back.
You can’t go wrong with either card if selecting a product that best rewards your spending mix, has redemption options that reflect your preferences, has an annual fee you’re comfortable with (or no annual fee), and comes with additional benefits you can use.
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.
Both cards offer elevated earnings on travel and elevated earnings on everyday purchases. The Freedom Unlimited card does not charge an annual fee, while the Capital One Venture card charges $95.
The Capital One Venture card does not charge foreign transaction fees while the Freedom Unlimited card does. Meanwhile. the Freedom Unlimited card is better for cash-back redemptions while the Capital One Venture card allows rewards transfers directly to airline/hotel partners.
Both cards offer a generous welcome bonus but the Capital One Venture card is normally higher.
The better card for you will be the one that rewards your spending mix, matches your tolerance for an annual fee, has redemption options you prefer, and has additional benefits you can actually utilize.
Yes, it is possible to redeem Capital One miles for cash but it is not good value. You will receive just 0.5 cents per mile for a cash redemption.
Redeeming miles for statement credits for previously-purchased travel (within 90 days) results in a value of 1 cent each, and transfers to travel partners can offer much greater potential value.
Yes, but there’s a catch. While you cannot transfer points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card to airline or hotel partners directly, you can do so if you hold a premium Chase Ultimate-Rewards earning card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, or Ink Business Preferred card.
Combine points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card with points from any of these cards, then transfer to airline and hotel partners.
Yes, the Capital One Venture card charges an annual fee of $95.
It’s recommended to have a good to excellent credit score, which is generally considered 670 to above 800, before applying for the Freedom Unlimited card. You will also need sufficient income to make minimum monthly card payments.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.