Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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There can be a meaningful debate as to which types of credit card rewards are better — cash-back, points, or miles. And, while each has its own pros and downsides, some consumers simply prefer cash-back.
There’s a lot to be said about keeping things simple and not having to navigate complicated earnings or redemption options. However, it’s also important to find the right card match for your personal spending mix, redemption priorities, and benefit preferences.
This brings us to today’s card comparison. We’re going to take a look at 2 popular cards that are excellent options for everyday use and make it easy to redeem the rewards you’ve earned. You’ll even find a few additional useful benefits that add value to the cards.
Join us as we look closer at these 2 potential cash-back card options to find the 1 that will fit comfortably in your wallet.
Once you’re approved for a credit card that offers a welcome bonus, you’ll normally have a window of opportunity to meet minimum spending requirements and earn that initial bonus. Both the Freedom Unlimited card and the Quicksilver card offer a welcome bonus in the form of additional cash-back.
Always check for the most current bonus before you apply for any card. Here are the most current welcome bonuses available for our 2 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.
A flexible, no-frills card that earns 1.5% cash-back on all purchases. Redeem rewards for any amount anytime you choose with no annual fee.
Low maintenance, that’s your motto. When it comes to your credit cards, you don’t have the time or inclination to figure out which spending categories earn you the most cash-back.
A card that earns 1.5% cash-back for everything is more your speed.
That’s why you should consider the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. You’ll never waste your time with changing categories, and there’s no limit to the cash-back you can earn.
Before we look at the specific details of the Freedom Unlimited card and the Quicksilver card, let’s glance at a high-level overview of how the cards compare.
Here are the key benefits of our featured cards.
|Feature/Benefit||Freedom Unlimited Card||Quicksilver Card|
|Travel Benefits and Protections||
|Additional Travel Benefits and Protections||
|Shopping Benefits and Protections||
Purchase protection, extended warranty
|Additional Shopping Benefits and Protections||
|Annual Fees/Authorized Users||
The Freedom Unlimited card and Quicksilver card have similar earning structures that offer a flat rate 1.5% cash-back on every purchase you make. However, there are bonus earning categories on each card that offer additional cash-back opportunities.
Here’s how the cards break down when we look at earning potential:
|Earning Category||Freedom Unlimited Card||QuickSilver Card|
|Dining and Drugstore Purchases||
|All Other Purchases||
The Freedom Unlimited card offers 5% cash-back on travel via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal versus the Quicksilver card that limits 5% cash-back earnings for hotel and rental car purchases via Capital One Travel. The Freedom Unlimited card also has 3 additional bonus earning categories — Lyft, dining, and drugstores.
Redemption options for the Freedom Unlimited card and Quicksilver card are many, which is a plus for cards with no annual fees. And, while the most convenient option might be to take the cash-back directly at redemption time, there may be better choices available with either card.
Here are the redemption options for the rewards earned on each of our featured cards:
|Freedom Unlimited Card||
The Freedom Unlimited card first earns rewards as points that can then be redeemed for cash-back. The card also allows you to transfer these points to premium Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Your points will then be worth 25% more and 50% more, respectively, when redeemed for travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Additionally, points can be transferred to hotel and airline partners to use for free hotel nights or award flights resulting in potentially even greater value.
While the Quicksilver card does allow you to transfer cash-back to a miles-earning card such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you will still only be able to redeem miles for 1 cent each via Capital One Travel. You will, however, gain the option of then transferring miles to Capital One hotel and airline partners and potentially receive greater value there.
Hot Tip: One lesser-known option for the Quicksilver card is the ability to transfer rewards to Capital One Venture cards to take advantage of hotel and airline transfer partners.
The Freedom Unlimited card and Quicksilver card (when issued as a World Elite Mastercard) each offer a nice collection of travel benefits and protections. Here’s what you can expect to find on both of our featured cards.
Capital One cards, in general, do not have foreign transaction fees, and as a World Elite Mastercard, the Quicksilver card will have additional travel benefits and protections.
We don’t often think of shopping benefits and protections when selecting a rewards-earning credit card. However, you’ll find money-saving benefits and protection for eligible items purchased with your card on both the Freedom Unlimited card and Quicksilver card.
Here are some of the key benefits you’ll find on both cards:
Purchase Protection/Purchase Assurance — Purchase an eligible item with your Freedom Unlimited card and receive coverage for damage or theft for up to 120 days from the date of purchase, up to $500 per claim, $50,000 per account. The Quicksilver card has coverage for up to 90 days from the date of purchase for up to $500 per loss and $25,000 per cardholder per 12-month period.
Extended Warranty — For eligible purchases made with the Freedom Unlimited card that have manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less, the warranty will be extended by 1 additional year. Coverage limits are $10,000 per claim, $50,000 per account. For purchases made with the Quicksilver card, items that have manufacturer’s warranties of 2 years or less will have the warranty doubled, up to 2 additional years, and up to $10,000 per item.
Here are the additional shopping benefits and protections you’ll find on each specific card:
Both the Freedom Unlimited card and Quicksilver card include an introductory 0% APR period on balance transfers made during the 15 months after card approval (rates & fees). If you have high credit card balances, you may be able to save money on interest charges by transferring your existing balance to either card.
Note that there are fees associated with transferring balances. The Quicksilver card charges 3% of the amount of the transfer made within the 15-month period. The Freedom Unlimited card charges $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater, for transfers made within the first 60 days. Transfers made beyond the 60 days to the Freedom Unlimited card, incur a fee of 5% of the transfer amount.
Neither the Freedom Unlimited card nor the Quicksilver card charges an annual fee. There is also no fee for adding authorized users to either card (rates & fees).
Hot Tip: Capital One allows you to find out if you are targeted for any credit card offers without impacting your credit score. Along with other card issuers, Capital One lists available card offers specifically for you via the CardMatch tool or you can use Capital One’s proprietary preapproved card offers.
If you travel internationally and do not have a travel rewards card, the Quicksilver card may be the better card for you as it does not charge foreign transaction fees (rates & fees). Outside of this situation, however, the Freedom Unlimited card is a better card overall.
The Freedom Unlimited card has the additional bonus-earning categories of dining, drugstores, and Lyft, so you’ll earn more rewards if you spend in those categories. You’ll also earn 5% cash-back on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal versus just hotels and rental cars via Capital One Travel with the Quicksilver card.
Additionally, you can receive up to 50% more value for points earned on the Freedom Unlimited card when transferring to Chase premium Ultimate Rewards-earning cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card. These premium cards also offer the additional benefit of allowing transfers to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value.
Prior to applying for any credit card, you’ll want to be aware of Chase’s unwritten 5/24 rule that can affect your ability to be approved for Chase cards in the future.
Finally, please note that the list of benefits we’ve provided is not all-encompassing and we’ve also abbreviated any associated descriptions. You’ll want to review each card’s Guide to Benefits for complete information.
The information regarding the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Either of our featured cards ensures you’ll be earning at least 1.5% cash-back on every purchase you make. The better card for you will depend on whether you spend a lot on travel, are willing to use a proprietary travel portal, and spend a lot on Lyft, dining, and at drugstores.
The Quicksilver card is a Mastercard. However, Capital One has previously issued the card as either a Visa or as a Mastercard.
No. While it is possible to transfer rewards from the Quicksilver card to Capital One miles-earning cards, the reverse is not possible.
Yes, you will incur a 3% foreign transaction fee on foreign purchases.
Yes, the Freedom Unlimited card is issued as a Visa card.
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