Capital One Venture X vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: One is the Clear Winner
Venture X vs Sapphire Reserve

Does the Capital One Venture X Make the Chase Sapphire Reserve Irrelevant?

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Capital One launched its very first premium travel card this week called the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, offering lounge access, annual travel credits, and a massive, 100,000-mile bonus after spending $10,000 in six months.

Sound familiar? This souped-up version of the longstanding Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is competing with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Platinum Card® from American Express, offering comparable benefits – with one key difference: The Venture X’s annual fee is just $395 a year. That’s a steal compared to the $550 or nearly $700 other premium travel cards charge each year.

But what does this mean for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase’s top-tier card and the last premium travel card to hit the market back in 2016? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer … but for many travelers, we think the Venture X has made the Reserve card largely irrelevant. 

Keep reading for our full analysis on why Capital One has just changed the premium credit card landscape.

 


 

Comparing Annual Fees

Let’s start with an easy one.

The annual fee on the new Capital One Venture X card is just $395. Compare that to the $550 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. That means each and every year, you’re saving $155 with the Venture X as opposed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. And that alone could make this question a no brainer.
 

chase sapphire reserve dining 

It hasn’t always been this way. When the Chase Sapphire Reserve first launched back in 2016, it charged an annual fee of $450. Chase raised that annual fee to $550 a year in early 2020, before COVID-19 upended travel. After giving many cardholders $100 discounts throughout the pandemic, that increase is now largely set in stone.

Fee increases like this have become the norm among premium travel cards, and there’s no way to rule out an eventual price hike for the Venture X. But Capital One has made clear that a lower annual fee was a clear part of its strategy with the new Venture X Card: They’re angling for travelers who want travel perks like lounge access without paying exorbitant fees.

“In talking to customers, we feel that there is a gap in the market. Customers don’t want to pay $600 for a card that offers travel benefits,” Capital One’s Managing Vice President of U.S. Cards Lauren Liss said in an interview with Thrifty Traveler. “And they don’t want to take the time to continually track a laundry list of benefits they have to remember to register for.”

Read more: ‘No Asterisks, No Gotchas’: A Q&A with Capital One on the New Venture X Card

Prior to the Venture X, there were cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card® or even the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card that offer annual fees of $95 each year. Then there are cards like the Platinum Card from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve whose annual fees clock in at $695 and $550, respectively. But there was nothing in between.

With an annual fee of only $395, Capital One is clearly filling that gap. But it’s not as if the Venture X is shortchanging travelers on benefits in exchange for a lower fee…

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card
 

capital one venture x
 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Capital One Venture X vs Chase Sapphire Reserve Lounge Access

Both Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a Priority Pass membership, opening the doors of 1,200-plus airport lounges in cities big and small across the globe. And both the Venture X and Reserve card get comped meals at select Priority Pass airport restaurants, too.

But from there, the Venture X card really starts to pull away. And it starts with exclusive free access to Capital One’s brand new lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). More lounges are on the way in Denver (DEN) and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) in 2022, with goals to build more in the future. The first lounge in Dallas is spectacular, with great design, fun amenities, and outstanding food. Venture X cardholders and two guests can get in free.

While Chase has laid out plans to open its own lounges starting in Boston, none have opened yet. And Capital One has set the bar very high.
 

capital one lounge in Dallas 

Take a look inside the Capital One DFW Lounge!

But the Venture X is especially lucrative if you want to give family members their own lounge access.

Venture X cardholders can add up to four authorized users (who live at the same address) to their accounts at no additional cost. Those authorized users will also get the same lounge memberships – with the ability to bring in up to two of their own guests on each and every visit.

That’s unusually generous. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, each authorized user costs another $75 a year. That means adding just one authorized user bumps your total annual cost to $625 a year. Two authorized users will run you $700 total. To match the family lounge access of the Venture X, you’d need to pay a total of $850 a year.

Between authorized user policies and Capital One’s lounges, there is a clear victor in this category.

Winner: The Capital One Venture X Card
 

capital one venture x
 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Welcome Bonuses

When you sign up for a travel credit card, it’s all about the welcome bonus. Comparing the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire Reserve, we think it’s another tally for the Venture X Card.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can currently earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. Those points are worth a minimum of $750 – and potentially much more if you leverage Chase transfer partners.

With the Capital One Venture X Card, you’ll earn 100,000 Capital One Venture Miles after spending $10,000 in the first six months of card membership. Considering you earn 2x on every dollar you spend, that bumps your total earnings to 120,000 – worth at least $1,200 toward travel. On top of that, you’ll also get a $200 statement credit for Airbnb or VRBO stays. 
 

capital one venture x 

Capital One has said this is a limited-time introductory offer. It isn’t clear yet when it may end – or what that bonus may drop to.

No matter how you slice it, spending $4,000 to $10,000 is no small matter. Credit cards are serious business: You should never open a credit card and spend money you can’t pay off immediately just to earn some points or miles. If you can’t do so responsibly, it’s not worth it.

Credit cards are serious business, and no one should be opening a new credit card and racking up charges they can’t afford to pay off immediately just to earn some points or miles. If you can’t do so responsibly, it’s not worth it.

That said, there’s no question that earning the bonus on the Reserve Card is easier with just $4,000 in spending required over a three-month span. But while a $10,000 spending requirement is daunting on the Venture X, you’ve got six months to do it. That works out to just over $1,600 a month.

And when it comes to the bonus itself, the Venture X is tough to beat. After spending that money to earn it, you’ll have at least 120,000 Venture Miles to work with. That tops even the best-ever launch offer of 100,000 points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve – a bonus Chase has said is unlikely to ever return.

For now, the welcome bonus on the Venture X card is vastly better. Only time will tell if it is too good and Capital One has to pare it back substantially.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card.
 

capital one venture x
 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Earning More Points

Both these cards give you a reason to keep swiping your cards after earning the bonus. But just which one is better depends on where you’re spending money.

On the Capital One Venture X, you’ll earn 2x miles on each and every purchase. That’s tough to beat. Beyond that, you’ll earn 5x points on flights and 10x on hotels and car rentals – but only when booking through the new Capital One Travel Portal.

The numbers aren’t as eye-popping on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but it’s easier to maximize. You’ll earn 3x on all travel purchases, no matter how you book them. You also get 3x at restaurants worldwide. Plus, Chase has added a 10x bonus on Lyft rides – but that only lasts through March 2022.

So here’s what it comes down to: Which is better? 2x on every single purchase with the Venture X? Or earning 3x on travel no matter how you book it with the Reserve – and at restaurants, too? We’d call this one a draw, but your own spending habits could sway you one way or the other…

At least until you make it to a second year with the card, at which point the new Venture X has a serious advantage. Every cardmember anniversary, Capital One automatically gives cardmembers 10,000 Venture Miles each year. At a bare minimum, those points are worth another $100 toward travel.

The Reserve Card doesn’t offer a similar benefit. And while it’s close, that sways this category.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card.
 

capital one venture x
 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card
 

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

There are some other perks that aren’t earth-shattering. And this is one of them – though it’s still a nice perk that both cards offer.

Both of these cards give you a $100 credit to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. That’s fairly common these days among premium travel cards. Even the cheaper Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers it.

Just pay your application fee with your card and poof – the credit kicks in to automatically cover the cost. You get this credit once every four years, and membership in either program lasts for five years. That means you’re set.

Can’t decide? Go for Global Entry, as that comes with TSA PreCheck benefits but also gets you into a designated customs and immigration line when returning to the U.S. from abroad.

Winner: Tie.

 

Annual Travel Credit

Both the Capital One Venture X and the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer an annual $300 travel credit that can drastically offset your annual fee right off the bat. But these credits work differently.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll receive $300 each and every year to spend on any travel expense you see fit. Simply use your card to make a travel purchase, and Chase will automatically reimburse you for those charges until you hit your $300 annual cap. It couldn’t be easier to use: Anything Chase considers travel will qualify, including airfare, hotels, trains, rideshare, parking, etc.

Read More: All About the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit
 

chase sapphire reserve travel credit options 

With the Capital One Venture X, you’ll also receive a $300 annual credit. However, that credit is only valid for purchases you make within the new Capital One Travel Portal. It’s easy enough to use, but it may be a drag for travelers who steer clear of booking through third-party online travel agencies – especially when it comes to booking hotels to get elite status benefits.

But Capital One has improved its travel portal with a handful of new features that could incentivize you to use their portal to book your travel. They partnered with Hopper to give cardholders price freeze options, refunds if your flights drop in price after booking, and other predictive and powerful analytics. Plus, you earn up to 10x on travel on those purchases – even when using your $300 annual credit.

Once you’re in the portal, the credit functions similarly to the Sapphire Reserve credit. Just charge your travel to your Venture X card and Capital One will automatically reimburse you until you hit your $300 annual cap.

Depending on who you ask, the travel credit on the Venture X being intertwined with the travel portal is either insignificant or a dealbreak. At the end of the day, I think most consumers will find the difference miniscule at best.

But there’s no question there is a slight advantage for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Using Points to Book Travel

Speaking of booking travel, let’s compare what you get with both Capital One and Chase.

We’re big fans of the Chase Travel Portal – especially for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, as you get even more value when using your points to book flights, hotels, and more. Every point on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth 1.5 cents toward travel.

That means you can book a $500 flight for just 33,333 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
 

chase travel portal 

The extra value simply isn’t there with the Capital One Venture X Card. Just like its predecessor, every mile is worth 1 cent apiece when booking through the Capital One Travel Portal.

That means you’d need 50,000 Venture Miles to book that same $500 flight. That gives a clear advantage here to the Sapphire Reserve.

But the Venture X has an ace-in-the-hole: Capital One Purchase Eraser, the easiest and most straightforward way to book travel using points and miles. Rather than searching through portals, you can simply book a flight, hotel, or other travel expense with your card, then go back and erase the purchase using your miles. Once again, every 1 Venture Mile = 1 cent toward your travel purchase.

There’s no question the Chase Reserve gets you a bit farther when booking travel. But for the vast majority of average travelers out there, the versatility and ease of redeeming Capital One miles will outweigh that. Factor in the larger bonus and earning 2x on every single purchase, and that brings this to a draw.

Winner: Tie.
 

Transfer Partners

You can go beyond travel portal or purchase erasers and get even more value out of your points and miles by leveraging transfer partners. For years, Chase has reigned supreme when it comes to transfer partners. But Capital One is closing the gap.

A few years ago, Capital One launched its own stable of airline transfer partners. But it wasn’t a great deal: In most cases, you’d have to transfer 2 Venture Miles to get 1.5 airline miles in return. That meant 50,000 Venture Miles would get you just 37,500 miles with your airline of choice. All Chase transfers, meanwhile, are on a 1:1 basis.

But Capital One has improved drastically, adding more options, a few hotel chains, and making almost all of them 1:1 transfer partners. This puts their transfer partner network on a more level playing field with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Check out the full list of Capital one transfer partners.
 

ProgramTypeRatioTransfer Time
AeromexicoAirline1:1Same day
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Same day
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Same day
Avianca LifeMilesAirline1:1Same day
British AirwaysAirline1:1Same day
Cathay Pacific AsiaMilesAirline1:1Up to five business days
Choice HotelsHotel1:1TBD
EmiratesAirline1:1Same day
EtihadAirline1:1Same day
EVA AirAirline2:1.5Up to five business days
FinnairAirline1:1Same day
QantasAirline1:1Up to five business days
SingaporeAirline1:1Up to five business days
TAP Air PortugalAirline1:1Same day
Turkish AirlinesAirline1:1Same day
AccorHotel2:1Up to two business days
WyndhamHotel1:1Same day

Read up on Capital One transfer partners, how transferring works, and your best options!

Chase has been the gold standard for transferring points for years. There’s a lot of overlap between which airlines you can send your points to between Chase and Capital One, but Chase still stands out in a few ways.

Here’s the full list of Chase transfer partners.
 

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
JetBlueAirline1:1Instant
Singapore AirAirline1:112-24 hours
Southwest AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
United AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
World of HyattHotel1:1Instant
IHGHotel1:11 day
Marriott RewardsHotel1:12 days

There’s no question that Chase stands out with three U.S. airlines you can transfer your points to: United, Southwest, and JetBlue. But perhaps the biggest differences here are the better hotel transfer partners – especially World of Hyatt. That option alone could sway many travelers towards Chase over Capital one.

With that in mind, Chase scores a narrow victory. But Capital One is closing in fast – especially with valuable niche options like Avianca LifeMiles and Turkish Airlines. Which card is better for transferring points will ultimately depend on how you want use them.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Travel & Rental Car Insurance

The best travel credit cards help protect you when things go wrong – and help you avoid paying for add-on coverage. These cards are no different.

Both the Venture X Card and Sapphire Reserve are technically Visa Infinite credit cards. That’s a technicality that doesn’t matter much … until it comes to a nearly identical set of benefits. There are some minor differences between what you get on the Reserve and Venture X, but here’s what it boils down to:

  • Primary Rental Car Coverage: Some of the strongest rental car insurance you can get by paying with your card. Decline the rental car agency’s policy and you’ll have a strong insurance policy that will cover most damages or even the theft of the vehicle. It applies to rentals in the U.S. as long as 15 days and in most foreign countries for up to 31 days.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Airline lose your luggage – or did it get stolen? If you paid with your Venture X Card, you can get up to $3,000 to replace the bag and its contents (or $2,000 per bag for New York residents). The cardholders and all immediate family members are covered.
  • Trip Delay Coverage: Get reimbursed for up to $500 in additional expenses like overnight hotel stays or new plane tickets if your travel is delayed by six or more hours – or forces an overnight stay.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage: If something goes seriously wrong on your trip like an accident, illness, or death that forces you to cancel or cut it short, you’re covered for up to $2,000 per person in expenses – and you, a spouse, and any dependent children are eligible.

There are some small differences between the two cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers some coverage if your bags are delayed – not just lost. But the Venture X is more generous with trip delay coverage. In the end, this one’s a wash.

Winner: Tie.

 

Other Car Rental Benefits

Venture X cardholders will receive complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status.

As the highest level of elite status in their Gold Plus Rewards program, President’s Circle elite members who book an intermediate car or higher get guaranteed upgrades to the next available car class or the ability to choose a car from the President’s Circle Ultimate Choice aisle. Members can also skip the counter when renting a car, have access to a dedicated Hertz Rewards customer service line, and have the ability to add an additional driver at no cost.

This benefit will be available for both primary cardholders and authorized users. And while you don’t have to book through the portal to get the benefits, Venture X Cardholders will also earn 10x Venture Miles on car rentals booked through the Capital One Travel Portal.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you receive complimentary Emerald Club Executive Level membership with National Car Rental and special discounts through the Avis Preferred program. You’ll also earn 10x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on car rentals booked through the Chase Travel Portal.
 

Chase Sapphire Reserve car rental privileges  

Once again, that makes this one a tie.

Winner: Tie.

 

Venture X vs Sapphire Reserve: Which Wins?

We could go back and forth for hours.

Are there some areas where the Chase Sapphire Reserve shines brighter? Yes. For some travelers, specific prized transfer partners or the extra bonus you get when booking with points through the Chase travel portal will make the Reserve card irreplaceable.

Still, there’s no question Capital One has taken many of the best features of the Reserve Card and matched them. In other areas, like lounge access, they’ve gone a step farther.

And they’ve done it on a card that charges an annual fee of just $395. That’s $155 less for a card with many of the same (or better) benefits than its primary competitor. And with the ability to freely add authorized users, that gap only grows if you want to share benefits with family.
 

Venture X vs Sapphire Reserve 

Factor in that 10,000-mile anniversary bonus each year you renew your card, and the gap grows in year 2 and beyond. Those miles are worth a minimum of $100 toward travel each and every year. It’s a benefit that the Reserve Card doesn’t offer.

We always encourage readers to do the math before ruling out credit cards with larger annual fees. While you can certainly make the case for the Reserve Card, the new Venture X Card makes it easier to do the math than any other premium travel credit card on the market.

Simply put: The deal on the Venture X seems too good to be true. And from our perspective, that should make it an easy choice over the Reserve card.

 

Bottom Line

With the launch of the new Capital One Venture X Credit Card, many of the benefits offered by Chase’s Sapphire Reserve card now seem a bit stale. Can Capital One continue to offer this much value for only $395 a year? Only time will tell.

But for now, outside of a few transfer partners and an easier-to-use $300 travel credit, we think the Capital One Venture X is putting a lot of pressure on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
 

capital one venture x
 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card
 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • I disagree the travel protections are a wash. For Cap One Venture, the trip cancellation/interruption coverage is limited to $2k and it also only covers the common carrier fare. So there is no coverage for lost hotel charges. For CSR, it’s up to $10k and covers fare as well as hotel and other travel related purchases. That’s a significant difference in my mind

    • Have you ever tried to use CSR insurance coverage? They only cover if your plane is delayed by weather, not mechanical. It is not as good as you may think it is.

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