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Airline rewards cards: Capital One vs. Chase

By Jeffrey Steele

Airline rewards cards: Capital One vs. Chase

World Series of Credit Cards: Game 5

Having made it past the halfway mark of the Money Blue Book World Series of Credit Cards, we now look forward to Game 5, a dogfight involving airline credit cards. Pitting the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card against the Chase Sapphire Card, this promises to be a high-flying duel.

Let's look at the pitches in the repertoires of both teams.

Airline rewards

The pitch of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card is that it provides rewards of 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase. There's also a limited time one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 in the first three months of card membership.

With Chase Sapphire Card, you earn 2 points for every dollar spent on dining at restaurants, from fast food to fine dining. You earn 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases. You earn 10,000 points after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership.

Miles and points

Miles and points help shape the best airline credit cards. With both cards, miles earned will not expire as long as the account is in good standing, and there's no limit to the number of miles you can earn. Miles on the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card can be redeemed for airline flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, gift cards and more.

Points on the Chase Sapphire Card can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more. The card offers 24/7 access to expert service advisers with never a voice recording.

Rates

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card features a zero-percent introductory APR until August 2015, with a variable APR of 11.9 to 19.9 percent imposed thereafter, depending on your credit history. The variable rate on balance transfers is 11.9 to also 19.9 percent and on cash advances it's 24.9 percent. Grace period is 25 days on purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Card features a variable APR of 15.99 percent on both purchases and balance transfers, and 19.24 percent on cash advances. Due date will be a minimum of 21 days from the close of each billing cycle.

Fees

Annual fees are often a key factor when you're comparing travel credit cards. It's a moot point in this case since both cards in this matchup have no annual fee.

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card has no balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee, but does mandate a cash advance fee of 3 percent of the cash advance, with the fee being not less than $10.

The Chase Sapphire Card has a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. The cash advance fee is also the greater of $10 or 5 percent of the amount of each transaction. The foreign transaction fee is 3 percent of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

Penalty rates and fees

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card imposes a returned payment fee of up to $35, a late payment fee of up to $35 and a penalty interest rate of 29.4 percent APR and varies with the prime rate. There is no over-the-credit-limit fee.

With the Chase Sapphire Card, the late payment fee is $15 if the balance is less than $100, up to $25 if the balance is $100 to $249, and up to $35 if the balance is $250 or more. The penalty fees for returned payments and returned checks are up to $35 each. The penalty APR is 29.99 percent and varies with the prime rate.

Which is the best airline rewards card?

Both cards are extremely strong contenders and the difference is in the details. If you are transferring a balance, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card has a more generous signup bonus.

The Chase Sapphire Card has a lower APR on cash advances and higher rewards on dining expenses.

How would you call this game? Share your insight in the comment area below.

Jeffrey Steele is a Chicago-based writer who frequently writes on personal finance topics.

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