Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Capital One Venture X Card: two of the most popular rewards cards for 2024

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card are arguably two of the most popular rewards cards, having won numerous awards and accolades. These two heavyweights offer enticing perks, travel benefits and rewards programs that cater to frequent travelers and those seeking elevated travel experiences. While both cards generously reward spending, their reward structures, annual fees and travel benefits vary significantly.

To start, the Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, while the Venture X comes in at a more reasonable $395 per year (see rates and fees). Both cards provide waived foreign transaction fees, comprehensive travel perks and protections to offset these fees. So which one is best for you?

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll evaluate both cards to help you determine which aligns best with your lifestyle and financial goals. Here’s everything you need to know about how these two cards stack up against each other:

How to get started with travel points and airline miles

Welcome bonus

At first glance, the two welcome bonuses don’t appear equal. The Venture X Card offers 75,000 bonus miles after $4,000 spent within three months of account opening – a bonus that’s worth at least $750 towards travel bookings. Meanwhile, the Sapphire Reserve offers 60,000 bonus points after $4,000 spent within three months of account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. While the Sapphire Reserve welcome bonus appears lower, they’re worth 1.5 cents each towards Chase Travel℠ bookings. 

If you’re looking to redeem the welcome bonus for travel purchases, the Sapphire Reserve offers more rewards ($900 vs. $750), while the Venture X offers more flexibility. You can redeem 75,000 miles for $750 in bookings towards any travel purchases – within or outside of the Capital One Travel portal. Meanwhile, the Sapphire Reserve’s bonus is worth $900 only when you redeem it through Chase Travel℠. 

Both credit cards allow you to transfer rewards to over a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs for even higher value. More on that later.

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Earning points

More important than the initial welcome bonus is a card’s long-term earning potential. Each card offers its own unique earning structure aimed at different types of preferences. If you’re interested in earning maximum rewards on daily spending, the Sapphire Reserve might be the best option. 

The card earns 3 points per dollar on dining and travel, plus 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel℠. Cardholders also earn 10 points per dollar through Chase Dining and on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Travel℠. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. These category bonuses are quite generous and can help you accrue substantial rewards, assuming they align with your spending habits. All travel reward rates start immediately after the first $300 has been spent on travel purchases annually.

Meanwhile, the Venture X is a little more simplified. It’s ideal for those who want to earn elevated rewards outside of a limited set of spending categories. Venture X cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, plus bonus rewards on Capital One Travel bookings: 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars, plus 5 miles per dollar on flights. This earning structure is ideal if your spending falls outside of a specific list of categories and you’re okay with earning slightly elevated rewards on nearly all spending.

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Transfer partners

Both credit cards offer the ability to redeem points for direct travel bookings at a desirable rate. While plenty of consumers will appreciate the ease of that option, others prefer to redeem their miles for maximum value. Transferring your points to airline and hotel partners is generally the best use of points. You can get significantly more value by transferring your rewards and using them for luxury travel awards, like international business-class tickets and high-end hotels that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 14 transfer partners, while Capital One has 18. The two programs also have six transfer partners in common. If you plan to transfer your rewards to any of the following partners, then the difference between the Sapphire Reserve and Venture X should come down to factors outside of transfer partner options: 

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

However, if none of these programs suit your travel needs, you should evaluate each program’s individual transfer partner list. 

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Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards is better suited to travelers who want access to domestic loyalty partners. These include airlines like Southwest and United. Chase is also one of just two currencies (the other being Bilt Rewards) that transfer 1:1 to World of Hyatt. If your reward travel plans include any of the following loyalty programs, you might be best off with a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card that earns Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • World of Hyatt

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The Capital One Venture X Rewards card
The Capital One Venture X Rewards card © John Gribben / The Points Guy

Capital One

Capital One has 18 mostly foreign loyalty transfer partners, including three hotel loyalty programs. Not all transfers are 1:1, but Capital One occasionally offers bonus promotions on select transfer partners. Moreover, some of these loyalty programs offer serious bang for your buck. For example, Turkish Miles&Smiles offers domestic United flights for just 15,000 miles round-trip in economy – including travel to Hawaii. Meanwhile, Iberia Plus has some of the cheapest award flights to Europe, with business class between the East Coast and Spain starting at just 17,000 Avios each way in economy class and 34,000 Avios in business class.

  • Accor Live Limitless (2:1)
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 
  • Choice Privileges
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air Infinity Mileagelands (2:1.5)
  • Finnair Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Krisflyer
  • Tap Miles&Go
  • Turkish Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Red
  • Wyndham Rewards

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Other ways to redeem points

Both the Sapphire Reserve and Venture X cards allow you to redeem points outside of award travel. While these redemptions don’t offer the best value, you never know when you might need to take advantage of them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel was put on hold and some people lost their jobs. For these groups, redeeming points towards living expenses made more financial sense than holding on to them for years in hopes of a premium travel redemption. 

The redemption rates for both programs vary greatly, depending on how you redeem your points. Chase generally offers the highest rates on non-travel awards, ranging between 0.75 to 1.5 cents per point:

  • Fixed redemption – 0.75 to 1 cent per point (including gift cards, cash back, Apple, Shop with Chase)
  • Chase Experiences – 1 cent per point
  • Chase Dining – 1.5 cents per point
  • Chase Pay Yourself Back – 1.5 cents per point

Capital One offers many of the same award types as Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you have a Venture X credit card, you can redeem miles for non-trave awards at 0.5-0.8 cents per mile.

  • Cashback – 0.5 cents per mile
  • Amazon – 0.8 cents per mile
  • Events – 0.8 cents per mile
  • Experiences – 0.8 cents per mile
  • Gift cards – 0.8 cents per mile
  • Paypal – 0.8 cents per mile

Clearly, these are not worthwhile redemptions. You’re better off earning rewards with a cash-back card rewards program like Discover Rewards and using cash back to book travel. But if you want the option to earn transferable points along with more flexibility, you might want to opt for a Chase Sapphire Reserve card over a Capital One Venture X.

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The Capital One Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
The Capital One Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport © Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy

Travel benefits

The travel benefits offered by the Sapphire Reserve and Venture X cards are some of the best around and help justify their high annual fees. Both cards provide up to a $100 statement credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry applicants every four years, though the Sapphire Reserve extends the credit to include NEXUS applications. They also provide a $300 annual travel credit, though the Sapphire Reserve’s is more flexible since it’s applicable towards any travel purchase. Meanwhile, the Venture X’s $300 credit is only valid towards Capital One Travel bookings. Neither card earns points when using the $300 credit toward travel purchases. 

The Sapphire Reserve also provides superior lounge benefits over the Venture X. Both cards offer unlimited access to their own lounge networks and Priority Pass Select membership, plus access for up to two guests. However, Chase’s Sapphire lounge network is larger than Capital One’s. Chase currently has three lounges worldwide, Boston Logan (BOS), Austin-Bergstrom (AUS) and Hong Kong International (HKG), and Capital One has three lounges in US airports including Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Dulles (IAD) and Denver (DEN).

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Priority Pass Select membership is also superior to the one offered by the Capital One Venture X. That’s because it includes access to Priority Pass restaurants, where members can receive a dining credit (usually $28) per guest. Access to Priority Pass dining establishments is incredibly useful for times when lounges are full or just lacking in decent food options. Foodies will appreciate being able to have a good meal at restaurants like Landry’s in Houston (IAH) or Yankee Pier in San Francisco (SFO).

Lastly, both cards offer hotel freebies when booking through their respective portals. The Sapphire Reserve offers daily breakfast for two, space-available room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and up to a $100 on-site credit at over 1,000 properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Meanwhile, Capital One has an undisclosed number of hotels in the Premier and Lifestyle collections, where Venture X cardholders get the same benefits offered by Chase. The Venture X card ups the ante with complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status and complimentary subscriptions to PRIOR and The Cultivist, the last of which includes complimentary museum tickets.

If you’re deciding between the Sapphire Reserve and Venture X card solely based on travel benefits, the Sapphire Reserve comes out on top in terms of airport lounge benefits. However, the Venture X offers better perks on hotel stays and travel activities.

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Both cards will cover lost luggage reimbursement
Both cards will cover lost luggage reimbursement, but only one provides coverage for baggage delays © Craig Hastings / Getty

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is a key benefit of a premium travel rewards credit card that can save you money and hassle in case of unforeseen circumstances. While you can certainly purchase your own comprehensive policy, these credit cards can save you money and provide added peace of mind. 

Both the Sapphire Reserve and Venture X offer a suite of travel protections, including six key benefits that are arguably the most important:

  • Travel accident insurance (up to $1,000,000)
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver (up to $75,000)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per card every 12 months)
  • Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger)
  • Trip delay reimbursement (up to $500 per ticket)
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

However, the Sapphire Reserve provides the most comprehensive suite of travel benefits. In addition to the above products, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get added travel protections that are not offered by the Venture X:

  • Baggage delay reimbursement (up to $100 per day for five days)
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation (up to $100,000)
  • Emergency medical and dental benefits (up to $2,500)

If you’re concerned with receiving the most comprehensive travel protections from your credit card, the Sapphire Reserve is a better option than the Venture X. However, if you typically buy travel insurance or aren’t concerned with having perks like baggage delay reimbursement or emergency medical, dental and evacuation benefits, then the Venture X might suffice.

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How to choose the best card

Choosing the right credit card can be a pivotal financial decision, especially when it comes to premium travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture X. The right card can help you achieve your travel goals and even elevate your experience without breaking the bank. But how do you decide between these two?

Start with your travel goals and evaluate which card’s transfer partners (or cash-back redemptions) will facilitate this. If you’re looking for cheap award flights to Spain, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s partnership with Iberia Plus can get you there for nearly half the price of most domestic airlines. If you’re looking for cheap domestic flights, Capital One’s partnership with Turkish Miles&Smiles offers one of the cheapest ways to book United domestic award flights. It’s equally important to evaluate the category bonuses on both cards to determine which gets you to your point goal faster.

Next, consider the two cards’ recurring perks and which best fits your travel lifestyle. Are you looking for comprehensive lounge benefits? If so, the Sapphire Reserve is the better choice. If you’re looking for more benefits at hotels and free museum tickets (even if for a limited time), the Venture X might be a better fit.

Travel insurance is also important, as it can help you offset unexpected losses incurred during your travels. The Sapphire Reserve comes out ahead with the most extensive coverage of the two cards, but this is a moot point if you prefer to buy a comprehensive policy.

Lastly, consider each card’s annual fee and ensure it fits your budget. If you can take advantage of the various perks offered by your chosen card, you should have no trouble justifying the annual fee. 

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Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture X Card are both exceptional cards with generous benefits and rewards to justify their annual fees. These cards provide value beyond their welcome bonuses, with practical travel protections and luxury hotel and airport lounge perks. Whether you’re looking to travel domestically or embark on an international adventure, both cards offer unparalleled benefits to help you get there. More importantly, their recurring statement credits and earn rates can help you maximize every dollar spent towards future travel goals. Regardless of which card you choose (or perhaps even both), you’re in for incredible travel opportunities.

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

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