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I’ve been a huge fan of card combinations that can really sweep you off your feet at the ability to rapidly earn tons of points without chasing a bonus. Combos like the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

For the past few years, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been my absolute go to combo. However, with some recent updates I think another bank may be wooing me in.

No, it isn’t American Express, Bank of America, or Barclays. When it comes to grabbing my interest, Capital One has really been the rising star in the credit card world.

If you’re looking for a new killer combo to help diversify your points earnings, Capital One should really be on your radar. Let’s take a look at the cards that really amplify the Capital One combo to new heights.

The Combo

Don’t worry, we’re going to get into the details of the cards and explain why this is a killer combo, but there are two paths you can take to get the Capital One combo going.

The first card, and this one is pretty mandatory, is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This is the lynchpin of the combo that really accelerates the power of your other card.

For your other card, you can choose from either the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. You only need one, so you can choose based on whichever is more appropriate for you.

Let’s dive into the cards to see why this combo can be so powerful.

Overview of the Capital One Venture

Opening the Capital One Venture Card is a mandatory card to make this combo work. You’ve probably seen plenty of commercials about this card. Back in the day, it really wasn’t all that powerful but Capital One has really stepped up the Venture Card over the past few years.

The Venture card comes with just a $95 annual fee, and earns 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Plus, for a limited time, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. If you don’t hit that threshold (which is a pretty reasonable one, might I add), then you can still earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

This long term bonus is great for people who can’t meet a minimum spend of, say, $15,000 in three months. But spread out over the year it is a great opportunity to earn a ton of miles. 

Remember, you’ll still earn 2X miles per dollar while you work towards that minimum spend. By the end of the first year, if you hit the 100,000 bonus miles tier, you’ll actually have 140,000 miles.

Overview of the Capital One Savor

Now that the Venture Card is out of the way, you have two options to choose from for the second part of this combo. First, we’re going to talk about the Capital One Savor card. Recently, Capital One changed the earning structure of this card for the better.

First, you’ll earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and on popular streaming services. You’ll earn 3% on purchases at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

That covers a lot of categories for just a $95 annual fee.

Overview of the Capital One SavorOne

If you’re tired of annual fee cards filling up your wallet, then the Capital One SavorOne Rewards card is a lighter version of the regular Savor card. You won’t pay an annual fee, so the earning rates are a bit lower, but you’ll still get a nice opportunity to earn more points.

The SavorOne card earns 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and on purchases at grocery stores. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. You’re taking a 1% hit on dining, entertainment, and streaming services in exchange for no annual fee.

Why This Is Such A Killer Combo

Now I know what you’re thinking. Why is the combination of a travel rewards card and a cashback card such a killer combo? Well, there are a few behind the scenes things that make this such a great combo.

For starters, if you have a Savor or SavorOne Card and a Venture you can actually convert your cashback into Venture miles.

That probably got your attention. That’s the first big deal that makes this a killer combo. You don’t have to just be getting cash back, but now you can get miles instead. To do this, you simply have to go into your Capital One account and navigate to “View Rewards.” You’ll select “move rewards” and you should have the option to move your cash back to your Venture Card.

This transfer is only one way, you won’t be able to convert Venture Rewards into cash back. But the real value in this combo is the ability to convert high cash back rates into travel miles.

Another reason why this is so powerful is that Capital One has been adding transfer partners, and actually increasing the transfer ratio in favor of the consumer over the past few years.

When Capital One first added transfer partners, all miles transferred 2:1.5, meaning you would get 1.5 airline miles for every 2 Venture miles that you transferred. While that’s still true for some programs, most are now 1:1 transfer partners.

You can transfer your Venture Miles to the following programs:

  • ALL Accor Live Limitless
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • British Airways Executive club
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands
  • Turkish Airways Miles & Smiles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Choice Privileges
  • Etihad Guest
  • Finnair Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
  • Wyndham Rewards

Now, let’s take this and put it all together to see how this combo works.

First, you should be using your Savor or SavorOne for purchases on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores. Then, for all other purchases use your Venture Card which earns 2X miles on every purchase.

This means, for every purchase you make you’re getting anywhere from one to four points with any of Capital One’s transfer partners.

How Does This Compare To Airline Cards?

Considering the real value comes in the ability to utilize transfer partners to get up to four miles for every dollar spent, of course you should compare it to airline credit cards to be sure it makes sense.

When transferring Capital One miles there are a few programs that stand out from others. Namely, LifeMiles, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Wyndham Rewards, and Turkish Airways Miles & Smiles.

Avianca’s co-branded credit card earns a maximum of 3X Lifemiles per dollar, and that’s only on Avianca flights. You’ll earn 2X at gas stations and grocery stores. Since Capital One transfers 1:1, you’ll always be getting at least 2X miles with your Venture Card, and up to 4X miles from your Savor card. Winner: Capital One Combo.

The best Wyndham card earns 8X points on Wyndham hotel stays and on gas. It earns 5X on marketing, advertising, and utilities and 1X point on all other purchases. Obviously, if you want to earn only Wyndham rewards this is a good card to have. But the Capital One combo is still competitive since there’s no overlap in the earning rates. 

You’re comparing the ability to earn 2-4 Wyndham Rewards points for every dollar spent on the Capital One combo to one Wyndham Rewards point on the Wyndham card. Plus, you get the flexibility of other programs if you don’t want all of your rewards to be stuck at Wyndham. Winner: Capital One Combo.

Asia Miles does have a credit card, but the highest earning rate is two Asia Miles for every dollar spent. This is the minimum you’ll earn from the Capital One combo. Winner: Capital One combo.

Etihad Guest and Turkish Airways don’t have a co-branded card in the U.S. so you don’t have the ability to earn these directly.

Etihad is a transfer partner of American Express where you can earn up to 4X Membership Rewards points with the American Express® Gold Card(rates & fees) on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets, 4X on dining, and 1X on all other purchases, but you’re paying more in annual fees for the Gold Card than from the Capital One Combo with the Savor Card. Winner: Capital One for saving on annual fees.

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Turkish Airlines. With the Citi Prestige Card, you’ll earn 5X points at restaurants, and the Citi Premier Card earns 3X at supermarkets, gas stations, and on air travel and hotels. Given Capital One transfer 1:1 to Turkish, you’ll be earning anywhere from 2 to 4 Turkish miles for every dollar spent with the combo. Winner: Citi due to the higher earning potential on everyday spend.

Okay, you can’t win ‘em all, but suffice to say the Capital One combo nearly sweeps the competition when it comes to valuable transfer programs. It’s easy to see why this can be such a powerful combo.

Which Flavor of Savor Should You Choose?

For some of you, the biggest challenge may be deciding which Savor card to choose. Thankfully, it is a simple math problem.

Remember, the goal is to only use the Savor on the 4% or 3% cash back categories and the Venture on all other purchases. So, we simply need to find the breakeven point of the $95 annual fee.

Given there’s a 1% difference in cash back rates, how much would you need to spend to make more than $95? We solve this and see that you’d need to spend $9,500 a year on the bonus categories on your Savor card exclusively for the Savor to make more sense than the Savor One.

Just be sure to keep in mind that even if you spend say $10,000 a year on these categories, you may be putting the spend on other cards to help meet the bonus. So build in a margin of error for when you’re working on other card bonuses into your consideration.

Capital One Drawbacks

There are some drawbacks to opening a Capital One credit card. Capital One isn’t the easiest bank to be approved for, and they certainly aren’t going to be approving you for tons of cards. You can only apply for a Capital One card once every six months, and you can only hold two Capital One cards at a time.

If you don’t already have one of these cards, the six months between applications will make it a tedious process for getting the cards, but that will also give you ample time to meet the higher spend bonus on the Capital One Venture Card.

Another drawback is that when you apply for a Capital One card, they pull your credit from all three credit bureaus. So be sure your credit is in good shape before applying for a card, and anticipate the hard pull across the board.

Final Thoughts

Card combinations are a great way to rack up the points and miles. There’s great combinations from Citi, Chase, American Express and now, Capital One.

The Capital One combination is really outstanding. With the ability to earn two to four airline or hotel miles for every dollar spent, you’ll struggle to do better. Although some of the affiliated travel programs may have the ability to earn more miles in some categories, the ability to have a flexible currency takes the cake and is a significant advantage to consider.

With the addition of new transfer partners, and better transfer ratios Capital One is really emerging as a major player. This combo is definitely something to consider for those times when you’re not working on a minimum spend on another card.

Capital One is making their mark on the points and miles world, and it shows.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

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