This card is best for people with excellent credit who love experiencing life to the fullest—particularly through food and fun. The 3% cash back rate on dining out and entertainment purchases is an especially unusual combination, and if you spend less than $9,500 per year on these things (and the average U.S. household does, according to government data,) the SavorOne could be a great way to make your favorite activities a little more rewarding.
That said, if you spend more than $9,500 per year on dining and entertainment ($792 per month), you might be better off with the similarly-named Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card, which offers 4% cash-back on these categories, but with an annual fee of $95. (More on this below.)
Generous cash-back rate on dining and entertainment
Unlimited earning potential within rewards categories
No foreign transaction or annual fees
Some exclusions on purchase categories may surprise you
- Generous cash-back rate on dining and entertainment: The chance to earn 3% back on both of these categories together is pretty impressive, especially when there’s no annual fee. Some no-annual-fee cards pay the same rate at just restaurants (perhaps along with purchases on travel, gas, or other categories), but it’s hard to find this combination. Even the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve travel card, which carries an annual fee of $550, doesn’t offer both.
- Unlimited earning potential within rewards categories: It’s not unusual for credit cards to offer bigger cash-back rewards in specific categories. What is not as typical is for those rewards to be unlimited, meaning with no caps on how much of your spending qualifies for the higher rate.
- No foreign transaction or annual fees: If you’re into food and experiences, there’s a good chance you also love traveling abroad. In that case, this card might be especially valuable to you, because you can rack up rewards without paying foreign transaction fees. Plus, no annual fee means there’s no extra cost to keep this card open year after year, which is good for strengthening your credit history.
- Some exclusions on purchase categories may surprise you: What counts as a qualifying purchase in bonus categories isn’t always what you’d expect. For example, if you buy milk from a gas station, that won’t count towards “groceries.” And even though you might really enjoy playing golf with your buddies, that won’t count as an “entertainment” purchase. You’ll still earn cash back on these purchases, but at the lower 1% rate.
Bonus for New Cardholders
You can earn an extra $200 if you spend at least $500 within the first three months after you open the card. That means you only need to spend about $167 per month, on average, to earn this bonus. For most people, that’s probably an easy threshold to meet, especially if you’re putting all of your everyday spending on the card.
This is a one-time bonus, so if you close the card and then reopen it, you won’t be eligible for the bonus again.
For a card with no annual fee, this offer is a decent deal. It’s easy to find cash-back rewards cards with even higher bonuses, but you may have to spend more to earn it. For example, the Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card offers a higher bonus—$300—but you’ll need to spend $3,000 within the first three months to get it.
Earning Points & Rewards
The cash-back structure on this card is relatively straightforward. You’ll earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% on grocery purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Many rewards card issuers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering cardholders additional ways to earn rewards. Through Sept. 30, 2020, Savor Rewards cardholders will earn 3% cash back on streaming service subscriptions (such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+). For details on this and other rewards card changes, see “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19.
While these are very respectable rates, especially as a package deal, the real question is whether you spend enough on these categories to make the Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card, which offers 4% back on dining and entertainment, a better deal.
For the average household (which spent $6,685 on dining and entertainment in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) the SavorOne card is the better choice, since your additional earnings on these kinds of purchases wouldn’t justify the annual fee on the Savor Rewards card. The turning point, however, is if your budget is more than $9,500 a year. In that case, definitely consider the higher-earning sister card.
Keep in mind that the way “dining,” “entertainment,” and “grocery” purchases are classified can get fuzzy. Like other card companies, Capital One uses merchant codes—codes used to classify each store that accepts credit cards—to identify your purchase, and they're not always straightforward.
“Dining” purchases generally include items you buy at restaurants, bakeries, and bars. But eateries inside hotels and department stores, or even some food trucks, may not be classified as dining establishments. Similarly, groceries bought at a gas station, a warehouse club (like Sam’s Club or Costco), or a superstore like Target or Walmart won’t earn rewards at the 2% level.
Capital One allows you to redeem cash-back rewards any time you want, and for any amount. Your rewards never expire, though you’ll lose rewards left on the card if you close the account. You can redeem your cash back for a:
- Statement credit
- Gift card
- Credit for previous purchases
You can even set up automatic redemption rules if you want a truly hands-off process. You can choose to redeem at certain times of the year or whenever you’ve reached certain dollar thresholds ($25, $50, $100, $200, $500, or $1,500).
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
It doesn’t take much to earn the bonus for new cardholders. But monitor your spending in the first three months to make sure you use the card enough to take advantage of it. And of course, this should be your go-to card for all dining and entertainment purchases, since you’re not apt to earn more with another card and there’s no limit on how much cash back you can earn each year.
If you want to truly maximize your cash-back earning potential, consider pairing the SavorOne with a card such as the Citi Double Cash Card, which earns 2% cash back on all purchases. Use it for every purchase that doesn't earn at least 2% with the SavorOne.
The Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card only offers a few perks that The Balance considers to rise above the more standard benefits offered by many.
- Travel accident insurance: You’re eligible for compensation in case of death or disability while traveling on a fare bought with your card.
If you qualify for World Elite Mastercard benefits upon application (which is based on creditworthiness), you’ll also get access to:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If you’ve charged the cost of a trip on your card and it’s interrupted or canceled due to circumstances beyond your control, you can be reimbursed for up to $1,500 worth of non-refundable expenses.
- Baggage delay insurance: If the airline misplaces your bag, you’ll receive $100 per day for up to three days.
- Access to special events and dining experiences
- Extended warranties
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
- Roadside assistance hotline
- Travel advice plus medical referrals and consultations while traveling
World Elite cardholders also receive:
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Lowest advertised price match
J.D. Power gave Capital One an “about average” rating in its 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
One noteworthy feature is its CreditWise tool, which lets you view and monitor your VantageScore credit score for free. You can also text message Eno, a chatbot assistant, to check your balance or pay your bill.
You don’t have to have a Capital One card to use CreditWise, though if you do have a card, you’ll get a credit score update whenever you log into that account.
Most of Capital One’s security features are standard for the industry. But the company does stand out in a few ways. First of all, it provides you with a virtual credit card number to use when shopping online. And if you ever lose your card or if it’s stolen, you can lock your card so that no one can use it.
Plus, as part of CreditWise, you’ll get alerts from two credit bureaus whenever there are changes to your credit reports that could be a sign of fraud. CreditWise also tells you if your Social Security number is found on the dark web, where criminals exchange this information.
This card combines valuable cash-back rewards with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Otherwise, its fees are typical for cards of this type.