Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

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When it comes to earning cash back for popular spending categories like groceries, dining out and entertainment, there are plenty of choices out there in the credit card space. Often, the battle for the best cash back credit card comes down to the one that offers a generous rewards structure for what you spend the most on.

In this battle, we’re taking a look at the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. For these cards, it will come down to how much cash back you need to earn for categories like groceries, dining, travel and entertainment.

While the SavorOne card will allow you to earn more cash back depending on your lifestyle and spending habits, the Freedom Unlimited focuses on offering a competitive flat rate on general purchases.

If you want to know which card would work best for you, here’s everything you need to know about what these rewards credit cards offer.

Main details

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Chase Freedom Unlimited
Rewards rate
  • Earn 3% on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases
  • Earn 8% cash back on purchases from Vivid Seats (until January 2023)
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 3% cash back on dining
  • Earn 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Welcome bonus $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of account opening $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on your card within 3 months of account opening
Annual fee $0 $0

Capital One SavorOne Cash Reward vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited highlights

As you can see, both of these cards offer competitive rewards rates in popular spending categories—especially dining. But which one is best for you depends on other areas of your budget and how you like to earn.

Welcome bonus winner: Tie

Both cards have identical welcome bonus amounts, spending requirements and timeline to meet the requirements. To get the bonus for either card, you’d have to spend about $167 a month on the cards for three months. If you switch over even a small chunk of your spending to either one of these cards, you should have no problem meeting the spending requirement and receiving the bonus.

Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited, with some caveats

At first glance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited wins out in rewards-earning potential because of the high rewards rate for grocery spending—5 percent back on up to $12,000 in the first year. However, this benefit doesn’t extend to superstores like Target and Walmart. With the exclusion of superstores, annual spending cap and one-year timeline on earnings, the rewards on this category will be limited in the long term.

The SavorOne grocery category offers 3 percent back and also excludes Target and Walmart purchases. However, there’s no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn and this bonus category stays at 3 percent back for the long term. Plus, you’ll also get the benefit of earning 3 percent back on dining and streaming with this card.

Where the Chase Freedom Unlimited has the potential to win back the lead is in its “everything else” category. While the SavorOne only offers 1 percent cash back on general purchases, the Freedom Unlimited bumps that rate up to 1.5 percent. If you are spending mostly on groceries and dining with the card, it won’t make a huge difference. But if you are looking for a card to swipe everywhere you go, the Freedom Unlimited’s higher general rate makes it more lucrative.

Foreign transaction fee winner: CapitalOne SavorOne Cash Rewards card

Like all Capital One cards, the SavorOne card doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees. The Freedom Unlimited card, however, has a 3 percent transaction fee for purchases made overseas. If you travel or buy items overseas frequently, it’s better to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Which card earns the most?

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Again, the cash back you’ll earn will depend on your lifestyle. If you lean more towards dining out and travel, your spending will look different from the stay-at-home gourmand who frequents the grocery store. Here’s how much you stand to earn on each card based on your spending profile:

Traveling, dining and entertainment spender:

Dining Dana
Spending category Monthly spend SavorOne

cash back

Freedom Unlimited

cash back

Dining $400 $12 $12
Groceries $250 $8 $13
Entertainment $150 $5 $2
Streaming $50 $2 $1
Travel $200 $2 $10
Drugstore $75 $1 $2
Misc purchases $500 $5 $8
Annual cash back $399 $567

Dining Dana is the quintessential foodie and traveler. With her spending habits, she’d earn $399 in cash back with the SavorOne card and $567 with the Freedom Unlimited (assuming her travel is booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal) for the year. Even when the grocery rate adjusts down after the first year to 1.5 percent, she’d still come out ahead with the Chase Freedom Unlimited with $462 in cash back for the year.

We come to a similar conclusion with Stay-at-home Sally, who goes to the grocery store more often and prefers to entertain from home:

Grocery and home entertainment spender:

Stay-at-home Sally
Spending category Monthly spend SavorOne Freedom Unlimited

1st year

Freedom Unlimited

2nd year

Dining $850 $26 $26 $26
Groceries $750 $23 $38 $11
Entertainment $75 $2 $1 $1
Streaming $75 $2 $1 $1
Travel $0 $0 $0 $0
Drugstore $75 $1 $2 $2
Misc. purchases $650 $7 $10 $10
Total $2,475 $60 $77 $51
Annual $717 $927 $612

With the Capital One SavorOne, Sally earns $717 and $927 in cash back in year one. Once the Chase Freedom Unlimited only offers 1.5 percent back for groceries, she will only earn $612, or about $100 less than she would with the Capital One SavorOne.

You can see that depending on how you spend your money, one card might offer more cash back than the other. Of course, you might fit squarely between these spending profiles, making the cash back you earn about the same with either card. The moral of the story: Your spending habits will determine which card offers the most cash back.

Why should you get the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Card?

In both the spending examples, this card did not earn as much as the Freedom Unlimited, except for when the higher rewards rate for groceries dropped down after the first year. So, this card beats out the Freedom Unlimited for the long term if you use it for more groceries and dining. In addition, you’ll get to earn cash back on entertainment, streaming and purchases from Vivid Seats.

Additional benefits

As a Mastercard, the SavorOne card comes with additional perks like extended warranty and price protection. Plus, this card offers a 0 percent APR period for 15 months with a 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR after that. This APR applies to both purchases and balance transfers, which can come in handy if you need to pay down high-interest debt or finance a new purchase over time.

Also, the SavorOne card offers a 24-hour travel assistance service that delivers an emergency replacement card. Cardholders also qualify for travel accident insurance when they use their credit card to purchase their tickets.

Redemption options

You can redeem your cash back for a statement credit, check or gift card. You can also pay with your rewards at checkout on PayPal and Amazon.com.

Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on what you can buy with your rewards points. For example, Amazon has a list of restricted items you can’t use rewards on, including digital music, Kindle eBooks, Prime Video titles and other digital downloads.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 to 850) for this card.

Why should you get the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?

Additional benefits

Even for a no-annual-fee card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited boasts a decent list of card perks, including:

  • Complimentary DashPass subscription
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Access to the Chase Pay Yourself Back tool

Plus, this card offers a nearly identical introductory APR offer as the SavorOne card: 0 percent for 15 months for both purchases and balance transfers. After the 15 months, the regular APR will be 14.99 percent to 24.74 percent (variable), slightly lower than the SavorOne’s APR range.

Redemption options

The Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards can be redeemed in a few different ways. The value of your rewards depends on how you choose to redeem them:

  • Cash back (statement credit or deposit): 1 cent
  • Travel: 1 cent
  • Gift cards: 1 cent
  • Apple purchases: 1 cent
  • Amazon.com purchases: 0.8 cents
  • Charitable contributions: 1.25 cents

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 to 850) for this card.

The bottom line

These cards are often pitted against one another mainly because of their cash back offerings on grocery spending and dining. But depending on your lifestyle, one could offer more cash back than the other. Based on our spending example, the SavorOne wins out for those who spend on groceries, dining and entertainment, but only after the Chase Freedom Card adjusts the grocery rewards after the first year. The Freedom Unlimited card, however, does carry a slightly better slate of benefits in terms of the Pay Yourself Back tool and the ability to redeem rewards more flexibly—especially on travel via Ultimate Rewards.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News