The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
When it comes to earning cash back on popular spending categories like groceries, dining out and entertainment, there are plenty of choices out there in the credit card space. Often, choosing a cash back credit card comes down to the rewards structure that best suits your spending habits.
In this battle, we’re taking a look at the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. While the SavorOne will allow you to earn more cash back on groceries and entertainment-related purchases, the Freedom Unlimited focuses on offering a competitive flat rate on general purchases.
Here’s everything you need to know about what these rewards credit cards offer.
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards||Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of account opening||Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on top of all purchases’ original cash back rate (on up to $20,000) for the first year
(Exclusive offer through Bankrate)
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (17.99% to 27.99% variable APR after)||0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (17.99% to 26.74% variable APR after)|
Capital One SavorOne Cash Reward vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited highlights
As you can see, both of these no-annual-fee 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: Chase Freedom Unlimited
While the SavorOne offers an easy-to-earn welcome bonus of $200 cash back after spending $500 within your first three months, the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus cash back percentage has the potential to exceed $200 in value.
As an exclusive Bankrate offer, if you apply through CardMatch (our pre-approval tool), you can get an extra 1.5 percent cash back on top of all your purchases’ original cash back rate during your first year. There’s a cap of $20,000 in spending, but if you hit that, that’s $300 in additional cash back for the year.
Of course, if you prefer the simplicity of a standard welcome bonus, the SavorOne may be the better option.
Rewards rate winner: It depends
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a significantly higher cash back rate on “everything else,” which are purchases that don’t qualify under any particular category (1.5 percent cash back compared to the SavorOne’s 1 percent). If you’re looking for a card to swipe everywhere you go, the Freedom Unlimited’s higher general rate makes it more lucrative.
The SavorOne, though, has a grocery category that offers 3 percent back (excluding Target and Walmart purchases). Seeing as the Freedom Unlimited lacks a grocery-specific category, those who do the most spending there might prefer the SavorOne.
It’s up to you to decide which categories you’re most interested in, since these cards have differing rewards structures. Concert fanatics who see shows every month, for example, would do well with the SavorOne, as well as those who prefer to cook at home. On the other hand, consumers who do a variety of spending will reap solid rewards with the Freedom Unlimited — and if they own additional Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, they can combine and potentially boost their rewards value by 25 or 50 percent through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One SavorOne
Like all Capital One cards, the SavorOne doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees. The Freedom Unlimited, however, charges a 3 percent transaction fee for purchases made overseas.
If you travel or buy items overseas frequently, the SavorOne is the better pick.
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 toward miscellaneous spending, your rewards will look different from those an entertainment fanatic who frequents the grocery store will earn.
Here’s how much you stand to earn on each card based on entertainment-heavy spending profile:
|Spending category||Monthly spend||SavorOne cash back||Freedom Unlimited cash back|
|Travel (through the portal)||$200||$10||$10|
|Monthly cash back||$41.25||$38.50|
|Annual cash back (1st year, including welcome bonus)||$695||$754.50|
|Annual cash back (2nd year and beyond)||$495||$462|
As you can see in this specific spending example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes out ahead in the first year thanks to its first-year welcome offer, but the SavorOne provides a bit more rewards in the long run.
Of course, if you don’t plan to do nearly that level of spending on entertainment or streaming, the Freedom Unlimited may provide more value long term.
Why should you get the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Card?
The SavorOne Cash Rewards is worth it for anyone who does a lot of spending at the grocery store or on entertainment-related purchases. Here’s a look at some additional SavorOne benefits that may increase its value for you.
The SavorOne card comes with standard perks like extended warranty coverage, $0 fraud liability and concierge services. And in terms of travel perks, you can take advantage of 24-hour travel assistance and travel accident insurance. Further, Capital One offers Capital One Experiences and Capital One Dining, through which you can get access to exclusive experiences.
Don’t forget that the card offers a zero-interest introductory offer on both purchases and balance transfer for 15 months (followed by a variable APR between 17.99 percent to 27.99 percent). You’ll need to pay a 3 percent balance transfer fee, but that’s a standard charge among balance transfer cards.
You can redeem your cash back for a statement credit, check or gift card, and you can also pay with your rewards at checkout on PayPal and Amazon.com.
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?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is worth it for those interested in an all-purpose cash back credit card with specific rewards on dining and travel. And for those that already own a Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning card, its value can only grow.
Even for a no-annual-fee card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited boasts a decent list of card benefits, including:
- Complimentary DashPass subscription
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty coverage
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Access to the Chase Pay Yourself Back tool
This card also offers a nearly-identical introductory APR offer to the SavorOne card: 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (17.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR thereafter). To take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to pay an intro balance transfer fee of 3 percent (or $5, whichever is greater) during the first 60 days, after which the fee jumps to 5 percent.
Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards can be redeemed in a few different ways:
- Cash back (statement credit or deposit)
- Gift cards
- Amazon.com purchases
- Apple purchases
- Charitable contributions
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 to 850) to be approved for this card.
The bottom line
Whether the Capital One SavorOne or Chase Freedom Unlimited offers more value depends on your spending habits and lifestyle in general. Before you make your decision, be sure to consider the long-term value of each card — and check out Bankrate’s list of the best cash back credit cards for this year, should another option better suit your needs.