Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card review: The entertainment and foodie fanatics’ partner
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Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card Overview
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has a relatively generous welcome offer and an excellent return on entertainment and dining. Thanks to its upgrade in May 2021, the Savor is perhaps the single best cash back card for avid foodies that don’t care for travel but want a streamlined rewards experience for their significant dining and entertainment expenses both at home and away.
On top of its impressive, unlimited 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, you’ll now also earn 4 percent back on popular streaming services and 3 percent back at grocery stores (up from its previous 2 percent rate). Like other Capital One credit cards, the Savor comes with no foreign transaction fees, solid shopping and travel protections plus a simple redemption process that makes it a stellar everyday option.
That said, the $95 annual fee is hard to justify since there are no especially valuable perks to help offset it. And considering the no annual fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card delivers remarkably similar value, it may be a wiser choice for the average cardholder hoping to shore up their rewards strategy.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- The slight upgrade from the SavorOne makes the $95 annual fee hard to justify for most cardholders
- No annual credits or perks that provide bonus value to help offset the annual fee
- No intro APR on purchases or balance transfers, which is offered by the SavorOne but isn’t common among premium cards
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 8 percent cash back on purchases from Vivid Seats, 4 percent on dining and entertainment plus popular streaming services, 3 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on everything else
- Welcome offer: $300 bonus after spending $3,000 within three months
- Annual fee: $95
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Capital One Savor Rewards card is currently offering a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within your first three months.
Although this is a decent welcome offer, it isn’t the best you’ll find for the annual fee if you look outside cash back cards. In terms of direct competitors, it naturally outclasses the SavorOne card’s $200 cash bonus in terms of cash value, but the SavorOne only requires you to spend $500 in the first three months. Still, the Savor’s $300 intro bonus is about the highest value you’ll find on a cash back card, tied with the $300 statement credit you can earn with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (though that card’s $3,000 spending requirement is easier to reach considering you have six months instead of three).
The Capital One Savor earns unlimited cash back on everyday purchases like groceries and restaurant meals.
How you earn
The Capital One Savor offers a generous 4 percent cash back on entertainment and dining with no cap, which ranks it among the best credit cards for restaurants on the market. What’s more, on May 18, 2021, Capital One boosted its unlimited 2 percent grocery store rewards to 3 percent and added an extra 4 percent cash back category for popular streaming services. However, pay close attention to the Savor card’s list of eligible music and video streaming services since Prime Video, audiobook and fitness programming subscription services are unfortunately excluded.
Capital One has also partnered with Vivid Seats for a limited time, allowing you to rack up even more rewards. You’ll earn 8 percent cash back when you make a purchase through Vivid Seats.
How to redeem
Your rewards can be redeemed for cash back in the form of a check or statement credit. Additionally, you can choose to receive a gift card or use your cash back to cover past purchases (like a statement credit for specific expenses).
Linking your card to Amazon.com or your PayPal account will also let you use your rewards to cover, or partially cover, purchases through those sites. However, that option introduces a lot of red tape for what you can put your rewards toward, so choosing direct cash back is a far better option.
The Points Guy has also reported that cardholders that also carry an eligible Capital One travel card have been able to convert their cash back to miles at a 1:1 ratio, which opens the door to squeeze more value from your Savor rewards.
If you prefer a simpler rewards experience, however, it doesn’t get much easier than Capital One’s automatic redemption option. You can set your account to automatically redeem your rewards for a statement credit or check on a certain date each year or once your rewards balance reaches a selected threshold (options range from $25 up to $1,500).
You won’t find an automated rewards process with many issuers, so this could be a pivotal feature if it interests you. On the other hand, stockpiling your rewards till you need them is also a fine option since your miles don’t expire for the life of your account.
How much are the rewards worth?
Like most cash back programs, spending in your bonus categories will net you 1 cent per percentage point of your rate. For example, you’ll get 4 cents back per dollar spent in your dining category. You’ll also receive a 1:1 rate by using your rewards for Amazon.com or PayPal purchases.
The only way to boost your rewards’ value is to convert your cash back to Capital One Venture miles, which carry an up to 1.85-cent value with the right travel partner, according to The Points Guy’s latest estimation. If you get can obtain that full value, you’ll essentially balloon your 4 percent cash back category purchases to 7.4 cents back per dollar.
Other cardholder perks
The Capital One Savor carries a good portfolio of travel, shopping and account protections. But the card lacks any perks of monetary value to help offset its annual fee that rival cards may carry—like dining credits or account anniversary points.
One of the main perks foodies will enjoy is the complimentary concierge service. This gives cardmembers 24-hour, personalized assistance for a number of dining, entertainment and travel issues. That can make your life a lot easier when trying to access and book exclusive dining, entertainment and travel opportunities.
Capital One has a variety of safety features to protect your card, including fraud alerts, virtual card numbers, card lock and zero fraud liability.
Virtual card numbers are the most noteworthy of these benefits and are nearly unique to Capital One. They protect your account from potentially sketchy merchants online by generating and tracking a specific virtual card number through the Eno assistant tool, rather than sending your real card details.
Few issuers offer this perk anymore, instead relying on the similar security you’d get from adding your card to a digital wallet, but Capital One’s extra layer of security is a nice touch if you often buy tickets and other products online.
Exclusive dining and entertainment experiences
As a cardholder, you’ll get access to presale concert tickets, hard-to-get reservations at top restaurants and exclusive culinary events like benefit dinners.
You’ll also receive discounts on season tickets and merchandise at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Online shopping tools
Capital One has two online shopping tools that can help you save money—Paribus and Capital One Shopping.
Paribus monitors the items you’ve bought recently for price changes and alerts you when you might be able to get a refund.
Capital One Shopping is a browser extension that compares prices at major retailers, automatically applies coupons at checkout and allows you to earn credits on your purchases that you can redeem for gift cards.
The Capital One Savor card comes with travel perks like no fees for foreign transactions, travel accident insurance and round-the-clock travel assistance services.
These are relatively standard, but not too exciting considering other cards in its class offer comprehensive travel insurance, alternate payment plans and yearly travel credits. Still, cash back cards are generally limited in terms of bonus features but branching out to a travel credit card that rewards dining could bring a slew of rich benefits.
Rates and fees
The Capital One Savor doesn’t have an interest-free period, so you’ll pay the regular APR on purchases, which can range from 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable, depending on your creditworthiness. Considering the current average interest rate, the Savor card’s APR could be anywhere from slightly below average to nearly 40 percent higher.
Capital One Savor also charges a $95 annual fee and up to a $40 fee for late payments. But on the plus side, there are no foreign transaction fees and no balance transfer fees when transferring at the regular transfer APR. The waived foreign transaction fees perk is helpful for when you dine abroad, and the waived balance transfer fee is relatively unique outside Capital One cards—which can save you hundreds of dollars based on your debt. However, we don’t recommend transferring your balance to this card since there’s no intro APR to shield you from the interest rate.
First-year value vs. ongoing value
As far as first-year value goes, the Capital One Savor is typical of many rewards cards that charge a small annual fee. The $300 sign-up bonus is higher than the typical $200 cash back bonus, but it comes with a hefty spend requirement—$3,000. A number of credit cards that charge a similar annual fee or none at all only require you to spend anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to earn a $200 bonus.
There’s no intro APR period, and after your first year, there are no annual credit-style perks to help offset the annual fee. For some, that will decrease the card’s value starting in year two.
To recoup the annual fee through rewards spending, you’ll need to spend about $198 per month across your 4 percent bonus categories. It’s not a tall order, but the average spender will probably have a hard time justifying the annual fee compared to the SavorOne card’s slightly lower cash back rates. Before deducting the annual fee, we’ve calculated that the Savor card’s average annual rewards* clock in at $378—which is certainly substantial—but the SavorOne card earns $370 on the same spending model.
Although the Capital One Savor card’s ongoing value is initially promising, its annual fee eats away from your rewards potential enough to make the SavorOne a more worthwhile option for cardholders that aren’t especially big dining or entertainment spenders.
|Benefits and Costs||First-year value||Ongoing value (no welcome offers)|
|Welcome offers||+$300 (after spending $3,000 within three months)||—|
|Perks (of monetary value)||—||—|
*Based on our formula used to calculate each card’s average rewards rates and average ongoing rewards value, using Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an assumed $15,900 yearly spend over three years ($1,325 per month).
**Based on average credit card interest rate at time of writing.
Bankrate staff experience
Although the SavorOne has found a few more cardholders around our office, staff member Kelley King has found that the premium Savor and its benefits optimally suit her spending.
As one of the Yelp Elite recognized for her contributions to the reviews website, Kelley spends plenty of time touring the Charlotte, North Carolina, area. An avid fan of concerts, shows and restaurants, Kelley notes she chose the Capital One Savor because of “the unlimited cash back I could earn on dining and entertainment—my two biggest spending areas.”
Kelley is able to earn more than enough cash back to easily offset the annual fee. She also takes advantage of the Savor card’s other perks that fit her lifestyle. This includes using the Capital One mobile app to store virtual card numbers for different merchants, which makes online shopping more secure and convenient.
Ultimately, Kelley has no regrets and believes the Capital One Savor card is a far better fit for her than the no-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne.
“I chose the Savor over the SavorOne because I earn way more back on purchases than the annual fee costs, so it was a no brainer.”
— Kelley King,Bankrate staff
How the Capital One Savor compares to other rewards cards
There’s a lot to like about the Savor card, but it won’t be the best fit for everyone. The annual fee cuts into the amount of cash back you can earn and people who only occasionally take advantage of the food and entertainment categories may prefer a general-purpose credit card with bonus categories better suited for everyday purchases.
Let’s take a look at how it stacks up against two of its competitors, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Savor One, a no-annual-fee version of the Savor card.
Capital One Savor vs. Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Like the Savor Cash Rewards card but wish it had no annual fee? The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card also received a rewards program upgrade along with the Savor earlier in 2021, meaning you can now earn 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, select streaming services and grocery store purchases.
That means, aside from the slightly boosted sign-up bonus, ponying up for the Savor’s annual fee essentially only gets you a 1 percent bump to your dining, streaming and entertainment categories. This also comes at the cost of losing the SavorOne’s 15-month 0 percent intro purchase and balance transfer APR (then a 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR), which may not be as valuable for some cardholders as the chance to eliminate snowballing interest.
Since the rewards rates are so similar (we calculate the Savor’s average rewards rate* to be 2.38 percent while the SavorOne’s is 2.33 percent), it’s unlikely that the Savor is worth the $95 chunk out of your rewards each year. The SavorOne is also easier to justify if neither would be your main rewards card, so it likely trumps the Savor unless dining, entertainment and streaming services form a remarkable amount of your budget.
Capital One Savor vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Thanks to the August 2021 update to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to include 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs, like the Savor card), it now edges out the Blue Cash Preferred Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited to become one of the Savor card’s top rivals due to its better-rounded rewards and richer features.
If you’re planning to redeem for cash back alone, you spend more on entertainment than travel and you prefer to do your grocery shopping in a physical store rather than online, then the Savor card will have an edge. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred adds in travel rewards categories that the Savor passes on, which make it an all-around stronger card if you’re planning to take advantage of its travel features.
For starters, you’ll get a 25 percent bonus point value if you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal—which still doesn’t match the Savor’s dining and grocery rates’ value—but finding the right Chase transfer partner can surpass the Savor’s rewards thanks to your points’ 2-cent value (according to TPG’s latest estimate). In fact, reserving your dinner plans through Chase Dining will get you 10X points compared to the Savor’s 4 percent back.
The Sapphire Preferred card’s 80,000-point sign-up bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first three months) is a much stronger upfront value as well—doubling the Savor card’s offer even when redeemed for cash back. Aside from rewards, the Sapphire Preferred carries a trove of stronger benefits, including some of the best travel insurance at its price point, bonus account anniversary points and up to $50 in yearly hotel stay credits that can more than make up for the annual fee—unlike the Savor’s dry well of bonus benefits.
Best cards to pair with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Savor card offers a high rewards rate on entertainment and dining, but not travel. If you’re a frequent flyer, you may want to pair it with a travel rewards card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. It earns a stellar 10X miles on hotel and rental car Capital One Travel bookings, 5X miles on Capital One Travel flights plus unlimited 2X miles on all other travel. Although the Venture X poses an intimidating $395 annual fee, its stellar travel benefits more than recoup the cost for savvy cardholders. Besides filling in the travel and benefits gap, you also may be able to transfer your Savor cash back to the Venture X card for more value toward travel.
Another drawback of the Capital One Savor card is that it doesn’t have a 0 percent intro APR period on purchases or balance transfers. To save on interest, consider pairing it with a zero-interest card like the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which has a 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months and balance transfers for 21 months (then a 14.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable APR applies).
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Capital One Savor worth it?
If you dine out (or channel your inner chef in the kitchen) and watch movies in theaters or at home frequently, the Capital One Savor card may be worth it for you. It offers a uniquely high 4 percent cash back rate on entertainment, dining and select popular streaming services—all in one package. However, there aren’t any features that add bonus value to help make up for the $95 annual fee, so you’ll need to spend at least $198 per month in your 4 percent categories to recoup the cost.
The additional 3 percent grocery category makes a definite difference, but the slight step up from the no annual fee Capital One SavorOne isn’t enough to justify the annual fee for most cardholders on an average budget. The Savor is certainly one of the best rewards cards for foodies on the market—and perhaps the best for entertainment available—but the SavorOne is likely a better choice if you don’t spend a significant amount on food or entertainment.
All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.