As I look through my wallet and the credit cards I use most often, I realize that I’ve neglected to formally review one of my favorites: the Capital One SavorOne Rewards card. Sure, I’ve mentioned it in plenty of previous posts (including my annual “personal credit card strategy” articles), but I’ve failed to give it its due in terms of a full-fledged guide of its own. Let me correct that error now by sharing what the SavorOne has to offer and why it’s one of my top no-annual-fee card options.
No annual fee
As I mentioned in my intro, one of the best aspects of the Capital One SavorOne is that it carries no annual fee. While there are some cards that justify their fees, there’s no doubt that not having to worry about a fee at all is a huge advantage. Thus, this aspect already makes the SavorOne easy to recommend.
The “Savor” in the “SavorOne” moniker alludes to the fact that one of the top rewards categories for the card is dining. However, while the card does indeed serve frequent diners well, it also boasts a well-rounded roster of other spending categories. Here’s a quick overview of what the card offers before we dive deeper:
- 3% back on dining
- 3% back on entertainment
- 3% on popular streaming services
- 3% on grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Target and Walmart)
- 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 8% back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
- 1% back on all other purchases
As you can see, the SavorOne features a number of 3% categories. Notably, this is the result of Capital One improving the card last year. Previously, the card’s grocery store reward category was only 2% while the streaming service category was non-existent in the former version. There are also the 5% on Capital One Travel and 8% back on Capital One Entertainment and Vivid Seats categories — although, frankly, I don’t have much experience with either.
The categories I do have a lot of experience with are the dining and entertainment ones. And, while “dining” is pretty straightforward, the “entertainment” category is a bit wider and, in my opinion, more interesting. According to Capital One, entertainment includes tickets purchased at movie theaters, sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events), theatrical promoters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, aquariums, zoos, dance halls, record stores, pool halls, and bowling alleys. However, golf courses, collegiate sporting events, and “non-industry entertainment merchant codes” such as cable subscriptions or membership services are excluded. In our case, we rely heavily on this category as Disney Parks fans. In our experience, our tickets, annual passes, and even runDisney race entry fees code as Entertainment, allowing us to earn 3% back.
What’s also nice about the SavorOne is that it rewards dining in as well as dining out. That’s because grocery store purchases also earn 3%. Keep in mind that superstores like Walmart and Target that may sell groceries sadly do not count toward this category.
Lastly, with streaming services becoming a growing cost for many Americans, these purchases also earn 3% back. Among the platforms that qualify (and are explicitly named by Capital One) are Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Meanwhile, Prime Video, AT&T TV, and Verizon FIOS On Demand are some of the excluded options. Additionally, audiobook subscription services such as Audible are unfortunately ineligible.
In addition to earning strong levels of rewards in some key categories, the Capital One SavorOne has one of the best “spend to bonus” ratios. Currently, new cardholders can earn $200 back after spending just $500 in purchases on the card during their first three months. To me, this $500 minimum spend requirement is refreshingly attainable while the $200 bonus that comes with it is pretty generous. Again, this is just one more reason why I find the SavorOne easy to recommend.
Redeeming rewards and cashback
Those who enjoy their credit card rewards simple will be happy to know that the Capital One SavorOne earns cashback. In turn, your earnings are extremely useable and simple to redeem. However, one small downside is that, while you can redeem cashback for statement credits, the only other option is to have a check mailed to you — with seemingly no bank transfer options instead.
Beyond regular cashback redemptions, cardholders can use their earnings in a few different ways. For example, Capital One offers a variety of gift cards customers can purchase with their cashback. Additionally, the aforementioned Captial One Travel portal allows for reward redemptions as well. There are also PayPal and Amazon options. Lastly, if you want to move your rewards from one Capital One account to another, this option is apparently also available.
SavorOne vs Savor
If you’ve seen ads about the Savor card, chances are it was for the “main” option and not the SavorOne. So what’s the difference?
First, the biggest difference in my eyes is that the Savor Rewards card comes with a $95 annual fee compared to the no annual fee SavorOne. Of course, in return for that expense, you do get some enhanced rewards. Specifically, the Savor bumps the dining, entertainment, and streaming rewards up to 4% (while retaining the 3% grocery categories and the rest). That might sound attractive, but it’s likely worth doing the math to see if the extra 1% will cover that annual fee and bring you added value.
Oddly, I find the Savor to have a less-attractive welcome bonus than the SavorOne. While the current bonus is $300, earning this will require $3,000 in spending during your first three months. Personally, I think the SavorOne offer is a far better deal, which is why I’d recommend that option overall.
Other versions of the SavorOne
While we’re on the topic of Savor/SavorOne variants, I should mention that Capital One has rolled out specialized versions of the card as well. Among those is the “SavorOne Rewards for Good Credit” (as opposed to “excellent” credit), which includes the same rewards but drops the welcome bonus. There’s also a Student version that allows eligible customers to earn a $100 bonus after spending $100 in purchases during their first three months. I don’t have any personal experience with these options but think they could still be beneficial to certain consumers.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that I am quite a fan of the SavorOne card. With solid earning rates from a well-round selection of spending categories, we’ve managed to rack up a significant amount of cashback since adding the card to our mix. Specifically, the broad “entertainment” category has definitely been beneficial for us, earning us 3% back on purchases that wouldn’t fit into any elevated categories on my other cards.
What’s more, the SavorOne’s long-standing welcome bonus is among the best I’ve personally seen for a no annual fee card. On that note, the lack of an annual fee means there’s no need to worry about an upfront “investment” with this card. That’s also why I prefer it to its reward card sibling the Savor Rewards card.