Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card holds wide appeal to cardholders who spend big on food and entertainment. It’s a cash-back card from one of the major issuers that offers the highest percentage rewards for nights on the town and dining in or out. If you spend a lot in those categories, the welcome bonus and waiver of the annual fee in the first year makes the card an even more attractive option. However, infrequent use of the card, a subsequent annual fee, and a lack of travel-based incentives could have you looking elsewhere.

The Essentials of the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • APR:15.99%-24.99% variable
  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95
  • Primary feature: Purchases on select entertainment and dining categories earn a 4% cash-back reward, with 2% received at grocery stores.
  • Introductory bonus offer: $300 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first three months of account opening.

What’s Interesting About the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you’re on the road a lot or prefer to stay local and enjoy movies, ballgames and food and drink thereafter, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card should fit nicely in your wallet. The card offers a 4% cash-back incentive on all purchases made in the dining and entertainment arenas, 2% in grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. Cardholders who purchase event tickets through Vivid Seats also receive a whopping 8% back through May 2020.

As long as the card is active, there is no expiration on the cash-back rewards, and redemption amounts can be as little or as large as you desire. You won’t need to sign up for rewards or face revolving cash-back categories from year to year. While the card isn’t heavy on travel perks, you do get travel accident insurance and round-the-clock assistance with emergency card replacement if the card is lost or stolen. Making purchases abroad won’t trigger any foreign transaction fees, either.

Things to Consider

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card falls somewhat short in introductory offers. No zero- or low-interest-rate program exists for new purchases or balance transfers. So, if you’re intent on making a large purchase and leveraging zero financing for 9 or 12 months, you’ll need to find an alternative plan. Frequent travelers who relish mile rewards, companion certificates or access to carrier-based airport lounges won’t enjoy any of those perks with this card. And, if you’re averse to paying an annual fee on your cards, then you probably wouldn’t appreciate the $95 charge after the first year. Finally, annual percentage rates (APR) are competitive, but you could find lower numbers with other issuers.

How to Get the Most from this Card

Out of the gate, new cardholders will want to secure the $300 cash bonus that comes when you spend $3,000 or more in the first three months from account opening. After that initial period, you’ll need to be a selective spender and keep an eye on how your purchases are categorized. Some food vendors or entertainment brokers may code your purchases as merchandise. So, if you’re spending large amounts at those establishments, the 4% reward won’t apply. Also, you may need to switch your allegiance to other grocers because purchases at superstores like Walmart and Target are not eligible for the 2% tier of the cash-back rewards program.

In addition to spending, you’ll also want to stay informed on offers that entitle you to membership perks that come along from time to time. You might get first dibs on access to culinary events sponsored by celebrity chefs, or there may be notable discounts on tickets for select NBA or NHL franchises. As for the second-year annual fee, recent studies show that the average 35-to-54-year-old consumer spends enough on dining out to overcome the $95 charge. Cash-back rewards for these folks typically exceed $300 annually. So, if you purchase about $10,000 of goods and services divided up equally between food, entertainment and all other categories, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card’s fee will be justified.

Other Card Options that Might Interest You

Shoppers looking for other card options may want to check out the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. The card utilizes a points system in which 30,000 points earned in the first three months equals approximately $300 in cash redemption value. That’s on par with the Savor® card, but a few advantages of having an account with the Wells Fargo Propel card should be noted. For one thing, there’s no annual fee for this program. Cardholders have a 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, then a rate of 15.49% -27.49% variable. Rates for those with top credit scores are about 50 basis points less on the Wells Fargo card, at 15.49% -27.49% variable as opposed to the Savor® Cash Rewards card rate of 15.99-24.99% variable.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card requires you to spend a lot less to earn a $150 bonus in the first three months. The total reward is smaller, but you only need to purchase $500 on the card to secure that bonus. That boils down to about a third less money spent to achieve the same bonus level as the Savor® card. If you’re looking at making a big purchase from the start and spreading payments out, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 0% intro APR on purchase for 15 months (then 16.49% – 25.24% variable). That intro period is 3 to 6 months longer than most other cards and a benefit you won’t get at all with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

The Final Word

If you fancy eating outside the home frequently and enjoy concerts, movies, and shows, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card will be a great choice. With 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, the card offers one of the highest rewards out there. Occasional promotions like the Vivid Seats ticket offer put even more money back in your pocket, but a second-year annual fee might be a deal breaker if you don’t spend enough to earn more than $95 annually in rewards. You could find lower APRs with other cards, but if you don’t plan on carrying a balance after the introductory period, rate differences shouldn’t be an issue. With the ability to receive different reward rates on all purchases, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the better deals you’ll find.

Thom Tracy

Personal Finance Contributor

Thom Tracy is a personal finance writer from Scranton, PA with 28 years of experience in the insurance, employee benefits and financial services industries. He has been a contributor to QuickBooks and Investopedia, and likes to cook, hike, and discover new music in his spare time.