Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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Over the last few years, card issuers have invented an array of creative rewards schemes meant to entice people to sign up for their cards. These experiments have led to some massive flops (Barclays Premier, anyone?) as well as cards that have become insanely popular overnight. The big banks are always trying something new to get people to sign up for their new rewards cards and move them to the top of their wallets.

The newly refreshed Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is another example of what happens when card issuers think outside the box to attract new customers. This card offers a big signup bonus, an amazing 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back on all other purchases. You also get no foreign transaction fees and the ability to redeem points with ease.

If you spend a ton of money on dining and entertainment, this card could be exactly what you need to take your rewards game up a notch. In this review, we’ll go over where this card shines, where it comes up short, and how other cards in this niche compare.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Key Takeaways

  • Earn an unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment. These two categories represent a higher rate of return than almost any other rewards card on the market.
  • Grocery store perks. Earning an unlimited 2% back at the grocery store can be a huge advantage if you spend a lot of money on food.
  • Big signup bonus. Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on your card within three months of account opening.
  • No foreign transaction fees. You won’t have to pay more to use your credit card outside the United States.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: A Smart Card Option for Extroverts

If you’re someone who’s constantly going out on the town and spending money, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be the best card for your wallet. You’ll earn a flat 4% back on dining and entertainment, and that includes restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food shops stateside and outside the United States.

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers a broad range of purchases in their “entertainment” category, including: movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, zoos, dance halls, aquariums, and bowling alleys. The 2% grocery category is also fairly easy to decipher since it includes any supermarket, meat locker, freezer, dairy product store, or specialty market. Finally, we like the fact you earn a flat 1% back on all other purchases.

While the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card does come with a $95 annual fee, this fee is waived the first year. This gives you a full 12 months to try out the card’s benefits before you decide whether to keep it for another year.

You’ll also avoid foreign transaction fees with this card, which makes it a solid option if you travel outside the United States very often. And let’s not forget about the enormous signup bonus this card offers. Once you sign up and receive the card in the mail, you’ll earn $500 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening.

Let’s see how these rewards add up in action. If you spend $600 a month at restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment venues, you’d earn $288 in cash-back rewards per year in that category alone. Say you spend another $800 each month on groceries — at 2% back, that’s another $192 a year. Between the two, you’re looking at $480 a year in cash rewards, even before the $500 signup bonus.

On the redemption side, Capital One has chosen to keep things simple. Your rewards never expire, and you can redeem your points for cash back or statement credits in any amount. It doesn’t get any easier than that. As an added bonus, you also get a few basic cardholder perks once you sign up. The main benefits include complimentary concierge service, price protection, and extended warranties on qualifying purchases.

In summary, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card seems like the ideal card for people who dine out often and spend a lot of money on movies, sporting events, and other forms of entertainment. Since the card also offers 2% back at the grocery store, it is also a good option for the busy, growing family.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Where It Comes Up Short

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card does offer some insanely valuable rewards for people who crave cash back, but there are a few limitations to be aware of. For starters, Capital One does not count big box stores in their grocery category, even if you only buy food when you shop there. For example, you wouldn’t earn 2% back at grocery stores if you buy food at Walmart or Target.

Another potential downside of this card is that it’s nothing more than a cash-back credit card. Unlike premier travel credit cards that let you transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card only lets you redeem points for cash back at a rate of one cent per point.

Finally, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card does charge an annual fee after the first year. While paying this fee could be well worth it for the 4% categories and big signup bonus, most cash-back credit cards don’t charge an annual fee.

Who This Card Is Good For:

  • Consumers who spend a ton of money on dining out and entertainment.
  • Anyone who wants to redeem their rewards for cash-back instead of travel.
  • People who want to earn a big cash signup bonus right away.

Who Should Skip It:

  • Anyone who wants the ability to transfer points to airlines or hotels.
  • People who want a credit card with travel perks like airport lounge access.
  • Consumers who don’t like to pay an annual fee on their credit cards.

How Does It Compare to Other Cards with Big Dining Bonuses?

When it comes to credit cards that offer bonus points for dining out, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is fairly comparable to the newly refreshed American Express® Gold Card. The following chart shows how these two cards stack up:

 American Express® Gold CardCapital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earning Structure4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants and up to $25,000 spending at U.S. supermarkets each year, then 1X; 3X Membership Rewards® points on airfare from airlines or through AmexTravel.com. Terms Apply.Earn 4% back on dining out and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back on all other purchases
Intro OfferEarn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.Earn $500 cash bonus after you use your card for $3,000 in purchases in first 3 months
Cardholder Perks $120 annual dining credit at select restaurants and $100 airline incidentals credit with one airline. Terms Apply.No foreign transaction fees
Point TransferYesNo
Annual Fee$250$95; waived the first year

While both cards offer some serious perks for frequent diners, it’s easy to see how the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card could leave you ahead. Not only does it offer a much larger signup bonus, but it has a smaller annual fee that’s waived the first year.

On the flip side, the American Express® Gold Card does offer a few dining credits that can make up for its larger annual fee. It also offers 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants along with 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets with a combined $25,000 annual cap, then 1X. Finally, the American Express® Gold Card lets you earn American Express Membership Rewards points that you can transfer to popular airline and hotel partners.

American Express® Gold Card

Partner Offer
Apply Now on the American Express secure website

American Express® Gold Card Highlights
  • Get the American Express® Gold Card in Limited Edition Rose Gold, only available until 1/9/2019.
  • Receive 20% back as a statement credit at U.S. Restaurants within the first 3 months, up to $100 back. Offer available to new Card Members who apply by 1/9/2019.
  • Plus, earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

While either card could be a smart choice, the American Express® Gold Card is definitely valuable for people who want options when it comes to redeeming points for travel. However, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card may be a more suitable card for people who prefer to redeem their points for cash back instead.

Want Cash Back with No Annual Fee?

If you’re all about earning cash back or statement credits but don’t necessarily want to pay an annual fee, keep in mind that there are plenty of cash-back credit cards to consider. As an example, we love the Chase Freedom® because it lets you earn 5x points on up to $1,500 in spending in categories that rotate each quarter plus 1x points on all other purchases with no annual fee. The Chase Freedom® also offers a $150 bonus after you sign up and spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening. Once you start racking up points, you can redeem them for cash back, gift cards, merchandise through Amazon.com, or travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Chase Freedom®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom® Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

The Bottom Line

If you’re in the market for a new credit card, it makes sense to think long and hard about your current spending style and goals. If you spend a lot of money on dining out, entertainment, and groceries, this card could be exactly what you need. If you rarely leave the house, on the other hand, it may make sense to consider cards that offer a flat rate of rewards on everything you buy. Also make sure to consider whether you want to redeem rewards for travel. If you do, a card that offers flexible points could make a lot more sense.

Spend some time comparing cards and their perks before you decide. Once you do, it shouldn’t take long to time a rewards card that aligns perfectly with your spending habits and lifestyle.

Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer and the author of Zero Down Your Debt. Johnson shares her obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel at ClubThrifty.com.

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