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Capital One cash back guide (2020): How it works, best cards

You'll find great flat-rate, dining and entertainment rewards.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked
Capital One offers a few of the best cashback credit cards on the market. It’s particularly strong in flat-rate cash back, as well as bonus rewards in dining and entertainment. And with straightforward redemption options — such as statement credit and gift cards — you won’t have to worry about complicated reward calculations.

We compared cashback credit cards by Capital One by looking at a variety of perks that might suit someone based on their particular spending habits. For example, we found a card that offers the best cash back rewards for a person who spends most on dining and entertainment.

What’s changed in 2020?

Capital One made no changes to their cashback credit cards in 2020.[/fin_accordion][/fin_accordions]

Best credit cards for Capital One cash back

Quick look at cashback credit cards from Capital One

Best cashback credit card for fair credit
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (580-669)
Read review
Rates & fees

580
Min. credit score
$39
Annual fee
1.5%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card can be a solid choice for those with fair credit. You get to earn unlimited cash back on all of your purchases, and there's also the potential for upgrading your card with timely payments.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you buy.
  • You can apply with a fair credit score of 580 or higher.
  • Pay your balance on time for five consecutive months and you'll be eligible for a higher credit line.
Annual Fee $39
Purchase APR 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 22.99% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Best cashback card for dining and entertainment with no annual fee
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
If you're a socialite looking to earn accelerated cash back, consider the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
  • Earn 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Earn a signup bonus of $200 when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of your account opening.
  • Enjoy an intro APR on purchases.
  • No annual fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49% or 25.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 15.49% or 25.49% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% cash back on Uber Eats, 3% on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

Best cashback card for unlimited cash back
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
1.5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card can be a great choice if you're looking to earn unlimited cash back on everything you buy.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Spend $500 on purchases within your first 3 months of card membership and earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Intro APR period on purchases.
  • No annual fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)
Balance transfer APR 15.49%, 21.49% or 25.49% variable
Welcome offer $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Best cashback card for dining and entertainment
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to 8%
Cash back
$300
Welcome offer
If you mostly spend on dining and entertainment and you're looking to get the highest signup bonus, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a solid choice.
  • Earn a $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases during your first 3 months of card membership.
  • Get 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases, 2% at grocery stores and 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Your credit line depends on multiple factors. However, with this card, you won't get a lower credit line than $5,000.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Purchase APR 15.99% or 24.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% or 24.99% variable
Welcome offer $300 after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 8% cash back with Vivid Seats, 5% on Uber Eats, 4% on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

Best cashback card for students
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® logo
Finder Rating: 3.9 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (580-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1.25%
Cash back
n/a
Welcome offer
This is one of the best student credit cards on the market, in part because it offers rewards. You can also get a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. When you pay you card bill on time, your cashback rate goes up to 1.25% for that month.
  • Get a higher credit limit after you make your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Earn $5 per month for 12 months toward select streaming services when you pay your credit card balance on time.
  • No annual fee.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 22.99% variable
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards 1% cash back on all purchases, 1.25% for months you pay on time

Best cashback card for business
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95 ongoing
Annual fee
2%
Cash back
$500
Welcome offer
The best feature of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is its flat-rate rewards. No matter what you spend on, you can be sure you're earning solid cash back.
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase.
  • Earn a signup bonus of $500 when you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of your account opening.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Purchase APR 20.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 20.99% variable
Welcome offer $500 after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 2% cash back on all purchases

How to choose the best Capital One cashback card

While rewards might be your top priority for your Capital One card, these considerations might help steer you toward the best card for your needs:

  • Do you have fair credit?
    If you have fair credit, the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card might be the right choice. If you’re a business owner with fair credit, consider the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business.

Capital One cash back - For fair credit

  • What annual fee do you want to pay?
    Capital One doesn’t have any premium cards that cost hundreds of dollars a year. Rather, your choice is whether you want to pay a $0 or $39 annual fee, or a $95 annual fee starting the second year.If you’ll pay an annual fee, consider whether you’ll get enough value from the card to justify the cost. For example, you might want the card for its rewards, or simply because it’s one of the few cards available to someone with your credit profile.
  • Do you want a signup bonus?
    Capital One’s personal cards have signup bonuses of $150 to $300, while its business cards have signup bonuses of $200 to $500. Keep in mind some cards have annual fees that will eat into these rewards.

Capital One cash back: A brief overview

Capital One designates eight of its cards as cashback products. These include:

  • Five personal credit cards, including one student card.
  • Three business credit cards.

apply online

You can also redeem miles for cash back with Capital One’s travel cards, which include the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business. But cash back from these cards comes at a poor redemption rate, so you should avoid it when possible.

Read more: Types of Capital One cash back

Capital One offers two cashback structures:

  • Flat-rate cash back.
    This means you’ll earn the same rewards rate on every purchase. Capital One flat-rate cash back ranges from 1.5% to 2%.
  • Tiered cash back.
    This means you’ll earn different rewards rates for certain categories. Capital One’s highest cashback rate is 4% on dining and entertainment.

Capital One cashback credit cards at a glance

Card Best if you want … Annual fee
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Flat-rate cash back $0
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Flat-rate cash back, but you have fair credit $39
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Rewards on dining, entertainment and at grocery stores $0 for the first year, then $95
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Rewards on dining, entertainment and at grocery stores with no annual fee $0
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® A student credit card with rewards $0
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Flat-rate cash back for business $0 for the first year, then $95
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business Flat-rate cash back for business with no annual fee $0
Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business Flat-rate cash back for business, but you have fair credit $0

How to earn the most Capital One cash back

One of the first things to do when looking for a cashback card is to evaluate your spending. This will help you find the product that offers ideal rewards.

  • Do you have high spending in dining and entertainment?
    If so, you’ll earn great cash back with one of the Savor® cards. These products also offer solid rewards at grocery stores, but consider other grocery credit cards if this category consumes most of your spending.
  • Do you spend relatively evenly across many categories?
    If so, you might get more out of Capital One’s flat-rate cashback cards — that is, the cards that offer the same rewards rate on every purchase. Instead of having to modify your spending to earn bonus rewards in certain categories, you can spend normally and earn solid cash back.

How to earn Capital One cash back with the Savor® cards

The Savor® cards offer tiered rewards, which means you’ll earn different cashback rates in various categories.

Hands-down the best way to use the cards is for dining and entertainment. However, other cards offer better cash back at grocery stores. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. You could use this card to complement your Capital One cash back.

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offer just 1% cash back on other spending, which is a standard but low rate. To boost your rewards, you could use a Savor® card for dining, entertainment and at grocery stores and a flat-rate cashback card for everything else.

How to redeem Capital One cash back

Redeeming your Capital One cash back is simple:

  1. Log in to your Capital One account.
  2. From your dashboard, navigate to the Rewards section.

Now, you can choose what you want to redeem your cash back for.

Capital One cash back redemption options

  • Cash.
    You can receive a mailed check or statement credit. Also, you can apply your cash back to specific purchases you’ve already made.
  • Gift cards.
    These are available from dozens of retailers, online stores, restaurants and more. Redemptions start as low as $10, but many gift cards require a $25 minimum.
  • Transfer.
    You can transfer your cash back to one of your other Capital One accounts. If you’d like to transfer rewards to someone else’s Capital One account, call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak with a representative.

How much is Capital One cash back worth?

Capital One cash back is worth face value, whether you redeem it for a check or statement credit or to offset a purchase. If you have $50 in cash back, for example, it’s worth $50 in statement credit.

The same goes if you redeem your cash back for gift cards. A $50 gift card will cost $50 in cash back.

Pro tip

While gift cards deliver decent value for your cash back, you can buy them in a more lucrative way.

For example, if you want to buy a $100 Starbucks gift card with cash back you’ve earned with your Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you can buy one at face value through the Capital One rewards portal. That’s perfectly fine — except you won’t earn rewards from that transaction.

Instead, you could use your card to buy the gift card at a Starbucks store. You’ll earn 4% cash back on that transaction, which is equivalent to $4 in rewards.

Alternatives to Capital One cashback cards

Capital One isn’t the only cashback game in town, and you’ll find great options elsewhere. Here’s a quick breakdown of cards to consider based on what you’re looking for.

Flat-rate cash back

Capital One offers very competitive cards with 1.5% flat-rate cash back — some of the best on the market, in fact. The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is also an uncommonly good option if you have fair credit, as you’ll get an unsecured card with rewards from a reputable provider.

Here are a few great alternatives for flat-rate cash back:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®. A very similar card to the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Also, earn a $200 signup bonus after you make $500 in purchases within the first 3 months after opening your account.
  • Citi® Double Cash Card. Considered by many to be the best no-annual-fee flat-rate cashback card. Earn 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% as you pay them off.

Citi Double Cash

Cash back on dining and entertainment

The Savor® products are excellent choices for dining and entertainment rewards, especially for cards that cost $0 and $95 a year.

Entertainment rewards, in particular, aren’t very common. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is a competitor that offers 5% cash back in two categories each quarter on up to $2,000 in spending, then 1% after that. Bonus categories might include movie theaters, fast food and gyms or fitness centers, though these may change.

Capital One does have formidable competition in the dining category. For cash back, one big rival is the Uber Visa Card. It offers a great 3% back in Uber Cash on restaurant and bar spending, as well as accelerated rewards on hotels, airfare, Uber rides and more.

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Point-based options for dining rewards

If you’re willing to venture into the world of credit card points, you’ll find excellent options too:

Cash back at grocery stores

While the Savor® cards offer accelerated cash back at grocery stores, you’ll find better rewards rates with other cards, such as:

For more options, read our guide on picking the best credit card for groceries.

Compare credit cards for Capital One cash back

Choose your credit score below and click “Show Cards” to view Capital One cash back cards within your credit range. From here, you can start comparing your options side-by-side.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)
$0
This no-annual-fee 1.5% cashback card offers of intro APR on purchases. No foreign transaction fees set this card apart.
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
5% cash back on Uber Eats, 3% on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.49% or 25.49% variable)
$0
A no-annual-fee card with up to 3% cash back for people who love going out. Extend the fun with 15 months intro APR on purchases.
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
8% cash back with Vivid Seats, 5% on Uber Eats, 4% on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.99% or 24.99% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn $300 after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% cash back on all purchases
22.99% variable
$39
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
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Bottom line

Capital One offers excellent cashback credit cards, with strong rewards rates and low annual fees. As always, there are many other great options out there. Compare cashback credit cards to eventually find the perfect one for you.

Frequently asked questions

  • What qualifies as a dining purchase?
    Purchases made at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.
  • What qualifies as an entertainment purchase?
    Tickets to movies, plays, concerts, sporting events, tourist attractions, theme parks, aquariums and zoos fall under this category. Purchases at dance clubs, pool halls and bowling alleys also count as entertainment.
  • What qualifies as a grocery purchase?
    Purchases made at supermarkets, meat lockers, freezers, dairy product stores and specialty markets count towards the grocery category. Purchases made at Walmart and Target don’t qualify for accelerated rewards.
  • If I qualify for the signup bonus, when will I receive it?
    Capital One credits your rewards balance within two billing cycles.

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