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Capital One cash back guide (2021): How it works, best cards

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

Choose your credit score below and click "Show filters" to view Capital One cashback cards with features that most suit your financial needs. From there, you can start comparing your options side-by-side.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
N/A
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$39
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
$5 per month for 12 months on select streaming subscriptions when you pay on time for up to $60 total credit
1% cash back on all purchases, 1.25% for months you pay on time
$0
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
N/A
1.5% cashback on all purchases
$0
A student credit card with a solid 1.5% unlimited cashback rate.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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 2021?

Capital One made no changes to their cashback credit cards in 2021.

What are the best 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
Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (580-669)
Apply now
on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
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.
  • Use your card responsibly for 6 months and Capital One may upgrade your credit limit.
Annual Fee $39
Purchase APR 26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 26.99% variable
Welcome offerN/A
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards1.5% 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: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to8%
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, 3% 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 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 24.99% variable
Welcome offerEarn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Estimated welcome offer value
RewardsEarn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023

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
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 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 24.99% variable
Welcome offerOne-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Estimated welcome offer value
RewardsEarn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

Best cashback card for dining and entertainment
Savor Rewards from Capital One

Savor Rewards from Capital One logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
670
Min. credit score
$95 ongoing
Annual fee
Up to8%
Cash back
$300
Welcome offer
If you mostly spend on dining and entertainment and you're looking to get the highest signup bonus, Savor Rewards from Capital One 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%, 20.99% or 23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% or 24.99% variable
Welcome offer$300 after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards8% cash back on Vivid Seats until 1/31/2023 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)
Apply now
on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to1.25%
Cash back
$60
Welcome offer
This is one of the best student credit cards on the market, in part because it offers rewards. You may also get a higher credit line after you use your card responsibly for 6 months.
  • 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.
  • Become eligible for a higher credit limit after using your card responsibly for 6 months.
  • 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 26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 26.99% variable
Welcome offer$5 per month for 12 months on select streaming subscriptions when you pay on time for up to $60 total credit
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards1% 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
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
Estimated welcome offer value
Rewards2% 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 2X Miles and Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select. 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

CardBest if you want …Annual fee
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardFlat-rate cash back$0
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit CardFlat-rate cash back, but you have fair credit$39
Savor Rewards from Capital OneRewards on dining, entertainment and at grocery stores$95
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardRewards on dining, entertainment and at grocery stores with no annual fee$0
Journey Student Rewards from Capital OneA student credit card with rewards$0
Capital One® Spark® Cash for BusinessFlat-rate cash back for business$0 for the first year, then $95
Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash SelectFlat-rate cash back for business with no annual fee$0
Capital One® Spark® Classic for BusinessFlat-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 Savor Rewards from Capital One 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 Savor Rewards from Capital One, 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.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Consider this top cashback card instead
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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. One big rival is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. It offers a great 3%x points on eating out or ordering in; fuel, rideshares and transit; flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; and popular streaming services on restaurant and bar spending.

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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.

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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