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Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card Review – $500 Bonus + 4% Back at Restaurants

Does dining out and take-out describe your daily ritual? Capital One has refocused their Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card with a new $500 sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and a big 4% cash back at restaurants. Here are the highlights:

  • $500 cash bonus after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more.

Capital One says that existing Savor cardholders will be upgraded to the 4% back on dining and other features of the Savor, but will have their annual fee waived indefinitely. No sign-up bonus, though!

Purchase rewards details. Notable about this card is the 4% back on dining and entertainment. 4% is higher than most other rewards cards that offer some sort of boost on restaurant purchases, such as the Costco Anywhere Visa (my review) with 3% on restaurants (amongst other rewards categories), however it does charge an annual fee. Often one of the rotating 5% cash back cards has restaurants as a category.

If you already have one of those cards above, you’d have to spend decent chunk on dining out to justify paying that $95 annual fee after the first year. That $500 first-year bonus will buy a lot of grub, though! Of course, if you do dine out often, you might actually take advantage of their free Concierge service to help you get reservations at high-demand spots.

In case you were curious, the application page provides some direct clarifications on the rewards structure.

What counts as dining?
Purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains and bakeries.

What counts as entertainment?
Buying tickets to a movie, play, concert, sporting event, tourist attraction, theme park, aquarium, zoo, dance club, pool hall or bowling alley. Also, making purchases at record store and video rental locations. This excludes non-industry entertainment merchant codes like cable, digital streaming, and subscription services.

What counts as a grocery store?
A supermarket, meat locker, freezer, dairy product store and specialty market. Excludes superstores like Walmart® and Target®.

Statement credits. The rewards on this card are nice and simple. You earn cash, which can be redeemed as a statement credit or a mailed check. There are other options, but none are especially interesting or more valuable than cash.

Credit approval details. This card says it requires “Excellent credit”. Capital One is known to limit you to two consumer Capital One credit cards per person. They are also a bit unusual in that they pull your credit reports from all three major bureaus, instead of just one.

Bottom line. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has a new $500 sign-up bonus, waived first year annual fee, and 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. The total first-year value of this card is over $500, which makes it worthy of mention. Note the $3,000 of total spending required within 3 months – maybe it’s your turn to put group dinner on your card and have everyone else pay you back to take advantage of that 4% back.

The high first-year value puts this card on my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Chase United Explorer Card Review – 40,000 Bonus Miles

The United Explorer Card is a co-branded Chase credit card that offers unique perks on United Airlines including free checked bags and expanded economy seat availability when redeeming miles for award flights. Right now, the $95 annual fee is waived during the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit.
  • Priority boarding + 2 United Club one-time passes every year for your anniversary.
  • 2X miles at restaurants and on hotel stays.
  • 2X miles per on purchases from United.
  • 25% Back on United inflight purchases (Wi-Fi, Food and Drinks).
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

This product is available to you if you do not have this Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this Card in the past 24 months.

This card is very focused on making it a better experience to fly on United. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so quadrupling that is how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on. While onboard, you get 25% back on your inflight purchases of WiFi, food, and drinks.

Expanded award availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and I’ve found there is actually a significant difference when searching. If you’re constantly trying to find economy tickets for the entire family like me, this is a big deal. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On most other consumer cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Card offers great perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. A key feature for miles hoarders is the special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for economy saver flights.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

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