Review of the Capital One Cash Rewards Card

Last Reviewed: 12/14/2011

The CapitalOne Cash Rewards credit card personifies delayed gratification (think: ketchup).   It’s ultimately a 1.5% cashback card, which is fairly respectable. But there’s a bit of a catch: you need to wait until the end of each card anniversary year to collect the 0.5% extra of CapitalOne rewards (in other words, you get 1% cashback throughout the year, and then a 50% bonus at the end of the year).

Summary of the Capital One Cash Rewards Card
Base Rewards 1% cash back
Extra Rewards 50% bonus on cash back rewards earned during the year (exception: bonus does not apply to the spend target bonus (discussed below).
Spend Target Bonus $100 cash bonus when you spend $500 within 3 months of account activation.
Redemption Restrictions No restrictions. Redeem rewards in any increment.
Rewards Expiration Never expire.
Redemption Options Account statement credit or check.
Annual Fee None
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Earning Cash Back with the Capital One Cash Rewards Card

As noted above, this is a 1.5% cash back card, where you have to wait till the end of the year to get that extra 0.5% component. There are obviously a couple of drawbacks to that:

  • If you decide to cancel the card any time during the year, you’re leaving that year’s 50% bonus behind.
  • You’ve lost the use of that extra 50% bonus for a good deal of time (on average, 6 months). For those familiar with the concept of the time value of money, the 50% bonus is actually worth a bit less due to this.

Redeeming your Capital One Rewards

Redemption is definitely not an issue with this card. Capital One lets you redeem rewards whenever you want, in any amount you want. You can get a statement credit (our favorite) or a check (for those who just love snail mail!). You can also have rewards automatically redeem when you hit pre-defined amounts—a nice touch.

Fees: A Happy Ending

With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, the CapitalOne Cash Rewards Card gets an A+ in this department. We love cards with no foreign transaction fees!

Wrapping Up With Some Alternates

Overall, the Capital One Cash Rewards card is a solid, respectable citizen of PlasticVille. However, there are alternatives (quote from Obi-Wan Kenobi: “You can’t win, but there are alternatives…”).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card often dominates our ranking engine due to it’s crazy huge sign-up bonus ($625!).

If you are OK with American Express, then the Blue Cash Preferred® Card From American Express (get 6% cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, 3% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores; 1% cash back on other purchases.) is a force to be reckoned with.

That’s it for Capital One Cash Rewards…may the force be with you (I wonder if Lucas will sue me??)

Apply for the Capital One Cash Rewards Card.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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