Capital One® Savor® Rewards Review: Earn 4% Cash Back on Dining and Entertainment

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Capital One Savor offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases.
Image Credit: Capital One / Clark.com

If you are the type of person who eating, drinking and things like movies and concerts, the Capital One® Savor® Rewards card may be worth adding to your wallet.

That’s because this cash back card focuses on rewards for spending on things like dining and entertainment. Each of those categories qualifies for 4% cash back with this card, to go along with a 2% cash back reward at grocery stores.

The card does carry a $95 annual fee, but that is waived for the first year for new cardmembers. It also comes with a welcome bonus opportunity of $300 if you spend $3,000 during the first three months of card membership.

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Team Clark has spent some time reviewing the cash back rewards credit card market. The Capital One Savor Rewards card is one of the options we evaluated. We determined that it is one of the best choices for cash back rewards in the dining and entertainment category.

As you’re making your decision on whether the Savor card is a fit for you, please use Team Clark’s review of the card in conjunction with money expert Clark Howard’s 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.

What Is the Capital One Savor Rewards Card?

The Capital One Savor Rewards card is a cash back rewards card that focuses on dining and entertainment. Purchases made in those categories with this card qualify for unlimited 4% cash back.

The Savor Rewards card — which is intended for people with “excellent” credit history — does carry an annual fee of $95. Capital One waives the annual fee for the first year of card membership.

This card sometimes is confused with the Capital One SavorOne card, which is a similar dining and entertainment cash back card. We’ll break down some of the differences in those cards later in the article.

Capital One Savor Rewards: Card Specs and Perks

Before we get too far into whether or not this card is the right choice for you, let’s take a look at some of the perks and drawbacks of the card from the fine print:

Cardholder Benefits

  • Cash Back Program: As we’ve mentioned already, the chief benefit of this card is the ability to earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. But that’s not all. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Bonus: You can pile up an extra $300 cash bonus with a one-time offer for new cardholders. To qualify, you must spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of your account opening. This is in addition to the cash back earnings you may otherwise receive.
  • Vivid Seats Promotion: Capital One is offering 8% cash back on tickets purchased with this card through Vivid Seats. This deal is good through May 2020, and could be a real money-saver if you frequently attend music concerts or sporting events.
  • Premium OpenTable Access: Since this is a card you’d use for dining, it makes sense that you may want to take advantage of Capital One’s relationship with OpenTable. You get access to a premium membership that unlocks the ability to get hard-to-secure reservations at some of the nation’s top restaurants.
  • Wikibuy and Paribus: These tools are useful for online purchases. Wikibuy scans thousands of merchants to ensure you’re finding the best price. Meanwhile, Paribus is a tool that can retroactively get you money back on purchases already made online.
  • $0 Fraud Liability Protection: As is the case with other Capital One cards, the Savor card gives you zero liability in the event that unauthorized charges occur as the result of a lost or stolen card.
  • Free Credit Report Monitoring: Through the use of CreditWise, you’ll get alerts when your TransUnion or Experian credit report changes.
  • Travel Coverage: Capital One offers three perks that are worth noting for travel: Travel Accident Insurance, No Foreign Transaction Fees and 24-hour Travel Assistance Services. If you travel often, perks like getting quick card replacement can create peace of mind.

Cardholder Fees

Here’s a quick look at some of the fees you may encounter with the Savor card:

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  • Annual Fee: The card carries a $95 annual fee, but Capital One waives the first-year fee for new cardholders.
  • Balance Transfer Fees: These can go one of two directions. If you’re transferring at a promotional APR rate, Capital One will hit you with a 3% fee. If you’re going to transfer at the regular transfer APR, there is no fee.
  • Late Fee: If you miss your payment date, you can be subject to a late fee of up to $39.

Please note that annual percentage rates also apply to balances, but your individual rate will vary based on credit history factors.

Team Clark recommends that you avoid carrying a balance on your credit card to both avoid the interest charges and keep your credit utilization in check.

How Does Capital One Determine ‘Excellent Credit’?

While each person’s individual application for a credit card is measured by several factors (credit history, income, etc.), Capital One classifies its cards as suited for four different credit levels: Excellent, Good, Average or Rebuilding.

The Savor card falls into the “Excellent” category, which means you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan
  • Haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill, or loan in the last year
  • Have or had a loan or credit card for three years or more with a credit limit above $5,000

How the Capital One Savor Rewards Cash Back Program Works

Given that you may be considering this card due to the unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, it’s important to point out exactly what type of purchases qualify for this reward. After all, everyone’s definition of “dining and entertainment” is probably a little bit different.

Here’s how Capital One defines those categories for the sake of Savor cash back rewards:

What Qualifies as Dining?

For purposes of earning 4% cash back in the category, Capital One defines “dining” as purchases made at the following establishments:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Fast-food Chains
  • Bakeries

What Qualifies as Entertainment?

For purposes of earning 4% cash back in the category, Capital One defines “entertainment” as ticket purchases made at the following venues:

  • Movie theaters
  • Professional sporting events
  • Theatrical promoters
  • Amusement parks
  • Tourist attractions
  • Aquariums
  • Zoos
  • Dance halls
  • Record stores
  • Pool halls
  • Bowling alleys

What doesn’t count as entertainment:

  • Golf courses
  • Collegiate sporting events
  • Cable television or TV streaming accounts

What Qualifies as a Grocery Store?

In order to qualify for the 2% cash back reward, a grocery store purchase must be made at one of the following venues:

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  • Supermarket
  • Meat locker
  • Freezer
  • Dairy product store
  • Specialty market

It is worth noting that purchases made at “superstores” are not eligible for the 2% cash back category. So grocery purchases made at places like Walmart or Target would only qualify for the 1% cash back reward.

How Much Do I Need to Spend to Make the Annual Fee Worth It?

If you spend $200 or more per month on qualified dining and entertainment purchases, you’re going to come out ahead on the $95 annual fee.

Keep in mind that you will have no annual fee for the first year of card membership, but you’ll owe Capital One $95 per year to use the Savor card after that.

Looking ahead to year two and beyond with this card, here are some spending numbers to consider when determining if this annual fee card is right for you:

  • You’d need to spend $2,375 in qualified 4% cash back purchases to cover the annual fee
  • It would take $4,750 in grocery shopping at 2% cash back or $9,500 worth of purchases at the 1% cash back level to cover the annual fee in one category

Capital One Savor vs. Capital One SavorOne: What’s the Difference?

If you have been searching through Capital One’s cash back cards, you may have noticed that it offers this card called “Savor” and another card called “SavorOne.” If that’s not confusing enough, the cards also have a similar physical appearance.

Although hard to distinguish in name and appearance, they’re actually two different card offerings.

Both emphasize cash back on dining and entertainment and feature many of the same perks from Capital One, but there are some important distinctions to make when comparing the two:

Card CharacteristicSavorSavorOne  
Annual Fee$95 (Capital One waives the fee for first year)$0
Dining and Entertainment Cash Back4%3%
Introductory 0% APRNoYes
Welcome Bonus$300 one-time cash bonus with $3,000 or more in purchases within 3 months of account opening$150 one-time cash bonus with $500 or more in purchases within 3 months of account opening

Final Thoughts

Are you considering adding the Capital One Savor Rewards card to your wallet? Let’s review some of the pros and cons of the card before you make your final decision:

Capital One Savor Rewards: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
4% cash back on dining and entertainment $95 annual fee after first year
Welcome offer gives a chance at $300 cash bonus Requires “excellent” credit from applicants
Get 2% cash back on grocery shopping No 0% APR introductory period

Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a card that helps you get the most of your play time, this could definitely be an option with the unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment. However, if you’re looking for an everyday spender, there may be better options for consistent cash back perks in more frequently utilized spending categories.

Check our review of the top rewards credit cards to make sure you’re picking the right card for your spending habits.

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Do you have experience with the Capital One Savor Rewards card? Let us know how you like it in the comments below!

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