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American Express Gold vs. Capital One Savor: Which is best for foodies?

If you spend a lot on food, these cards should be on your radar. But which one is better for you?

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When you look for a credit card to earn rewards on groceries and dining, the American Express® Gold Card and the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card* stand out as two of the strongest options on the market. With both cards offering excellent value, CNBC Select analyzes the Amex Gold and the Capital One Savor based on the rewards, benefits and potential ongoing value so you can make an informed choice about which card works best for you.

American Express Gold vs. Capital One Savor

Card details

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 4% on eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    4% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases
  • Ability to redeem rewards at any amount, unlike some other cards with $25 minimums
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers

Welcome bonus

The Capital One Savor* comes with a welcome bonus of $300 after you spend at least $3,000 within three months of opening an account.

You have to spend more money to earn the Amex Gold's welcome bonus, but you also have a longer time period to reach that amount. Plus, the bonus provides more value than the Savor card's bonus. You'll get 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months of card membership with the Amex Gold. That's $600 when redeemed for airfare through American Express Travel, or potentially more value when transferred to Amex's airline or hotel partners like Delta or Marriott.

WINNER: The American Express Gold offers a more valuable bonus — and more time to earn it.

Rewards

Both cards offer generous rewards rates.

With the Capital One Savor*, you'll earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and eligible streaming services, 3% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. Additionally, you'll get 8% back when you purchase event tickets through Capital One Entertainment. Through Nov. 14, 2024, the card also offers 10% back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases.

The American Express Gold yields 4X points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases.

As you can see, while both cards come with high earning rates on dining and groceries, they're geared toward slightly different types of spenders. The Savor card might be a better choice for cardholders who make a lot of entertainment purchases, such as tickets for concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, amusement parks and others. The Amex Gold, however, is designed with travelers in mind and offers extra points on eligible airfare purchases.

WINNER: Tie. The Amex Gold offers better rewards for frequent travelers, while the Capital Savor One is a better choice for those who spend more on entertainment.

Redemption

The redemption options for the Amex Gold mark it as a travel credit card. You can redeem Membership Rewards points in several ways, including statement credits for charges, gift cards and purchases at select merchants, although this yields less than stellar value, from 0.6 to 1 cent per point.

However, you'll only get the full value if you redeem for airfare through the issuer's portal, in which case 1 point will be worth 1 cent. You'll get much better value out of your Amex points if you transfer them to one of Amex's travel partners, including Delta, Air Canada, British Airways, ANA, Marriott and others. This can be a time-consuming and complicated process, which is partly why the Amex Gold is best for experienced travelers.

Redeeming rewards with the Savor is much simpler. It's a straightforward cash-back card and the value doesn't change — 1 cent will be 1 cent no matter the redemption method. You can opt to redeem for a statement credit, check, gift cards or charity donations.

However, if you also hold the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees) or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees), you can transfer your cash back from the Savor card onto the Venture card. These points can then be changed to Capital One Miles, which also have the ability to transfer to hotel and airline partners.

WINNER: If you only want to redeem for airfare and are comfortable navigating point transfers to get the best value, the Amex Gold is the winner for you. Otherwise, the Capital One Savor* provides a much more consistent reward value across all redemption categories.

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Additional perks

Where the Amex Gold shines is with its added perks and benefits, including:

  • $120 in annual Uber Cash to use for rides or dining via Uber Eats ($10 per month).
  • $120 in annual dining credits ($10 in statement credits per month) for purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack franchises around the U.S. Enrollment is required.
  • $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership offering free two-day shipping and free returns at eligible online merchants.

If you regularly spend on Uber and at delivery services or restaurants that are eligible for Amex's dining credit, then you shouldn't have trouble offsetting the Amex Gold's $250 annual fee. But if you don't, you're running the risk of using these services just to justify the card's cost — which means you're spending more than you would otherwise.

The Capital One Savor* has fewer perks than the Amex Gold, however, cardholders still get benefits like extended warranty, travel accident insurance, access to *complimentary concierge services and 24-hour travel assistance, and secondary car rental insurance. These benefits are rather common for annual-fee travel credit cards and available with the Amex Gold as well.

Right now, you can also take advantage of a promotional offer available on the Capital One Savor*: through Nov. 14, 2024, the card provides a complimentary Uber One membership, which gets you discounts on Uber rides, free delivery and reduced service fees on Uber Eats orders and other perks — it normally retails for $9.99 per month. This benefit stacks nicely with the card's 10% cash back on Uber rides and Uber Eats orders.

WINNER: The American Express Gold comes with more appealing perks for food lovers.

Annual fee

There's a big difference between the two cards in terms of their annual fee.

The Capital One Savor* charges $95 per year — a moderate annual fee for a rewards credit card.

The Amex Gold, on the other hand, is more than twice as expensive. The card will set you back $250 per year, which can be significant if you're unsure your spending habits will help you offset the fee.

Before you decide how much you're comfortable paying for a credit card, consider the potential value it can offer. Many cards with annual fees — even high fees — easily recoup their price with rewards and perks for the right cardholder.

WINNER: The Capital One Savor* comes with a much more affordable annual fee.

Doing the math

To illustrate each card's potential ongoing value, let's assume you annually spend:

  • $5,250 on groceries
  • $3,000 on dining
  • $650 on entertainment
  • $750 on air travel
  • $120 on streaming services
  • $5,000 on other purchases

In this scenario, the Capital One Savor* would earn you $366 in cash back per year, or $271 if you subtract the $95 annual fee. Or, if you made all your entertainment purchases through Capital One Entertainment, you'd get $392 in total annual cash back (or $297 after the annual fee).

With the Amex Gold, you would earn 41,000 points for the same spend if you bought airfare through Amex or directly from airlines. Those points are worth $410 when redeemed for flights with Amex Travel, so, after accounting for the annual fee, you'd only get $160 in value.

If you maximized the annual credits, however, your yearly card's value would go up to $660 — or $420 after the $250 fee.

As you can see, with the budget we've used, paying a higher fee for the Amex Gold only makes sense if you take full advantage of the card's additional benefits.

It's important to apply similar calculations to your spending to see what card makes more sense for you. Also, consider how you're planning to redeem your rewards. For example, if you're good at navigating point transfers to get the best value, the Amex Gold can offer a higher yield. At the same time, the Savor may be the winner if you want to apply your rewards to anything besides air travel.

Bottom line

Both the Amex Gold and the Capital One Savor* are excellent cards to consider if dining and groceries are big spending categories in your budget. That said, the Savor might be a better option if you want a simpler card that provides consistent value. The Amex Gold, on the other hand, can be a good choice for frequent travelers who can also easily use its Uber and dining credits without changing their spending habits.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.  

*For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply

*Information about the Capital One Savor has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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