How to Earn Cash Back with Capital One: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

Capital One offers some powerful (yet simple) cashback credit cards. This guide will teach you all about them — so you can pick the right one(s) for you.

Best Ways to Earn Cash Back with Capital One Credit Cards
Updated May 24, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

One of the best ways to make the most of your spending is with the help of credit card rewards. For many consumers, getting cash back on everyday purchases — or at least fairly common ones — can be a very simple way to make the most of their money. Capital One credit cards in particular offer a number of options when it comes to getting easy cash back on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in learning how to earn cash back with Capital One, this comprehensive guide can help you figure out which card (or combination of cards) will maximize your cash back.

In this article

How to earn cash back with Capital One credit cards

Card name Reward rate Annual fee Best for
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment; 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and select streaming services; 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores such as Walmart® and Target®), and 1% cash back on all other purchases $95 Dining and entertainment purchases, plus food delivery
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), popular streaming services, and entertainment; 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); and 1% cash back on all other purchases $0 Dining out and grocery store purchases, plus an introductory APR
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply) $0 Introductory APR for purchases and consistent cash back
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase; plus 5% unlimited cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $39 Consistent cash back for less-than-perfect credit
Capital One Spark Cash Plus 2% cash back on every purchase, every day; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $150 Generous bonus and high rate of cash back
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases on all cards attached to the account; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $0 Introductory APR on purchases
Capital One Spark Classic for Business 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase for your business, plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $0 Less-than-perfect credit

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Reward rate: 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment; 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and select streaming services; 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores such as Walmart® and Target®), and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Early spend bonus: Earn a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Excellent

If you’re looking for a card that rewards you for restaurant and entertainment purchases, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card can boost your cashback earnings. This includes getting 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases. 

Who this card is good for: If dining and entertainment are among your top spending categories, this card could be a good option for you. In 2020, the average household spent $7,316 on food and $2,912 on entertainment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That could be a return of at least $409.12 ($10,228 x 0.04 = $409.12) for dining and entertainment purchases. 

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Reward rate: 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), popular streaming services, and entertainment; 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases; 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats (through 11/14/2024); and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Early spend bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Excellent, Good

If you want a solid cashback card with a $0 annual fee, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good choice. You won’t see the same level of cash back on restaurant and entertainment purchases as with the Savor card, but you’ll still get some perks. 

Let's say you spend $5,000 on groceries each year, that's $150 ($5,000 x 0.03 = $150) in cashback rewards. If you also spend $5,000 on dining and entertainment annually, that's another $150 in cash back.

Who this card is good for: This card is good for someone who wants to earn extra rewards on high-spending categories — but wants a $0 annual fee. The 0% introductory APR (annual percentage rate) on purchases for 15 months (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable) APR) can also be a benefit for consumers who know they’ll be making a large purchase, like a vacation or computer, and want a little time to pay the purchase off.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Reward rate: 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
  • Early spend bonus: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Excellent, Good

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card earns a consistent 1.5% cash back on all purchases, making this card a straightforward choice for those who don’t want to worry about categories or reward calendars.

Additionally, there’s a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)), making this card tempting for someone planning to make a large buy. With this card, it would be possible to buy a $2,000 computer and then take nine months to pay it off at about $222.22 per month.

Who this card is good for: If you want a straightforward, no-hassle way to earn cashback rewards as well as a $0 annual fee, this card is a good choice.

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Reward rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase; plus 5% unlimited cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Early spend bonus: Unlimited access to CreditWise: a free monitoring tool that won't damage your score
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Fair

The no-frills Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase; plus 5% unlimited cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. There’s a $39 annual fee, but that can be balanced out once you spend at least $2,600 on your card. If you spend $5,000 annually on everyday expenses, that's at least $75 ($5,000 x 0.015 = $75) in cash back.

Who this card is good for: If you’re having trouble qualifying for a cashback rewards card because of your credit, this might be an option. You could get this card with an average credit score, unlike some other cashback cards that require you to have an excellent credit score. Note that credit card issuers typically use more than your credit score to determine whether you qualify for a credit card.

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

  • Reward rate: 2% cash back on every purchase, every day; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Early spend bonus: Earn $1,200 after spending $30,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $150
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Excellent

As a business owner, it’s important to keep your business and personal expenses separate. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus can help you do this — while offering 2% cash back on every purchase, every day; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

You can also earn $1,200 after spending $30,000 in the first 3 months. 

There’s an annual fee of $150, but you can offset that by spending at least $7,500 ($7,500 x 0.02 = $150) per year.

Who this card is good for: If you’re looking for a generous early spend bonus to make the most out of your upcoming business purchases, this is a good card to consider. And on top of the bonus offer, you’ll get consistent cash back on all your purchases.

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit

  • Reward rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases on all cards attached to the account; plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Early spend bonus: Earn a $750 cash bonus after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Excellent

If you still want to earn consistent cash back but with a $0 annual fee, the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Excellent Credit is a good choice. You can also earn a $750 cash bonus after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months. 

Who this card is good for: Business owners who want a $0 annual fee and an above-average earning rate.

Capital One Spark Classic for Business

  • Reward rate: 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase for your business, plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Early spend bonus: Unlimited cash back
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Credit required: Fair

The Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a straightforward, basic card that pays out 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase for your business, plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, with a $0 annual fee. You can earn unlimited cash back, allowing you to get a little something in return as you build your business.

Who this card is good for: Business owners who have less-than-excellent credit and would like access to a cashback card can benefit from the Spark Classic.

How to access your Capital One cashback rewards

Seeing your cash back is fairly straightforward. When you log into your account, all of the vital information about your card is available at the top of your screen. You can see how much you have in cashback rewards listed on the left of the screen.

Best Ways to Earn Cash Back with Capital One Credit Cards

After a transaction clears and is no longer pending, Capital One will update what you’ve earned. The updated amount is immediately available, no matter how much you have, and you’ll see it redeemed to your card within two or three business days.

How to redeem your Capital One cashback rewards

There are no limits on when and how much you can redeem when it comes to your Capital One cashback rewards, except for when you want to redeem for a gift card. Capital One offers four main options for redeeming your available cash back:

  • Redeem for cash: Choose to receive statement credit or a check.
  • Cover your purchases: Choose from a list of eligible purchases and the cash rewards will go toward covering that specific choice.
  • Get gift cards: You can also redeem for a gift card to a store of your choice, starting at $10.
  • Share your rewards: It’s also possible to move your rewards to another Capital One card you have or to even give your rewards to someone else with a Capital One account.

Simply choose the “View Rewards” option below your rewards display and follow the instructions for redeeming your cash back.

How to set up automatic cashback redemptions with Capital One

One of the great things about Capital One is that you can choose to automatically redeem your cash back. That means you’ll never forget to use your rewards, and you’ll save time by not having to manually request your cash back. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Go to your View Rewards page, and click on your “Rewards Settings.”
  2. You’ll see an option to set up the auto-redeem function. Click on that.

Best Ways to Earn Cash Back with Capital One Credit Cards

  1. Elect whether you want the money sent to your card as a credit or whether you want a check.
  2. Choose how often you want the cash back, whether once a year or when you reach a certain threshold. The minimum is $25.

Best Ways to Earn Cash Back with Capital One Credit Cards

Once it’s set up, you can still go back anytime to edit the threshold redemption amount or even turn off the auto-redeem setting. Also, having an automatic redemption set up doesn’t stop you from redeeming cash for other rewards before you reach your threshold. So you can have an automatic redemption set up so you never forget about your rewards and still get a few bucks back here and there anytime you like.

A note on redeeming Capital One miles for cash

In addition to cashback cards, Capital One also offers popular credit cards — such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card — that earn miles instead. You can also earn travel rewards for your business with the Capital One Spark Miles for Business.

It’s possible to redeem those miles for cash, but going that route with your rewards might not be the most valuable way to use them.

Application rules for Capital One cards

Capital One has a few rules about how many credit cards you can have. In general, Capital One limits you to two personal cards. However, there are exceptions to this rule:

  • One way you could get more than two cards is if you have a co-branded card issued by Capital One, like one of its retail store cards from Bass Pro Shops, Kohl’s, and others.
  • You could also possibly get more than two Capital One cards if you have one of its business cards. For example, I have two personal Capital One cashback cards and one Capital One business cashback card.

That said, even if you’re approved for additional Capital One cards, you might not receive the associated welcome bonus. Additionally, you’re limited to one application every six months with Capital One. So if you’re not patient about your credit card applications, you might not be approved, regardless of the number of cards you have.

Before deciding how to proceed with your applications, it’s best to carefully consider which cards will work best for you and why — and then plan out a schedule to increase your odds of approval.

For example, I have a Capital One QuicksilverOne Credit Card from back in the day, and that earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase; plus 5% unlimited cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 

I recently decided to add the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card to get 3% cash back on dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like walmart® and target®), popular streaming services, and entertainment, plus 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases — with a  $0 annual fee.

By being judicious about which cards I use, I can earn more cash back. I get 3% when I pay for dining and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like walmart® and target®), popular streaming services, and entertainment purchases with the SavorOne, and I also use the SavorOne at grocery stores. Everything else gets me 1.5% cash back with the QuicksilverOne — and I don’t have to worry about registering for rotating categories. And of course, I get up to 5% cash back on business purchases with my Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business.

The bottom line on how to earn cash back with Capital One

Capital One offers plenty of options for those who want a simple approach to earning cash back. Review the choices above and figure out if it makes sense for you to maximize your cash earnings using Capital One cards. For more rewards, check out the Capital One Shopping app.

When you understand your spending habits — and are committed to paying off your balance each month to avoid interest charges — you can use some of the best cash back credit cards to earn easy money on all the things you plan to buy anyway. 

Author Details

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit has covered personal finance for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.