Amex Gold vs Capital One SavorOne vs. Savor — Which is Best for Diners?
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It’s time for a rewards credit card showdown — or should I say chow down? Recently, a friend of mine was asking me about various dining card options and specifically wanted to know my thoughts on the American Express Gold card versus the Capital One SavorOne. Incidentally, I happen to have both card options, which I’ll explain in a bit. So, let’s get to comparing these two picks… and throw in the Capital One Savor just for fun.
Dining Reward Showdown: Amex Gold vs Capital One SavorOne vs. Savor
American Express Gold Card
- Dining Rewards: 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Annual fee: $250
- Welcome bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within your first 6 months
- Best for: Diners willing to pay an annual fee for additional rewards, those already in the Amex ecosystem, or who prefer the upside potential of points over cashback.
The Gold Card (including the Rose Gold variant) is the dining card option in American Express’s premium line-up. Furthermore, the card is often regarded as a “point workhorse” when compared to the Platinum card. When you look at the multipliers the card offers, it’s easy to see why as it boasts 4x points at restaurants worldwide, 4x on purchases at U.S. supermarkets, 3x on flights booked directly or via AmexTravel.com, and 1x on everything else.
Beyond those rewards, the Amex Gold continues the dining-centric theme with the credits it offers. Each month, cardholders can earn $10 in Uber Cash, which can be used for rides or Uber Eats orders. Then, there’s also a $10 monthly Dining Credit that’s triggered by purchases from select retailers and restaurants. The recently updated list of participating brands includes Grubhub, Goldbelly, Milkbar, The Cheesecake Factory, Wine.com, and select Shake Shack locations. Note that these credits care “use them or lose them,” so you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of them each month.
As far as downsides go, the Amex Gold Card does have a fairly sizeable annual fee at $250. However, if you value the available credits fully, then that’s $240 in savings ($120 per year in Uber Cash and $120 a year in Dining credits) that help offset that fee. Plus, the current welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on the card in your first 6 months means that you’ll be off to quite a head start in the Membership Rewards points department. And, again thanks to those 4x categories, those points will also be the beginning as you quickly rack them up from there.
Capital One SavorOne Card
- Dining Rewards: 3% cashback
- Annual fee: $0
- Welcome bonus: $20 cashback after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months
- Best for: Those who prefer cashback to points, those wanting to avoid an annual fee, and those who value “entertainment” in addition to dining
Although this is an article that’s focused on dining, I have to say that the Capital One SavorOne card is actually a quite well-rounded rewards option. Starting with the dining, the card offers 3% cashback. On top of that, you’ll also earn 3% back on entertainment, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Target and Walmart), 3% on select streaming service purchases, and 1% on everything else. Actually, there are even more rewards categories as you can also score 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, as well as 8% back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats.
Unlike the Gold Card, there are no additional credits to write about with the SavorOne. On the other hand, there’s also no annual fee! Should you find yourself dining internationally, it’s also worth noting that the card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees either.
Another reason I love the SavorOne is its super reasonable welcome bonus. When you spend just $500 on the card in your first three months, you’ll score $200 in cashback. To me, that’s a pretty great deal. In fact, this is a pretty great card that’s awesome for dining, entertainment, groceries, and more — and all for no annual fee.
Capital One Savor Card
- Dining Rewards: 4% cash back
- Annual fee: $95
- Welcome bonus: $300 cashback after spending $3,000 in purchases during the 3 months
- Best for: Those who want top-level cashback rewards on dining as well as entertainment and who don’t mind paying an annual fee if it means greater earning potential
Since I’m singing the praises of the SavorOne, I should also mention its big sibling: the Capital One Savor. With this card, you’ll earn even more rewards, including 4% back on dining. You’ll also earn 4% back on entertainment, 4% on select streaming purchases, 3% at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Target and Walmart), 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 8% back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats, and 1% on all other purchases.
As you may have expected, those increased rewards rates come with a bit of a catch in the form of an annual fee. That said, it is pretty modest, coming in at $95. Still, you’ll want to consider whether you’ll be able to recoup that in rewards.
Oddly, I find that the Savor has a less attractive welcome bonus than the SavorOne. While it’s larger, it also requires a lot more spending. Currently, you can earn $300 back when you spend $3,000 on the card in your first three months. Overall, while the Savor may have a place in some wallets, I think the SavorOne is likely a better pick for most.
Why I Have Both the Amex Gold and SavorOne
As I noted at the top, I personally carry both the American Express Gold Card and the Capital One SavorOne card. Why? Well, let me explain.
My wife and I actually picked up the SavorOne first, intending for it to fill the hole left by the former Uber Credit Card’s death. In addition to the 3% cashback on dining, we were also intrigued by that 3% entertainment category along with some other perks. Plus, with no annual fee, there was little reason not to give it a shot.
In terms of where the Gold card came it, that was mostly thanks to a couple of factors. First, American Express added a $10 per month Uber credit to the card, which could not only be used for Uber Eats but also combined with the similar credits offered by my Platinum card. Then, Amex unveiled a welcome bonus that I couldn’t resist. So, cut to today and both of these cards have a spot in my credit card line-up.
Now, here’s how I manage to make use of each. Truth be told, the Gold Card is my go-to for most dining and grocery spending. Additionally, I’m sure to use up those Uber credits each month by placing Uber Eats pick-up orders and then using the Dining Credit with either a Grubhub pick-up order or getting Shake Shack if I’m in a city that has one.
Meanwhile, the SavorOne’s main superpower for us is the entertainment category, which we make regular use of as Disney Parks fans. On top of that, since we have yet to make any big Membership Rewards point redemptions, sometimes it’s nice to earn cashback instead. So, from time to time, we’ll end up using the SavorOne at restaurants on a whim, even if it is technically a slightly lower return.
Which Card is Ultimately Best for Diners?
As I’ve laid out, there are several reasons why diners might prefer one of these cards over the others. However, instead of copping out on this question, I think my recommendation for most people is this: go with the Capital One SavorOne.
With no annual fee, solid rewards on dining, entertainment, and groceries, and an easy-to-obtain welcome bonus, the SavorOne is not only one of my favorite dining cards but is among my top picks for cashback rewards cards in general. Therefore, I think it’s a winner in nearly anyone’s wallet. Of course, should you decide to add an Amex Gold card later on (like I did), you can totally do so and still see value from the SavorOne.
That said, the best option for you depends on, well, you. So, armed with this info, hopefully you’ll be better able to choose the dining card that truly hits the spot.
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