Your spending habits and financial situation will naturally change over time, so it makes sense that the credit cards in your wallet will change as well. Fortunately, if you’re a Capital One customer, you can easily upgrade (or downgrade) your credit card with the same issuer. You can also open a new account.
Upgrading might be the right move for you if your credit score has improved and you want to start earning rewards for your purchases. But, a downgrade can be a smart move if you want to move away from a card with high annual fees.
While an upgrade or downgrade will usually meet your needs, opening a new account may be your best bet if you want to take advantage of a card’s introductory bonus. These bonuses are only available to new cardholders, and obtaining an upgrade or downgrade to a given card is generally not eligible. Please note that Capital One reserves the right to withhold introductory bonuses whether you are a current or previous cardholder.
Capital One Upgrade or Downgrade Eligibility
Capital One does not specify eligibility requirements for upgrading or downgrading your account. But, as a general rule, your existing account must be in good standing at the time of the switch, and you must have a positive payment history.
Additionally, the CARD (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure) Act prohibits card issuers from increasing your annual fee within one year of opening your account. That means you’ll likely have to wait until the end of the year to upgrade if the card of your choice has a higher annual fee.
Your upgrade and downgrade options will vary depending on several factors, including the card you currently own. For example, when a Bankrate writer and a Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card account holder called the bank’s customer service, he was told his account could not be downgraded.
Does upgrading or downgrading affect your credit score?
Upgrading or downgrading your card will not affect your credit score because you are transferring your existing line of credit to another card, not opening a new account. This means Capital One will not have to perform a credit check to approve the change.
Downgrading your card instead of closing your account can also help preserve your credit score. This is because when you close an old account, your average credit age decreases, so your score may suffer slightly, especially if you’ve held the account for a long time.
Additionally, canceling your card increases your credit utilization rate because your available credit decreases while the amount of debt you carry remains the same. Since credit usage accounts for almost a third of your credit score (about 30%), the increase could have a noticeable effect.
Should You Upgrade Your Capital One Credit Card?
Upgrading your Capital One credit card might be a good idea if the change helps you reach your goals. But, you need to weigh the pros and cons between old and new cards to make an informed decision.
Upgrade to the Venture, Venture X, Quicksilver or Savor
If you want to earn airline miles or cash back when you use your account, upgrading to Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Quicksilver Cash Credit Card Rewards or the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards credit card could be a big move.
Benefits of upgrading
- Travel rewards: With the Venture card, you will earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car purchases made through Capital One Travel and 2X miles on all other expenses. With the Venture X card, you’ll earn 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2X miles on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees: You won’t have to pay any fees if you use your Venture or Venture X card in another country.
- Cash back: With the Quicksilver Card, you will earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. And with the Savor Card, you’ll earn 8% cash back on Vivid Seat purchases through January 2023, 4% back on dining, entertainment and streaming services, 3% back at grocery stores and 1 % off everything else.
Disadvantages of Upgrading
- No launch bonus: When you upgrade, you will generally not be eligible for welcome bonuses offered to new cardholders.
- Annual fees: The Venture and Savor cards each have an annual fee of $95, and the Venture X card charges $395 each year for the privilege of being a cardholder. So, if you don’t use your card often, you may not earn enough rewards to offset the fees.
- No introductory period at 0% interest: Since introductory APRs are generally only available to new cardholders, depending on which Capital One card you switch to, you will pay a variable APR of 14.99% to 24.99%.
How to Upgrade a Capital One Credit Card
Capital One frequently reviews your profile and may recommend other cards that may be suitable for you. So you should check your account online or call customer service periodically if you plan to upgrade. You can also ask about upgrading to a specific card if you have one in mind.
Capital One will review your existing account and determine if you qualify for the new card. Generally, you will receive a decision instantly (whether you request the upgrade online or over the phone). If approved, the bank will send you the new card.
Should you downgrade your Capital One credit card?
Downgrading your Capital One credit card might be a good idea if it fits your financial plans. But, you should carefully consider your options before deciding.
Upgrade to VentureOne, QuicksilverOne or SavorOne
Switching to Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card or Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a smart choice if you want to downgrade your existing Capital One card to avoid paying high annual fees.
Benefits of downgrading
- No annual fee: VentureOne and SavorOne cards do not charge an annual fee for the privilege of being a cardholder.
- Travel rewards: With the VentureOne card, you will always earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, plus 1.25X miles on all other expenses.
- Cash back: With the QuicksilverOne, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. And with the SavorOne card, you’ll earn the same 8% cash back on purchases at Vivid Seats (until January 2023), plus 3% cash back on restaurants, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery purchases (excluding supermarkets like Walmart and Target) and 1% back on everything else.
Disadvantages of downgrading
- Possible annual fees: The QuicksilverOne charges an annual fee of $39.
- High APR: The QuicksilverOne card charges a variable APR of up to 26.99%, and the VentureOne and SavorOne have a variable APR of up to 24.99%.
- No launch bonus: You probably won’t qualify for the card launch bonus.
- Reduced rewards: You will earn fewer miles and less cash back than if you had the Venture, Venture X or Savor card. For example, if you upgrade from Venture to VentureOne, you will earn 0.75 times less miles on non-travel purchases.
How to Downgrade a Capital One Credit Card
When it’s time to downgrade a Capital One credit card, you’ll follow a process similar to the one you would follow if you wanted to upgrade your account. First, contact customer service to review your options. Then choose the card that best matches your current spending and goals. Once the bank has processed your application, you will receive your new card by post.
How to get the most out of your upgrade or downgrade
Choosing a new financial product is an important decision. Here’s what you need to know before switching credit cards to get the most out of upgrading or downgrading your Capital One credit card:
It is the right time
The timing of your downgrade is critical. If you want to avoid paying an annual fee, be sure to make the switch before the fee is assessed.
Learn about transferring rewards
If you’ve accrued rewards using your old card, you need to determine what will happen to your earnings. Typically, Capital One will convert your old award type to your new one. For example, if you switch from a cash back card to a travel rewards card, your cash back balance will be converted into airline miles. The card issuer can tell you the exact conversion rate.
Negotiate for an introductory bonus
Introductory airline miles or cash back bonuses are usually reserved for new cardholders. However, you may be able to negotiate with Capital One when upgrading or downgrading. It’s worth asking because the company wants to keep you as a customer.