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The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is among the best travel credit cards on the market. This rewards card offers an impressive one-time bonus for new cardholders and high, flat-rate rewards on every purchase you make. You’ll also get a lot of flexibility when it comes time to redeem your rewards and get an assist with expedited airport screenings through TSA.
If you’re considering getting into travel rewards, but don’t want a credit card with complicated rewards or benefits, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card should be on your radar.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Review
The Capital One Venture Card has long belonged to the top tier of travel rewards credit cards. This credit card comes with a $95 annual fee, but that’s pretty standard for travel rewards cards. While Venture miles may not be as versatile as Chase Ultimate Rewards, they’re pretty close. Keep in mind, though, that if you want cash-back rewards, you’ll want to steer clear of this rewards card. Here’s everything you need to know about the Capital One Venture.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an impressive 100,000 bonus miles for new cardholders. Here’s how this one-time bonus works. Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of account opening or 100,000 miles after spending a total of $20,000 in the first 12 months of account opening. Those miles are worth $1,000 in travel, which effectively gives you a 5% return on your spending during this first year with the card.
This 100,000-point bonus is historically the largest welcome offer to new cardholders for the Venture Card. The card issuer last featured this limited-time promotion in 2020.
The card offers a flat-rate 2X Capital One Miles on every purchase you make, giving cardholders predictability and simplicity. You’ll also earn 5X miles on all hotel and rental car purchases that you make with the card through Capital One Travel, the card issuer’s proprietary travel booking platform.
What’s more, the card also offers higher rewards rates on other purchases from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s tough to know when these limited-time offers occur and what you can expect to earn.
That said, if you like the idea of earning travel rewards but don’t want to keep track of complicated rewards structures that include several different rewards rates, the Capital One Venture is tough to beat.
On the flip side, if you like the idea of maximizing your rewards with bonus points or bonus miles on everyday spending categories, this card might not be the best fit for you.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card charges a $95 annual fee, which is standard with a lot of top travel rewards credit cards that don’t offer luxury perks. This credit card used to charge no annual fee during the first year, which would give you some time to “test drive” the card to decide if it’s right for you. But the bank dropped the introductory fee waiver when it added the TSA Pre✓®/Global Entry benefit.
Additionally, this rewards card does not charge any foreign transaction fees for international purchases, which make the Venture Card ideal for non-U.S. travel.
To qualify for the Capital One Venture, the card issuer says you need an excellent credit score. That said, “excellent” is defined differently from one card issuer to another. For Capital One, an excellent credit score means:
- You never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan.
- You haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, loan or medical bill in the last year.
- You’ve had a loan or credit card for at least three years with a credit limit of $5,000 or more.
In other words, you may be able to get approved for the credit card if you have a good credit score, which starts at a FICO Score of 670 or above. But if you’re new to credit or you’ve made some missteps, it may be tough to qulify.
A lot of travel cards at this tier don’t offer a ton of benefits. But with the Capital One Venture Card, you’ll receive an application fee credit for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry every four years.
With TSA Pre✓®, you’ll get expedited airport screening at countless U.S. airports, which can make a huge difference. According to the Transportation Security Administration, TSA Pre✓® members waited less than five minutes to get through security in December 2020.
In contrast, Global Entry not only includes TSA Pre✓® but also offers you expedited customs screening when returning to the U.S. from abroad. Because this option includes the benefits of both programs, it’s best to choose it, even if you don’t plan to travel internationally anytime soon. Both programs last five years, so you’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of your membership in both.
In addition to a TSA Pre✓®/Global Entry application fee credit, the card also offers:
- Rental car insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to premier culinary events, must-see music events and major sporting events
If you plan to get the credit card, read up on all of its features and benefits, so you can ensure that you maximize their value.
The Capital One Venture’s big one-time sign-up bonus and high rewards rate are impressive compared to most credit cards. Where it really shines, though, is with the redemption process.
When it comes to travel credit cards, it can be really challenging to find a way to use your rewards in the way you want (especially when it comes to maximizing value for travel purchases). With hotel and airline credit cards, for instance, you’re basically stuck redeeming your points or miles with the co-branded hotel or airline partner. And with some general rewards programs, you might get less value if you use your points or miles to book a flight versus a rental car or hotel.
With the Venture card, though, you’ll get a lot of flexibility. Here are some of the top redemption options for travel purchases that are available.
Redeem for past travel with Purchase Eraser
Use the card to book travel with an eligible travel-related website, and you can use your Capital One miles to get a statement credit for the purchase within 90 days from the date the transaction posts. So if you get this rewards card, then book a trip with it, you’ll have 90 days to earn the card’s welcome offer and use that cash to pay yourself back for some or all of the eligible travel expense at a rate of 1 cent per mile.
Book travel through Capital One
If you want an even simpler way to redeem your Capital One miles, you can do so directly through the issuer’s rewards platform. The Capital One Travel tool works similarly to major travel booking websites like Expedia and Priceline. Simply search for the flight, hotel, rental car or another aspect of your trip, then use your miles to pay instead of using cash. You might not get as much flexibility with this option versus booking on your own then erasing the purchase. But it’s still a straightforward way you can use your rewards.
Transfer your miles
Capital One partners with 19 transfer partners —16 airlines and 3 hotel loyalty programs— allowing you to transfer your Capital One miles and book directly with your favorite program. Partners include:
- Accor Live Limitless
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Turkish Airlines
- Choice Privileges
- Wyndham Rewards
This option gives you a lot more flexibility because many of these programs can offer higher rewards rates if you do your research and find the right deal. Just keep in mind that the transfer ratio is 2:1 or 2:1.5, depending on the partner. With many other general travel programs with transferable points, the ratio is 1:1 across the board.
In addition to a few solid travel redemption options, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also offers non-travel redemption options, which include:
- Cash back in the form of a paper check or account credit
- Gift cards
- Statement Credit
- Shopping online with PayPal
- Shopping online with Amazon.com
- Charitable donations
Just keep in mind that not all redemption options provide the same value. With travel, for instance, you’ll get $500 in value from 50,000 miles. If you use those same miles to get cash back, though, you’ll get just $250. So before you use your rewards, make sure you know what you’re getting in return so you don’t end up leaving money on the table.
It’s hard to dislike the Capital One Venture Card. The card offers an excellent welcome offer, great rewards and flexible redemption options for travel purchases. The only reason to think twice about getting it is if you’re a travel rewards enthusiast who wants to maximize your rewards, especially through transfer partners.
That’s because Capital One’s transfer ratio is subpar compared with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. In addition to that, Capital One also only has one domestic airline partner, JetBlue. In contrast, Amex and Chase both partner with three domestic airlines and also offer more hotel partners.
Finally, the Capital One Venture’s flat 2X rewards rate is sure to make a lot of frequent travelers happy. But many other travel cards offer higher rewards rates on certain spending categories, which could allow you to maximize your rewards even more.
As with any financial product, it’s important to compare multiple options to find the best fit for you.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Capital One Venture Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are some of the best travel credit cards you can get, so it’s common for experts to compare them. Here’s a quick rundown of each card’s features:
|Features||Capital One Venture||Chase Sapphire Preferred|
100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months from account opening, or 50,000 miles after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
2X miles on every purchase; 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
2X points on travel and dining purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases
|Annual Fee||$95 annual fee||$95 annual fee|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
Application fee credit for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry
Primary rental car insurance, other premium travel protections
Book with other travel merchants and get a statement credit, book directly with Capital One, transfer miles to partners
Book directly with Chase (25% more value), transfer miles to partners
On the surface, the sign-up bonuses may seem the similar, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s offering is worth 25% more if you use your points to book travel through Chase, giving its 80,000-point bonus $1,000 in value. So new cardholder will get roughly the same travel redemption value from both bonuses, but you’ll spend much less with the Sapphire Preferred.
With rewards rates, Capital One gives you more on a consistent basis, which would make it a better choice for beginners and people who prefer simplicity. But when it comes to redeeming your rewards, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is about as good as it gets. Not only do you get a 1:1 transfer ratio with more valuable rewards programs, but you’ll also get more value on non-travel redemptions — cash back, for instance, will get you 1 cent per point instead of half that like the Venture.
Both travel-focused credit cards have a $95 annual fee, but neither charge a foreign transaction fee for international spending.
On the perks side of things, Capital One’s TSA Pre✓® /Global Entry benefit is missing from the Sapphire Preferred. But if you like the idea of trip protections like baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and more, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better bet.
The Bottom Line
The Capital One Venture offers a lot of value to beginner and expert travelers alike. This rewards card’s big upfront sign-up bonus and high ongoing rewards rate aren’t easy to beat, making it a solid option for a large audience. Similarly, with no foreign transaction fees, the Capital One Venture Card is ideal for people who regularly make international purchases.
But remember, there’s no single credit card out there that’s best for everyone, even if you narrow down your list to travel cards. As a result, it’s important to take your time to shop around and consider multiple credit cards before you settle on one.
In particular, think about how you like to travel and your preferences when it comes to earning and redeeming rewards. Also, consider which perks you want from a credit card and which card will offer you the best overall value based on how you plan to use it.