credit cards

New Capital One cards

Monday, March 15
Posted: 2 p.m. Eastern

Today Capital One launched two travel rewards credit cards -- the VentureOne Card and its premium twin, the Venture Card. The Venture Card offers more miles than the VentureOne Card, for an annual fee of $59, which Capital One waives the first year. You earn two miles for every purchase on the Venture Card, and 1.25 miles for every purchase on the VentureOne Card. The Venture Card also awards a bonus of 10,000 miles if you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months.

Neither card sets retailer restrictions, spending categories, caps, blackout dates or expiration. Users can redeem miles for travel expenses, such as flights, hotels, cruise lines or car rentals.

On the downside, you do need excellent credit for these cards. The Venture Card also doesn't offer an introductory period for purchases.

Paying an annual fee for a rewards or cash-back credit card only makes sense if you don't carry a balance and spend enough to earn benefits that offset the fee. Light users need not apply. The Web site capitaloneventure.com lets you calculate your annual miles total based on your monthly spending.

Capital One isn't the only issuer offering better rewards after the new credit card law took effect on Feb. 22. CNN reported earlier this month that Citibank increased the miles-to-dollars ratio on its American Airlines-branded cards for some customers, as did Chase for its co-branded British Airways cards. Chase also raised the cash-back rate on its Freedom cards to 5 percent from 3 percent for certain spending categories.

Compare the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Cards with other rewards cards at Bankrate.com.

If you care more about low fees and interest rates than rewards programs, consider credit union credit cards.

Questions? Comments? E-mail plastic_rap@bankrate.com.

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