Key takeaways

  • With a solid two miles per dollar earning structure and healthy welcome offer opportunity, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a good choice for both simplicity and for maximizing rewards in different spending categories.
  • Make the card worth the annual fee by fully using perks such as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck waiver and flexible redemption options for travel purchases.
  • The card's value may be limited for those who do not travel frequently or prefer rewards that can be redeemed for cash back.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was my very first foray into the travel credit card landscape, and I’m still glad for it years later. When I first signed up, I knew very little about credit cards — suffice to say, the $95 annual fee seemed daunting at the time.

But it’s been easy to get more than the annual fee’s worth of value out of the Venture card each year I’ve owned it, and I love having a flexible miles card that also earns a flat rate of rewards on every purchase. Not to mention the card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first year. That many miles (worth around $750 in travel) is typically only offered by the priciest luxury cards on the market.

So, is the Capital One Venture Card worth it? I think so, and I believe the same is true for many other kinds of spenders, as well. But it’s not for everyone, so here’s a breakdown to help you decide if this Capital One credit card is right for you.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Overview

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Reasons the Venture Card is worth the annual fee

The welcome bonus is top-notch

The Venture card is currently offering 75,000 miles for spending $4,000 in the first three months. While the full $4,000 spend threshold might be too high to meet for some cardholders, the value of this bonus is incredible for an entry-level travel card. If you redeem for travel purchases, those 75,000 miles can score you $750 worth of flights, hotels, rental cars and more when you redeem them for statement credit. Transferring your miles to one of Capital One’s high-value travel partners? According to Bankrate valuations, your miles could be worth about 1.7 cents each.

You earn a solid flat rate of miles on every purchase

Unlike other rewards credit cards that offer more rewards in particular categories of spending, the Venture card offers the same two-miles-per-dollar rate on nearly every purchase. This straightforward framework takes all the planning and guesswork out of earning with the card — no need to only pull it out for certain categories of spending or worry about merchant category codes. All you have to do is swipe your Capital One Venture Card whenever you make a purchase and watch the rewards pile in.

The great thing about a high flat rate of spending like this is that it suits multiple kinds of cardholders. Those who like to keep things simple with a go-to card for all their purchases can count on a competitive rate no matter what they buy.

Then again, cardholders like me who like to juggle multiple credit cards to earn more in particular categories have a lot to gain, too. That’s because the 2X miles per dollar earned on general purchases with the Venture is higher than the standard 1 mile/point per dollar on cards with tiered earning categories.

For instance, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of my favorite credit cards thanks to its 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1 percent). But it only earns 1 percent cash back on purchases like airline tickets or online shopping. By using my Blue Cash Preferred for groceries and then swapping out my Venture card for new clothes, I can make sure I get the best possible return on my spending.

The Global Entry/TSA PreCheck waiver covers the annual fee in the first year

In addition to a great rewards rate, the Capital One Venture card will cover up to $100 (as a statement credit) for your application fee to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. If you maximize this offer, that more than pays for your first-year annual fee and a renewal every fourth year after that.

Not to mention, these programs can save frequent travelers a lot of time at the airport.

Points redemption is flexible

The miles you earn with the Capital One Venture card are also extremely flexible and offer the same 1-cent-per-point value whether you book travel through the Capital One portal or any third-party site. That’s because Capital One Venture cardholders can make a qualifying travel purchase on their card with any site or travel vendor and then redeem miles as statement credit to cover the purchase.

Many travel credit cards only offer full point value when you book through the issuer, so this is a big perk for cardholders who like to budget-hunt on multiple platforms.

Plus, as already mentioned, transferring your miles to one of Capital One’s partners could yield the best possible value for your redemption.

The card just feels luxurious

The Capital One Venture card is a metal credit card, and while this is obviously not a make-or-break feature, it does add a certain sense of luxury when pulling it out of your wallet. In fact, the Venture is one of the heaviest metal credit cards on the market — even heavier than some cards that require a $400+ annual fee.

Reasons why the Venture Card might not be worth it for you

Less-than-stellar travel transfer partners

The truly points-and-miles-savvy know that a good list of transfer partners is the best way to get the most value out of your credit card rewards. Capital One’s travel partners don’t quite measure up to lists from American Express or Chase — in fact, there are no U.S.-based airlines on the list. That said, there’s plenty of value to be found if you frequently find yourself on international flights or you’re willing to put in the effort to understand frequent flyer programs and airline alliances.

The value for non-travel miles redemptions is low

The Venture card is first and foremost a travel card, and that’s obvious in its rewards redemption structure. While redeeming for travel purchases is super flexible and gets you steady value, trying to spend your miles for options outside of travel is not so lucrative. Cash back, for instance, only gets you 0.5 cents per mile, and Amazon purchases get 0.8 cents.

That means you’ll need to travel at least semi-regularly to really make use of the Venture card’s rewards.

Is the Capital One Venture Card worth the annual fee?

If you can take advantage of the welcome bonus, application credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and flexible redemption options for travel purchases, the Venture card is absolutely worth the annual fee.

But if you don’t spend much on travel and prefer rewards that can be leveraged for cash back, you might want to opt for a different card. The Citi Double Cash® Card, for instance, earns up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase — 1 percent as you buy and an additional 1 percent as you pay off your purchases. It doesn’t have many fancy perks, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee, and the rewards are much more straightforward.

How to offset the annual fee?

If you’re hung up on the annual fee and whether you’ll be able to offset it, consider the following example.

Let’s say you spend $24,000 annually on your card, broken down as follows:

Spend and Category Miles Earned
$6,000 on groceries 12,000
$3,000 on flights 6,000
$2,400 on gas 4,800
$4,000 on dining out 8,000
$2,600 on hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel 13,000
$2,000 on other purchases 4,000
$20,000 total spend on card 47,800 total miles earned

Those 47,800 miles are worth $478 in travel if you redeem through the Capital One portal or for statement credit to cover qualifying travel purchases. They could be worth even more if you transfer them to high-value transfer partners.

Here’s how, based on the 1-cent-per-mile valuation, to offset the annual fee in the first year and on an ongoing basis.

First Year Value Ongoing Basis Value
Welcome bonus +$750 (75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months) $0
Rewards from spending +$478 +$478
Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit +$25 (up to $100 every four years) +$25 (up to $100 every four years)
Annual fee -$95 -$95
Total value $1,158 $408

The bottom line

At the end of the day, the Capital One Venture Card offers a straightforward way to earn a solid amount of rewards. Travel buffs who like to rack up as many rewards as possible will find their spending could go further with other travel rewards card issuers who offer tiered rewards structures and more robust transfer partner programs, but Capital One Venture rewards is no slouch.

If you’re looking for a simple way to earn miles and enjoy a few cardholder perks, the Capital One Venture Card does keep things simple.