Key takeaways

  • The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card’s straightforward rewards structure and lack of an annual fee make it an ideal starter travel credit card.
  • The card grants access to Capital One Travel, where you can book flights, hotels, car rentals or transfer rewards to travel partners.
  • Besides its simple rewards structure, this is also the rare travel card that offers an intro APR period.

Using credit card points for travel is all the rage these days. It seems like you can’t scroll more than a couple of posts before reading about “that person” who’s using points to travel the world.

If your interest in this lifestyle is piqued but you aren’t ready to drop big bucks on a travel credit card with a hefty annual fee, you’ve got options. In fact, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a great starter travel credit card to get your award travel journey going.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card snapshot

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Now that you know about some of the card’s basic details, let’s take a look at why this card makes sense as a beginner travel credit card.

1. Earn rewards and a welcome bonus

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card gets things started with the chance to earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend just $500 in the first three months of having the card. Those 20,000 miles are worth $200 when redeemed for statement credit to cover travel expenses. It’s not a stellar welcome bonus, but it is easy to achieve with its low spending requirement.

Then, on an ongoing basis, VentureOne features a generous 5X miles when you book hotels and rental cars through the Capital One travel portal, where you can shop for everything from those hotels and rental cars to airline tickets, travel experiences and more.

With this tool at your fingertips, you’re poised to get a great deal of value from your VentureOne Rewards Card. You can earn rewards towards your next trip and have access to a robust travel booking platform that could give you substantial savings on your travel.

But most people aren’t solely using a credit card to book travel, which is why the everyday rewards of 1.25X miles on every purchase can come in handy. Those rewards will add up over time and give you a nice bank toward future flexible redemptions.

2. Redeem rewards for flexible options, including travel

Capital One calls these rewards “miles” but there are plenty of redemption options for them beyond airline tickets, including:

  • Other travel purchases in the Capital One Travel portal
  • Statement credit to cover your travel purchases made on the card
  • Check
  • Gift cards
  • or PayPal purchases
  • Transfers to 18 travel partners

Gift cards and redeeming your miles for statement credit to cover travel purchases generally have a 1:1 redemption, meaning one mile equals one cent. Converting your miles to cash back only gives you 0.5 cents per mile, and putting your miles toward or PayPal purchases would reduce each mile to be worth 0.8 cents apiece.

3. Increase miles’ value with travel partners

Even though there are plenty of redemption options, transferring your miles to one of Capital One’s transfer partners will likely yield the best value. Transfer partners include well-known brands such as British Airways, Air Canada, Wyndham Rewards and Turkish Airlines.

In most cases, your Capital One miles will transfer to travel partners at a 1:1 ratio, but Capital does run limited time promotions during which miles transfer to specific partners at an even higher rate. According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, on average Capital One miles are worth [insert shortcode: Capital One Miles (42)] per mile with a high-value transfer partner.

4. Combine rewards with those from other Capital One cards

The VentureOne everyday earning rate isn’t bad for a no-annual-fee card — 1.25X miles on every purchase — but you can certainly do better. And that’s where the ability to combine rewards across Capital One cards comes into play.

Capital One offers several cash back rewards cards that feature higher earning rates in everyday categories. For example:

If you have VentureOne and one of those other cards, you can convert all the “cash back” earned into miles under your VentureOne account, which helps you bank rewards more quickly. It also means you can use those “cash back” rewards as travel rewards, including transferring them to travel partners.

5. Enjoy Visa Signature perks

Though you won’t get many of the perks and benefits that come with more premium travel credit cards, the VentureOne Rewards Card does offer some to its cardholders, courtesy of its status as a Visa Signature card.

It has 24-hour travel assistance services, which can help you get cash if your card is lost or stolen. When you rent a car and pay with your VentureOne Card, and the vehicle gets damaged or stolen, you can cover the loss with the card’s auto rental collision damage waiver. If your airline loses your luggage, either checked or carry-on, you may be reimbursed for up to $3,000 per trip.

Other protections you receive for paying with your card include extended warranty coverage, fraud coverage and travel and emergency assistance.

6. Take advantage of an intro 0 percent APR

Travel rewards cards are a lot of things, but they are rarely an option when you need an intro 0 percent APR term. VentureOne Rewards breaks that mold.

New VentureOne Rewards cardholders can take advantage of a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, followed by an ongoing APR of 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent.

Not only is the intro APR unusual among travel rewards cards, it’s also among the best intro 0 percent APR rewards cards out there.

7. Don’t need to pay annual or foreign transaction fees

We’ve already listed numerous benefits of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card, but we haven’t yet talked about fees.

Some premium travel cards can have fees of over $600 per year. For the right person, this may not be a problem, but for the newbie travel hacker, an annual fee could be a deal-breaker. If you are new to using travel rewards, the last thing you want to worry about is an annual fee. This no-annual-fee card gives you a chance to test the waters of award travel without bogging you down with extra costs.

One fee structure this card does share with more premium travel rewards cards is that you won’t be on the hook for foreign transaction fees. In fact, Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees with any of its cards.

Can you upgrade your VentureOne card?

VentureOne offers a lot of solid benefits, but it is designed to be a travel rewards card for beginners. If you’re ready to take your travel rewards strategy to the next level, then you should consider getting a card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which offers a generous welcome bonus, travel credit opportunities and other travel perks, such as airport lounge access. Though the card has a significant annual fee at $395, it’s worth considering if you’ve reached your limit with a starter card like VentureOne.

The good news is that Capital One allows a person to earn the bonus on multiple cards in the Venture family. In other words, as a VentureOne cardholder, you can still earn the bonus for either Venture X, Capital One’s premium travel rewards card, or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, a card with a reasonable $95 annual fee.

What you don’t want to do is switch credit cards from VentureOne to one of these other Venture cards. Changing credit cards isn’t always a bad idea, but it does mean you’ll miss out on any intro bonus opportunities with the new card. In this case, if you’re ready to level up your VentureOne card, just apply for the upgraded version you want so you’ll have the opportunity to earn the new welcome bonus.

The bottom line

Starting your award travel journey can seem complicated and confusing at first. That’s why a no-fuss card like the VentureOne Rewards Card can be great for beginners to travel rewards. You don’t have the pressure of needing to justify an annual fee while figuring out how to get the most out of your rewards.

Once you’ve made some headway in your award travel strategy, you can choose to upgrade to a better travel card down the road. The VentureOne Rewards Card lets you navigate these waters at your own pace, then makes it easy for you to graduate to a different card when you are ready.