Are you a casual traveler or a mile maximizer? Does paying an annual fee matter to you? What about rewards redemption flexibility?

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card so that you can choose the best travel credit card for your lifestyle.

Cards Capital One Venture Rewards card Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa
Rewards rate Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase Unlimited 1.5X points on every purchase
Welcome bonus 50,000-mile bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months from account opening 25,000-point bonus when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of your account opening
Welcome bonus redemption value Worth $500 toward travel Welcome bonus worth $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Yearly value for travel redemption $240 (based on $1,000 per month spend) $180 (based on $1,000 per month spend)
Annual fee $95, waived the first year $0
Best for Globe trotters, mile maximizers Casual travelers

How to get the most value out of the Venture and Travel Rewards Visa cards

The Venture card and Travel Rewards Visa offer different rewards structures, fees and welcome bonuses, but don’t be too quick to judge which card offers the better value.

Let’s take a look at an estimated yearly value for both travel cards.

Capital One Venture Rewards card

If you spend $1,000 a month with the Venture card, which offers an unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, you’ll earn 24,000 miles or $240 in travel statement credit within 12 months — and that’s not including the $500 worth of travel statement credit you’ll earn from the welcome offer after spending $3,000 within your first 3 months. This brings you to a total of $740 in travel statement credit earned by the end of your first year.

You can further boost the value of your Venture card’s rewards by transferring your miles to one of Capital One’s 15 travel partners. According to the November 2019 point and mile valuations by The Points Guy, Capital One Rewards are worth around 1.4 cents. If you were to transfer your 74,000 points to a Capital One travel partner like Aeromexico, your points could be worth around $1,036 in travel statement credit.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa

If you spend $1,000 a month with the Travel Rewards Visa (which earns 1.5X points on every purchase), you’ll earn 18,000 points or $180 worth of statement credit toward travel purchases. When you include the welcome bonus you’ll earn after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of your account opening (worth $250 statement credit toward travel purchases), you’ll have gathered a total of $430 in statement credit by the end of your first year.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards member, you earn even more points with each purchase. (Preferred Rewards qualifications are based on the combined balances in your Bank of America bank accounts and Merrill investment accounts.) According to Bank of America’s rewards calculator, spending $1,000 monthly would earn you $225 annually in statement credit toward travel purchases as a Gold Preferred Rewards remember, $270 annually as a Platinum Preferred Rewards member and $315 annually as a Platinum Honors Preferred member.

Why you should get the Venture card

As one of the top travel credit cards offered by Capital One, the Venture card offers an unlimited 2X miles on every purchase and a 50,000-mile welcome bonus for spending $3,000 within the first three months from account opening. You will have to pay a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived your first year. If you’re big on traveling abroad, you’ll be pleased to know the Venture card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the United States.

The Venture card doesn’t offer a plethora of travel perks (think: lounge access), but one we’d like to highlight is the up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® when you use your Venture card to complete the application and pay the application fee ($100 fee for Global Entry and $85 for TSA PreCheck®). Bear in mind that you’ll receive one statement credit per account every four years.

We really like the card’s 15 available travel partners, seeing as you can squeeze more value out of your points (in most cases) by transferring your Capital One miles. The list includes:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France KLM
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines

Redemption options

Miles earned with the Venture card can be redeemed for cash in the form of a check or statement credit, gift cards and more, but we especially like the flexibility of redeeming for travel. You have two options when it comes to redeeming miles for flights, car rentals and hotels: Book through capitalone.com or by calling Capital One’s Rewards Center (with no blackout dates on travel) or redeem for travel you’ve already taken with Purchase Eraser®.

As long as you redeem with Purchase Eraser within 90 days from the date of your original travel purchase, you can receive an account credit for eligible purchases. Better yet, it doesn’t matter where the travel was originally booked through, as long as you used your Venture card to purchase it.

Additional features

Travel protection perks for the Venture card are pretty broad. You’ll receive travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services and an auto rental collision damage waiver for any eligible vehicles you rent that experience damage from collision or theft. General security perks for the card include $0 fraud liability, the ability to lock your card from the Capital One Mobile app and various security and account alerts.

Though you should primarily consider the Venture card based on its travel-related benefits, the card also offers VIP entertainment experiences related to dining, sports and music. You can read more about upcoming events, here.

How to get approved

You’ll need a good to excellent credit score (between 670 and 850) to be approved for the Venture card. If you’re interested in boosting your score, Bankrate has outlined seven ways you can improve your credit score.

Why you should get the Travel Rewards Visa

The Travel Rewards Visa is one of the two travel credit cards offered by Bank of America that isn’t co-branded.

You’ll receive an unlimited 1.5X points on every purchase and a 25,000-point bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days of your account opening (redeemable for a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases). The Travel Rewards Visa may earn you 0.5 fewer points on every purchase compared to the Venture card, but you won’t have to pay an annual fee. That saves you an extra $95 per year compared to the Venture card (although the Venture card’s annual fee is waived the first year).

If you value the ability to transfer your rewards to partner airlines or hotels, this isn’t the card for you. Unlike Capital One, Bank of America doesn’t offer any travel transfer partners (meaning you won’t be able to maximize your rewards’ value by transferring them). Yet Bank of America does offer a Preferred Rewards program that boosts your points by 25, 50 or 75 percent, depending on your tier (Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors). That means you could potentially earn up to 2.62 points on every purchase. Learn more about the program and how to qualify, here.

Low introductory APR offer

Unlike the Venture card, the Travel Rewards Visa offers a 0 percent introductory offer on purchases for 12 billing cycles (see terms for variable APR after that). That means if you make a large purchase on the card, you’ll have a year to pay it off without paying extra in interest.

Redemption options

As far as point redemption goes, the Travel Rewards Visa lets you redeem for statement credit towards flight, hotels, cruises, rental cars, baggage fees and vacation packages (and just like the Venture card, there aren’t any blackout dates or restrictions on travel). A disadvantage to this card is that you’re essentially reimbursed for your travel purchases rather than being able to make direct travel purchases with your rewards.

Additional features

Security protections include a $0 liability guarantee — meaning you won’t be held accountable for fraudulent transactions made with your account — and account alerts. You’ll also receive overdraft protection and access to your FICO® Score (updated monthly) online or within the app.

Since it’s a Visa card, you’ll receive select Visa Signature perks like 24/7 concierge service, roadside assistance, an auto rental collision damage waiver and more.

How to get approved

The Travel Rewards Visa requires good to excellent credit (between 670 and 850) for approval. If your score isn’t quite up to par, you can view credit card options for fair credit, here.

The bottom line

Both the Venture card and Travel Rewards Visa have Bankrate’s stamp of approval when it comes to solid travel credit card options. The Venture card is probably a better pick for your lifestyle if you want the card’s up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® or the ability to transfer your miles to partner airlines.

The Travel Rewards Visa will earn you a slightly lower rewards rate compared to the Venture card, but you won’t have to pay an annual. Plus, if you’re already a Bank of America or Merrill customer, you could earn a bonus percentage on your rewards.