Capital One launches new premium card, Venture X

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The market for premium travel cards is competitive, and card issuers are stepping up to provide cardholders more value for a bigger slice of this growing market. This time around, Capital One is entering the fray with a strong value proposition—especially for those who’d like to get more travel benefits and perks without the high annual fee of similar travel cards.

If you have an affinity for frequent travel, then you’ll want to know more about Capital One’s newest rewards credit card. At first glance, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card seems poised to compete with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express, along with other high-end travel credit cards.

But will the card’s offering really put it in the same league as these established premium travel cards? Let’s take a look at the card’s features to find out.

What does the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offer?

Quick details:

  • Rewards rate: 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.
  • Annual fee: $395 for new cardmembers

As you might have guessed, you stand to earn quite a bit of rewards on travel-related spending through Capital One Travel. In addition, the 2X rewards on all other purchases can make this an ideal everyday spending card for those wanting to rack up on travel rewards.

Additional card benefits:

  • Limited-time offer: Receive up to $200 back in statement credits for vacation rentals charged to your account within your first year.
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel.
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 toward travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary.
  • Unlimited access to all-inclusive amenities at the Capital One Lounge and at 1,300-plus Priority Pass lounges internationally.
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years.
  • Cellphone protection (requires you to pay your monthly bill with your Capital One Venture X card)
  • Visa Infinite Concierges

Earning rewards

Although you get boosted earnings on certain travel purchases booked through the Capital One Travel portal, there’s no need to track or activate anything to receive rewards like some rotating bonus cards require. With the Capital One Venture X Card, you just swipe and the miles will automatically accrue to your account.

Redeeming rewards

You can redeem your Venture X miles to cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more. You can also transfer your miles to over 15 travel loyalty programs. Miles don’t expire and there are no blackout dates.

You can redeem your miles for travel in a couple of ways: past travel purchases via a statement credit or booking new travel reservations through the Capital One travel portal. You can also redeem rewards for Amazon.com or PayPal purchases, a statement credit, check or gift cards.

How does the Capital One Venture X compare to other travel cards?

If you’ve always wanted a travel card with elite benefits like airport lounge access and credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, then the Capital One Venture X does the job at a much lower cost than the likes of the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum, whose annual fees are $595 and $695, respectively. The potential to earn rewards on travel spending is almost on par with what these cards offer, too.

The one area where this card seems to fall short is the value of your miles. Although the welcome bonus of 100,000 miles after spending $10,000 within six months of opening your account is generous, these miles don’t carry as much value as rewards from travel portals like American Express Travel or Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Capital One miles are typically worth 1 cent per mile, with some exceptions for travel partner transfers, which could go up to 2 cent per mile. While other issuers share this same feature of boosted miles with some transfer partners, Capital One doesn’t boost mile values through its travel portal. Additionally, its list of transfer partners is much smaller. For instance, Chase offers between 25 percent and 50 percent boosted value for travel bookings through Ultimate Rewards (with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve, respectively) while having a long list of travel partners spanning airlines, hotels, car rental companies and others.

However, Capital One miles win out on flexibility with no blackout dates, restrictions or expiration. There’s no minimum amount of miles you have to redeem, and miles can be used to cover any portion of a travel charge made on an outside site (redeemed as a statement credit).

Our take

Any time another travel card enters the market, it brings more competition, which can benefit consumers. We like the idea of the Venture X card’s lower-cost approach to the premium travel card concept. However, for the lower annual fee, you’ll have to be OK with the nominal redemption value on your rewards.

That said, we think this card has a lot of potential. Capital One is constantly adding new transfer partners and features to its platform, which has us hopeful the issuer will continue to evolve and improve its travel benefits. The Venture X card seems to be a step in the right direction.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News