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.
  • When you've gotten your feet wet with the VentureOne, you can request Capital One to upgrade to one of its other travel cards.

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 guy” 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. If you want to know more about why you should get this card, keep reading.

What does the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card offer?

Quick card details:

  • Rewards rate: 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 1.25X miles on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0

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

Earn rewards on travel spend

The VentureOne Card has a generous rewards rate when booking travel through the Capital One travel portal, where you can shop for airline tickets, hotel accommodations and car rentals.

The issuer has recently expanded access to its travel portal. It also includes some pretty neat features like:

  • Price prediction
  • Price watch
  • Price drop protection
  • Price match guarantee
  • “Cancel for any reason” insurance

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.

Redeem rewards for flexible options, including travel

Although you earn miles with this card, there are plenty of redemption options for them, including:

  • Travel purchases in the Capital One Travel portal
  • Statement credit
  • Check
  • Gift cards
  • or PayPal purchases
  • Over 15 travel partners

Gift cards generally have a 1:1 redemption, while converting your miles to cash back only gives you 0.5 cents per mile. Putting your miles toward or PayPal purchases would reduce each mile to be worth 0.8 cents apiece.

Increase miles’ value with travel partners

Even though there are plenty of redemption options, you’ll get the most value out of your miles by transferring them to one of Capital One’s transfer partners. Transfer partners include well-known brands such as British Airways, Air Canada, Wyndham Rewards and Turkish Airlines.

Although most Capital One transfer partners’ redemption ratios are 1 cent per mile, in some cases, your miles could be worth up to 2 cents per mile depending on the transfer partner, according to our latest points and miles valuations.

Don’t need to pay an annual fee

If you are new to using travel rewards, the last thing you want to worry about is a carrying cost. 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.

This no-annual-fee card gives you a chance to test the waters of award travel without bogging you down with extra costs.

Easily earn the welcome bonus

Another plus of snagging this card is the welcome bonus of 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 within the first three months of opening your account. For a card with no annual fee, you’re already getting a ton of value with the welcome bonus alone. The best part is that the spending requirement is relatively low and achievable, for the average cardholder.

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 to its status as a Visa Signature card.

There’s 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.

Upgrade to the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

If you’ve used your VentureOne card the right way, hopefully you would have enjoyed your first taste of award travel to the fullest. But, with a basic travel credit card, there are limits to the award travel feats you can accomplish.

If you are ready to take your travel to the next level, then you should consider getting a card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which offers a generous sign-up bonus, additional statement credits and other travel perks, such as airport lounge access. Though the card has a significant annual fee, it could be a strong consideration if you’ve reached your limit with a starter card like the VentureOne Rewards Card.

The good news is that Capital One makes it pretty easy to change credit cards. It’s not uncommon to be targeted for upgrade offers from this issuer, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until you get an offer from Capital One.

You can simply call customer service and request an upgrade. Though there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved, your odds are much better if you’ve got a decent credit score and have kept your current Capital One account in good standing. (Note, you might not be eligible for welcome offers if you upgrade instead of applying fresh.)

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 miles.

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.