Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

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Garrett Yarbrough  in  Travel How we rate our cards  | 

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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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Best for flexible travel rewards

Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

 

Best for flexible travel rewards

  • Rewards rate: 2X miles on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 17.24 percent to 24.49 percent (variable)

Flat-rate travel rewards cards are hard to come by, but the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a premier example.

Although it might not be able to outclass other premium rewards credit cards based on travel spending, flexible unlimited 2X miles on all purchases can be a surprisingly lucrative system. Even with the $95 annual fee, if you’re at home more than globe-trotting, flat-rate rewards can get you more in the long run.

Keep reading our Capital One Venture review to learn how its rewards structure stacks up to other popular travel cards.

This review is verified by Bankrate credit card expert Ted Rossman, a real Venture cardholder.

“I signed up for the Venture card soon before the pandemic hit, so I haven’t used it for travel nearly as much as I initially planned. But I’ve really appreciated how I’ve been able to redeem miles to offset everyday expenses. This has basically been a 2 percent cash back card that I’ve used for most of my purchases over the past year.”

 

Capital One Venture current sign-up bonus

New cardholders able to meet the steep spending requirements will enjoy Capital One’s recently announced two-stage sign-up bonus. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Since miles are worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel, Capital One’s up to 100,000-mile bonus can be worth $1,000 toward travel. Granted, this total value isn’t a massive difference from a few other premium cards’ sign-up bonuses.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for instance, offers 80,000 points, worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards after a $4,000 spending requirement in the first three months from account opening. Plus it gives up to a $50 statement credit toward grocery store purchases (one-time statement credit available for 12 months from account opening).

Rewards

The Capital One Venture earns flat-rate rewards, meaning it earns miles at the same rate on all purchases. The card also has no limit on the number of miles you can earn.

Most other travel credit cards earn rewards primarily from travel-related spending, like airfare and hotel purchases. But a flat-rate approach makes it easy to use the Venture card for earning miles toward your next journey while you’re home.

Earning rewards

With the Venture card, you’ll earn two Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

Redeeming rewards

As a travel card, your primary redemption options are to book travel through the Capital One rewards portal, receive a statement credit for recent eligible travel purchases (within the last 90 days) or transfer miles to partner airline and hotel programs.

Additionally, until April 30, 2021, Capital One has extended the recent purchases you can redeem miles for to include restaurant, delivery service and streaming service purchases.

Otherwise, you can redeem miles for gift cards or purchases made via PayPal or on Amazon.com, but you may have to sacrifice mile value compared to travel options. Even then, you’ll have to pay close attention when you’re transferring miles to partner programs. Many transfer partners have a lower value conversion at a 2:1.5 ratio, but sometimes you can find a great deal to boost your miles’ transfer value above the base 1 cent.

In fact, Capital One upgraded seven of these 2:1.5 ratio transfer partners to its 1:1 tier on Apr. 20, 2021. This rollout will come with a handful of other changes, like four new airlines added to Capital One’s list of transfer partners for more than 15 total loyalty programs to choose from. Three of these are airlines—British Airways (2:1.5 tier, available later in 2021), TAP Air Portugal (1:1 tier, available April 20) and Turkish Airlines (2:1.5 tier, available Apr. 20)—with Choice Hotels (1:1 tier, available later in 2021) being the only hotel addition. However, the most potentially valuable new partner is British Airways, since it’s also a transfer partner for American Express and Chase cards, plus the latest pre-COVID travel season showed that it’s also ranked third globally for most country markets visited (82).

How much are miles worth?

When redeemed with Capital One, your miles are worth 1 cent toward gift cards and travel, including recent travel purchase credits.

Your miles’ value will vary when transferred to partner loyalty programs, but that could work in your favor. Your miles may dip below 1 cent (just book through Capital One in that case), but some partners could boost your value to 1.4 cents per mile, according to The Points Guy’s most recent valuations.

Overall, your worst value by far is to redeem for cash back. Doing this will halve your value to 0.5 cents per mile. Transferring miles for a better value is your wisest option, followed by booking travel through Capital One, covering previous travel and redeeming for gift cards.

Your miles don’t expire for the life of your account and there are no blackout dates, so you’d be better off saving them for a rainy day than cashing them in for a half-sized check.

Capital One Venture: Benefits

For its price tag, the Venture card carries a handy selection of travel and shopping protections. But compared to competitors like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’re missing quite a few top travel perks—such as trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, trip delay insurance and baggage delay insurance.

Travel service perks

In case you’re in a pinch or planning your trip, the Venture card provides a few services to make things easier. Capital One Access offers exclusive presale tickets and other member experiences.  Meanwhile, your Visa Signature card perks throw in complimentary concierge assistance, plus premium benefits at exclusive events and locations, including more than 900 Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection properties and more than 60 Sonoma County wineries.

On top of the Capital One Travel portal and Miles Transfer Program changes after Apr. 20, 2021, your Venture card will also grant you special entry rates to the issuer’s two inaugural Capital One Lounges. Not many card issuers have their own dedicated airport lounges outside Amex’s luxurious Centurion Lounges, but Capital One is planning to include a range of premium amenities, including regionally curated grab-and-go food stations, bartended dining and areas dedicated to exercise and relaxation.

Travel and shopping protections

The Venture card isn’t one of the best cards for travel insurance, but you receive a sturdy portfolio of protections for the annual $95 price point. By paying with your card, you’ll receive staple features like auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, travel accident insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty. The eye-catchers here, however, are the lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 for checked and carry-on bags) and the Eno assistant’s virtual credit card numbers—both of which pad your travels with another layer of protection.

The Eno assistant

Capital One’s assistant program, Eno, is like your account management system rolled into one helpful assistant. It monitors your account for fraud, sends alerts, creates virtual credit card numbers and provides useful account info like your balance.

Perhaps the most interesting of these abilities is its virtual credit card number storage. Virtual credit cards are getting harder to come by, and Eno provides another layer of protection when you shop online by saving a unique virtual card number for each merchant you transact with.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit

When using your Venture card to cover the application fee, you can receive up to $100 in credit for your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application. This benefit is key for frequent travelers and it essentially offsets the card’s annual fee once every few years.

Rates and fees

If you’re in the market for a low-maintenance, low-fee way to earn travel miles, the Capital One Venture could be a great card for you. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the $95 annual fee is no bother since you only need to spend at least $283 per month to recoup it.

If you’re still opposed to an annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card doesn’t charge one, though there are better travel cards with no annual fee.

Other than that, there aren’t many potential ongoing costs to keep up with, except for the 17.24 percent to 24.49 percent (variable) APR. It’s slightly above the current average interest rate and the rates of the competing cards below but we recommend paying off your balance in full each month regardless to avoid eating away at your rewards earnings.

How the Capital One Venture compares to other travel cards

The Venture card’s main appeal is its flat-rate rewards, but you may be able to earn more valuable rewards if you’re open to bonus category-style cards. With the right transfer partner, both the Citi Premier® Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card collect points that can be worth more than Capital One miles, according to The Points Guy’s latest valuation.

Plus, you can still earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth 2 cents) and Citi ThankYou points (worth 1.7 cents) on everyday purchases, such as supermarkets and restaurants along with on eligible travel.

If you don’t want the hassle of finding transfer partners, both cards offer a 25 percent boost in point value when you redeem via their respective travel portals, but Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center will be ending this boost on Apr. 10, 2021.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Sign-up bonus
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • 2X points on dining and travel purchases
  • 2X points on grocery store purchases (on up to $1,000 per month, from Nov. 1, 2020, to Apr. 30, 2021)
  • 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
$95 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
Citi Premier Card
  • 3X points per $1 on eligible restaurant, supermarket, gas station, air travel and hotel purchases
  • 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
$95 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months
Discover it® Miles
  • 1.5X miles on all purchases
$0 Discover will match all miles earned by the end of the first 12 months

Best cards to pair the Capital One Venture card with

Flat-rate rewards cards generally pair best with bonus category cards from the same issuer that aligns with your biggest expenses.

Since the Venture is Capital One’s top travel card, you may want to consider a cash back card to fulfill this purpose. You could also choose another issuer’s card that can transfer loyalty points to the same partner programs or a co-branded card that earns at your favorite airline or hotel.

For example, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a great choice if you can take advantage of its unlimited 3 percent cash back on dining, 3 percent back on entertainment and 2 percent on grocery store purchases.

If you frequently fly Air France though, you might want the Air France airline card—or a travel card from American Express, Chase or Citi, since they all can transfer points to the Air France / Flying Blue program.

Bankrate’s take: Is the Capital One Venture card worth it?

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a convenient option if you prefer simple flat-rate rewards, or if you don’t spend enough on travel to justify a bonus category card.

The card shows its peak value if you rely on everyday expenses to earn miles, but its rewards and benefits are a rung below the specialized features of a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Pros

  • Unlimited, flat-rate travel miles on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good benefits, including up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Miles worth 1 cent or less unless using select airline transfer programs
  • Steep spending requirement to reach full sign-up bonus

Is it the best credit card for you?

Naturally, the Venture card is the best fit for cardholders that want an easy-to-use, streamlined travel rewards card to cover all their spending. Although a select few transfer partners may stretch your miles’ value and the extra security features could add extra credit points, Venture’s simple redemption process and flat-rate rewards will clinch the deal.

Clinchers

You’re a prime candidate for the Capital One Venture card if you:

  • Prefer a straightforward travel card that provides rewards on all purchases over ultra-premium travel benefits
  • Are a less frequent traveler. You’ll earn miles on purchases outside traditional travel categories. Plus, your miles can cover everyday expenses, including dining and select streaming services (until April 30, 2021).
  • Can offset the annual fee by spending more than $4,750 per year/$396 per month/$91 per week (accounting for a 1:1 redemption value)
  • Can earn the sign-up bonus by spending at least: $1,667 per month/$385 per week (or $1,000 per month during the first 3 months/$250 per week for the 50,000-mile bonus)
  • Have a credit score of: Good to excellent (670 to 850 FICO score, 781 to 850 VantageScore)

Extra credit

The Venture card could be the perfect card if you:

  • You want extra levels of security with the Eno assistant’s virtual credit card numbers and CreditWise’s in-depth credit monitoring
  • Travel with these higher-value transfer partners: Air France-KLM, Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad, JetBlue, Qantas or Singapore Airlines