Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review
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Capital One Venture Rewards Overview
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.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- $95 annual fee
- Miles worth 1 cent or less unless using select airline transfer programs
- Steep spending requirement to reach full sign-up bonus
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Annual fee: $95
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent (variable)
|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.” The Venture earns 2X miles on purchases.
Capital One Venture current sign-up bonus
New cardholders able to meet the steep spending requirements will enjoy Capital One’s recently announced sign-up bonus: a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for instance, offers 60,000 points, worth $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards after a $4,000 spending requirement in the first three months from account opening.
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.
With the Venture card, Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and you’ll earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases.
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.
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 April 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), and TAP Air Portugal (1:1 tier, available April 20) and Turkish Airlines (2:1.5 tier, available Apr. 20). 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 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 cut your value to about 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 April 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, up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck and extended warranty. The eye-catchers here, however, are the lost luggage reimbursement 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 current 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 four 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. It has no foreign transaction fees, and the $95 annual fee is no bother since you only need to spend at least $396 per month to recoup it.
Other than that, there aren’t many potential ongoing costs to keep up with, except for the 15.99 percent to 23.99 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 Citi ThankYou points (worth 1.7 cents) and Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth 2 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 ended this boost on April 10, 2021.
Best cards to pair with the Capital One Venture card
Flat-rate rewards cards generally pair best with bonus category cards from the same issuer that align 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, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), plus 1 percent on all other purchases.
If you frequently fly Air France though, you might want an 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.
Learn More: Is the Capital One Venture Card worth it?
Is it the best credit card for you?
Naturally, the Venture card is the best fit for cardholders who 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.
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 $4,752 per year/$396 per month/~$92 per week (accounting for a 1:1 redemption value).
- Can earn the sign-up bonus by spending at least $1,000 per month (60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening)
- Have a credit score of good to excellent (670 to 850 FICO score, 781 to 850 VantageScore).
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, Qantas or Singapore Airlines.