Cover your bases. Don’t over complicate life. Be prepared. I’m not sure where or how these lessons were drilled into my head, but they were.
So, when I started looking at credit cards, I focused on one that would do far more than just let me make charges. It had to be advantageous in many circumstances, especially for rewards and travel. Therefore, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was at the top of my list. I’ve been a cardholder now for seven years. Here’s why I’m keeping it active and at the ready:
Figuring out what spending categories will generate the most rewards isn’t something I enjoy, so I was attracted to the simplicity of earning an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases.
For this reason I use my Venture Rewards Card for most major purchases over $100, whether it’s to upgrade a phone, buy clothes or for holiday shopping. If I charge $1,500 in a month, I know that Capital One will drop 3,000 miles into my reward bank. It’s an uncomplicated calculation.
The only exception to the 2 mile per dollar earning opportunity is a positive one, and it’s equally easy.
When I book hotel rooms using Capital One Travel with my Venture Rewards Card, I get 5 miles for every dollar I spend. That’s a huge incentive to use this card for vacations. Signing for a $1,000 hotel bill isn’t fun but at least I know I’ll earn 5,000 miles, worth $50 in travel.
Fun to watch the miles rack up
I like being able to see exactly how many miles I earn for each charge. I just log in to the website and go into the “earn activity” section of my account.
For example, this month my mom was in town and I took her out for a swanky meal. That bill was $188.44, and it earned me 377 miles. I splurged on two pairs of sunglasses for $145.39, which netted me 291 miles. It’s like checking the progress of a savings account.
With regular activity, the miles add up quickly. Like almost everyone, I was homebound for most of 2020 and the early part of this year. I just reviewed my miles balance and nearly 50,000 are sitting in my account. That’s roughly a $500 round trip ticket to anywhere in the world. With so many travel rewards, I just have to decide where to go!
The Venture Rewards Card gives me the ability to use my miles to freely roam. Since it’s not affiliated with a specific airline, I can book with whatever airline offers the best flight.
It pairs well with my Chase *United℠ Explorer Card, which I use for all of that airline’s purchases. Though United is great, sometimes the best flights and fares are on an airline that I may only fly with once or twice. I recently used my Venture Rewards for a trip to Thailand on Singapore Airlines, which (as much as I’d like it to be) is not a common event for me. This card ensures options.
Travel benefits and protections
When I’m abroad I’ll usually use my Venture Rewards Card not just for accommodations but activities, dining and shopping because it has no foreign transaction fees. These fees are frequently 3 percent of a charge, so a vacation where I might spend $4,000 can cost an extra $120.
I have an especially large credit limit on my Venture Rewards Card, and it saved my teenage daughter’s life. A couple of years ago I took her to the Dominican Republic. On a remote island in the middle of the trip she suddenly became very seriously ill. I rushed her to the local hospital but before they would admit her I had to give a $1,000 deposit. The final bill was well over $5,000. Even if I had that much available cash in my checking account, credit cards are the better tool to use since they’re embedded with consumer protection.
The Venture Rewards Card comes with Eno, Capital One’s fraud monitoring program. Being outside the U.S. and charging that much was nerve-racking but I knew my account was protected—allowing me to concentrate on the important task of helping my daughter recover.
In the end, with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), my Capital One Venture Rewards Card is a bargain. I’m happy I have it!
*The information about the United℠ Explorer Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.