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Last week I published a review of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, and also published a review of the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Both of these are compelling business cards for anyone looking to earn cash back equivalent for their business purchases.
In this post I wanted to take a look at one of Capital One’s most popular personal credit cards, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Here’s what you need to know about the card:
Capital One Venture Card sign-up bonus
The Capital One Venture Card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That sign-up bonus is worth up to $500 worth of travel, which I consider to be solid.
Capital One Venture Card annual fee
The Capital One Venture Card has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. The sign-up bonus gets you $500 worth of travel, so if you want to look at it differently, the sign-up bonus will get you rewards equivalent to the annual fee for the first six years, not factoring in the rewards you earn from spending money on the card.
Capital One Venture Card rewards structure
The Capital One Venture Card offers unlimited 2x miles. Each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, so I view this as almost being the equivalent of a 2% cash back card.
It’s worth noting that not all miles are created equal. When I talk to people about this card they often tell me “well why would I get any other card, this card offers double miles on all purchases?” Technically that’s true, though really one mile is worth a cent here, while there are other mileage currencies that are worth significantly more than a cent each.
Just to give one example, points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a purchase, meaning they’re worth 50% more than the miles earned on the Venture Card.
Earn 10x miles with hotels.com
This is a new benefit, but the Venture Card now offers 10x miles on hotels.com bookings. See my previous post on this topic for an analysis on when it does and doesn’t make sense to book through hotels.com to take advantage of this.
How does redeeming miles on the Venture Card work?
As I said above, each mile earned on the card can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, but how does that actually work? There are two ways you can redeem your miles:
- You can redeem them for past travel purchases using Purchase Eraser, where you can simply make an eligible travel booking using your card, and then you can go online after the fact and use your miles to pay for it within 90 days of the date of purchase; your credit will be applied to your account within 2-3 days
- You can book a travel reservation through capitalone.com or book by phone, and each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase
Eligible travel purchases include purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents, and time shares.
You can redeem your miles towards just about any travel purchase with the Venture Card
Capital One Venture Card perks
The Capital One Venture Card offers some other potentially valuable perks, including:
- No foreign transaction fees
- The ability to add authorized users at no additional cost
- Secondary car rental coverage, purchase security and extended protection (coverage on items lost or stolen within 90 days), travel and emergency assistance services, and more; the full details of this can be found in the cardmember agreement
- Complimentary concierge service with the Visa Signature Concierge
Why you SHOULDN’T get the Capital One Venture
What it boils down to is that this card offers the equivalent of 2% cash back, which you can spend towards the cost of a travel purchase. There are several no annual fee cards offering a similar return. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and unlimited 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. So you’re getting the same return, except you can spend that cash on anything, and the card also doesn’t have an annual fee.
I should also mention that while the card is marketed as earning miles, in reality each mile just gets you one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase. So this is the card to get if you just want to be able to book whatever travel you want, but it’s not the card to get if you want to earn miles in traditional programs, where you can potentially redeem for first & business class tickets at reduced rates.
Why You SHOULD get the Capital One Venture
So why should anyone consider the Capital One Venture Card, when there are other cards offering the equivalent of 2% cash back without an annual fee? Because the card has a big sign-up bonus worth $500, it has no foreign transaction fees, it offers good purchase protection, and more. Like I said above, if you want to think of it differently, the sign-up bonus gets you value that basically covers the annual fee for the first six years, so you’re not actually “out of pocket” much here.
In other words, while the Citi® Double Cash Card is great, I’d think of it more as a supplement to another card. There’s a lot of value in having no foreign transaction fees, so for someone looking for a simple credit card strategy who wants to earn cash back, the Venture Card is a solid option.
What are other personal credit cards worth considering?
If it’s cash back you’re after, then I think the no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card is the best alternative, though it also has no sign-up bonus.
If you’re looking for an extremely lucrative card that earns travel rewards, there are a few other options that are worth considering:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a sign-up bonus of up to 50K points and offers double points on dining and travel and great travel protection
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a sign-up bonus of up to 50K points and offers triple points on dining and travel, a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass membership, a Global Entry fee credit, great travel protection, and more
- The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express offers triple points for flights booked directly with airlines, and double points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
Personally I don’t have the Capital One Venture Card, since I feel like I can earn a better return on other cards. Then again, I’m obsessed with miles & points, and am pretty good at redeeming them. I’d much rather put my spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. However, I know plenty of people who swear by the Venture Card and are really happy with it.
If you’re looking for a well rounded travel cash back card that has a generous sign-up bonus, waived annual fee the first year, and no foreign transaction fees, then the Venture Card is worth considering.
If you spend a lot on dining and travel, then I’d recommend considering something like the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card.
If you have the Capital One Venture Card, what has your experience been with it?