Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Review – 2x Miles

AT A GLANCE

Rating: 4.1

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardLearn More

Published or updated: August 13, 2016

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a popular travel rewards card with a $59 annual fee (waived the first year) and a very straightforward rewards system. Every $1 spent with this card earns 2 miles, and miles can be redeemed at a set rate for a range of travel purchases.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is just one of many general-purpose credit cards. It’s comparable to its stablemate, the VentureOne Rewards Card, which is a no-annual-fee version of the Venture card, but with some notable differences. It also competes with non-Capital One cards with annual fees ranging from $50 to $100: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclaycard Arrival Plus, Expedia+ Voyager, the United MileagePlus Explorer, British Airways Visa Signature, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, Gold Delta SkyMiles, and Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage. Annual-fee-free competitors include Discover it Miles, BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card, Barclaycard Arrival, and the Expedia+ Card.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus: When you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles. That’s worth $400 at redemption.
  • Earning and Redeeming Rewards: The Capital One Venture Rewards Card earns an unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent, with no caps, categories, or restrictions. You can redeem your accumulated rewards for travel purchases (including airfare, car rentals, other forms of ground transportation, hotel stays, and more) in two ways. First, you can exchange your miles for account statement credits at a fixed value of $0.01 per point, either by manually selecting the purchase you wish to offset in your online account, or by calling Capital One’s customer service hotline and doing the same. Second, you can book travel directly through Capital One’s online travel portal and pay with miles instead of cash, again at a $0.01-per-point value. If the item you’re redeeming for is worth more than the cash value of your miles, you can make a partial redemption (minimum 2,500 miles) and pay the balance in cash. Capital One does allow you to redeem miles for non-travel items, including cash, gift cards, and general statement credits, but values for such redemptions vary widely, are subject to change, and are often less than $0.01 per mile.
  • Regular APR: The purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 13.24% to 23.24%, depending on your personal creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 23.24%, and there is no penalty APR.
  • Important Fees: The $59 annual fee is waived during the first year your account is open, and there is no foreign transaction fee. The cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 3% of the advanced amount. There is no balance transfer fee, and the late payment fee is $35.
  • Credit Building Tools: Capital One Venture Rewards cardholders get a free FICO score with their monthly online or paper statements. The score is also accessible on demand through account dashboards. In addition, this card offers access to Capital One’s Credit Tracker tool and other useful credit-building resources.
  • Other Cardholder Benefits: This card comes with a nice lineup of other benefits, including 24/7 concierge service and assistance with complex travel bookings; preferred access to special events, such as concerts and sporting events; and 24/7 emergency card replacement service when traveling.
  • Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit. Any notable credit blemishes are likely to disqualify your application.

Advantages

  1. Flexible Redemption Options. The Capital One Venture Rewards Card lets you redeem accumulated miles for virtually any travel purchase, from long-distance airfare and luxury hotels, to economy car rentals and intercity train tickets. That’s substantially more flexible than branded travel cards such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles from American Express ($95 annual fee) and Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard ($95 annual fee), which either restrict redemptions to airfare only or require you to follow complicated conversion systems (which often reduce point values) to redeem for merchandise of other forms of travel, such as hotel rooms.
  2. No Balance Transfer Fees. Capital One Venture Rewards doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee. This puts it in a small minority of cards. Most competing travel rewards cards charge anywhere from the greater of $5 or 3% of the transfer amount to the greater of $10 or 5% of the transfer amount.
  3. No Foreign Transaction Fees. If you want to use a credit card while traveling out of the country, this is a good choice. Some other travel rewards cards, such as Citi Hilton HHonors and Expedia+ Card from Citi, charge fees on foreign transactions up to 3%.
  4. No Penalty APR. This card charges no penalty interest. That’s a big advantage for cardholders who occasionally miss payments. Some competing travel cards, including the Expedia+ Voyager Card ($95 annual fee) and Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage, charge penalty interest up to 29.99% APR.
  5. No Spending Categories. The Capital One Venture Rewards Card doesn’t have any spending categories or associated limits to keep track of. You simply earn an unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase, every day. That’s a big advantage next to competitors such as the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card ($49 annual fee), which pays 2 points per $1 spent on cell phone purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
  6. Comes With a Free Credit Score and Credit Tools. This card gives you a free FICO score with your monthly statement and on-demand through your account dashboard. It also has one of the most comprehensive suites of credit-tracking and credit-building tools, such as Capital One Credit Tracker, of any travel card.
  7. Comparatively Generous Sign-up Bonus. The Capital One Venture Rewards Card’s $400 sign-up bonus isn’t tops among fellow general-purpose travel rewards cards. However, it’s the highest among cards with relatively low annual fees – or no annual fees, for that matter. To get a better sign-up bonus, you generally need to look to cards with annual fees higher than $90.

Disadvantages

  1. No Preferred Brands or Partnerships. The fact that this card’s miles can be redeemed for any travel purchase is a blessing and a curse. Since no transaction type or travel-related brand is prioritized over any other, it’s difficult to use this card as a “travel hack” to lower your overall travel costs or earn free flights quickly. That’s a big drawback relative to branded cards such as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card ($75 annual fee), which tends to offer much better redemption deals on long-haul flights, including with partner airlines, such as British Airways.
  2. Has an Annual Fee. This card comes with a $59 annual fee. While that’s not super-high by fee-bearing travel rewards cards standards, it’s still a black mark next to the multitude of fee-free travel cards. Popular fee-free alternatives include the Expedia+ Card and Barclaycard Arrival.
  3. Limited Travel Benefits. Capital One Venture Rewards doesn’t come with many travel benefits beyond the rewards program itself. If you’re in the market for a card that offers convenient or luxurious perks in the airport, on the plane, or in the hotel, look elsewhere. Branded cards typically have more to offer in this area. For instance, Gold Delta SkyMiles offers in-flight food discounts and priority boarding, while the Alaska Airlines Card offers a potentially valuable companion airfare discount and $50 credit toward a new Alaska Airlines airport lounge membership.
  4. Miles Are Always Worth $0.01 Apiece. The Venture Rewards Card’s miles are always worth $0.01 each at redemption. This makes for less confusion when it comes time to redeem, but it’s not ideal if your aim is to maximize the value of your accumulated miles. Whether you redeem for a trans-Pacific first-class journey or a short-haul domestic economy hop, you can always count on a straight miles-to-dollars conversion. By contrast, brand-specific rewards programs (such as Gold Delta SkyMiles and AAdvantage) have widely variable redemption values, with miles worth substantially more (sometimes several times more) on long-haul international redemptions, compared with short-haul domestic redemptions. If your ultimate goal is a free flight to Australia or Asia, just about any brand-specific travel rewards card is superior to Capital One Quicksilver.
  5. Requires Excellent Credit. By Capital One’s own admission, this card requires excellent credit. That means it’s likely not an ideal first travel rewards card, even for travelers with good to very good credit. For an entry-level travel rewards card, consider the similar Barclaycard Arrival or Expedia+, both of which have the added bonus of being fee-free.

Final Word

Travel rewards credit cards are frequently pigeonholed as intentionally complex, confusing, and user-unfriendly. This sweeping generalization is built around a kernel of truth: Many airline and hotel credit cards have complex redemption schemes that assign wildly variable point values depending on numerous factors, discourage participants from converting points to other rewards programs, and impose annoying restrictions such as blackout dates.

However, it’s unfair to say that all travel rewards cards are complicated, particularly when popular options like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have increasingly come to dominate the category. With this card, you never have to worry about how much your miles are actually worth at redemption, or whether you’re even able to redeem for a given type of travel purchase. While the Capital One Venture Rewards Card certainly isn’t the most generous travel card by any stretch, there’s something to be said for its forthrightness.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

  • Big J

    I’ve never had another rewards card prior to the Venture card, but I love having this card. What’s great about this card is that you can also redeem your “miles” for gift cards and get the same value as you would if you used it for travel. For example, 20,000 points (which takes spending $10,000, but it’s money you would spend anyway) can get you a $200 gift card for Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and many other places. That’s usually what we use it for – let the points build up and then use it toward something for the house.

  • Ira Fronk

    pls delete

  • http://elliscaulley.posterous.com/currency-exchange-calculator-an-efficient-too Elisha Kean

    I highly recommend this card because of its generous mileage rewards program. I also like Capital One cards because they give you all the information you need upfront, there is not a lot of important information buried in the fine print.

  • http://www.nextpay.com/prepaid_debitcard_solutions.php Online Master Card

    Hello Jason. This is a nice review. Though I’m deeply satisfied using American Express Blue Cash Preferred, I might give this a try. We can have multiple cards provided of course that we know how to manage them otherwise we will be buried alive.

    And because I love rewards, I do some unusual things to spike it up. Once in a while I offer my friends/relatives to arrange their trips. So I get their cash, charge the services to my credit card and get the rewards. It’s neat.

    Best regards,
    Belinda

  • J Lindsey Tape

    Do you have to be a bank customer (have an account at Capital One) to be approved for this card.

  • Michael

    I’m glad you addressed the fact that this is not actually a miles rewards card. You never get any airline miles, nor can you transfer the points from the card to any actual airline rewards programs. This is simply a cash rewards card misleading consumers by calling itself a miles rewards card. You can redeem points at 1 cent per “point”, with absolutely nothing to do with airline miles.

    To put this into perspective, I just looked up a one-way, international economy ticket from LAX to Tokyo. The cost through United is $980. Or you can book it using award travel for 32,500 United MilagePlus points. Now if you had the Chase Sapphire card (or any other actual miles rewards card), you could convert miles at 1:1 from the card’s reward program into United MileagePlus miles. That would require roughly $32,500 in purchases to earn the 32,500 points needed to book (actually less with the Sapphire card, since they give a 7% annual bonus and double points on dining and travel). But compare that to the Capital One Venture card. Since it’s not actually a miles rewards card, but a cash rewards card, you have to pay the actual cash cost of any airfare. For this same ticket with the Capital One Venture card, it would require $49,000 in purchases to get 2% back and a total of 980,000 points to cover the cash cost of the ticket. So in this example, you only need to spend 2/3 as much on your Chase Sapphire card compared to the Capital One Venture card to get the same airline ticket, even though you only get 1 point per dollar with the Sapphire card on most purchases. Why the difference? Because the Sapphire points are far more valuable when transferred to actual airline miles that you can redeem for award travel. It’s most pronounced on first class tickets, where you’d only need to spend about 1/3 as much on the Sapphire card.

    The take home messages is that the Capital One card is just a cash rewards card, although they go to great lengths to mislead the public into thinking its a “miles rewards card” that actually gives you airline miles. If what you actually want is cash back, then the Venture card is your best deal. If you want miles and airline travel, get a real miles rewards card.

  • Lee

    Capital One Venture Rewards. Yes I agree It does not give you miles it gives you two cent on a dollar, there are no miles at all, you can not redeem them, just try. They will then explain to you the truth. We fell for their ads and even though I asked several times on two different calls to confirm that I get two miles for one dollar. When I wanted them transferred my miles to an airline they said sorry the 19,000 miles you earned is really only 195.00 and as we all know 19,000 miles cost a lot more then that. And their customer service is just treats you like your an idiot.

  • Gordy

    I love this card. I have charged close to $40,000 on it annually for about the last two years and really enjoy the 2% “travel” cash back on my purchases, which is one of the best out there. As was mentioned by the author, you can only redeem the 2% back for travel purchases, but we go on a vacation or take a flight at least once a year and have been able to pretty consistently use the rewards without any issues. Note: You must have enough points to cover the full amount of the purchase though as it will not let you redeem a partial reward. The customer service for this card has always been the best. They pick up the phone immediately and are always very polite and helpful. In fact, one time I was trying to book a flight to Hawaii online and the charge would not go through for some reason. I called CapitalOne and they said that they would call the airline on my behalf and work everything out for me. I just had to give them the details first. Then they called me back about 30 minutes later via conference call with the airline after everything was ready just to have me verify the info and give the go ahead for the charge. Wow!