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The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was the second travel credit card I signed up for; I added it to my wallet about a year after I got the Delta SkyMiles American Express. It’s a reliable card with a simple earnings structure, lucrative rewards, and perks that any traveler would enjoy. For just a $95 annual fee, you get various benefits that outweigh the cost, making it one of the more popular entry-level cards on the market.
I used it as my primary credit card for about a year and a half, putting almost all of my purchases on it. Although now I tend to strategize in order to earn the most points per dollar on each of my purchases, it was nice knowing that no matter where I was shopping, I could earn two miles per dollar to use on future travel.
I’ve also found that Capital One has a very user-friendly app and website, along with fantastic customer service, making me a loyal consumer. Now, let’s get into why this might be the next card in your wallet.
Why it’s worth it
The streamlined earning structure, high rewards rate, and flexible redemption structure make this card worthwhile for almost any traveler. Capital One has excellent transfer partners that can get you around the globe effortlessly. The card also has valuable protections, like travel accident insurance, an additional year on top of the manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less (up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per account) on eligible purchases, and an auto rental collision damage waiver to protect you and your purchases.
The only real con you might find is in the pro itself—there aren’t any bonus categories to maximize your earnings. However, I didn’t find this to be a significant deterrent in applying for the card, as other cards can fill these gaps. If you had the Venture Rewards Card, you could complement it with the American Express® Gold Card, where you will earn four points per dollar at restaurants and on groceries, three points per dollar on flights, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. I don’t personally have this card, but it’s next on my list, as I think it fills in some gaps in my own points and miles strategy. Right now, I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred on dining purchases, as it gives me three points per dollar instead of two when using Capital One. I use my Citi Premier Card at gas stations and supermarkets, which also gives me an additional point per dollar. On non-bonus category spending, I always use my Capital One.
Card’s benefits and perks
One of the main benefits of the Venture Rewards Card is the fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. If you use your card to enroll in either of these programs, you get back up to $100 as a statement credit. Plus, you’ll get this statement credit every time you renew your membership. I used this perk to enroll in Global Entry back in 2019, and it has since saved me significant amounts of time and energy throughout my travels.
Cardholders also get two free visits to Capital One Lounges—or to 100+ other locations in the partner lounge network—each year. This is a great way to test out lounges if you are not ready to commit to a card like the Capital One Venture X and enroll in Priority Pass. There’s currently just one Capital One Lounge open, and it’s in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). However, two more are set to open this year in Washington Dulles (IAD) and Denver (DEN). You can also use your two free visits at Plaza Premium Lounges, which have locations worldwide. Although I’ve never taken advantage of this perk, as it’s relatively new for cardholders, I have found that airport lounges can make an ordinary travel experience exceptional. The Turkish Airlines lounge at the Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of my favorite lounges I frequent because it is comfortable, the food is always delicious, and the service is impeccable.
On top of these perks, cardholders get automatic Hertz Five Star status, which lets you skip the rental counter when renting a car and gives you a wider selection of cars to choose from. Another nice perk: There are no foreign transaction fees, so you can use your card worldwide without racking up extra charges.
Current welcome offer
The current welcome offer allows new cardholders to earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. If you were to redeem those miles in the Capital One Travel portal, the offer would be worth $750. However, you can transfer those miles to a number of partners to get a better value—more on that later.
How to earn miles
One of the primary benefits this card provides to those new to credit cards is simplicity. Cardholders earn two miles per dollar on all purchases. When booking hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel, cardholders earn five miles per dollar. Other than that, there’s not much strategizing you can do or bonus categories you need to worry about.
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The Venture Rewards Card is perfect for everyday purchases. If you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gives you three points per dollar on dining, online grocery orders, and streaming services, you’ll want to use that card on bonus category spending. However, on other everyday purchases, you would only earn one point per dollar using your Chase card, so you would want to pull out your Venture Card at checkout to maximize your earnings.
How to spend/redeem miles
You have two options for redeeming your miles—you can either book hotels, rental cars, or flights through the Capital One Travel portal, which gives you a flat rate of one cent per mile. Or, you can transfer your miles to several hotel and airline partners, frequently giving you a much better valuation per mile.
The following partners have a 1:1 transfer ratio, which means if you transfer 1,000 Capital One miles, you will receive 1,000 points in your rewards program account.
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada - Aeroplan®
- Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Choice Privileges®
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Finnair Plus
- Flying Blue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- TAP Miles&Go
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Virgin Red
- Wyndham Rewards
There are two additional partners: EVA Air has a 2:1.5 transfer ratio, and Accor Live Limitless has a 2:1 transfer ratio. This means that if you transfer 1,000 Capital One miles to EVA Air, you will receive 750 points in your Infinity MileageLands account. If you transfer 1,000 Capital One miles to ALL - Accor Live Limitless, you will receive 500 points in your rewards account.
Ultimately, you want to stretch your miles as far as possible, so transferring them to a partner can help. For instance, on a one-way flight from Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG) this September, you can book through Capital One Travel and pay 305,020 miles to fly in business class. Or, you can transfer just 73,500 miles to Air France at a 1:1 ratio and book the exact same route and fare class. Note you will have to pay $205.90 in taxes and fees when booking directly with Air France, but you still save over 231,000 miles by transferring.
I transferred 42,200 Capital One miles to Avianca LifeMiles and booked a business class ticket from Buenos Aires to Mexico City. This ticket would have easily cost me over $1,000 if I had booked in cash or over 100,000 Capital One miles if I had booked through the portal.
What I wish I knew before signing up
When I first got the Venture Rewards Card, I was not very savvy with my redemptions, so I quickly blew through my welcome bonus. I redeemed points for statement credits and gift cards, not realizing I could get a significantly better value out of my miles with a bit of research. I believe any redemption is helpful, as it cuts out costs you’d otherwise pay out of pocket. But, if you look at points and miles as having a dollar value, you don’t want to spend more than you have to.
Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.