Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Review
Lyle Daly is a personal finance writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.
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Even with the many travel rewards cards available, it’s hard to find one that truly has it all -- a big sign-up bonus, a high rewards rate, a low annual fee, and travel perks you can actually use. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is the rare exception that offers all that and more. To top it off, redeeming Venture® miles is as simple as it gets. If you’ve been searching for a new travel card, let’s explore what makes the card such a standout among its peers.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Great for: Unlimited travel rewards Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Our Bottom Line
Strikes a nice balance of high rewards and a big sign-up bonus with low fees. With a base travel rewards rate of 2 miles per $1 and TSA Pre✓® credits, this is a no-fuss travel rewards card that's hard to ignore
Credit Rating Requirement:
What we Like:
- 50,000 miles sign-up bonus
- 2 miles per $1
- No foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
- Regular APR: 17.49% - 24.74% Variable
- Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
- Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Why you can trust me
I love adding to my credit card rewards, and the way I do that is by applying for new cards often. Since I want to make sure I’m applying for good cards that fit my travel plans, I’m constantly poring over the details of different cards and their current offers. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card was on my radar when I wanted a card with simple, fixed-rate mile redemptions that I could use to pay for Airbnb on a trip, and I’m a current cardholder.
What I like
50,000 bonus miles -- You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles, which is worth $500 for travel, after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. That’s one of the best sign-up bonuses in terms of total value. At an average of $1,000 per month, the bonus also won’t take too much spending.
Unlimited 2 miles per $1 -- You won’t find a travel rewards card earning more than this on all purchases. here’s no need to pay attention to bonus categories, as you’ll earn a high rewards rate every time you use it.
10 miles per $1 at Hotels.com/Venture -- Yes, you read that right. If you purchase hotel stays often, you can easily turn them into thousands of miles using your card. This offer is good through January 2020.
Fixed-rate redemptions -- Venture® miles are always worth $0.01 per mile towards travel expenses, so you can simply redeem your miles without worrying about what kind of value you’re getting. The redemption process itself is a breeze, and the best option is applying your miles as a statement credit towards previous travel purchases. By the way, Capital One classifies many types of transactions as travel, giving you ample opportunity to use your rewards.
$95 annual fee, waived for the first year -- For its benefits, the card has a reasonable annual fee of $95, and the card costs you nothing the first year you have it.
Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit -- When you pay $100 for a Global Entry membership or $85 for a TSA Precheck membership, Capital One automatically credits you back. You can use this credit once every four years. Just so you know, a Global Entry membership also gets you a TSA Precheck membership, making it the easy choice.
No foreign transaction fee -- Have no fear of using your card internationally, as there’s no foreign transaction fee.
What could be improved
Cash back redemption value -- For cash back, this isn't the card to choose, because you’ll get a pitiful value for your miles ($0.005 per mile, although Capital One has reserved the right to change that at any time). That’s to be expected since this is a travel rewards card, but it’s still important to know about.
What to look for in a travel rewards card
I ask myself two questions when I’m evaluating a travel rewards card:
- Does this card earn a good number of miles relative to its competition?
- Can I use this card’s miles to book the travel I want?
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gets a resounding yes to both questions.
The sign-up bonus and rewards rate are both high enough to rank it among the best travel rewards cards. In fact, an unlimited, flat-rate of 2 miles per $1 is among as good as it gets.
Because the card has fixed-rate redemptions that you can put towards any type of travel purchase, you’re guaranteed to find a use for your miles. You won’t have to deal with the challenges that come with using other types of miles, either, like all the searches for award space or trying to figure out where you should transfer your points.
Suggested credit score
Aim to have a credit score of 700 or higher when you apply for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Our recommended range is 700 to 750, and the higher your score, the better your odds of a successful application.
If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is an excellent alternative that’s intended for applicants with lower scores.
Is it worth the $95 annual fee?
It is if you spend at least $4,750 per year, which is about $395.83 per month, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is worth the annual fee.
At 2 miles per $1, $4,750 in spending will earn you 9,500 miles. At a value of $0.01-per-mile, 9,500 miles is worth $95, the same amount as the annual fee. Don’t forget that your card will also pay your Global Entry/TSA Precheck fee every four to five years (memberships last five years, but you can renew after four).
Those are exact numbers, but let’s also look at two more general scenarios to demonstrate when this card would and wouldn’t be worth the annual fee.
|Credit Card Use||Typical Spending||Miles Earned Per Year||Miles Value Minus Annual Fee|
|Frequent||$2,000 per month, $24,000 per year||48,000, $480 value||$385|
|Occasional||$250 per month, $3,000 per year||6,000, $60 value||-$35|
When you’re putting most of your usual expenses on your credit card, the rewards you earn with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will be much greater than the annual fee. But if you’re the type of person who only uses your credit card every now and then, you should get travel card with no annual fee instead.
Remember that the card also has an excellent first-year value. With a sign-up bonus worth $500, the Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit worth up to $100, and the annual fee waiver, you can get $600 in first-year value from the card, plus the miles you earn through your regular spending.
I’ll even take it a step further -- I’d rank the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card as the best travel rewards card with an annual fee under $100.
This card is right for you if...
As long as there’s an open space in your wallet, you can probably benefit from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. It’s an especially good match if any of the following are true:
- You want a card you can use for all your spending while earning a high rewards rate.
- You prefer the simplicity of fixed-rate redemptions with a set value for your miles.
- You want a card that costs less than $100 per year.
Another thing I like about this card is that it works just as well as a companion card that you use in conjunction with other credit cards. Here’s how this can enhance your travel rewards:
- You can use cards with higher bonus rewards rates in specific spending categories, and then use the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card for 2 miles per $1 on all your other expenses.
- You can use your Venture® miles to cover travel expenses that you can’t book with your other travel rewards, such as vacation rentals, train tickets, or rental cars.