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Capital One VentureOne vs Venture Rewards: Would you Pay the Annual Fee?

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The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have one obvious difference: the former has a $59 annual fee (waived the first year), while the other has no fee. Annual fees are a hot-button topic. Many people refuse to pay an annual fee on a credit card, and laugh at the idea of carrying a card that isn’t free. But rejecting those cards out of hand means you might be missing out on a higher rewards rate, better signup bonus or both. Banks know that annual fees trigger a visceral response, and that people feel an aversion to annual fee cards even though they might be worse off if they don’t pay a fee. We’ll take the emotion out of it and do an in-depth drilldown on the Capital One Venture Rewards (fee + better rate) and the Capital One VentureOne (no fee + worse rate).

Capital One has given us a great testing ground to show exactly what an annual fee can get you, with the fee-toting Venture Rewards card and the fee-less VentureOne.  They both earn No Hassle Miles and differ only in the signup bonus, annual fee and ongoing rewards rate. Those are, however, pretty significant differences. While a consumer who is adamantly against fees will tend to opt for the VentureOne, Capital One’s been upping its signup bonus on the Venture Rewards to the point that it’s rarely a good decision to get the plain ol’ VentureOne. First, let’s walk you through the differences:

So when you weigh the Rewards versus the One, you’re comparing the higher rewards rate (+0.75%) against the annual fee (-$59 after the first year). The right choice will depend on 1) how long you hold the card and 2) how much you spend.

Why the Venture Rewards usually wins out

The Rewards has an annual fee, but earns at 2% instead of 1.25%. However, the higher rewards rate usually covers the difference in itself. To calculate the value, we took the difference in rewards rate and subtracted it from the disadvantage (the fee). The table below shows your average yearly savings with the Venture Rewards as opposed to the VentureOne, given different lengths of time and spending habits:

How much better is the Venture than the VentureOne, in terms of rewards minus annual fees?

Here’s how much you’d save with the Venture Rewards, compared to the VentureOne.

Dollars Spent per Year
 Years Held $0 $4,000 $8,000 $10,000 $14,000 $20,000
1 year $0 $30 $60 $75 $105 $150
2 years $-59 $1 $61 $91 $151 $241
3 years $-118 $-28 $62 $107 $197 $332
4 years $-177 $-57 $63 $123 $243 $423
5 years $-236 $-86 $64 $139 $289 $514

The tipping point is around $8,000 spent each year.

If you spend less than $8,000 a year: You’ll have to analyze your own spending habits to see if the annual fee’s worthwhile. The more you spend, the better the Venture Rewards looks, but as you hold the card longer and longer, the VentureOne becomes increasingly more attractive. Do the calculations for yourself:

Average savings per year = ([Signup bonus + 0.02 * spending * years held - $59*(years held - 1)] – [$100 + 0.0125 * spending * years held])/ years held

If you spend more than $8,000 a year: The Venture Rewards has your name written all over it. For those who spend $8k+ a year, the difference in the rewards rates cancels out the annual fee all by itself, irrespective of signup bonuses.

Plus, if you get the Venture Rewards, you can call in and ask them to drop the annual fee after the first year. We’ve heard a number of people claim it has worked for them, so it’s worth a shot!

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  • David Joyce

    I’m confused where you’re saying it earns 2%. It earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. But I don’t see anything about it earing 2% cashback. I just signed up for this card too and now I’m confused and not sure I should have. I should have looked more closely at Capital One’s page….

    • Jon Beer

      The miles are valued at 1 cent, so 2 cents back from $1 is 2%.

    • Cassandra Telenko

      I realize that this post is old. But so others are aware.. you get 2% if you apply it to your statement transactions (i.e. you find a qualifying transaction that is valued less than your available points and get a statement credit). But, if you try to get cashback you only get 1%.

  • Rebecca Albiani

    Sounds good, but we just had a horrific customer service experience with
    this card without even getting to use it. My husband applied &
    received one to use as a backup credit card for a trip to Europe, then I
    applied for a second card under my name. I tried to set up online
    payment with my card & it didn’t work; I called to find out why
    & the rep said oh, you have to do that with the primary card. OK,
    fine. Anyway, I didn’t get around to registering my car for a while
    after that, & when I did, I found out that it had been canceled, due
    to “fraud,” apparently after my earlier phone call. So had my husband’s
    account. Only they didn’t bother to call us & let us know the
    account had been canceled or check with us to see if there had truly
    been fraud or anything. Neither the registration woman nor the fraud
    dept. woman she transferred me to spoke English terribly well, and they
    couldn’t explain what had happened – they said it was under
    investigation & private. My husband tried to call & was
    actually much nicer than I was, & the reps hung up on him. TWICE.
    End result, we have no backup credit card for Europe. We will NEVER use
    this company again.

  • Barbara Burkett

    I’ve had a great experience with Capital One customer service and the “chat” helpers, they have always been anxious t0 help me with any questions or problems that I’ve had. This summer when I was in Europe I had my luggage stolen with my credit card number in it. Since I was in desperate need to use the credit card to pay rent on an apartment etc. Capital one block the account unless I called to let them know that I needed to make a charge. They stayed on the line until the charge was completed then they blocked it again. It took time for them to do this, I’ve never had such personal service from any online company. Thank you Capital One!