Is the Capital One Venture Credit Card Worth Its Annual Fee?

Easy to earn and easy to redeem, the Venture is a great starter card for points and miles beginners.

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If you're a frequent flyer, you likely know the pain of searching for and obtaining the best travel credit card for your travel habits and spending. There are points here, and miles there. Some cards only work with specific hotel chains. Others are a hassle. If you’re new to the world of travel credit cards, the array of options can be even more overwhelming.

Enter the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. With at least 2x points on all spending across the board, an impressive roster of transfer partners and some new perks in the pipeline, this is a solid starter card if you’re looking for something high on value but low on complexity.

Of course, there’s the annual fee of $95 to consider.

To help you decide if the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the right card for you, we’ll take a look at whether the perks outweigh the annual fee.

Valuable perks of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

2x miles on every purchase, plus 5x on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

Depending on your approach to earning miles, the Venture card’s simple-as-can-be rewards rate of 2x miles can be a big draw. You don’t need to think about where you’re doing your spending or what you’re buying.

There is just one bonus spending category where you could earn even more miles. If you book hotels or rental cars through Capital One Travel, you'll earn 5 miles on every dollar.

Moreover, these points don’t expire for the lifetime of your account.

The welcome bonus

This card comes with a nice welcome bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

Capital One Venture miles are worth 1.8 cents each, which means the bonus is good for more than $1,080 worth of travel purchases if you utilize transfer partners. If you book in the Capital One Venture travel portal, points are worth only 1 cent each.

Purchase Eraser

You can redeem these miles against any travel purchases on your statement using the card's handy Purchase Eraser, which gives you more flexibility to redeem points than booking through a credit card issuer’s travel portal.

Capital One's definition of a travel purchase is pretty broad, so you could redeem miles spending on rideshare apps, car rentals, taxi cabs and Airbnb stays.

Transfer partners

Capital One cardholders can choose to spend their miles with more than 15 different hotel and airline transfer partners. Transfers can be made in 1,000-mile increments, with a handful of 1:1 partners, including Qantas, Finnair, Wyndham and Etihad.

Though most transfers will only get you either 500 or 750 airline miles for every 1,000 Venture miles, if you find the right sweet spots, you could possibly get more than the 1 cent baseline value per point out of the transfer.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit

Anyone who’s ever made their way through an airport knows the ordeal of waiting in line at security. If you often find yourself muttering under your breath while the person in front of you struggles to untie their shoes, this card provides a bit of relief.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can help you skip the line due to its included $100 in statement credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees. Since this covers both fees in full ($85 for TSA PreCheck or $100 for Global Entry), this perk’s an easy choice at either level.

You get one statement credit per account every four years, which works out perfectly since both PreCheck and Global Entry are valid for five years. You can just keep renewing at no cost to you.

No foreign transaction fees

Like many of the more basic travel cards out there, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card carries no foreign transaction fees, which can save you up to 3% on transactions abroad. This benefit is the bare minimum of what you should expect from a travel credit card, and it’s especially important for people who travel internationally.

And while the simplicity of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card makes it a great choice for newcomers to the world of points and miles, there are some features (with a few exciting new ones on the way) that set it apart from those more bare-bones travel cards.

Flexible spending via PayPal Pay with Rewards and Amazon Shop with Points

Link up your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card with PayPal and you’ll be able to redeem your rewards at millions of online retailers through the Pay with Rewards feature.

Nerdy tip: While this gives you the flexibility to drop some points on non-travel purchases, cardholders using the Venture or any of Capital One’s other travel cards don’t get a full 1:1 redemption ratio on purchases made through PayPal.

The 1.25:1 redemption ratio means your miles are worth 0.8 cents each. And while you’re not getting the maximum value out of your miles by using Pay with Rewards, you do get the benefit of free return shipping and purchase protection that come with using PayPal.

You can likewise link your card up with your Amazon account and use your points to make purchases through the online retail giant. The same redemption ratio applies, getting you that 0.8 cent on every point.

Linking your card to PayPal or Amazon might not be the highest-value use of precious points, but in a time when travel isn’t at the top of many to-do lists, the option to use your miles on non-travel spending is nice to have.

New perks on the way

Revamped travel portal

Capital One will shortly be relaunching its booking portal, Capital One Travel, with new features that pit it against the likes of American Express and Chase. Slated to launch in late 2021, the new portal is to include price prediction powered by a partnership with Hopper, a travel app.

Hopper boasts up to 40% savings on travel when you make purchases based on its prediction algorithm, and removing the guesswork can take some stress out of planning your next trip.

Additional features will include integrated travel insurance with the option to cancel any flight reservation made through the portal for any reason. An enhanced rewards rate on in-portal purchases is also a strong mark in Venture’s favor.

Airport lounges

Capital One’s first branded airport lounge is slated to open at Dallas-Fort Worth in late 2021, with locations at Denver and Washington-Dulles to follow in 2022. Some of the more enticing amenities will include soundproof relaxation rooms, well-stocked private shower suites and cycling and yoga rooms.

New parents will have access to private nursing rooms, and traveling families can unwind in the designated family area. Hungry? Need a pick-me-up? The lounges will also feature a coffee bar, dining stations and grab-and-go food to choose from.

While Capital One hasn’t announced pricing for lounge entry yet, Capital One cardholders will be eligible for special cardholder pricing, depending on the card. Although many travel cards come with lounge access, most have much higher annual fees and come with some annoying restrictions around fees for guests and limits on the number of yearly visits. As we’ve previously reported, these new Capital One lounges might even rival American Express’s renowned Centurion Lounges when it comes to overall value.

So if you’re someone who likes to indulge in a little luxury on your layover, this perk is definitely in the pros column for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Who is this card right for?

Even though the Venture card’s annual fee is on the lower end, there are some prospective cardholders who still might not get that much value out of the deal.

Less frequent travelers will benefit most

If you don’t plan to travel in the next year, you could skip the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. But it’s important not to think of “travel” as only meaning “flights.” Though the card — like most travel cards — is certainly geared toward those who fly often, the Purchase Eraser tool and the breadth of qualifying spending that we noted above means “travel” includes a fair bit more than just airline tickets.

Plus, if you take advantage of the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit, the annual fee could pay for itself on that alone. This card is worth it for casual travelers who want miles that are straightforward to earn and easy to redeem.

Advanced travel hackers will benefit the least

What makes this card so great for newcomers to the points and miles hobby is also what might make it a bit boring for more experienced card slingers. If you live for loopholes and have spreadsheets at the ready to maximize your miles, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might be too simplistic.

You get an ongoing 2 miles for every $1 spent — that's it. This is a mostly hack-free card.

The bottom line

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is great for those who want the benefits of a travel card without having to put too much thought into wringing every last cent of value out of it. It covers the ground that all good travel cards should, and even has a few features that set it apart from the pack.

To be certain whether the Venture card is worth it for you, use our calculator to see if the rewards you’d earn with the card will cover the fee.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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