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 travelers.
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Nerdy takeaways
  • The card offers 2x miles on all purchases and lets you redeem them for travel in various ways.

  • The $95 annual fee is outweighed by its benefits for most casual travelers.

  • Skip this card if your travels focus on specific airlines or hotels that aren't in its transfer partner network.

  • High spenders in certain areas (groceries, gas) might find better cards offering bonus points in those categories.

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 work with specific hotel chains only. Others are a hassle. If you’re new to the world of travel credit cards, the array of options can be even more overwhelming.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

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.

But its recent welcome offer boost means this card is worth a closer look. To help you decide if the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the right card for you, let's consider whether the perks outweigh the annual fee.

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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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.

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

The welcome bonus

This card comes with a nice welcome bonus: Enjoy $250 to use on Capital One Travel in your first cardholder year, plus earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening - that’s equal to $1,000 in travel.

The Capital One Venture miles value is 1.4 cents each according to NerdWallet's most recent analysis, which means the bonus is good for more than $1,050 worth of travel purchases if you use transfer partners.

If you opt to use the points to book in the Capital One Venture travel portal, rather than transfer to partners, the points are worth 1 cent each. That means the welcome bonus is still worth up to $750 in travel purchases.

Redeem miles for statement credit against travel purchases

You can redeem these miles against any travel purchases on your statement at a rate of 1 cent per mile, 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 broad, so you could redeem miles for spending on rideshare apps, car rentals, taxi cabs and Airbnb stays.

Transfer partners

Capital One has 18 transfer partners, including three hotel programs. Most of these partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio, which means that one Capital One Mile becomes one point.

Transfers can be made in 1,000-mile increments. Popular Capital One transfer partners include Qantas, Finnair, Wyndham and Etihad.

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 $100 in statement credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees. Since this covers both fees in full ($78-$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 cent 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 if you're not planning on traveling soon, the option to use your miles on nontravel spending is nice to have.

Travel insurance upgrades in the portal

When booking a flight through the portal, customers can also purchase Cancel For Any Reason coverage. With this benefit, you can cancel the booking for any reason whatsoever and get most of your money back as long as the cancellation is done within a specified timeframe.

If you're looking for trip coverage in general, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the credit cards that provides complimentary travel insurance benefits.

Capital One Dining

Capital One teamed up with chef José Andrés, the James Beard Foundation and the Michelin Guide to compile a list of hundreds of restaurants in more than 15 major cities that will be a part of the Capital One Dining program.

These restaurants set aside a number of tables for Capital One Dining reservations specifically, making it a little easier for cardholders to reserve difficult-to-book tables at popular restaurants. The program will also give cardholders access to culinary events like the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Airport lounges

Capital One airport lounges are available in airports like Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington-Dulles and Denver International. Some of the more enticing amenities include soundproof relaxation rooms, well-stocked private shower suites and cycling and yoga rooms.

There's 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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

With this card, you get two complimentary visits per year to Capital One lounges or to more than 100 Plaza Premium lounges.

Additional visits to Capital One lounges can be purchased for a discounted rate of $45. Meanwhile, all other travelers must pay $65 for the privilege of visiting a Capital One lounge.

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, the Capital One lounges rival American Express’s renowned Centurion Lounges and Chase Sapphire 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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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 breadth of qualifying spending 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. This card is worth it for casual travelers who want miles that are straightforward to earn and easy to redeem.

It's also a good fit for those who don't want to worry about category spending to maximize points.

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 lackluster 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 pros and cons of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

For those keeping score, here's what to be gained — or missed — by adding this card to your wallet.

Pros:

  • Extra large sign-up bonus. The welcome offer not only matches the bonus-point sign-up offer on the more expensive Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, but it also now includes a $250 credit for Capital One Travel. If you're just trying to collect Capital One miles, this is a much cheaper entry point.

  • Straightforward rewards: It's easy to accumulate rewards, as cardholders earn 2x miles on all purchases.

  • Some flexible redemption options, but not too many: Redeem miles for travel booked through Capital One Travel, transfer to hotel or airline partners or use them for statement credits towards travel purchases.

  • Travel perks: Airport lounge access and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (every four years) will make your airport experiences more comfortable. Plus no foreign transaction fees is a highlight for frequent international travelers.

Cons include:

  • The annual fee. You need to recoup through rewards to make it worthwhile.

  • Lower rewards rate: Compared to some premium travel cards, the 2x miles on all purchases might not be the highest earning rate.

  • Transfer partner network: While offering some valuable transfer partners, the network might not be as extensive as some competitors, like the network available to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Cardholders.

Frequently asked questions

Though previously a Visa card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card became a Mastercard in April 2024.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is worth it if you prefer simplicity in rewards earnings and are satisfied with the Capital One network of transfer partners. If you take advantage of the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit (available once every four years) and lounge access, you will get even more value from the card, despite its $95 annual fee.

You can use Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card miles on 15 airlines, including:

  1. Aeromexico.

  2. Air Canada.

  3. Air France/KLM.

  4. Avianca.

  5. British Airways.

  6. Cathay Pacific.

  7. Emirates.

  8. Etihad.

  9. EVA Air.

  10. Finnair.

  11. Qantas.

  12. Singapore Airlines.

  13. TAP Portugal.

  14. Turkish Airlines.

  15. Virgin Atlantic.

No, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card does not charge foreign transaction fees.

The best way to redeem Capital One Miles is for travel. To get the most value, transfer your miles to its high-value airline and hotel partners. You can also use your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card miles to book travel in the Capital One Travel Portal or for credit on your statement against travel purchases. With the latter two options, miles are worth 1 cent apiece.

So, is it worth it?

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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 some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Capital One Cards from our Partners
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy $250 to use on Capital One Travel in your first cardholder year, plus earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening - that’s equal to $1,000 in travel.

Miles
Capital One® SavorOneSM Cash Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1%-10%

Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases. Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Earn 10% cash back on purchases made through Uber & Uber Eats, plus complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024. Terms apply.

Cashback

Intro offer

$200

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
4.9
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-10x

Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more capital one cards
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