The no annual fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is designed for travelers looking for flexible travel rewards — an alternative to credit cards that reward users in the currency of a specific airline or hotel group.
The miles you earn through everyday spending on the card can be redeemed for flights, hotels and other travel in Capital One’s online booking platform. Or you can make travel purchases with the card, then use your miles to erase all or part of the charge from your bill. You can convert Capital One miles into the miles or points of 15+ partners including JetBlue, Etihad and Air Canada. You can even use your miles to buy merchandise through Amazon.
With that kind of flexibility and no annual fee, it may seem like this is a perfect card for, well, everyone. But that logic falls apart when you consider that every credit card, even if it’s free, carries an opportunity cost. Yes, the charges you make with the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earn rewards — usually 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend — but you’re missing out on rewards offered by other cards that may be a better fit for your spending habits and needs. Plus, you would be using up one of your 5/24 slots in the event you're eyeing other cards.
Here’s how to decide if the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is worth getting.
Size up the welcome bonus
A lot of credit cards make you charge $3,000 or $4,000 in the first few months to earn a pile of bonus miles. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has an easier hurdle to clear: Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
If you can responsibly charge enough to hit that bonus, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a good option. But if you can charge even more and avoid interest by paying off your balance in full every month, look at this card’s cousin, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, where you can earn this bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Do the math: Spending vs. earn rate
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card pays you 1.25 miles per every dollar you charge to the card in most categories. That’s a solid earning rate but some users will find they can do better.
For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card pays 2 miles per dollar charged to the card. This card carries a $95 annual fee, which can pay for itself if you spend a lot on the card. A little math can put the choice in perspective.
If you were to charge $12,000 in a year on the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, at a rate of 1.25 miles per dollar, you would get 15,000 miles worth about 1 cent each for travel — the equivalent of $150.
If you were paying the $95 annual fee to carry the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and used it to charge $12,000 in purchases in a year, you’d get 2 miles for every dollar — 24,000 miles — which are worth $240 toward travel. Subtract the annual fee and the net value you get using the pricier Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is $145 — just a hair short of the net $150 value you’d get from the no-annual fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.
So it comes down to this: Will your spending on the card significantly exceed $12,000 per year? If the answer is no, the no annual-fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card will benefit you more.
Think about overseas travel
Planning on heading out of the country at some point in the future? The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card won’t charge you any foreign transaction fees on purchases you make outside the U.S. while many other cards charge about 3% on top of every purchase you make.
Consider your travel risks
Many things can go wrong when you travel. You could get into an accident with your rental car or your credit card could be lost or stolen. As a Visa card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card comes with a range of travel protections that could come in handy in an emergency like travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance and a rental car damage collision waiver.
Stay one step ahead of fraudsters
This credit card comes with an array of fraud-fighting features. There’s the Virtual Card Number option with Eno, which lets you generate a one-time credit card number to make charges online, saving you from sending your real account number into the cybersphere.
There’s also the Card Lock feature with an easy-to-use app so you can freeze the card if it’s lost or stolen. And if you’re too late, there’s the $0 fraud liability feature, which assures you won’t be responsible for charges made on your card if it’s lost or stolen.
The bottom line
With an annual fee of $0, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a good deal. But it’s not the only no-annual fee card on the market. Consider how your personal spending habits could add up to rewards using the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card and how it compares with its competitors (even those with a small annual fee). Then, ask yourself what the other benefits, like fraud protections and no foreign transaction fees, mean to you.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card