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How I Use the Capital One Venture: Easy Rewards and Free Trips

Aug. 8, 2016
Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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When it comes to running the content ship here at NerdWallet, Heather Yamada-Hosley is the one tinkering in the engine room, patching up holes in the hull, and occasionally manning the wheel. As a content strategist, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to consistently provide readers with engaging and enlightening content on often complex personal finance topics. She applies that same kind of insight to analyzing and selecting financial products.

Her credit card of choice: the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, a travel card that earns the same strong rewards rate on all purchases, not just those related to travel, and makes it easy to redeem those rewards.

How long have you had the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card? Why do you carry it?

“I’ve had the card for around three years. It’s my primary card because I feel like the conversion for points to dollars is pretty high for credit card rewards that aren’t tied to an airline,” Yamada-Hosley says.

Heather Yamada-Hosley

Heather Yamada-Hosley

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited two miles per $1 spent on all purchases. Points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel. That conversion gives the card an effective 2% rewards rate on everything, beating out many co-branded cards tied to a specific airline or hotel chain. Those cards tend to give bonus rewards on spending with the co-brand partner and 1% or less on everything else.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card‘s sign-up bonus also factored in to Yamada-Hosley’s decision: 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.

You can redeem the card’s miles for any travel expense — no matter which airline you flew, where you stayed, where you rented a car and so on. So if you don’t always fly with the same airlines or stay at the same hotels, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is an ideal choice.

What is your favorite feature of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card?

“Using the Capital One app makes it really easy to check my expenses and pay my bill. It’s all super fast,” Yamada-Hosley says. “Because I already use my phone to manage my expenses, my budget, my general spending, having a good mobile app for my credit card really appeals to me.”

Capital One’s mobile app lets you pay bills, view and redeem rewards and check your credit score. If you have multiple Capital One accounts, the app consolidates them all onto one page for easy toggling.

Yamada-Hosley adds that Capital One categorizes car services like Lyft and Uber as travel expenses, meaning you can redeem your miles for rides.

Anything you dislike about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card?

“Not really. The annual fee is pretty low. I’d say it’s reasonable compared to other credit cards. The point system is pretty easy to understand,” she says.

Relative to competing travel cards, the annual fee is comparable: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. After the first year, you’ll break even if you put at least $4,750 on the card in a year.

Have you booked any interesting trips with your card?

“I’ve booked two trips to Hawaii. I used it for plane tickets, Airbnb, everything. Points covered the cost of the flight,” she says.

Other trips booked on the card include a handful of flights from San Francisco to New York, one for a family reunion, others to visit a long-distance boyfriend.

When asked how many points she’s earned, she says, “I currently have 72,285 miles, did qualify for the sign-up bonus and have redeemed $420 in miles.”

Interview by Kevin Cash. Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @kevin_cash.