Editorial Review

Capital One Venture Review: Stress-Free 2% Travel Rewards

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on everything. Redeem miles (at 1 cent apiece) for credit on your statement against any travel purchase.

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Our Take

4.1

Editor's overall rating

The Bottom Line: A big sign-up bonus, high rewards and flexible redemption make this card worth the annual fee.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee 
$95

Waived first year

Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74%

Variable

Quick Facts

Annual Fee 
$95

Waived first year

Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74%

Variable

Alternate Pick: No Annual Fee

Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card Credit Card

NerdWallet Rating

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

A great travel rewards card with no annual fee

With no annual fee, this card gives you 1.5 points for every $1 you spend. It comes with a sign-up bonus and points are redeemable for statement credit against any travel expense.

Read our review

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate
  • Flexible rewards redemption
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Sign-up bonus
Cons
  • Has annual fee
  • Redemption value for cash is half of value for travel
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • No travel partners to earn additional rewards

recommended credit score

Full Review

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the most heavily advertised credit cards on the market, but its wide popularity isn’t just the product of hype. It offers a big sign-up bonus, a high ongoing rewards rate and extremely flexible redemption options.  Simply put, you aren’t going to find many travel credit cards better than this one.

» VIDEO: What we like about this card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Basics and benefits

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is designed for someone who wants a credit card that earns travel rewards — but who doesn’t want to be tied to a specific airline or hotel brand. It’s pretty simple:

  • You earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend.
  • Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against travel purchases. Miles are worth a penny apiece when redeemed for travel.

Say you want a plane ticket that costs $400. Just book the flight however you normally would and pay for it with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. When your statement comes, you would apply your accumulated miles toward the purchase: 40,000 miles would wipe out the cost entirely. If you didn’t have enough miles to cover the whole amount of the ticket, you could redeem miles for part of the cost and pay cash for the rest.

An additional benefit is that because you’re booking the flight the same way as if you were paying cash, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates, seat restrictions or other limitations that are common to airline rewards programs plans.

Big sign-up bonus

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you a head start on your next trip with its sign-up bonus: 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.

High rewards rate

Most airline-branded credit cards give you 1 mile per dollar spent on most purchases and double miles only on purchases with the airline itself. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you double miles on everything. And its miles are worth the same 1 cent apiece as is standard within the airline industry.

Flexible redemption

Capital One’s rewards program gives you two ways to redeem miles for travel:

  • Use the issuer’s travel center to find deals on flights, hotels, rental cars or all-inclusive vacation packages, then pay for them upfront with your accumulated miles.
  • Book your travel elsewhere and use the Capital One Purchase Eraser to get a statement credit for the cost. There’s no minimum amount to redeem for full or partial credit for an expense. That’s a welcome difference from some other cards, which have minimums as high as $100. Any expense that Capital One considers “travel” is eligible for redemption. This includes not only airline flights and hotel stays, but also “rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares,” according to the Capital One website.

No foreign transaction fees

Credit cards often add a surcharge of around 3% to all purchases made in a foreign country. Good travel cards shouldn’t charge this fee, and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card does not. (In fact, none of Capital One’s cards do).

» MORE: Capital One credit cards mobile app review

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Potential drawbacks

Even champions can’t be perfect. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card lacks in a couple areas:

Poor cash-back option

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s strength lies in its travel benefits. If you want to use your miles for cash back or a statement credit for non-travel purchases, your miles are worth only half as much as if you were to redeem them for travel. This can be an issue if you’re not planning on traveling in the near future and would like to make use of your rewards.

Difficult to “hack”

For sophisticated travelers who like to squeeze every last drop of value out of loyalty programs, the straightforward rewards of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card aren’t conducive to “hacking.” The card doesn’t allow you to transfer your miles to a travel partner or have any other loopholes to multiply your rewards. What you see is what you get. Of course, that’s also the appeal for many consumers.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a better choice for travel hackers. First, there’s an option to transfer points to participating frequent traveler programs at a 1:1 ratio. You can also use your points to book a trip directly with Chase’s travel tool. If you choose this route, your points rise in value from 1 cent apiece to 1.25 cents. You can also redeem points as cash back to your Chase checking or savings account (each point will be worth 1 cent).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a great sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The ongoing rewards rate is 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

Annual fee

The card’s annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95. An annual fee isn’t uncommon for a top-tier travel rewards credit card, but it’s still a consideration. A relatively low annual fee used to set this card apart; Capital One raised the fee in 2017 to bring it more in line with fees on similar cards. The fee is still waived in the first year, though. Use our calculator to see whether the rewards you’d earn with the card will cover the fee:

Is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card right for you?

If you’re serious about travel, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card should be on your radar. With one of the highest sign-up bonuses and best ongoing rewards rates on the market, it can go toe to toe with any other travel card. It’s especially a good option if you want flexibility or if you travel internationally.

But depending on your needs, other travel credit cards may be a better choice. The Nerds recommend you explore all your options before applying.

Video: Words from our Nerds

 

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