Capital One Venture X Review: A Contender in Rarefied Air of Premium Travel Credit Cards

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on most purchases, and receive a slew of travel-related perks, including airport lounge access.
Gregory KarpNov 18, 2021

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Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

A big sign-up bonus, travel credits, high rewards and airport lounge access could make this card worth the hefty annual fee.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$395

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Lounge membership
  • Anniversary perk
  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Requires excellent credit

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Full Review

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has an excellent rewards rate, access to airport lounges and hundreds of dollars worth of travel credits that can make up for the $395 annual fee.

To optimize the card, you’ll need to book on the issuer’s online travel portal. If that suits you, the card can stand up to the stiff competition in the market for premium travel credit cards. And despite its many features, the card is overall easier to understand than most premium cards, which can be baffling for newcomers.

You won’t get brand-specific perks, like free checked bags with a particular airline or a free hotel night at a hospitality chain, as you do with co-branded airline and hotel credit cards. But it offers the flexibility of the popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, while adding a raft of perks that just might give it the X-factor to make it your ideal travel companion.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $395.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

Rewards: 

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases.

  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel.

  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.

Redemption options:

  • Use miles to book travel through Capital One at a value of 1 cent per mile.

  • Redeem miles for statement credit against travel purchases at a value of 1 cent per mile.

  • Transfer miles to more than 15 partner airline and hotel programs. Per-mile value depends on the transfer partner and how you redeem the transferred miles.

  • Redeem miles for gift cards.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 16.99%-23.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Credit required: Excellent.

Other benefits:

(Note: Benefits may change over time.)

  • Up to a $300 annual credit for bookings made on Capital One Travel.

  • 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary (equal to $100 toward travel).

  • Unlimited access to Capital One Lounges and more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges internationally.

  • Up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rental purchases like Airbnb and Vrbo. (For a limited time.)

  • Access to entertainment, sports and dining events through the Capital One Experiences program.

  • Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status. (Car upgrades, expedited pickup and more.)

  • Credit of up to $100 for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when you pay with the card.

  • Cell phone insurance.

  • Shopping protections. Includes price prediction, price watch, price drop protection, price match guarantee, extended warranty.

  • Travel protections. Includes primary auto rental insurance and travel accident protection.

Benefits of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

High rewards rate

Bonus miles on travel spending are expected for a higher-end travel credit card, and this one has those if you’re willing to use Capital One’s online travel-booking site:

  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel.

  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.

Unlike some others in its category, this card is rewarding for everyday spending, too. It earns 2 miles per dollar spent on purchases outside those bonus areas. That’s an excellent rewards rate because so much spending falls outside the usual bonus categories.

If it’s your top-of-wallet card, you’ll rack up miles quickly even if you’re not booking a lot of travel.

Generous sign-up bonus

Sign-up bonuses can change over time, especially with travel credit cards. But the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has an excellent one: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

Since miles are generally worth 1 cent each, that’s essentially a $1,000 bonus. That's enough to cover the annual fee for 2.5 years. The downside is you’ll have to put a lot of spending on the card first. Spending $10,000 on purchases in the first six months is an average of about $1,667 per month for half a year.

Airport lounge access

Besides access to more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges, a somewhat common offering on travel cards in this class, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers full access to the new Capital One Lounges. Although, as of late 2021, just one is open, in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Nerdy tip: Besides Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card holders, authorized users receive unlimited access to both types of lounges. Many travel credit cards restrict lounge access to the primary cardholder. Up to four authorized users can be added for free, which is not the case for other premium travel cards.

What’s the value of the Capital One lounge? It's available to the general public for $65 per visit. (Cardholders of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business get two complimentary visits annually and can enter for a discounted $45 per visit after that.)

Anniversary perks

Central to the value of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card are the annual credits, which have substantial dollar value.

  • Up to a $300 annual credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel.

  • 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary (equal to $100 toward travel). The first batch of miles comes when you renew after one year of card membership.

Those credits alone, granted each year, make up for the annual fee. That assumes you’ll use the Capital One Travel online booking service. More on that later.

Add to that a limited-time offer of up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rental purchases. Eligible vacation rental merchants include Airbnb, Turnkey, Vacasa and Vrbo.

Flexible redemption options

Capital One's rewards program gives you several ways to use your miles for travel — both travel you already paid for and travel you want to book:

  • Use the Capital One Purchase Eraser. Book travel however you want, then within 90 days redeem miles for statement credit for some or all of the cost. Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed, with no minimum redemption amount required. Any expense that Capital One considers "travel" is eligible, including not only flights and hotel stays, but "rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares," according to the Capital One website.

  • Book through the issuer's travel center. This online portal offers flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages. You can pay upfront with your miles, at a rate of 1 cent per mile.

  • Transfer miles to partners. Capital One lets you transfer your miles to the loyalty programs of a number of airline and hotel partners.

Transfer ratio explained: In the formula "X:Y," when you transfer X number of Capital One miles, you receive Y number of points or miles in the partner program.

  • Accor (2:1 ratio).

  • Aeromexico (1:1 ratio).

  • Air Canada (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France-KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • British Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Cathay Pacific (1:1 ratio).

  • Choice Privileges Hotels (1:1 ratio) - Coming late 2021.

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad (1:1 ratio).

  • EVA (2:1.5 ratio).

  • Finnair (1:1 ratio).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • TAP Air Portugal (1:1 ratio).

  • Turkish Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Wyndham Rewards (1:1 ratio).

Miles have no blackout dates and never expire.

Simplicity

“Simple” and “premium travel credit card” aren't concepts that usually go together, since the typical card in that category is wildly complicated. But relatively, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is easier to understand than, say, The Platinum Card® from American Express. That card has a dizzying array of benefits, many of which aren’t super-useful to everybody or take an inordinate amount of effort to use.

By contrast, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card at its core retains the simplicity of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card by offering a flat rewards rate on all spending and lets you use rewards to pay for travel.

It layers on airport lounge access and more rewards if you use the Capital One Travel portal.

The point is that someone willing to endure only modest hassle from their travel credit card can enjoy and benefit from the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. That same person might be frustrated by complex competing travel credit cards.

Travel-friendly perks

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers additional benefits frequent travelers will enjoy. Some come because it's a top-tier Visa Infinite card.

  • Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status. This is the top status tier at Hertz. You can get confirmed one-car-class upgrades, 50% bonus on Gold Plus Rewards points on qualified rentals, free additional driver, expedited pickup and e-return, and more. The status is typically reserved for customers who have 20 or more rentals in a year or spend $4,000. The status level is good through 2024, at which point cardholders "will be reverted to the level commensurate with Hertz standard usage policies," says the card's terms and conditions.

  • Trusted traveler application credit. A statement credit of up to $100 for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The credit is available once every four years.

  • Cell phone insurance. This is for the primary cardholders and authorized users.

  • Trip protection. This includes primary rental car coverage, travel accident insurance and round-the-clock travel assistance services if your card is lost or stolen.

  • No foreign transaction fees. Standard on travel credit cards and useful for overseas purchases.

(Note: Benefits may change over time.)

Drawbacks and alternatives

Annual fee

With annual fees, it’s all relative. A yearly fee of $395 is substantial, but other luxury travel credit cards have similar or even significantly higher fees.

A sampling:

Still, if the big annual fee bothers you, but you like aspects of the card, consider the original Venture card with fewer perks: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. (See a comparison below.)

Outside the Capital One family, look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with an annual fee of $95. It’s versatile and valuable as a travel credit card.

Value tied to booking portal

Capital One Travel, the issuer’s online travel-booking site, has nice features, including predictive pricing models and tools to help customers get the best deals — including proactively comparing hotel rates against Expedia, Orbitz and other travel booking sites. It offers access to thousands of flights, hotels and rental cars, and features free price-drop protection, 24/7 alerts and the option to freeze a price and come back 14 days later to book it.

But this card’s value is so tied to that booking portal that it diminishes one of the main traits of the Venture family of cards: flexibility.

If for some reason you won’t use Capital One Travel for booking, the bonus rewards for spending on this card as well as the huge $300 travel credit are worth nothing to you. The card’s value proposition quickly shrinks. Some savvy travelers prefer to book directly with hotels, for example, which adds to their elite status with a particular hotel chain or allows them to use status benefits they already have. Booking through a travel portal can negate those elite benefits.

By contrast, the competing Chase Sapphire Reserve® also links the value of its rewards to its travel portal. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 1.5 cents each if used to book travel there. But an important difference: Its $300 annual credit can be used for a broad range of travel purchases, including taxi rides, campground fees and train fares. That travel can be booked anywhere, and the credit is applied automatically.

The comparable anniversary credit on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, one that can be used more flexibly for travel, is worth $100.

Granted, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a higher annual fee of $550.

Lack of familiar transfer partners

For travelers who like to squeeze every last drop of value out of loyalty programs, the growing roster of transfer partners of the the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is appealing. You can now transfer your Venture miles to more than a dozen airline partners — but none are U.S. carriers. While transferring miles to foreign airline carriers can bring outsize value for your miles, it may be overwhelming for those just beginning with transfers. It does offer U.S. hotel partners for transfers to such programs as Wyndham Rewards.

If you want to work all the angles, one of the aforementioned Chase travel cards might be a better choice: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You can move points to several useful airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Marriott.

Chase’s transfer partners:

Airlines

  • Air Canada (Aeroplan).

  • Aer Lingus.

  • Air France-KLM.

  • British Airways.

  • Emirates.

  • Iberia.

  • JetBlue.

  • Singapore.

  • Southwest.

  • United.

  • Virgin Atlantic.

Hotels

  • Hyatt.

  • InterContinental Hotels Group.

  • Marriott.

How it compares to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Both Venture cards are general travel credit cards and come with the same base rewards rate of 2 miles per dollar spent. You can redeem miles at 1 cent apiece for credit on your statement against a recent travel purchase, use them at Capital One Travel or transfer to more than 15 travel loyalty programs. And both offer the same credit for applying for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. (A third Venture card, the $0-annual-fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, is a less useful comparison.)

Is the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card worth the higher annual fee? Here’s a quick comparison.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$395.

$95.

Sign-up bonus

Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $1,000 in travel.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Base rewards

2X.

2X.

Rewards on hotels and car rentals booked on Capital One Travel

10X.

5X.

Rewards on flights booked on Capital One Travel

5X.

2X.

$100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Yes.

Yes.

Annual credit for bookings made on Capital One Travel

$300.

None.

Annual bonus miles

10,000 ($100 toward travel).

None.

Airport lounges

Unlimited access to Capital One Lounges and more than 1,300 Priority Pass lounges internationally.

2 free visits annually to Capital One Lounges, then $45 per visit.

Vacation rental credit

Up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rental purchases like Airbnb and Vrbo. (Limited time.)

None.

If you already have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can also apply for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

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

The value of the annual credit for bookings at Capital One and the anniversary miles, if you can fully use them, pays the annual fee on this card.

So the healthy rewards and the perks, including airport lounge access, are essentially free. That makes the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card a contender for people on the hunt for a premium travel credit card.

Still unsure about whether this card, or any travel card, is what you need? See our best credit cards page for options across categories.