Capital One Venture Review: Easy Earnings, Effortless Redemptions

Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on everything. Redeem miles (at 1 cent apiece) for credit on your statement against any travel purchase, with none of the restrictions of airline cards.
Sara RathnerNov 16, 2021

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Our Take

4.7

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

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

Best Basic Travel Rewards Credit Card

Best Basic Travel Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

15.99%-23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • Rewards have limited flexibility

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Alternate Pick: No Annual Fee

Bank of America Travel Rewards® 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

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

15.99%-23.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99%-22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 14 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular credit cards on the market — and not just because it's one of the most heavily advertised. Unlike the airline-branded cards it was designed to compete against, it pays a high rewards rate on every purchase (not just on travel spending), and you can use its rewards to pay for any travel expense, without any restrictions on when you travel, which airline you fly or which hotel you stay at. Throw in a big bonus for new cardholders, and it's no wonder this card is a favorite of so many people.

If you want travel rewards that are easy to earn, easy to understand and nearly effortless to redeem, you aren't going to find many travel credit cards better than this one.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

Rewards: Unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on purchases. Plus, 5 miles per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals booked through 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. The redemption value varies between 1-1.25 miles per cent.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 15.99%-23.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

(Note: Benefits may change over time.)

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

  • Travel accidental insurance for no extra charge when you use the card to pay for your travel bookings. Terms apply.

  • Rental car coverage.

  • Extended warranty on eligible items.

Benefits of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

A high rewards rate

While most branded airline cards earn only 1 point per dollar on most purchases other than those you make with the airline, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card keeps it simple. You’ll earn 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

A generous sign-up bonus

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card gives you a head start on your next trip with its bonus offer for new cardholders: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

Lounge access

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card comes with two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounge locations. After that, cardholders have access to a special entry rate of $45 per visit after that.

Right now, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport houses the only Capital One Lounge, but Capital One has plans to open lounges at Denver International Airport and Washington-Dulles in 2022.

Flexible redemption options

Capital One's rewards program gives you several ways to use your miles for travel:

  • Use the Capital One Purchase EraserWith this option, you book travel however you want, then redeem miles for statement credit for some or all of the cost. Miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed — and there's no minimum redemption amount. 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 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.

  • 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).

  • 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).

Travel-friendly perks

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers additional benefits frequent travelers will enjoy:

  • 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.

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

  • No foreign transaction fees for overseas purchases.

(Note: Benefits may change over time.)

Drawbacks and alternatives

Lack of domestic transfer partners

For travelers who like to squeeze every last drop of value out of loyalty programs, the growing roster of transfer partners for the the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is appealing. You can now transfer your Venture miles to more than a dozen airline partners but all are non-U.S. carriers. For those just dipping their toe into transfer options, sending their miles off to a foreign carrier may be a bit daunting.

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 and those programs include domestic carriers United, Southwest and JetBlue, as well as the Marriott, Hyatt and IHG hotels programs. 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.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a great sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. The annual fee is $95.

Poor cash-back option

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 don’t travel often and want to turn your rewards into money in your pocket. You may get greater value out of a cash-back card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, which offers 2% cash back on all purchases with a $0 annual fee.

Annual fee

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $95. While this is typical of travel rewards cards, that’s not comforting news to anyone trying to keep credit card costs down. The $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card earns unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. New card holders can earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases..

Use our calculator to see whether the rewards you would earn with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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 travel rewards without the need to navigate a complicated redemption system.

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

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

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