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 RathnerNovember 18, 2020
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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet 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

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.24% - 24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

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

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

$0

Annual Fee

$250

Regular APR

17.24% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

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

Intro APR

N/A

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: 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.

Rewards: Unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

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 10 partner airline 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 17.24% - 24.49% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fee: 3%.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • 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 an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all 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: 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.

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 more than 10 airline and hotel partners. In most cases, the transfer ratio is 2-to-1.5, meaning that for every 2 miles you transfer, you get 1.5 miles from the partner airline. For a few airlines, including JetBlue, the only domestic carrier on the list, the ratio is 2-to-1.

  • Accor (2:1 ratio).

  • Aeromexico.

  • Air France/KLM.

  • Air Canada.

  • Alitalia.

  • Avianca.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Emirates (2:1 ratio).

  • Etihad.

  • EVA.

  • Finnair.

  • JetBlue.

  • Qantas.

  • Singapore Airlines (2:1 ratio).

  • Wyndham Rewards

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.

Drawbacks and alternatives

Difficult to 'hack'

For 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." You can transfer your miles to more than a dozen airline partners, but all except JetBlue are non-U.S. carriers, and the exchange rate is fairly low — one Venture mile is worth less than 1 cent in all cases, though exchange rates vary by airline.

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®. 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 $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 Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, which offers 2% cash back on all purchases (1% as you spend and 1% as you pay off your balance). A downside is the lack of a sign-up bonus, but the annual fee is $0.

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.

Frequently asked questions

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