Editorial Review

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 19, 2019

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Our Take

4.1

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

$0 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0 for the first year, then $95
Annual Fee
$0 for the first year, then $95
Intro APR
N/A

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 Visa® 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

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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: $0 for the first year, then $95.

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.

Rewards:

  • 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

  • 10 miles per dollar spent on bookings through hotels.com/venture through January 2020 when you pay with the card.

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 15 partner airline programs. Per-mile value depends on the transfer partner and how you redeem the transferred miles.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 17.49% - 24.74% 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. And through January 2020, you’ll earn 10 miles per dollar on bookings through hotels.com/venture.

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 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

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 15 airline 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.

  • Aeromexico.

  • Air France/KLM.

  • Air Canada.

  • Alitalia.

  • Avianca.

  • Cathay Pacific.

  • Emirates (2-to-1 ratio).

  • Etihad.

  • EVA.

  • Finnair.

  • Hainan.

  • JetBlue (2-to-1 ratio).

  • Qantas.

  • Qatar Airways.

  • Singapore Airlines (2-to-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.

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 $0 for the first year, then $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 Visa® 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 about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. You can redeem those miles (at a value of 1 cent apiece) for any travel purchase — flights on any airline, stays at any hotel, auto rentals from any agency, and so on. Unlike with points from airline or hotel loyalty programs, there are no restrictions or blackout dates. Book travel however you want, and then use your miles to pay for it.

Miles earned on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel. That means you get an effective rewards rate of 2% on all purchases.

You can use Capital One miles to pay for flights on any airline, but you also have the option of transferring those miles to about a dozen airline loyalty programs and combining them with frequent-flyer rewards earned in those programs. Usually, you receive 1.5 airline miles for every 2 Capital One miles you transfer; in some cases, the rate is 1 airline mile for every 2 Capital One miles. The partner airlines are mostly foreign carriers — JetBlue is the only domestic option.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a Visa card.

You’ll need at least good credit to qualify for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Generally speaking, “good credit” is defined as a score of at least 690. But a credit score alone isn’t enough to qualify for any credit card. Issuers take into account your income, existing debts and other information.