Full Review of Capital One Venture Rewards Card
High rewards rate with no cap on earnings
Sizeable one-time offer
Flexible redemption options
$95 annual fee
Poor cash-back redemption rate
Limited transfer partners
- A Single High Rewards Rate with No Cap on Earnings: This card offers an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, with no limit on those rewards. Though other cards in this category pay a similar rewards rate, few, if any, offer such generous rewards for all types of purchases, and without any cap on earnings. Instead, most competitors limit such high rewards earnings to spending on select categories, sometimes with annual or quarterly limits on earnings.
- Sizable One-Time Offer: New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles if they spend at least $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account. When redeemed for travel, that's worth $500, one of the more lucrative introductory bonuses now available.
- Flexible Redemption Option: Through a feature called Purchase Eraser, this card allows you to make travel purchases with any vendor and then retroactively receive reimbursement from your rewards account, at the rate of 1 cent per mile. While eligibility depends on the merchant, reimbursable transactions typically include those for airfare; rail, taxi, and bus fares; limousines and ride-sharing; car rental; cruises; hotels; and timeshares. Cardholders can also redeem miles through Capital One's online travel portal or transfer miles to the loyalty programs of 15 airline partners.
- $95 Annual Fee: It's not unusual for travel credit cards to come with an annual fee, and this one’s $95 cost is on par with competing cards. Still, paying an annual fee is still less than ideal for consumers who prefer not to track its cost against the rewards they’re earning. There are travel cards, like the Capital One VentureOne, that have no annual fee and offer rewards and one time bonuses that are respectable, albeit generally a step below those of this card.
- Poor Cash Back Redemption Rate: Miles redeemed for cash back on this card are only worth 0.5 cents per dollar. That's lower than competing cards with a fee, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which pays 1 cent per dollar when miles are redeemed for cash back.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The Capital One Venture card is an excellent option for anyone who wants a brand-agnostic travel card with rewards that are simple to grasp and easy to tally. It pays 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, rather than only on travel or dining expenditures like many competing cards.
The Capital One Venture is best-suited to those who want to spend rewards directly on travel, rather than other purchases. Travel expenses from any source can be reimbursed—or erased from your card balance, in Capital One’s lingo—using miles, redeemed at 1 cent apiece. Other options for redeeming this card’s miles—like receiving them as cash or transferring them to other programs—are less lucrative with this card than with some others.
It’s also an appealing card for those willing to spend a lot to receive a lot when you first receive it. There’s an exceptional one-time offer of 50,000 miles, worth $500 when used for travel, if you spend $3,000 within three months of receiving the card.
Capital One Venture Card One-Time Offer
Spending $3,000 within the first three months of opening an account will get new cardholders 50,000 bonus miles. Once you qualify, Capital One will credit the bonus to your rewards balance within two billing cycles.
This bonus offer is worth $500 when redeemed for travel, which is at least comparable to, if not better than, the bonus offers for similar travel cards.
Of course, the value of miles or points and where they are best redeemed varies by card. With this card from Capital One, miles redeemed for travel are worth a fairly standard 1 cent per dollar.
Rewards Earning Details
This card offers an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase you make, whether on dining out or buying school supplies.
Rewards never expire; they remain on your balance for the life of your account.
Rewards Redemption Details
Miles earned can be redeemed for travel, cash, gift cards, or an account credit. They appear in the form of a statement credit to the rewards balance of your account.
Capital One offers a few different ways to redeem miles for travel.
The first option is what the bank dubs a Purchase Eraser. This tool essentially allows you to pay for travel with a Capital One card wherever and whenever you want, and then later use the value of your points to reimburse yourself for the purchase. Go online to capitalone.com or call the issuer's reward center to redeem miles.
You can also use miles directly to book through the Capital One Travel Center. You can pay for purchases in miles or, if you need or prefer to do so, a combination of miles and cash.
Finally, you can transfer miles to the loyalty program of one or more of Capital One's 15 travel partners.
Capital One has 15 different travel partners to which you can transfer points, although almost all of them are fairly small international carriers. Those partners currently include Aeromexico, Air France KLM, Air Canada, Alitalia, Asia Miles, Avianca LifeMiles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hainan Airlines, JetBlue, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
The value of each transfer varies for certain travel partners. For most travel partners, the transfer ratio is 2-to-1.5; for every 2 miles you transfer, you get 1.5 miles from the partner airline. That’s a little less than the 1:1 ratio that’s most common with the programs of some other card issuers. And Capital One miles transferred to JetBlue, the only domestic airline partner of Capital One, convert at a 2 to 1.5 ratio. Capital One has also partnered with hotel partners Accor and Wyndham.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
The best way to maximize rewards with this card is to use it for as much of your daily spending as you can. You should also track—and try to take full advantage of any time-sensitive programs that offer higher rewards rates.
Since it’s such a generous perk, make sure to capitalize on the 50,000 bonus miles offer by spending at least $3,000 on the card within the first three months.
Finally, be prudent about how you redeem your miles. Redeeming them for cash will yield only $0.005 per mile. Most transfers to your loyalty account at an airline will yield less than a mile for every Capital One mile you send to it. While it might be less lucrative than transferring miles it can certainly be an easier option to simply use your miles to offset travel expenses, from airfare to hotels to bus and taxi fares and still get a decent value.
For a typical household, the Capital One Venture card could fairly easily yield $500, or close to it, in rewards to spend on travel, even after its (annual fee-free) first year is over. Here’s the math.
Let's say the card is used to pay for virtually all of a household’s daily spending on food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment. If you're the average family, you'd spend close to $23,000 per year on those items, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Broken down, that's $7,923 on food, $1,866 on apparel, $9,761 on transportation, and $3,226 on entertainment.) For $23,000 in spending, you would earn 46,000 miles on the card, which could be redeemed for $460 worth of travel.
And, assuming this was the family’s first year with the card, they would readily have earned 50,000 bonus miles by spending $3,000 within the first three months of card ownership. That, in turn, would add an additional $500 in travel value to your account, bringing the total to $960.
Even after the first “bonus” year, the family could net $855 or so of value in travel rewards after deducting the $95 annual fee. And that total doesn’t account for the 2 miles per dollar rewards they would earn over the course of a year if they also used the Capital One Venture card to charge spending beyond that for food, transportation, clothing, hotels, and entertainment.
Above-average spenders at home and frequent travelers could plausibly earn four figures a year in rewards from this card, even after accounting for its $95 annual fee.
For example, let’s imagine a family that spends $4,000 per month on spending on food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment, which is twice the norm, and takes a $2,000 trip twice a year—spending $1,000 on hotels and $1,000 on other travel-related expenses. If all those expenditures were charged to the Capital One Venture Card they would earn 104,000 miles per year.
When redeemed for travel, those points would be worth $1,040. Assuming that this was the family’s first year with the card, they’d have surpassed the $3,000 in spending to earn the 50,000 bonus points in a matter of weeks after receiving the card. Adding the $500 value of those points to the tally shows our family would receive a whopping $1,540 in value from this card in its first year.
Even after that first 12 months, then, the family could still net nearly $900 in value every year, even after deducting the $95 annual fee. And that total doesn’t even reflect the extra spending on the card beyond food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment, at 2 points per dollar spent. Or the added value of benefits such as, every four years, the $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Precheck.
Capital One Venture Card’s Outstanding Benefits
- $100 statement credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA Precheck
- Travel accident insurance
- 24-hour travel assistance service
- No foreign transaction fee
- Extended warranties
- Fraud protection and $0 fraud liability
- Access to culinary, music, and sporting events
Capital One received a rating of 807 in J.D. Power's 2019 customer satisfaction survey, ranking third on the list, in a tie with Chase but well behind Discover and Amex—which were closely ranked in the first and second places, respectively.
Customers get access to a host of free tools, including CreditWise, which allows for free credit monitoring.
Capital One has two tools to help its cardholders save money when shopping. Its Wikibuy tool scans merchants to help you find the best price before you buy online, while Paribus finds potential savings on online purchases you've already made and gets you money back.
Cardholders can log into their account on the company's website or mobile app to pay their bill or for information and inquiries about their card.
Customer service is available at 800-227-4825 or through physical mail. Unlike most card issuers, Capital One offers no customer service via email or online chat.
Capital One offers the typical security perks to keep cardholders safe, starting with security alerts. The issuer will send notifications by text, email, or phone—whatever your preference—if it notices suspicious activity on your card. Other standard perks include $0 fraud liability and the ability to lock your card if it is lost, stolen, or misplaced—and from the mobile app, a mode that isn’t offered by all issuers.
Capital One also offers Eno, a tool that monitors for duplicate charges, tracks spending, and automatically sends 24/7 fraud alerts. The tool also instantly creates virtual numbers for online shopping.
CreditWise monitors your credit information on the dark web and sends automatic alerts if your email address or Social Security Number are found. The tool also provides information about your credit score and sends an alert when your credit report changes.
Hidden Fees to Watch Out For
The Venture Rewards card doesn't have many fees but beware of the $95 annual fee after the first year of account opening.
High rewards for every purchase, a stellar one-time offer, and stress-free redemption options make this an extremely well-rounded flat-rate travel card. It's a solid choice for consumers seeking a no-nonsense travel card with a hassle-free experience. It does have an annual fee, but it requires only a relatively easy spend of $4,750 per year in order to break even on the $95 cost.
There are no exclusions or caps when earning rewards, and rewards don't expire. Other travel cards, like the Bank of America Premium Rewards card or Chase Sapphire Preferred card, pay 2 miles or points per dollar spent as well, but they limit those reward earnings to spending on travel and dining.
Pairing the Capital One Venture Card with another cash-back card that offers bigger rewards for categories where you spend the most could be an effective combination. The Savor Rewards card from Capital One, for example, pays 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. You could use it to earn more rewards on dining and entertainment and put the extra cash back you earn towards travel.
Yet the Venture card might not be the best card option for those who seek to transfer points to domestic airline partners—say, to combine with the points you already have in those airline programs. JetBlue is the only U.S. air carrier currently in the Capital One partner network, along with Accor and Wyndham as hotel partners, and miles transfer at a ratio of 2 to 1.5
Chase's Sapphire Preferred card, for one, could be a better option for those who prefer to use airline points to obtain domestic travel. It offers a 1:1 points ratio to participating frequent flier programs from major airlines including Southwest, Alaska Airlines, United, and JetBlue. Aside from transferring points earned with Sapphire Preferred to other airlines, the points can be also be redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at a rate of 1 to 1.25, giving you a 25% bonus.