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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Capital One Venture Card has expired. View the current offer here.
A ton of my reader email is around credit cards and lately I’ve gotten a lot of questions around Capital One since I haven’t written about them as much as some of the other card issuers. As such, I thought I’d do a review of their premier Venture card so you can understand the benefits and main drawback of having the card – especially since many of you need to cool off with your Chase and Amex applications. Though be aware: Capital One does pull from
two three credit reporting agencies in many states, so your application may count as three inquiries against your credit vs. 1.
If there’s one credit card company that has cornered the flexible/hassle free rewards market, it’s Capital One. I had a Capital One card years ago, when I wasn’t huge into the credit card points game, because I understood that their company stood for simple rewards and good customer service.
The Capital One Venture card is a fixed-value points-earning credit card. That means you earn a certain number of points (two) per dollar spent, and each point can be generally redeemed for one cent in value towards rewards. In essence, it’s a 2% return on all spend, which is pretty solid since most cards offer 1-1.25% back when redeeming for “anytime” travel.
As I’ve mentioned before, fixed-value cards are best for travelers who are looking to redeem points for low-level or coach awards and who need the flexibility to do so with no blackout dates since booking using these kinds of points is basically like paying in cash, and who value elite status. Elite status is key, because airline tickets and hotel stays redeemed using Capital One Venture points earn miles/points – including towards elite qualification.
THE BIG DRAW: TWO POINTS PER DOLLAR
This card’s main distinction is that you earn two points per dollar on every dollar spent as opposed to most other fixed-rate cards which only earn one point per dollar spent or only bonuses on certain categories of spend. Two points per dollar spent equates to a 2% return on your spend. When it comes time to redeem, each of these points is worth one cent. So if you spend $10,000, you get 20,000 points, equating to $200 in value.
WHAT ELSE YOU GET
Here are some of the other defining features of the Venture card:
-Redeem your points for most travel expenses. You can redeem your points on any travel expense at any time above 15,000 points ($150 value)—meaning you don’t just have to use this on airlines and hotels, but on rental cars, taxes and charges, as well as merchandise, charity donations and gift cards. Using these points is like making a normal charge with your card, and just using the points to pay the total dollar amount.
-Booking flexibility. You can book travel with points using Capital One’s site, any other site, directly with airlines, or even through your travel agent. Plus, you can even redeem your points after you’ve already charged the travel simply by submitting a travel credit request by clicking on the charge on your online statement.
-No limits, no expiration. There’s no cap on the miles you can earn, and your points won’t expire as long as your account remains active. Apart from the minimum spend you need to score that 25,000-point bonus, the card has no other minimum spend requirements – you start earning 2 points per dollar immediately.
-Elite status. Unlike most co-branded airline cards, when you redeem Capital One Venture No Hassle Miles on flights or rooms, you still earn airline miles and credit towards elite status.
-No blackouts. Because using these points is just like using your credit card normally, there are no blackout dates, providing ultimate flexibility.
–First year free. The annual fee of $59 (already low), is also waived for the first year.
–No foreign transaction fees. This alone will save you the average 3% surcharge for purchases made while traveling overseas. To put it in context, if you spend just $2,000 on foreign travel and expenses, that would normally incur $60 in foreign transaction fees, which you save with this card, thus taking care of your annual fee.
-Concierge service. The card has a Visa Signature Concierge service to help you plan your trip and make any reservations you need.
-Other benefits. The Capital One Venture card comes with a host of other fringe benefits including rental car insurance, extended warranty protection, purchase-and-return protection, as well as special perks like pre-sale concert tickets, preferred seating at performances, and gourmet food and wine events.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This card isn’t great for first or business class rewards because the redemptions are tied to the price of the ticket and premium cabin tickets are usually outrageously priced.
Instead, this card is ideal for people who don’t want any surprises when it comes time to redeem points and prefer the flexibility of booking any ticket. This is also great for families who need multiple seats on the same flight, since there is no limit to how many tickets you can buy on any given flight. I have a lot of family members who have this card, because they refuse to book connecting flights and have limited flexibility with respect to time off of work, which is often needed when using airline’s own frequent flyer miles.
As always, I’d appreciate you using my link if you decide this card makes sense for you since this site runs on commissions from card approvals. Feel free to ask any questions or share your Capital One experience in the comments below!