Capital One Venture Card Review

by on October 4, 2011 · 48 comments

in Capital One, Card review, Credit Cards

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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.


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.


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.

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!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dave Op

    Capital One pulled three, that’s right all “3″ credit reporting agencies when I applied.

  • Glen

    I love the Capital One Venture card! Booking a flight on their site was a breeze. Caution, though: they have historically given low credit limits. I try every 6 months to get a credit limit increase, but, despite excellent credit, I can never get an increase.

  • Walt K

    I was under the impression that this was Capital One’s standard practice. I had not heard that they sometimes only pull 2.

  • Anonymous

    They pulled all 3 for myself and my wife. Agree they give low LOC, but I was able to get that boosted after about 3 mos.

  • Gpapadop

    I like the simplicity…2 points per dollar.Don’t have to think about it at all which one to pull out for gas or groceries or dining out or movies or whatever. This is the only card I won’t be canceling to avoid the annual fee:-)

  • Sam

    Hey tpg. Great post.

    1) U didn’t mention cruises! That’s the main reason I stick to this card as my primary when planning a cruise. The 2% is the best you can find anywhere even with the individual cruise lines’ cobranded card u only get 1%.

    2) points are available immediately after spend, so u don’t have to wait till statement closing.

    3) I was told u can transfer points to any us based account. Great way to flexibly pool points with family members!

    4) the flexibility to gain other bonuses are tremendous. Eg now with my cruise I can choose any provider to get it from. So I can get it through us airways and get a 15000 mile bonus. Or even through expedia etc.

  • Dave Op

    BTW, there is also a 2% cash back credit card with no annual fee. Only big catch…it’s an Amex. Minor catch…you have to have a Fidelity account.

  • Sam

    4) when booking travel you will redeem points for, u actually get capital one miles on that travel and can use them against that travel (so I’ve heard. Haven’t done this yet)

    5) there are occasional great redemption values for hotel certificates. There are forum posts about this.

    6) nice that we can finally see comments and lost them through mobile phones.

  • SanjayKul

    What many may not know is capital one has several (more than 50) vendors on its website that offer promotional bonus points on purchase, if you do it online. Macys, Bloomingdales, etc, most any popular online retailer offers additional bonus points if you purchase online. Capital One also has a select few B&M retailers and restaurants that offer bonus points, which you have to register to receive. I recently got 10 bonus points for a purchase for sunglass hut. Added to the 2 points already, its a pretty great deal. Check out their rewards site as some vendors you need to register.

  • SanjayKul

    What many may not know is capital one has several (more than 50) vendors on its website that offer promotional bonus points on purchase, if you do it online. Macys, Bloomingdales, etc, most any popular online retailer offers additional bonus points if you purchase online. Capital One also has a select few B&M retailers and restaurants that offer bonus points, which you have to register to receive. I recently got 10 bonus points for a purchase for sunglass hut. Added to the 2 points already, its a pretty great deal. Check out their rewards site as some vendors you need to register.

  • EJ

    Another great use for these points, which I didn’t specifically see called out, is to use these points for MRs or a long trip at a good price. For example, SEA-PPT (Tahiti) for me can be grabbed for about $900 at the right time. So 90K points nets about 20K delta miles on Air France (double miles) + 10K MQMs all for a trip I want to take anyway. Also, SEA-LAS is very tough for award travel but is very cheap. I couldn’t find any award space a few months out but was able to snag a $250 ticket and use these points. This card adds a good balance to supplement miles that can’t be used.

  • Cap1

    This card is great for covering those incidental travel expenses, car rental, the odd hotel stay etc. Another great use for which I could have just taken advantage but it slipped my mind is to use those Delta AMEX companion certificates you get with your Delta AMEX cards.

    One can buy a ticket, cover the cost with the Cap1 points and use the companion certificate for their fellow traveler. Keep in mind you can not use the Delta award tickets and the companion certificate. The certifcates must be used with a paid ticket and this ticket must be of a certain class as I recall.

  • Jim

    Does anyone know if miles can be combined with cash? If I only have 1000miles, and want to pay for a $100 travel expense, would they allow me to redeem the 1000 miles and add $90? Or do I need to have enough miles to cover the whole purchase?

  • Chemist661

    My wife got the Cap One Venture this past March during the (up to) 100K match your mileage. She had >100K AA miles so she got 100K plus 10K=110K. With approx 5K spend, she had 120K so we redeemed for $1000 of Lowe’s gift cards (we were putting in new flooring) and $200 in Target GC’s. I missed by a day the wonderful deal of 52500 points for a cert that gave 2 nights in a Suite. That was why we did the GC’s. Getting $1200 worth of GC’s was worth it. The one she didn’t like was Cap One pulled all three credit bureaus. :(

    Overall, a great deal.

  • dlux

    You need to have enough miles to cover the whole purchase. They are pretty flexible though and I have used them for years. When my wife and I went to Europe the first time, I booked both tickets at the same time (resulting in a single charge of $x,xxx). I was able to call their customer support and they gave me a credit for one of the tickets (half the charge). Their system is more sophisticated now and you can actually specify when you redeem your credit how many tickets you want to redeem which allows you to avoid calling CS.

  • jim

    Thanks!. Because I spread my spending across many cards a year (for bonus requirements, etc..) I probably won’t collect more than 2-3k points so this card won’t help me, unless they bring back the 100k bonus again.

  • Hahahehe

    You can book your travel with the card and then use any points you have to show up as credit for your card payment. We’ve done this quite often

  • 5DMarkIIguy

    2 great features that aren’t mentioned
    1. freedom to transfer points to anyone at any amount. No silly minimum 1000 points or 1000 points increment
    2. you can redeem a fraction of your travel expense. Ex: Your ticket is $250, you only have 5000 points. You can split your ticket to 5 portions, and apply 5000 points to cover 1 portion.

  • traveljunkie

    I don’t have this one, I have the lesser one, which has no annual fee and rewards 1.25/$1.

    A tiny customer service thing I enjoy–they clearly expect it to be used by travelers. First, the lack of foreign transaction fees. But also, when you call their main number, one of the main menu options is “let us know you’ll be traveling,” and then you can go through a little automated menu to tell them where and when. Then you get an email confirming, and wishing you a nice trip.

  • Liz

    One more fun benefit of my Cap One card: I was able to upload a photo of my dog on the website, and a few days later I received my customized card with his cute fuzzy face! It’s the little things that make me smile…

  • bitachu

    yeah they pulled 3 from me(venture one card)..that and when I called customer service the other day..i felt like i was talking to the guys from the Discover Card commercials…

    For those of you trying to decide wether or not you should go for venture or venture one..its all about how much u plan to spend….with the card per year…if u spend more then 7,866$ then its worth it to get the venture(and pay the fee at least after 1st yr)…logic..59$ annual fee…the difference between venture and venture1 is 0.75(2-1.25) basically 5900 miles/0.75=7866

  • Fred

    Why limit yourself to travel rewards when you can get a 2% cash rebate from Fidelity with their AmEx card. 2% to spend on whatever you want, automatically added to your account each month.

  • Ozaer Shah

    I bought a new Mountain bike with my points hehe…50,000 miles = $500.
    Q: how did you do that when 10,000 pts can only be redeemed for $100 worth of travel expenses?
    A: you just call their nice agents and tell them the spend was when you were ‘traveling’…and voila!

  • Steven S

    This was a bonanza for me – my wife and I each got the 100,000 point match and redeemed for $3600 in Hyatt certificates, which we will use at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome in December. Allowed me to cancel a points-based stay, use the certificates and earn points on the stay.

    Alas, those certificates are no longer available from Capital One. And I will cancel the cards as soon as we get rid of our accumulated points.

  • Anonymous

    Technically, you get 2 points per dollar on all travel with the Sapphire Preferred (which includes Cruises iirc) and you can then redeem that towards travel at a rate of 1.25c/point, which ends up giving you a 2.5% return. Just sayin’ =)

    Or you can transfer them (which is why I have it). Also no currency conversion fees, but a higher annual fee, and the 2c/dollar is only on dining and travel. Either way I love that card.

  • David

    Brian, I think you need to update your info, b/c as seen in the comments – Capital One pulls ALL THREE agencies, so it’s a KILLER on all reports.

  • Anonymous

    Done- sorry for the delay- was on the road all day!

  • Anonymous

    Thats a great card, but not good for everyone since you need to have an open and funded Fidelity account.

  • Sam

    huh? how does getting 2.5% return on only dining and travel + 1.25% on everything else even compare to getting 2% on everything? Unless travel and dining make up more than 60% (yes I did the math) of your spend, the capital one venture is better for strictly travel redemption as discussed. Obviously if youre looking to transfer into other programs, etc, that is something you would need to consider and weigh.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yeah the Capital One Venture card is certainly better for some spending and redeeming patterns, quite possibly yours. You seem to have done a ton of research! I was just addressing point (1) where you said that the 2% cash back on cruises was the “best you can find anywhere.” All I was saying was that technically the Sapphire Preferred meant you could get “up to” 2.5% on cruises.

  • Jkm1317

    I have the used the Cap One cards for a long time now. It used to require $150 increments, however I do not see that since I upgraded to Venture. I just booked 3 tickets to Hawaii using United miles and I paid the $10 govt fee each using this card. Went online the next day and cleared each charge with 1,000 points each. If you spend much spring for the Venture over the Venture One. E.g. a hotel with a cost of $160 will cost:

    Venture- 16,000
    Venture One- 35,000

    Points to clear off. This is because the Venture is 1% of points and the Venture One has point ranges, which are extremely annoying. I used to have hotels bill me at increments of $150 of $350, now I just take what they give me.

    If you are a business owner thinking about getting this card, be aware that they will place all business balances on your personal credit…horrible!

  • dov porges

    I have the card no need to have an open fidelity account

  • jenb

    Agreed. Just bought a plane ticket on travelocity via Capital One’s link and got an extra bonus mile for every dollar I spent (so 3 miles per dollar) and then scored the delta skymiles for the actual flight. They also have a deal with Groupon for 10 miles/$1 that lasts until January.

  • Sam

    Hey, what I meant was 2% on all spend to use TOWARDS cruises. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Thought it was based on context.

  • BB

    I clicked on this link to apply, but I see that you only get 10,000 points for signing up. Did I miss the 25,000 bonus points deadline??

  • Anonymous

    Weird- same thing for me. Not sure whats going on- I didn’t hear of a decrease, but it looks that way. also shows 10k.. bummer :-(

  • Steven S

    When they pulled the Hyatt certificates, this card went back into my drawer. Fortunately, we (wife and I) got $3600 in certificates before they pulled it and we’ll be using them in December at the PH Paris Vendome! That was a truly fabulous deal – and I try to limit myself to truly fabulous deals!

  • Rob

    I’m in FL – Capital One pulled on all major 3 CAs. That wasn’t cool. However, this card is second in my wallet for those places that don’t take my PRG AmEx. I primarily use rewards to pay for hotel stays, you get value there, not from air flights.

  • riley417

    i got this card when they were matching miles in your airline account (when they first introduced it)…great deal!

  • LexRich1

    I just got this card and have been trying to figure this out….I’ve seen a lot of reviewers say that you cannot do a redemption for part of an expense but you seem to have it figured out. How do you split your ticket into 5 portions? Can this be done with any expense?

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  • Aaron

    So we have an AmEx Platinum. We know that using points from AmEx to buy airline tickets is a waste – it’s better to dump the points into an airline that partners with AmEx Platinum. Example: We were going to book a flight on Delta to Europe business class using points. We used far less of our points by transferring miles into KLM’s program and then booking through them rather then direct booking through AmEx.

    Does the Capital One Venture Card work the same way? Can you transfer points into any airline bank and do they hold the same value as that airlines “point” or “mile”? Or is there a conversion?

    We’re just trying to understand if it is better to use our AmEx Plat. card for big purchases or the Capital One Venture Card depending on how these points or miles can be used. We primarily use the AmEx Plat. points for business class travel overseas.

  • Amy

    I am researching the possibility of apply for the Venture One card, but want to be 100% sure this is the card for me before I have 3 credit reports pulled. Nobody has mention any experiences with booking travel through Capital One
    Venture. Are they easy to get in touch with if there is a travel mix up or if there is a need to change travel dates and will you be hit with a HUGE cancel and rebooking fee?

  • Harry

    “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.”
    What do you mean by “any other site” I think you can only book using Travelocity?
    Also, I can’t find the vendors on their website. Where are they?

  • EJ

    You just book your travel and as soon as it hits the card, you call customer service and credit the charges with your points. I have 200,000 points and was issued a $2k credit for a vacation I booked with a travel agent.

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