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Well, it seems like we’ve got a week of higher sign-up bonuses on our hands, what with new offers on the Sapphire Preferred (up to 55,000 points) and Freedom (up to 20,000 points) cards, and now Capital One has announced that it has upped the sign-up bonus on its Venture Rewards cards to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
While that’s by no means earth-shattering, it is higher than we’ve seen the bonus on either card for a while and something to consider if you’re looking for a quick haul of fixed-value points.
Capital One Venture Rewards points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel, so each bonus is worth $400 – that’s like getting a 10% return on your minimum spending requirement. That said, there are a few other factors (and cards, including the Freedom and the Barclaycard Arrival) to consider, which I’ll get into below, here are the details on each card.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel. You will also earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. You can redeem your miles for any travel expense and there is no limit on the miles you can earn and miles don’t expire. This card also comes with no foreign transaction fees and a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $59 after that.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $200 in travel. You will also earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and no annual fee. You can redeem miles for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and more and there is no limit on the miles you can earn and miles don’t expire. This card comes with 0% intro APR on purchases until June 2015, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee.
So both offers are higher than the usual 10,000 points (for $1,000 spent in 3 months) on both cards, but you still might want to hold off, even if you’re looking for some fixed-value miles like these to help defray travel purchases not normally covered by points or miles. That’s because there are a couple other lucrative offers out there at the moment.
The Barclaycard Arrival comes in two versions that carry significant bonuses as well. One version has an annual fee of $89 that’s waived the first year and comes with a bonus of 40,000 bonus miles if you make $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening. That’s $30 more than the Venture card, but 20,000 more miles (or about $220 worth of travel thanks to the card’s 10% miles refund on travel redemptions) and you also earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases.
The no-fee version of the Arrival comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening, pretty much equaling the VentureOne, but you earn 2X miles per $1 on travel and dining purchases and 1X mile per $1 on everything else, so if your main expenses are travel and dining, you could really maximize the Arrival, but if you spread your purchases across many categories, the VentureOne might still be your card.
However, because the first year’s annual fee is waived, the bonus is twice as high while the minimum spending is half as much, plus that 10% miles refund on travel redemptions, I’d still go with the Arrival.
Update: The offer mentioned below for the Chase Freedom card has expired. View the current offer here.
Meanwhile, the Freedom card from Chase is also offering a limited-time sign-up bonus of 20,000 points when you spend $500 within 3 months. On their own, those points are worth $200 back in travel redemptions, but if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Bold or Ink Plus, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points account and transfer them to the program’s 10 travel partners including United, British Airways, Southwest and Hyatt, making them potentially much more valuable. Plus, this card carries no annual fee and it earns 5X points on up to $1,500 each quarter at a rotating list of categories of merchants. Now through December 31, 2013, those categories include Amazon.com as well as select department stores like Macy’s, Sears and Neiman Marcus – just in time for holiday shopping.
I’d also rank the Freedom card over the VentureOne if you’re looking for a travel credit card with no annual fee, but if you’re maxed out with Chase or Barclaycard, one of these Capital One offers might be right for you. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.