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Is the Capital One Venture Rewards Card Worth Getting?

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TPG reader Anna-Lena emailed me with a question about the Venture Rewards program:

Is the Capital One Venture Rewards card worth it? It sounds good (thanks to no blackout dates) — what’s the catch?”

Not all travel rewards are created equal; some programs (such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest) offer incredible value for premium redemptions like first class flights and hotel suites. You can often get over three cents apiece (or much more) in value from these points, which is why I rate them so highly in my monthly valuations.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has two major advantages: simplicity and flexibility. You can use Venture Miles to pay for flights, hotels, rental cars and a wide array of other eligible expenses. Miles are redeemed as statement credits toward travel purchases made with your card, so you can book the airfare or hotel room you want without having to search for award availability (hence, no blackout dates). Best of all, you can actually earn rewards and elite status with your airline or hotel in the process.

This comes in handy if you need to redeem for travel that normally wouldn’t be covered by other loyalty programs (like a rail ticket through Europe or a bed and breakfast in a sleepy beach town), or if you’re new to award travel and are having trouble learning the ropes. However, there is a catch — while Venture Rewards may be easy to use, ultimately they just aren’t worth much. You can redeem miles for a flat rate of 1 cent apiece toward eligible travel expenses. While that consistency is nice, the low redemption rate puts pricier “aspirational” awards practically out of reach.

British Airways' A380 will start flying to Vancouver in May 2016. (Photo courtesy of British Airways.)
You’d need a lot of Venture Miles to redeem for an international first class flight.

For example, a first class flight from the US to Asia could easily go for $10,000 or more if you paid cash. You would need 1,000,000 (yep, one million) Venture Miles to redeem for that same flight, which would require spending a whopping $500,000 on your Venture Rewards card (since it earns 2 miles per dollar). By comparison, earlier this year I booked a first class award to Tokyo for just 62,500 AAdvantage miles, which you could earn from a single credit card sign-up bonus. The moral of the story is that, pound for pound, Venture miles just can’t match the firepower of most other travel rewards.

While Capital One might overstate the virtues of its own program, fixed-value options like the Venture Rewards card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard can be very useful, and should have a place in your portfolio. I always preach the importance of diversifying your points and miles, and these work great alongside other more valuable rewards. Just spend some time learning the best ways to use different programs so you can maximize each one.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit