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Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Bank of America Travel Rewards

March 13, 2020
7 min read
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Whether you're a beginner to points and miles or a seasoned pro, it's always a good idea to have at least one flat-rate earning credit card in your wallet. Beginners can use these cards as a great jumping-off point for earning rewards because there aren't any bonus categories to worry about maximizing, while more experienced travelers can use them as a fall-back card for non-bonus spending.

No matter which category you fall into, you want to make sure you're choosing the right option for you. Today we're comparing two top flat-rate credit cards side-by-side: the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card.

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Comparison overview

Card:Capital One VentureBank of America Travel Rewards
Annual fee$95$0
Welcome offerEarn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.25,000 online bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
Flat earning rate2x miles per $1 on all purchases1.5 points per $1 on all purchases
Bonus rewards3 points per $1 made through the Bank of America Travel center
Rewards value*1.7 cents/mile1 cent/point
Top benefitsGlobal Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Travel protections

Visa Signature benefits

*Based on current TPG valuations

When you should get the Bank of America Travel Rewards card

At first glance, most people would probably assume it's always better to get the Capital One Venture card, since it earns at a faster rate. However, there are scenarios when there is more value in having the no-annual-fee Bank of America Travel Rewards card in your wallet:

Related reading: Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review

You are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program is available to Bank of America customers who have at least a $20,000 three-month average combined balance across Bank of America banking and Merrill investment accounts. When you are a member, you get a number of benefits, including a certain number of no-fee ATM transactions at non-Bank of America ATMs, savings account boosts and more. And one of those benefits is a rewards bonus on Bank of America credit card earnings.

The program is organized into three tiers, based on how much you have saved or invested with the company.

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Preferred Rewards tierGoldPlatinumPlatinum Honors
Required balance (three month combined average across accounts)$20,000 - $50,000$50,000 - $100,000$100,000+
Rewards bonus25%50%75%
New Travel Rewards earning rate1.87x2.25x2.62x

That rewards bonus significantly increases the value of the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card. If you're a Platinum or Platinum Honors member, you'll actually start earning at a higher rate on this no-fee card than you would on the Capital One Venture card.

Related reading: Stop ignoring Bank of America Preferred Rewards

You already have two personal Capital One credit cards

Capital One restricts the number of personal credit cards you can have from the issuer to two at a time. That means if you have, for example, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, you'll be ineligible to open the Venture.

The information for the Capital One Savor has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Ultimate guide to credit card application restrictions

When you should get the Capital One Venture

The Venture is the higher-tier card, with a $95 annual fee, higher earning rate and more benefits. Here's when it makes sense to add this card to your wallet over the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card:

Related reading: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

You plan to spend more than $609 per month

If you're spending at least $609 per month on your credit card, the Venture's higher flat earning rate of 2x miles per dollar spent will provide more value. At that spending rate, you'll earn 14,616 miles per year with the Capital One Venture and 10,962 with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. Keeping TPG valuations in mind, that puts the Venture miles at $204.62 in value over the course of a year and the Travel Rewards points at $109.62. With the $95 annual fee taken out of the Venture earnings, this is the break-even point for the two cards.

Related reading: Reasons to get the Capital One Venture

You want transfer partners as a redemption option

The Capital One Venture gives you access to flexible redemption options. You can redeem your miles at a fixed rate to "erase" travel purchases from your statement, or you can take advantage of Capital One's growing transfer partner list. The list includes airlines from each of the three major airline alliances, which unlocks quite a few stellar redemption options if you know how to maximize your miles.

Sofitel is another upscale Accor brand. (Photo courtesy of Sofitel)
One of Capital One's newest transfer partners is hotel brand Accor. (Photo courtesy of Sofitel)

The Bank of America card, on the other hand, always redeems points at a fixed 1 cent value. Considering the Venture also has the ability to redeem at a fixed rate on top of the transfer partner options, you'll pretty much always get a better value out of the Capital One miles rewards program.

You don't already have Global Entry/TSA PreCheck

The Capital One Venture is one of the only mid-tier credit cards that offers a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit. The benefit has become commonplace among higher-tier credit cards that charge $250+ in annual fees, but it's not something you see regularly on a card that only charges $95 a year.

If you don't already have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, the Capital One Venture is an affordable way to secure an application fee credit.

Bottom line

Both of these cards have their merits. If you are a loyal Bank of America customer with enough money stashed away to qualify for the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, there is a lot of value to be had from the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card.

However, most travelers will likely get the most out of the Capital One Venture Card. With a higher earning rate, more perks and flexible redemption options, this $95-annual-fee card is hard to beat.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.