How I'm getting $1,400+ in value from my Capital One Venture sign-up bonus
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to credit cards. I have my tried-and-true lineup of rewards cards that get me essential perks like bonus categories, lounge access and elite status. I like keeping things simple and rarely go for a big sign-up bonus unless it involves a transferable rewards currency I value highly.
But when the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card came out with an elevated sign-up bonus, I immediately jumped on it. The card offered 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or 50,000 miles if you spent $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. And now that lucrative sign-up bonus — worth up to $1,400 (based on TPG valuations and not the issuer) — is back.
I never paid the card much attention because up until 2018, it was essentially a 2x rewards card. I already had one of those with no annual fee. However, the Venture Rewards card has gained more appeal in recent years due to the addition of transfer partners. It also offers an up-to-$100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit every four years.
But more importantly, 2% cash-back cards generally don’t offer sign-up bonuses (at least not anything exceeding $200). A sign-up bonus worth up to $1,400 was tough to turn down. Due to the pandemic, I took just one trip to Turkey last year and have begun planning more trips once I get vaccinated. The bonus from the Venture card will help me cover some of those expenses.
Venture miles can be redeemed for virtually any travel purchase at a rate of 1 cent each. However, you might unlock additional value by transferring miles to travel partners. I have plenty of transferable rewards to cover airfare, so I probably won't be using my Venture miles this way. Below are four ways I'm considering spending my Capital One Venture Card sign-up bonus.
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A weeklong stay at a Florida beach house
The Florida Panhandle was far from my bucket list, especially during the pandemic. However, Summer and Richard’s trip to 30A looked incredible and I began bookmarking Airbnbs for a trip in 2021. I found an amazing house near the beach with a private pool for $500 per night. My sister and I are splitting the bill, so a weeklong stay will set me back about $1,750.
A magical resort in Cancun
Instagram is full of highly filtered images that totally misconstrue reality. So when I saw a photo of the Hotel Xcaret in Riviera Maya, facing the beach on one side, lush jungle on the other and a lagoon in between, I thought, “This can’t be real.” Further research revealed that the property was, in fact, real. This five-diamond, all-suites, “all-fun inclusive” eco-resort is surrounded by seven theme parks (which guests have complimentary access to) and offers 10 restaurants and eight bars.
It looks like the absolute perfect place for a family vacation, though the average rate of $500-plus per night is pretty steep. I managed to find rates of $364 through a third-party site for dates in April. You can do the same by entering your desired dates into Tripadvisor and comparing rates on other sites.
With the Venture card’s sign-up bonus, I can cover almost four nights at this resort. At this point, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when I’ll book this trip. My Venture card sign-up bonus won’t cover as many free nights here as it would in Florida, but it will be all-inclusive. Airport transportation is also included, so I really can just sit back, relax and maybe even check out with a $0 bill on a prepaid stay.
The pandemic has spawned many incredible travel deals that would have been unheard of a year ago. Whether it’s a $285-per-night overwater villa in the Maldives, $10 nightly rates in Las Vegas or $109 hotels in Santorini, there are lots of savings to be found. I’ve been eyeing these deals as they come up and haven’t pulled the trigger yet. However, having $1,400 in travel credits from the Capital One Venture sign-up bonus will go a long way if I decide to jump on one of these deals.
Award taxes and fees
There’s nothing more obnoxious than saving up miles for “free travel” and then being hit with hundreds of dollars in taxes and fees. This is par for the course on international flights and is still better than paying thousands of dollars in airfare.
What I often do is keep a stash of cash-back rewards from my Fidelity Rewards Visa to cover these expenses. It may only be $100 to $200 per flight, but I like keeping my out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. The sign-up bonus from the Capital One Venture Card can help me offset the cost of award ticket fees once travel picks up again. The information for the Fidelity Rewards Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
This isn’t as exciting as a Florida beach house or an all-inclusive resort in paradise, but it’s practical.
The flexibility of Venture miles makes the Venture card’s sign-up bonus much more valuable than before. I don't plan on taking advantage of Capital One's transfer partnerships, since I have other rewards currencies that work better for this purpose. However, there are plenty of great options for me to use the bonus to get a great deal on travel.
With so many great travel deals available right now, your sign-up bonus will go further than ever. Thanks to flexible cancellation policies, it’s an even better time to think ahead and plan your post-pandemic vacation to save even more.