Earn up to a 100k sign-up bonus: Review of the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card overview
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has continued to innovate by not only attracting new customers, but rewarding existing ones. The card effortlessly blends fixed-value redemption with 19 airline and hotel transfer partners, many at new, improved transfer rates. Plus, a new lucrative sign-up bonus makes it even more attractive for new cardholders. Its low annual fee and solid return on everyday spending make it a keeper if you’re able to get approved for it. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The award travel world is incredibly complex, with transfer partners to keep track of and a never-ending stack of acronyms to memorize that TPG Travel Partnerships Director Richard Kerr calls “the complexity of an ever-present devaluation.”
But, it doesn’t have to be that difficult to earn and use credit card rewards.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great answer to this problem of complexity, offering both simple earning and redemption options for beginners and high-value transfer options for the more experienced points and miles collector.
And for a limited time, the card is awarding a massive sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles for new cardholders after they spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or they can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Plus, Capital One recently announced new benefits, a longer list of transfer partners and improved transfer rates that will take this card to the next level.
The Venture Rewards card is one of the best rewards credit cards, as it earns 2x miles on every purchase, has no foreign transaction fees, includes an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (worth up to $100) and has a very palatable $95 annual fee, among various other benefits and perks.
No matter where you are in your points-and-miles journey, this card can be a great addition to your wallet. But be warned: Capital One is incredibly sensitive to recent inquiries, so many people with excellent credit (myself included) may have a harder time getting approved for this card than some others.
Application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card available for a limited time with up to 100,000 bonus miles.
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Who is this card for?
The Venture Rewards card lets you use miles to pay off recent travel purchases on your statement without having to worry about the complexities of many loyalty programs. Alternatively, you can transfer your miles to multiple airline and hotel programs — allowing you to diversify your portfolio of loyalty currencies and redeem with some hidden-gem programs.
As such, there are a couple of main groups of people who would benefit from this card.
The first is people who are new to the points-and-miles world. If you’re able to learn how to maximize Capital One’s transfer partners in time for your next vacation, that’s great. If not, you can always fall back on the fixed-value redemptions that make it easy to use miles to offset travel charges you put on the card.
The second group that would benefit is more advanced award travelers looking to either add a fixed-value card to their wallets or access Capital One’s array of transfer partners. Even if you secure flights and hotels for ‘free’ with miles, having a fixed-value card to help you cover other ancillary charges, such as the cost of rental cars and maybe even certain tours, can help keep your travel expenses as low as possible.
The Venture Rewards card comes with a new limited-time sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on the card within the first 12 months of account opening. This is awarded in two installments. First, you can earn 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
The second 50,000 miles are awarded after $20,000 in total spending in the first year on the card. That sounds like a ton of spending, and it won’t be realistic for everyone, but if you have some large everyday expenses coming up, it may be easier than you think given the long timeframe to get it done.
Based on TPG valuations (and not provided by the issuer), your Capital One miles are likely worth up to around 1.7 cents each when they’re transferred to loyalty programs. So if you choose to just earn the first 50,000-mile bonus, that’s worth $850. However, if you decide to go for the full 100k bonus, the value rises to $1,700. Your exact valuation will depend on exactly how you redeem your points.
Remember, you’ll also still have the option to redeem your miles for 1 cent apiece as a statement credit toward travel purchases. If you go the route of redeeming miles toward statement credits, the full sign-up bonus can be worth up to $1,000, lending itself to a ton of incredible travel redemption possibilities.
Main benefits and perks
The Venture Rewards card stands out among the crowd for offering an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years, worth up to $100. Many of the other cards offering this benefit charge annual fees of more than $400. Remember — you can also gift this perk to a friend or family member if you don’t need it for yourself.
There are also new benefits coming for cardholders — two new domestic airport lounges at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). We’re still waiting on full details on exactly what these lounges will look like or who will be eligible for access. But Capital One did confirm that cardholders will receive a special entry rate.
The Venture Rewards card has a decent suite of travel benefits for regular travelers, including travel accident insurance and secondary auto rental coverage. When making everyday purchases, you’ll also get extended warranty protection. The Venture Rewards doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so you can use the card overseas without accumulating extra charges. Benefits only available to accounts approved for the Visa Signature card. Terms apply.
Earning miles on the Venture Rewards card is pretty straightforward, making the card useful to folks who don’t want to spend a lot of mental energy swapping credit cards in and out for different types of merchants. You’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend with the card on every transaction, which means you’re getting 2 – 3.4 cents (factoring in TPG’s latest valuation) in travel for every dollar in purchases, with no annual cap.
This makes the Venture Rewards card one of the most valuable options for everyday spending, an important but often overlooked part of accumulating miles.
It’s easy to zero in on high-powered and popular bonus categories for dining or travel, but there’s a lot of money that gets spent outside of defined bonus categories. Adding a card like the Venture Rewards card to your wallet can help you mop up all those extra miles and ensure you aren’t leaving anything on the table when paying for big-ticket but usually non-bonused things such as summer camp, home repairs, car insurance, preschool, furniture and more.
Here’s where things get really interesting.
In addition to the ability to redeem miles for recent travel (and currently some non-travel) purchases, you can transfer your Venture miles to a list of airline and hotel partners. When transfer partners first launched on the Capital One Venture, most of them came with a 2:1.5 or 2:1 transfer ratio. But now, Capital One is adding new transfer partners and moving their transfer partner program to a tiered setup.
Starting April 20, these are the new transfer partner ratios:
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1 (1,000 Capital One miles = 1,000 Premier Points)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Aeroplan Miles)|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Flying Blue Miles)|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 MilleMiglia miles)|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 LifeMiles)|
|ALL Accor Live Limitless||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 ALL Rewards points)|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Asia Miles)|
|British Airways||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 British Airways Avios)|
|Emirates Skywards||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 Skywards Miles)|
|Etihad Guest||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Etihad Guest Miles)|
|EVA Infinity MileageLands||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands Miles)|
|Finnair Plus||1.1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Finnair Plus Award Points)|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 TrueBlue points)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Qantas Points)|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 KrisFlyer miles)|
|TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Miles&Go miles)|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Miles&Smiles miles)|
|Wyndham Rewards||1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Wyndham Rewards Points)|
Choice Hotels will join Capital One’s transfer partner list later in 2021 at the 1:1 tier.
TPG is leaning towards a new valuation of 1.7 cents per Venture mile based on the new selection of redemptions available through Capital One’s transfer partners. Some highlights include:
- Booking Lufthansa business class with no fuel surcharges through Avianca LifeMiles
- Booking American Airlines business-class flights to Europe through Etihad Guest
- Booking Alitalia business to Italy through the carrier’s MilleMiglia program
- Booking U.S. domestic flights through various airlines.
If you’re confused about how to transfer Capital One miles to airline and hotel partners, here’s how to do it.
You can also choose to sign in to your Venture Rewards online account and redeem them for one cent each as a statement credit against any eligible travel purchase you’ve made with the card in the last 90 days. This could be an airline flight, a hotel booking or even a rental car. There’s no minimum redemption amount, so even if you made a travel purchase for only $1.50, you can redeem 150 miles for it and see the charge disappear from your balance.
The best card for free-agent travelers
While most people would do well to have a Venture Rewards card in their wallet, there’s a specific group that can get even more value out of the unique way this card is set up. Free-agent travelers, or those who aren’t inherently loyal to a single hotel chain or airline, can take full advantage of the flexibility that this card offers.
While you won’t get any airline-specific perks such as free checked bags or priority boarding with this card, you’ll be able to use your rewards to jump on the cheapest cash ticket to wherever you’re going while still taking advantage of transfer partners in all three major alliances (Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam). That flexibility to switch between “cash tickets” paid at a fixed value with Venture miles and award tickets booked by transferring your miles to the line-up of airline programs make it even easier for you to stay on top of the best deals.
Which cards compete with the Venture Rewards?
Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is another popular sub-$100 travel rewards card, let’s start there.
Like the Venture Rewards card, the Sapphire Preferred also has a $95 annual fee. It earns you 2x points per dollar on travel (from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains) and dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out) purchases and 1x points per dollar on everything else. You can transfer points to 10 airlines and three hotel partners, including Aer Lingus, Hyatt, Marriott and Southwest, at a 1:1 ratio. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred tops out at just 2x, the earning rate still equates to a higher 4% return based on TPG’s valuations, as we value each Chase Ultimate Reward point at a higher 2 cents each.
Of note is that the Sapphire Preferred also currently has an all-time high increased welcome bonus. It is 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points awarded with $4,000 in spending within the first three months of getting the card. Plus, you’ll get up to $50 in statement credits for grocery purchases in your first 12 months from account opening.
It may be easier for some to find value through Chase’s transfer partners than with Capital One transfer partners’ selection. For example, you can transfer points to Virgin Atlantic to book Delta flights for far fewer miles than what Delta would charge you, or transfer to Hyatt, where top-tier properties cost a still-reasonable 30,000-40,000 points per night. Plus, the 1:1 transfer ratio for all Chase Ultimate Rewards partners is still more user-friendly than the tiered structure (even with its handful of new 1:1 partners) on the Venture.
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express is another $95-a-year card that earns transferable points under the Amex Membership Rewards program. You’ll earn 3x points on the first $6,000 you spend each year at U.S. supermarkets, 2x points at U.S. gas stations and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Plus, you’ll get a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 purchases in a billing statement, which increases your effective earning rates to 4.5x on groceries, 3x at gas stations and 1.5x on everything else.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Amex Membership Rewards program has a few more transfer partners than Capital One does, and most of them have a 1:1 transfer ratio. If you’re able to take advantage of the transfer bonuses Amex frequently offers, you can score some incredibly lucrative redemptions.
Finally, we can compare the Venture to a card much closer to home: the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.
This card also earns transferable Venture miles, but it has no annual fee and earns 1.25 miles per dollar spent rather than 2 miles per dollar on the Venture Card. With this card, the transfer ratios to airline partners get a bit messier — you’ll get less than 1 point or mile with a partner program for every dollar you spend. The VentureOne also doesn’t have any extra perks, such as a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Card earns miles at a consistent rate and can facilitate simple fixed-rate redemptions along with more complicated awards with hotel and airline partners.
Between the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit and some intriguing redemption options through the transfer partners, this card packs a lot in for a $95 annual fee. For these reasons, it is one of our best travel credit cards and is especially attractive right now with new transfer partners, improved transfer ratios and the limited-time offer of up to 100,000 bonus miles for new cardholders.
Application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Card available for a limited-time with up to 100,000 bonus miles.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Madison Blancaflor.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy
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SIGN-UP BONUS: Up to 100,000 Bonus Miles
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,700
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Miles are now transferrable to several airline partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 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
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees