Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Venture X
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
When the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card first launched in 2010, it looked very different than the Venture we know and love today.
The now-familiar $95-annual-fee card earned 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, which could be redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece. That formula has won it accolades for simplicity and value.
The Venture has only gotten better over time — and particularly within the last few years. First, it added a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit. In 2018, the issuer also introduced travel transfer partners to the Capital One miles program. And just last year, Capital One improved its transfer rates and opened its first airport lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
But the most notable enhancement to the issuer’s portfolio hit the market in November 2021. To rival long-standing premium competitors from issuers like American Express and Chase, Capital One launched the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
As Capital One’s first truly premium travel credit card, the Venture X takes travel rewards and benefits to the next level. With a $395 annual fee, it’s more affordable than The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, yet it offers a similar cadre of benefits, which makes the Venture X one of the best credit cards on the market today.
If you don’t carry either card — the Venture or the Venture X — you may wonder: Should you apply for the well-established, crowd-pleasing Venture or shake things up with the higher-priced Venture X?
We’ll dive into a deep analysis of both cards to help travelers decide which Capital One card is the better fit for your needs.
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Comparing the Venture X and Venture
|Card||Capital One Venture X||Capital One Venture|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.||Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.|
|Foreign transaction fees||None.||None.|
For an annual fee difference of $300, you’ll get a number of perks — including unlimited lounge access, additional statement credits and more.
But are all of these perks worth it? We’ll put these cards to the test in the following sections.
Last year, TPG raised its valuation of Capital One miles to 1.85 cents per mile thanks to many positive changes to the issuer’s rewards program, including adding four new transfer partners and improving the transfer ratio with most to a 1:1 basis. This means that you can get incredible value from the bonuses on both of these cards.
However, the Venture just increased its sign-up bonus to match that of the Venture X.
For both the Venture X and the Venture, you’ll earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Those miles are worth around $1,388, based on TPG’s valuations, making now a great time to apply for either card.
One of our favorite parts of the Venture is its approachable earning rate of 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases. And cardholders who book hotels and rental cars through the Capital One Travel portal will enjoy an improved 5 miles per dollar on these purchases.
The Venture X takes that same everyday earning rate that we love (2 miles per dollar) but layers in additional travel-geared bonus categories. You’ll earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal and 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through the portal.
In addition, Capital One recently launched a new partnership with Turo, giving Venture X cardholders 10 miles per dollar and Venture cardholders 5 miles per dollar on cars booked through the Turo app or website.
Winner: Venture X is the clear winner. However, it’s worth pointing out that you may want to avoid booking hotels and rental cars through the portal if you’re pursuing (or already have) elite status. The portal is considered a third-party platform, so you likely won’t get any elite credits or benefits when booking this way (though Hertz is one important exception).
Capital One currently has 18 total airline and hotel transfer partners. The issuer revamped the transfer program for the better throughout 2021, though it did lose its only domestic airline transfer partner (JetBlue’s TrueBlue).
With both the Venture and Venture X, your Capital One miles will transfer to partners at a 1:1 rate — save for a couple of programs, noted below:
- Aeromexico Club Premier.
- Air Canada Aeroplan.
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
- ALL Accor Live Limitless (2:1).
- Avianca LifeMiles.
- British Airways Executive Club.
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
- Choice Privileges.
- Emirates Skywards.
- Etihad Guest.
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5).
- Finnair Plus.
- Qantas Frequent Flyer.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
- TAP Portugal Miles & Go.
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.
- Virgin (Virgin Red).
- Wyndham Rewards.
Even if most of Capital One’s partners are international airlines, don’t discount them, as there’s still tremendous value to be found if you can leverage the various programs’ sweet spots. Plus, having access to a greater number of transfer partners only helps in providing more flexibility when it’s time to redeem your miles. Some of the notable programs include Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club and Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.
If simplicity is your thing, you can instead redeem your miles for any travel-related purchases on your statement at a rate of 1 cent each with either card. While this is under our valuation of 1.85 cents, this is a great way to reduce those other travel charges like group tours, ride-hailing services and more.
Winner: Tie. Though the Venture X carries a higher annual fee, it offers the exact same redemption options as the Venture.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two cards is the sheer number of benefits that come with the Venture X.
The Venture is a pared-down version of the Venture X, with only two passes per year to visit Capital One’s new airport lounges (the Dallas-Fort Worth location for now — but more are set to open in 2022) and complimentary Hertz Gold Plus elite status. Like the Venture X, the Venture also offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement credit.
On the other hand, with the Venture X, you’ll enjoy several additional perks:
- Unlimited access to Capital One and Priority Pass lounges for you and up to two guests.
- Up to a $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel.
- Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle elite status.
- Cellphone protection.
- 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary (worth $100 toward travel purchases or $185 based on our valuations).
From the two tangible benefits — the 10,000 bonus miles and $300 annual travel credit — that’s $485 in value alone.
Winner: Venture X. The $300 annual fee difference gets you a steady amount of perks that will make an enormous difference in your travel experience. With unlimited access at Capital One and Priority Pass lounges, up to $300 in annual travel credit through the Capital One portal and more, the value of the Venture X’s more robust benefits becomes even more apparent.
When should you get the Venture X?
The Venture X provides considerable first-year value, with the 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Coupled with the other perks on the card that are not found on the Venture, most travelers shouldn’t have any trouble justifying the higher $395 annual fee — even though the sign-up bonuses are now identical.
That said, if you need some more convincing, here are some other reasons why you should apply for the Venture X instead.
Generous authorized user benefits
While the $395 annual fee is steep, the benefits can be shared among up to four authorized users. If you have trusted family members or friends, you can add them for free and share unlimited access to Capital One and Priority Pass lounges (for your authorized users and up to two of their guests). Authorized users can also take advantage of the card’s comprehensive travel and purchase protections, which can be real money-savers when things go wrong on the road.
This is the first Capital One card to come with cellphone protection, a pretty amazing benefit if your phone gets damaged, stolen or even lost if it’s unrecoverable. To qualify, you’ll need to pay your monthly bill with the Venture X for reimbursement of up to $800 per claim and two claims ($1,600 maximum) per year, with a $50 deductible per claim.
When should you get the Venture?
Even though the Venture X wins in nearly every category that we analyzed, that doesn’t mean the Venture should be out of the running completely. Here are some reasons why the original Venture card can be a solid pick for many.
The Venture X’s benefits don’t work with your lifestyle
If you travel too infrequently to maximize the full potential of the Venture X, then the Venture is likely better suited for you. Admittedly, the Venture X’s perks are designed for road warriors and frequent flyers. Capital One has only one lounge currently open at DFW, and while there are more in the pipeline, it will undoubtedly take time for the full benefit of Capital One lounges to be realized.
The credits on the Venture X, while lucrative, are still more limiting when compared to the $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which is one of the most generous credits we’ve seen on any card. As a result, if you always book directly and don’t want to commit to booking through the Capital One Travel portal, you might find it hard to take full advantage of the Venture X’s $300 annual travel credit.
You already have Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge or other lounge access
For many travelers, airport lounges are a saving grace to get work done or grab a meal before your flight departs. But if you already have another card that grants you Priority Pass or some other type of lounge access, carrying the Venture X may not be necessary for you.
For instance, the Amex Platinum grants you access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, including the issuer’s own Centurion Lounges as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) and Priority Pass (except restaurant venues).
You’re looking for a fixed-rate rewards card for non-bonus expenses
At the end of the day, the Venture still offers 2 miles on all other eligible purchases — the same rate as the Venture X. If you’re merely looking to add a flat-rate earning card to your strategy to maximize those purchases that tend to fall outside of common purchase categories, the Venture is still a fantastic card to earn all those extra points.
Capital One entered the premium card market with a splash last year, as the Venture X was perhaps the most exciting card launch we’d seen in a while. For most travelers, the Venture X is the uncontested winner. However, the Venture continues to stand its ground with its own set of benefits and a $95 annual fee that is much more approachable for award travel beginners.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Christina Ly.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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