Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Card
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The same bank issues the two credit cards, the names of the cards are almost the same and they have one identical bonus and identical travel partners. But they are far from the same. Welcome to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card.
Could one of these travel rewards credit cards fit well in your wallet?
Both of these Venture-family cards got two major upgrades in 2018. At the beginning of the year, Capital One launched a new partnership with Hotels.com allowing you to earn 10x miles per dollar spent for stays booked and paid via Hotels.com/venture. (This enhanced bonus category stacks with the existing Hotels.com Rewards program which offers a free night after 10 paid nights.) Then at the end of the year, Capital One added over a dozen new and valuable airline transfer partners, making the Venture and VentureOne two of the most flexible rewards cards in the points-and-miles game.
Yet despite the similar names, the identical Hotels.com bonus category and the identical redemption options, these two cards are very different.
Here’s a quick table that summarizes the characteristics of each of these two cards:
|Benefit||Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-up Bonus||Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening||Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening|
|Earning rates||10 miles per dollar spent at Hotels.com; 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase||10 miles per dollar spent at Hotels.com; 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase|
|Redemption||Redeem miles as a statement credit to cover the cost of a travel purchase or redeem points directly for new travel through Capital One. Points also transfer to 15 airlines at ratios of 2:1 or 2:1.5||Redeem miles as a statement credit to cover the cost of a travel purchase or redeem points directly for new travel through Capital One. Points also transfer to 15 airlines at ratios of 2:1 or 2:1.5|
|Additional Perks||Visa Signature benefits like purchase security and lost luggage reimbursement; no foreign transaction fees||Visa Signature benefits like purchase security and lost luggage reimbursement; no foreign transaction fees|
|Annual Fee||$95 (waived for the first year)||$0|
As you can see, there are some notable differences between the two, so let’s take a deeper dive into each category.
The first major difference applies to new cardholders. One of the most important considerations when opening a new card is the welcome bonus you stand to earn. If you open the Venture Rewards Card, you’ll take home 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. This haul is worth $500 if you redeem your miles for travel purchases, or potentially worth $700 or more if you leverage Capital One’s new suite of transfer partners.
On the other hand, the VentureOne Rewards Card will only award 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening, worth a minimum of $200 through fixed-value redemptions or closer to $280 if you transfer to partner airlines. As a result, if you’re looking solely at the value you’d get from the first year of cardmembership, the Venture Rewards Card comes out ahead. Even after accounting for the $95 annual fee (which is waived for the first year), the full-fledged Venture Rewards card pays for itself for the first couple of years on the strength of its welcome bonus alone.
Further Reading: 6 reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards Card
Long after your welcome bonus has been earned and spent, one of the primary reasons you’ll choose to keep a card open is the bonus categories it offers. Both Capital One cards will award you 10 miles per dollar spent at Hotels.com (through January 2020), but there’s a notable difference in the miles you’d earn on everyday purchases:
- Venture Rewards Card: 2 miles per dollar spent (2.8% return)
- VentureOne Rewards Card: 1.25 miles per dollar spent (1.75% return)
What’s nice about both of these cards is the simplicity of the earning structure. Aside from the obviously lucrative Hotels.com angle, you don’t have to worry about rotating bonus categories or certain purchases earning more miles than others. The earning rate is consistent across all purchases.
Most people pick a credit card with a great bonus category for travel or dining or airfare but forget that most purchases fall under the mundane category of everyday spending. It’s important not to leave points on the table here, and the Venture Rewards card is one of the best values for these unglamorous but frequent purchases.
Further Reading: The Best Credit Cards for Everyday Spending
Both Venture cards initially earned solid reputations for their identical fixed-value redemption scheme. This has some pros and cons to it. On the one hand, redeeming your points at a fixed value of one cent each to erase eligible travel purchases from your statement takes away the hassle of searching for award space and understanding complex networks of transfer partners.
Every redemption will be worth an equal amount, whether you’re wiping out $5.60 in taxes on an award ticket or several hundred dollars worth of seaplane transfers in the Maldives. The downside is that your redemption is capped at one cent per point, which isn’t ideal for those of us who like to score aspirational premium-cabin award tickets even if they require a little extra legwork.
If you want to fly in a first-class suite across an ocean, fixed-value redemptions won’t get you there. However, Capital One’s 15 airline transfer partners might be able to help. Miles earned on both the Venture and VentureOne cards transfer to the following airlines at the ratios shown below:
- Aeromexico Club Premier (2:1.5): Instant
- Air Canada Aeroplan (2:1.5): Instant
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue (2:1.5): Instant
- Alitalia MilleMiglia (2:1.5): Instant
- Avianca LifeMiles (2:1.5): Instant
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (2:1.5): Around five business days
- Emirates Skywards (2:1): Instant
- Etihad Guest (2:1.5): 24 hours
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5): 36 hours
- Finnair Plus (2:1.5): Instant
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club (2:1.5): 36 hours
- JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1): Instant
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (2:1.5): 24 hours
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club (2:1.5): 24 hours
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2:1): 36 hours
Some of these programs are rather obscure (and many are shared with other transferable points currencies), but Capital One included a number of truly high value partners here. Nearly half of my award redemptions are made through programs like Avianca LifeMiles and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. Singapore, Etihad Guest, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are also valuable.
You can check out TPG’s individual guides to maximizing redemptions with these programs, but the transfer ratios and times are identical for both the Venture and VentureOne cards. This is the first clear argument in favor of picking the no-annual-fee VentureOne, as it offers the same high-value redemptions as the regular Venture Rewards card. The downside, of course, is that it will take you longer to earn miles. With points transferring to most airlines at a 2:1.5 ratio and the Venture Rewards card earning 2x miles per dollar on nearly all purchases, you can think of it as earning 1.5x airline miles per dollar. Meanwhile, the VentureOne earns closer to .94x partner airline miles per dollar, which isn’t a great return.
Further Reading: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value
Both the Venture Rewards Card and VentureOne Rewards Card are Visa Signature cards. This designation provides an array of perks. You can view a full listing of perks at this PDF link, but here are some of the most notable ones:
- Lost-luggage reimbursement: Coverage of up up $3,000 per trip if your bags are lost or stolen during a trip paid for with the Venture or VentureOne Rewards Card
- Purchase security: Coverage of up to $500 per item in the event of theft or damage to an eligible item charged to the card within the first 90 days of purchase
- Luxury Hotel Collection: Includes additional perks at hundreds of luxury hotels and resorts around the world
In addition to these Visa Signature perks, neither card charges foreign transaction fees. In fact, the VentureOne Rewards Card is one of the few that waive these fees and also don’t impose an annual fee on cardholders. Speaking of which …
The final key distinction between the two cards involves the annual fee. The Venture Rewards Card imposes a $95 annual fee, though it is waived for the first year. The VentureOne Rewards Card, on the other hand, never imposes an annual fee on cardholders. The two cards are tied in this category for the first year (though you could argue that the Venture Card gets the nod with its the enhanced benefits), but the VentureOne Card becomes the better long-term option if you’re dead-set against paying an annual fee.
Which card should you get?
Does either card stand out for you? Here are a few guidelines to help you make a decision:
- Go with the Venture Rewards Card in Year One. For the first year, there’s a simple answer: Go with the Venture Rewards Card. There’s no out-of-pocket cost, since the $95 annual fee is waived, and you’ll earn a higher sign-up bonus and better earning rates on everyday purchases. You’ll essentially get a year to test out the “premium” version of the Venture card before committing to a long-term relationship. If you decide after 12 months that you don’t want to pay for a second year, you can always downgrade to the VentureOne card.
- If you plan to spend more than $12,666.67 per year, go with the Venture Rewards Card in the long term. After the first year, the biggest difference between the cards is the earning rates on purchases (other than those at Hotels.com). On every dollar you spend, you’ll earn an extra 0.75 miles on the Venture Card compared to the VentureOne Card. Since these miles are worth a minimum of 1 cent apiece toward redemptions, you’re earning an extra 0.75 cents for every dollar’s worth of purchases. At this rate, you’ll earn enough extra miles on the Venture Card to cover the $95 annual fee by spending $12,666.67 in a year. If you plan to transfer all your miles to partner airlines, that number drops to just over $9,000.
- If you absolutely can’t stomach the idea of paying an annual fee, go with the VentureOne Rewards card. Many of my friends and family members simply can’t understand why I pay an annual fee on a credit card (let alone on multiple cards). If you still haven’t come around to the idea, go with the VentureOne Rewards card. Earning a 1.25% return on every purchase plus the equivalent of 20% back on Hotels.com purchases is a solid rate of return, and it’s one of the few cards with no annual fee that also waives foreign transaction fees.
Sorting through travel-rewards credit cards can be difficult, and when you have two cards with almost identical names, the task gets even more challenging. However, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offer very different value, so if you’re intrigued by the new partnership with Hotels.com or the ability to transfer miles to partner airlines, it’s critical to choose the best one for your spending and travel patterns.