4 reasons I’m taking a closer look at Capital One credit cards
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
As someone with more than two dozen credit cards, you might think that I have cards from every major bank and issuer. It’s mostly true. I have cards from Chase, American Express, Citi and Bank of America, to name a few.
One major card issuer that’s not in my arsenal is Capital One. I’ve never actually applied for a Capital One credit card in almost a decade of opening travel reward cards. My oldest credit card — the Sony card — was a Citibank card when I applied, but has changed issuers over time and it was briefly a Capital One card. Comenity Bank currently issues it. I opened that card long before I knew anything about travel rewards, but I keep it for the history as it boosts my average age of accounts, thus helping my credit score.
Over the years, I’ve seen sign-up bonuses from Capital One come and go, but none have been compelling enough to sway me to apply. What’s also kept me from applying is that I’ve heard it may be difficult to get approved for those who already have a lot of credit cards or inquiries and that Capital One checks all three credit bureaus, which would add a hard pull on each of my credit reports.
However, Capital One has recently upped the bonus and added some features and benefits that are winning me over. Here are a few reasons why I’m now taking a closer look and considering applying.
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Big sign-up bonuses
It’s been hard to miss the news of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card increasing its sign-up bonus to 100,000 miles. This current, limited-time offer requires spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening. Or, you can earn 50,000 miles by spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
The spending requirement of $20,000 is pretty steep, so I would review my expenses and make sure I had a plan to meet the minimum spending requirement before applying. Since I have an entire year to spend the $20,000, my strategy would be to put most of my everyday spending on the Venture card.
TPG valuations rate the 100,000 miles at $1,700 (not provided by the issuer), making it an excellent bonus offer.
1:1 transfer partners
Capital One added 15 airlines as transfer partners to its Venture and Spark cards back in 2018. But the transfer ratio was either 2:1.5 or 2:1, depending on the partner. This was not news that did much to grab my attention at the time.
However, more recently, they’ve added airlines and a few hotel partners (currently, the number of partners is 19) and improved the transfer ratios for several partners. The new 1:1 transfer tier includes:
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Etihad Guest
- Asia Miles
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Choice Privileges (will become available to transfer later this year)
- Finnair Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- TAP Portugal Miles&Go
- Wyndham Rewards
Having airline and hotel transfer partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio definitely adds a reason to consider Capital One. In particular, the addition of Wyndham Rewards caught my eye due to its recent partnership with Vacasa — a vacation rental management company.
With Wyndham as a 1:1 transfer partner and Vacasa as a Wyndham partner, renting a beautiful vacation home in a picturesque location for 15,000 points per bedroom per night is now within easy reach — especially if earning a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus and 2x miles on all spend with the Venture card.
Transfer bonus opportunities also add to the appeal of Capital One. There is a current 25% bonus offer through July 2, 2021, with Avianca LifeMiles, so 1,000 Capital One miles would equal 1,250 LifeMiles. And Avianca’s LifeMiles loyalty program has some sweet spot redemptions worthy of consideration. I’m optimistic that we’ll see more, and maybe even higher, transfer bonuses from other partners.
I love visiting an airport lounge before a flight. Even if I only have a short time, I enjoy having a meal, snack and/or drink and in a quiet space (compared to waiting at the gate) before a flight. I have American Express Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass lounge access from other cards such as the Platinum Card® from American Express (enrollment required) and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Still, lounges can get crowded at times and some even have waitlists for entry during busy periods, so it would be great to have another choice of lounge to visit.
Capital One recently announced they would be getting into the airport lounge business and opening two lounges this summer, with the first one opening this summer at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — my home airport. The second lounge will open at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in 2022. According to a Capital One press release, cardholders will be eligible for special pricing, although the exact pricing is yet to be disclosed.
While I’d prefer complimentary entry to cardholders — if not unlimited, even something like a set number of free visits annually with the option to pay for additional visits would be acceptable. I’m curious about these new additions and how they compare to other airport lounges I regularly frequent.
2x miles on all purchases; use them to “pay” for travel
Earlier this year, I redeemed all of my miles and closed my Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (card no longer available), a card that is now discontinued. I had used that card for the past few years to “pay” for travel activities and flights or hotels that I didn’t use points or miles from the major programs. So now I’m without a card with that benefit.
Knowing that in addition to transferring miles to travel partners with Capital One, I can also eliminate travel purchases at 1 cent per mile is a big benefit. The Venture Rewards card ($95 annual fee) and the no-annual-fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offer this feature.
And, like my former Arrival Plus card, the Venture also offers 2x on all purchases. This makes it a good card to use on everyday spending.
I frequently conduct an inventory of my cards to determine which cards to keep, close and add to my credit cards portfolio. As travel has picked up immensely as of recent days, I’m at a point where I’m ready to add a new card or two, and Capital One is officially on the consideration list. They’re a strong contender because they’ve stepped up their game, not only with sign-up bonuses but also with perks and transfer partners.
Application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card available for a limited time with up to 100,000 bonus miles.
Featured photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy
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