How the Capital One Venture X travel credit can save you $300 on your summer trip
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As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover – and the same phrase can be applied to a credit card’s annual fee.
Take the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, for instance. While this premium rewards card sports a $395 annual fee, there are a number of ongoing valuable perks that help offset the full cost of that figure.
Those perks are in addition to a nice sign-up bonus: 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
One of the ongoing principal benefits that Venture X cardholders receive each year, however, is up to $300 in annual statement credits that apply towards bookings made on Capital One Travel.
Today, let’s take a closer look at the Venture X annual travel statement credit, how you can make the most of it — and why rampant demand for summer travel means now could be the perfect time to apply.
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What is the Venture X $300 travel credit?
Venture X cardholders receive up to $300 in statement credits each cardmember year (not calendar year) toward travel, including the year you open the card. That means you can get $300 in value from the Venture X right off the bat.
But there is one caveat: The credit only applies to bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal.
The Capital One Travel portal is an online travel agency (OTA) and can be best compared to those offered by other issuers, such as Amex Travel and the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. What sets Capital One’s portal apart is that it has partnered with Hopper, a travel booking startup with excellent predictive pricing technology that can help cardholders ensure they get the best deals.
Cardholders can log into the Capital One Travel portal to book things like airfare, hotel stays and rental car reservations. The $300 statement credit will then be applied to those purchases.
Even better, the credit can be used across one or multiple transactions until the $300 limit is reached, and there is no registration required. The credit will be automatically applied to transactions until you hit the $300 mark.
Booking through Capital One Travel vs. booking direct
At face value, the requirement to use the Capital One Travel portal might feel like a limitation, especially when you consider the benefits of booking travel directly.
For instance, when booking certain hotels or car rentals through any third-party service – including Capital One Travel and other credit card issuers’ travel portals – you will typically forfeit elite-status benefits along with the ability to earn elite-qualifying credits and points within these loyalty programs.
However, for flights and independent hotels (including Disney resorts, for those who love visits to the Disney parks), booking through the Capital One Travel portal still makes a lot of sense, since you wouldn’t earn hotel points anyway. Flights booked this way usually still earn award and elite-qualifying miles the same as booking directly.
Finally, Capital One Travel has several unique features thanks to its partnership with Hopper.
This includes an integrated price prediction and matching tool along with a best price guarantee. Capital One will also add the option to purchase cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) coverage on flights and price freeze protection, which will allow folks to lock in a price they find on the portal for a fee until they’re ready or able to book.
I used the price drop protection feature earlier this year to obtain a partial refund on a flight I booked through Capital One Travel.
Earning miles through Capital One Travel
Aside from how easy it should be to maximize that $300 travel credit, there is one other excellent reason to use the Venture X to book travel through the Capital One Travel portal: the bonus earning opportunities.
The Venture X has a simple earning structure, accruing 2 miles per dollar on most charges. However, it features elevated earning rates for bookings made via Capital One Travel:
- 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked via Capital One Travel.
- 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel.
So, by using the Venture X for Capital One Travel purchases, you can ensure you take full advantage of your $300 annual travel credit and then earn potentially tons of bonus miles on your other bookings above and beyond that threshold.
Also, look into how you can stack rental car perks using Hertz and the Venture X, saving yourself a lot of time, money and hassle leaving the airport and getting your vacation started.
Earn miles while using the credit
Venture X cardholders can receive the $300 annual Capital One Travel statement credit while still earning miles (at the applicable rate).
For instance, let’s say you booked a hotel for exactly $300 through the Capital One Travel portal. You’d be credited $300 on your statement, and you would also earn 3,000 miles ($300 multiplied by 10 miles per dollar) for the “purchase.” That’s very generous on Capital One’s end.
How does this travel credit compare to other premium cards?
Both the Chase and Amex products carry higher annual fees, but also extend an array of additional perks that may be useful to some consumers. For the sake of this comparison, let’s restrict our analysis to their travel-focused credits.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a $550 annual fee, and one of its standout perks is a highly flexible $300 annual travel credit. Unlike Capital One’s requirement to use a proprietary booking portal, Chase allows Sapphire Reserve cardholders to earn their $300 back on a wide variety of travel transactions, whether they book directly or through Ultimate Rewards.
Among the types of purchases that should trigger the credit are:
- Car rental agencies.
- Cruise lines.
- Travel agency services.
- Taxis and car services.
- Toll bridges and highways.
- Parking lots and garages.
Chase cardholders do not earn any Ultimate Rewards points on purchases to which the $300 annual travel credit is applied, but they will earn points on expenditures made beyond it.
The two perks that are most similar to Capital One’s are an up-to-$200 airline incidental fee statement credit each calendar year and up to another $200 in statement credits on prepaid Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings (of two or more nights) made through Amex Travel when you pay with your Amex Platinum. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Both these feel somewhat more limiting than Capital One’s version, though.
The airline credit (typically) does not apply toward airfare but instead works on “incidental” purchases, such as checked bag fees and lounge passes. Plus, you have to designate a U.S. airline to apply it to each calendar year, which requires some forethought.
As for the hotel credit, while that’s easy enough to use if you book a hotel stay or two through Amex Travel, you’re still restricted to prepaid bookings, which limits your flexibility. By contrast, you can pretty much just book what you like through Capital One Travel, and the Venture X’s up-to $300 annual statement credit should apply.
Premium credit cards have high annual fees on the surface, but a closer look at the benefits reveals more to the story.
In the case of the Venture X, a $300 annual credit applied to Capital One Travel bookings significantly offsets the card’s $395 annual fee, and it can be a great way to save money on travel this summer. If you plan to apply for the Capital One Venture X – or have the card already – you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with the travel portal, so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of this benefit.
Official application link: Capital One Venture X with 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.
Featured photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.
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