Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

Jan 31, 2020

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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card overview

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has continued to innovate, attracting new customers and rewarding existing ones. The card effortlessly blends fixed-value redemption with airline — and now hotel — transfer partners. 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 Loyalty and Engagement Editor Richard Kerr calls the complexity of an ever-present devaluation. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great answer to this problem, offering simple earning and redemption options for beginners and high-value transfer options for the more experienced.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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, and sports an easily defensible $95 annual fee after the first year, among various other benefits and perks.

Capital One recently added two new hotel transfer partners with Wyndham Rewards and Accor Live Limitless (ALL). This enhancement represents Capital One’s first hotel transfer partnerships, and it also becomes the only issuer to offer transfers to Wyndham and Accor at the same time. In addition to adding Wyndham and Accor as new transfer partners, Capital One announced that JetBlue’s transfer ratio will be improving  from 2:1 to 2:1.5 (so 1,000 Capital One miles = 750 TrueBlue points).  The Venture Rewards card can be a great addition to your wallet, no matter where you are in your points journey.

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card with a 50,000-mile bonus.

In This Post

Who Is This Card For?

The Venture Rewards card has historically been best for people who want to keep things simple, since until December 2018 there were no transfer partners. However, now that you can move your miles over to several airline and hotel programs, the card’s appeal changes a bit. It’s still a great option for using miles to cancel out travel purchases on your statement without having to worry about the complexities of many loyalty programs, but it’s now also a strong choice for diversifying your portfolio of loyalty currencies and redeeming with some hidden-gem programs.

As such, I think there are two 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, but if not, you can always fall back on the fixed-value redemptions.

The second group that would benefit is more advanced award travelers looking to add a fixed-value card to their wallets. Even if you get your flights and hotels for free with points, having a fixed-value card to help you cancel out other ancillary charges, such as rental cars and maybe even certain tours, can help keep your travel as close to free as humanly possible.

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card with a 50,000-mile bonus.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Capital One Venture Rewards comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. With transfer partners now available, Capital One Venture miles are no longer worth a flat one cent apiece — or they don’t have to be, that is. Instead, they’re worth 1.4 cents each based on TPG valuations. We came up with that number based on our analysis of the current lineup of transfer partners and the redemption options available through each. With that number in mind, the 50,000-mile bonus is worth $700.

You’ll still have the option to redeem your miles for one cent apiece as a statement credit toward travel purchases, so while you can definitely maximize your 50,000 miles from the sign-up bonus to get more than $500 in value, you don’t have to jump through those hoops if you’d rather not. If you go the route of redeeming miles toward statement credits, the sign-up bonus would be worth $500. And the card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, so if this is a card you think might be right for you, you can get it, earn the sign-up bonus and try it out essentially for free for a year to see if it fits your needs.

Bonuvalue is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuationhere.

Main Benefits and Perks

The Venture Rewards card stands out for offering an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — many other cards that offer this benefit have annual fees above $400. The TSA/Global Entry application fee credit alone is worth up to $100. Remember that you can gift this perk to a friend or family member if you don’t need it for yourself.

For regular travelers, the Venture Rewards card has a decent, though not top-of-the-market, suite of travel benefits, including travel accident insurance, roadside assistance 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. And Capital One recently introduced a metal version of this card, which you’ll automatically receive if you’re approved as a new cardholder.

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card with a 50,000-mile bonus.

How to Earn Miles

Earning miles on the Venture Rewards card is pretty straightforward, which is what makes the card useful to folks who just don’t want to spend a lot of mental bandwidth swapping credit cards in and out for different types of merchants. You’ll earn at least two miles for every dollar you spend with the card on every transaction, which means you’re basically getting 2-2.8 cents (factoring in TPG’s latest valuation) in travel for every dollar in purchases, with no annual cap. And, you’ll earn five miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked on Capital One Travel for a return of 5-7 cents in travel for every dollar in purchases.

This makes the Venture Rewards card one of the most valuable options for everyday spending, an important but often overlooked part of accumulating points. It’s easy to zero in on high-powered bonus categories for dining or travel, but at the end of the day most people will spend most of their money outside of bonus categories. Adding a card like the Venture Rewards card to your wallet can help you mop up all those extra points and ensure you aren’t leaving anything on the table.

How to Redeem Miles

Here’s where things get interesting. In addition to the Purchase Eraser option for redeeming miles to cover travel purchases, you can transfer your Venture miles to a selection of airline and hotel partners.  Here are the transfer partners, as well as the transfer times experienced by TPG Senior Travel Features Reporter Katherine Fan:

Program Transfer Time
Accor Live Limitless New partner, not tested yet
Aeromexico Club Premier Instant
Air Canada Aeroplan Instant
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia Instant
Avianca LifeMiles Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 5 business days
Emirates Skywards Instant
Etihad Guest 24-hour turnaround
EVA Infinity MileageLands 36-hour turnaround
Finnair Plus Instant
Hainan Fortune Wings Club 36-hour turnaround
JetBlue TrueBlue Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer 24-hour turnaround
Qatar Airways Privilege Club 24-hour turnaround
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 36-hour turnaround
Wyndham Rewards New partner, not tested yet

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card with a 50,000-mile bonus.

Transfers are at a 2:1.5 (4:3) ratio for all partners except Accor Live Limitless, Emirates and Singapore, which have a 2:1 ratio. These aren’t necessarily the easiest numbers to wrap your head around, but considering that you earn 2x miles for most purchases on the card, you’ll be getting 1-1.5 miles or points with a transfer partner for every dollar you spend.

The Best Card for Free-Agent Travelers

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

While I think 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” (using the purchase eraser redemption option) and award tickets make it even easier for you to stay on top of the best deals.

Bottom Line

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is a more compelling card than ever, thanks to two additional hotel transfer partners and a better transfer ratio with JetBlue. 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 fee that’s waived the first year.

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card with a 50,000-mile bonus.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter

Featured image by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.