The Capital One Venture has been a stalwart in the travel card market for years. However, they have made a splash in entering the transferrable points niche by partnering with 14 airlines.

The Venture traditionally had a $59 annual fee. However, they raised the fee to $95 (waived the first year) in 2018. The increased annual fee puts it in line with other Tier III cards

Is the revamped Venture card a good one for you?

Earning

The Venture earns 2x miles on all purchases. Capital One’s points are simply called miles. But that doesn’t mean you should confuse them with airline miles as they are different currencies. You can also earn 10x miles on purchases from hotels.com. This is a special promotion that’s ending in January 2020.

The card also has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles. This bonus can be earned after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Burning

The Capital One Venture card has two options for redemption: transfer partners and statement credits. The former will give you more value than the latter, but you have to find the right flight and partner.

Transfer Partners

These partners have recently become a major draw for this card. For some travelers, it’s a nice substitute for cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But many of Capital One’s partners are international airlines making the card attractive for mostly international travelers.

Capital One miles have a 4:3 transfer ratio with partner miles. In other words, 4 Capital One miles will transfer into 3 partner miles, a rate of 1.5 cents per point (CPP). I am not impressed by this ratio as it lowers the card’s effective earning rate when using transfer partners. The exceptions to the 4:3 ratio are Emirates and Singapore, which both have an even worse 2:1 ratio.

Capital One partnered with the following airlines in 2018:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada
  • Air France / KLM Flying Blue
  • Air Italia Millemiglia
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates (2:1 ratio)
  • Etihad
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus
  • Hainan Fortune Wings Club
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2:1 ratio)

Statement Credit

This alternative option lets you “erase” travel purchases at the rate of 1 CPP. Earning points as a statement credit is also Capital One’s traditional redemption option. At one time, it was the only way to redeem miles.

Benefits

The Capital One Venture comes with a few nice benefits that could justify the annual fee and make life easier away from home.

Global Entry / Pre-TSA Fee Credits

You will receive a credit once every 4-5 years to waive the fee for either program. I suggest going with Global Entry because Pre-TSA comes with that membership automatically. The credit is worth up to $100, depending on which program you choose.

No Foreign Exchange Fees

This increasingly common benefit saves you 3% on all purchases made outside of the United States.

Extended Warranty

This perk doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to one extra year. The extension only applies to warranties of three years or less, with a maximum of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder.

Purchase Security

This perk helps you repair, replace, or reimburse you for purchases in the event of theft or damage. Claims must be made within 90 days of the purchase date, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder.

Rules & Regulations

Capital One is infamous for pulling all three credit bureaus when applying for any of their cards. This rule is held over from when Capital One was mainly a subprime lender. It’s also the main reason why I personally don’t like them as an issuer. I don’t believe its necessary to pull all three bureaus for those with at least prime credit scores.

Similar Cards

I couldn’t help but compare this card to the other three mid-tier transferrable points cards. Like the Venture, all three similar cards have $95 annual fees. However, only the Everyday Preferred charges the fee for the first year.

Citi Premier

This card is the most comparable option to the Venture in terms of transfer partners. However, the Citi Premier does not have a fixed ratio for transferring points unlike the Venture. This means that Citi Thank You (TY) points can be more valuable than Capital One miles.

The Premier also is a better earner for General Travel and Gas. It earns 3x TY points in those categories and 2x points on Dining and Entertainment.

The card also has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This bonus is similar to that of the Venture. However, you need to spend $1,000 more for the same amount of (more valuable) points.

I would recommend this card over the Venture for international travelers who like Citi’s partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase’s mid-tier travel card has a more versatile selection of transfer partners, despite there being fewer of them. The name of the game with Chase’s partners is quality over quantity. Such quality shows when comparing the Sapphire Preferred to the Venture. Chase’s partners cover all types of travel: international flights, domestic flights, and hotels.

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points on General Travel and Dining. It also has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 UR points. This bonus can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

Most travelers would be better off with the Sapphire Preferred than the Venture. This is especially true if you have multiple Chase UR-earning cards.

American Express Everyday Preferred

This option from Amex caters to both domestic and international travelers alike. Amex has the most travel partners of all four cards being compared and occasionally offers transfer bonuses.

The Everyday Preferred earns 3x Membership Rewards (MR) points on Grocery Store purchases and 2x points at Gas Stations. You will also receive a 50% points bonus if you use your card at least 30 times per month. The points bonus gives you the potential to earn 4.5x at Grocery Stores, 3x at Gas Stations, and 1.5x on everything else.

This card has no-annual fee and a public sign-up bonus of 15,000 MR points. It can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months. Previously, the bonus has been as high as 30,000 points for $2,000 minimum spend.

Those who use their card frequently could win big with the Everyday Preferred. I would recommend this card over the Venture for domestic and international travelers given the number of partners Amex has. Furthermore, Amex gives out transfer bonuses on some partners thereby giving more opportunities to fly on the cheap.

Final Draw

The Capital One Venture card is a decent option for international travelers. It has some nice perks and a decent flat rate earning structure. However, it does have major limitations as well.

My biggest complaint about this card is the 4:3 ratio when transferring points to most partners. It’s a shame that Capital One devalues its points when redeeming this way. I also don’t like that the only other redemption option is via statement credit. But at least you can redeem points for 1 CPP.

If anyone asks me “what’s in your wallet?”, I will tell them “Not Capital One”.