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, putting the Venture in line with other mid-tier cards.
Capital One’s points are simply called miles. But that they are not the same as airline miles. Capital One Miles are the bank’s rewards currency and they act similar to transferrable points. The Venture card earns 2x miles on all purchases. 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 worth 50,000 miles. This bonus can be earned after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
The Capital One Venture 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 have recently become a major draw for this card. They are a nice substitute for cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred for some travelers. But many of Capital One’s partners are international airlines making the card attractive for 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 are Emirates, Jet Blue, and Singapore, which 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)
- EVA Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- Hainan Fortune Wings Club
- Jet Blue (2:1 ratio)
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2:1 ratio)
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. I only recommend this option for those who want simplicity and those who do not want to deal with the bank’s transfer partners.
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.
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.
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 do not believe its necessary to pull all three bureaus for those with at least prime credit scores.
I couldn’t help but compare the Capital One Venture to the other three mid-tier transferrable points cards. Like the Venture, all three alternative cards have $95 annual fees (NOT waived the first year). However, only the Everyday Preferred charges the fee for the first year.
The Citi Premier 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. Furthermore, it earns just one TY point per dollar for non-bonus spend.
The card also has a sign-up bonus worth 60,000 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 worth 60,000 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 American Express 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 Card earns 3x Membership Rewards (MR) points at Grocery Stores 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 even international travelers given the number of partners Amex has. Furthermore, Amex offers transfer bonuses on some partners and 1:1 transfer ratios for most of their partners. Both of these features give more opportunities more cardholders to travel for less.
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 and not less.
If anyone asks me “what’s in your wallet?”, I will tell them “Not Capital One”.
Apply Today: Capital One Venture Card