Is the Capital One Venture (that’s offering a 100k bonus right now) worth the annual fee?

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I have the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. I’ve used the Capital One miles I’ve earned to dramatically reduce my expenses during fun vacations, like trips to the Caribbean and Dubai. The card collects some of the most useful rewards ever.

When you’re deciding whether you should open any of the best credit cards for travel, oftentimes the answer is…it depends. It depends on your travel style, it depends on your travel goals, it depends on your home airport. The Capital One Venture is perhaps the least “it depends” card out there. If you want to travel, this card will guarantee you’ll save hundreds of dollars. That’s especially true given it’s currently offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 100,000 Venture miles after meeting minimum spending requirements.

It’s got a $95 annual fee, but we’ll show you why you should open the card anyway.

The Capital One Venture is worth it – I received afternoon tea (a value of ~$160) at the top of the Burj Al Arab by redeeming Capital One miles. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler)

Is the Capital One Venture worth it?

The Capital One Venture is absolutely worth opening. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. Or, still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

In other words, Capital One will pay for $1,000 worth of your upcoming travel — and there’s no catch. They’re just giving you the opportunity to earn $1,000 when you meet the full minimum spending requirements.

The card does have a $95 annual fee, but (as you can see) that’s easily offset by the welcome offer.

Use miles for just about anything travel-related

The card earns a flat 2 miles per dollar for every purchase. This means you’ll have 140,000 Capital One miles ($1,400 in travel) after you meet the spending requirement to earn the full sign up bonus. If you don’t think you can spend $20,000 in 12 months, check out our post on how easy it can be to meet credit card minimum spend.

Here’s a list of popular purchases for which you can redeem Capital One miles:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels (including boutique and independent hotels)
  • Car rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Hotel meals (when charged to your hotel room, including Disney hotels)
  • Airbnb
  • Lyft and Uber
  • Disney World tickets or other park tickets purchased through Undercover Tourist
Capital One miles provided me with a free treehouse Airbnb in Barbados. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler)

Earn 5 miles per dollar with Capital One Travel℠

You’ll earn 5 miles per dollar when you use one of the miles-earning best Capital One credit cards, such as the Capital One Venture, to book hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel℠. As Capital One miles value is generally 1 cent each, this is like earning 5% back on your hotel stay or rental car.

Again, everything else you swipe your card for will earn a flat 2 miles per dollar. If you plan to purchase airfare often, you may be better off taking a glance at the best airline credit cards.

Transfer Capital One miles

You can also transfer your miles to a bunch of different airlines, though honestly, I’m not a fan of using them this way. Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for travel, and it can be difficult to get a value greater than that by transferring them to airlines since the transfer ratio is a funky 2:1.5. That said, the best transfer partners are:

  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Avianca
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Accor

Transferring rewards can very well be the best way to use Capital One miles. If you’re thorough, you can often find a way to get outsized value for your miles. Read more about Capital One transfer partners.

Exclusive perks at airport security checkpoints

The card also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (worth up to $100). Global Entry saves you lots of time by getting you quickly through US Customs and Immigration when you return to the US from abroad.

When you enroll in Global Entry, you’ll also receive a membership to TSA PreCheck, which allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on when you go through airport security. You don’t even have to take your laptop and toiletries out of your carry-on.

No foreign transaction fees

Some credit cards will incur a 3% fee if you use them for purchases outside the U.S. The Capital One Venture waives these fees, so it’s a good international companion. I recently saved more than $70 on a recent overseas trip just by using a card that waived my foreign transaction fees.

FAQ about the Capital One Venture

Is there a way to get the Capital One Venture annual fee waived?

You won’t be able to get the first year’s annual fee waived, but you can always ask to get subsequent annual fees waived. In fact, I just did this when my Venture card annual fee came due last month. After a five minute conversation with a Capital One representative, they agreed to waive my fee as a one-time courtesy. 

Admittedly I was surprised, as we don’t regularly hear of Capital One waiving fees. But it’s always worth a try, as the worst that can happen is that they say no!

Should you downgrade from the Capital One Venture?

If you ultimately decide that the Capital One Venture benefits and perks aren’t worth the annual fee, you can simply downgrade the card to the no-annual-fee Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. You’ll get to keep your account number, and your credit won’t take a hit for canceling a card.

What credit score do you need to get a Capital One Venture card?

According to Capital One, an approval for the Capital One Venture card requires a good to excellent credit score. That typically means applicants should have a credit score of 700+ and a solid credit history. 

Bottom line

The Capital One Venture is a no-brainer card for the first year, and one of the fastest ways to earn Capital One miles. You can receive well over $1,100 in value if you use all the card’s benefits. Read our Capital One Venture review for all the details.

For a lot of folks, the Capital One Venture’s benefits and perks are worth the annual fee.

Let me know if you think the Capital One Venture is worth opening. And subscribe to our newsletter to get the details on more miles & points deals.

Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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