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A Simple Credit Card Rewards Program, but Can You Do Better?

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A Simple Credit Card Rewards Program, but Can You Do Better?

Million Mile SecretsA Simple Credit Card Rewards Program, but Can You Do Better?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Dawn, commented:

I think the Capital One® Venture® is overlooked!  It is totally uncomplicated in giving you 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases.  And you can redeem those miles in any increment.  So it beats the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard because you can only redeem Arrival miles on purchases of $100+.

Even with the small sign-up bonus, Capital One has a better website and customer service.  And the bank is very generous in what it deems “travel.”  So we use it for incidentals while traveling and the miles add up fast.  I would agree the card probably isn’t appealing for those who use points mainly for luxury travel.  But if you want to travel very economically, it is a great card to have.

Dawn makes terrific points about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.  The card’s reward program is straightforward for both earning and redeeming miles. 

But I think folks looking to get Big Travel can do better earning transferable points with other credit card programs.  Even if your goal is to travel economically.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Instead of Earning Capital One Venture Miles, You Might Consider Earning Transferable Points With Other Banks. These Points Can Get You More Value on Hotel Stays in Destinations Like Colorado Springs

I’ll show how you might get more value for your everyday spending earning points other than Capital One Venture miles!

10,000 Chase Points Beats 20,000 Venture Miles

Link:   Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

You earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases with the Capital One® Venture® card.  And you can use Capital One Venture miles for nearly any travel purchase, like taxi rides, hotels, and airfare.  It’s a simple program because you just make a travel purchase with your credit card.  Then, use Venture miles to offset the charge.

Let’s say you spend $10,000 per year.  You’ll earn 20,000 Venture miles worth $200 in travel.  But how does that compare to other cards that earn transferable points?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the top card I recommend for folks new to miles & points.  Because it earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are my favorite flexible points.  This card earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 you spend on travel and dining purchases.  And 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

Plus, the sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred is much more valuable.  You’ll get at least $625 in travel after meeting spending requirements, which is better than $200 worth of travel with the Capital One Venture Card.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Earning Transferable Chase Ultimate Points With the Sapphire Preferred Can Get You More Big Travel With Small Money, Depending on How You Use Your Points, Like When I Booked a Hotel Stay in Sydney!

If you use the card to make $10,000 in purchases that only earn you 1 point per $1, you’ll have 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Of course, you’ll have much more if you spend on travel or dining.

At a minimum you can redeem 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $100 in cash back because points are worth 1 cent each toward cash back.

And folks with the Sapphire Preferred can get $125 worth of travel by redeeming the same number of points through the Chase travel portal where your points are worth 1.25 cents each.

But transfer points to Chase travel partners to book award flights or nights and your points can easily be worth more than 2 cents each.  And there are travel partners with no blackout dates, which makes points just as easy to use as Venture miles.

Here are a few examples!

1.   Short-Haul Intra-European Flight

British Airways is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.  And the airline uses a distance-based award chart.  For flights under 650 miles in Europe, you’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a one-way coach award flight.

So you can get a round-trip award flight from London to Nice for 9,000 British Airways Avios points plus taxes & fees.

I found a sample flight in August 2017 for 9,000 British Airways Avios points and $55.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
You Can Transfer 9,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to British Airways and Book a Round-Trip Award Flight From London to Nice!

This same flight costs ~$276 if you pay cash.  This means you would use 27,600 Venture miles to offset the charge.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Emily Recently Visited Nice and Had a Wonderful Time Exploring the South of France Region

I’d rather use fewer Chase Ultimate Rewards points and pay a little out-of-pocket to visit Nice!

Keep in mind, this type of redemption is usually only ideal for folks with flexible travel plans.  Because an award seat must be available for you to book this example flight.  And it can take more time to search award flights compared to paying cash.

2.   ~$300 Hyatt Hotel Stay

Emily and I love Hyatt hotels because you can save lots of cash by using points to stay in fantastic locations!

For example, you’ll pay just 5,000 Hyatt points per night to stay at a Category 1 hotel, like the Hyatt House Colorado Springs.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
It’s Easier to Earn 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for 2 Free Nights at a Hyatt Hotel, Which Would Cost 30,000 Venture Miles!

I found a sample 2-night stay in August 2017, which costs ~$300.  This means you would need ~30,000 Venture miles to offset the cost of the stay!

Plus, Hyatt has a “no blackout date” policy.  This means you can book an award night using points or a free night certificate as long as a standard room is available for sale.

3.   Southwest Award Flight Because There Are NO Blackout Dates!

Southwest is a fantastic Chase airline partner because there are no blackout dates on award flights.  As long as a seat is available for sale, you can book it using Southwest points.

For example, you can transfer ~10,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest to book an award flight from Dallas to Chicago.

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Southwest Has NO Blackout Dates, so You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the Airline to Book an Award Flight as Long as Seats Are For Sale!

Booking this way is just as easy as redeeming Venture miles to offset a travel charge!

More Credit Cards Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   Can You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to a Spouse?

The easiest way to boost your miles & points balances is to earn lucrative sign-up bonuses.

And it’s much easier to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points because there are lots of personal and small business cards that earn these flexible points, including:

If you have more than one of these cards, you can combine points to one account to make your award travel goals come true faster!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Extremely Valuable Because You Can Transfer Them Directly to Fantastic Travel Partners, Like Hyatt and United Airlines!

Team member Keith has earned the sign-up bonus on 6 different Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.  This helped him book his around-the-world honeymoon!

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
Earning Multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards Sign-Up Bonuses Helped Team Member Keith Book a Flight in Singapore First Class Suites

Just remember it’s now tougher to be approved for most Chase cards if you’ve opened ~5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months.  That’s why I recommend folks new to miles & points get Chase cards first!

Meanwhile, you can only earn Venture miles with the Capital One® Venture® and Capital One® VentureOne® cards.

Why Some Folks Prefer Venture Miles Anyway

There are lots of opportunities to get more value for the points you earn with cards like the Sapphire Preferred.  But it can take time to navigate award charts and find the best deals.

As reader Dawn suggests, the rewards program with the Capital One Venture offers a hassle-free way to earn points, which are easy to redeem for travel purchases.  So folks looking for a simple way to earn points from credit card spending to redeem for travel can do well with this card.

Plus, you won’t have to think about finding award seats or transferring your points. 

Value Of Capital One Venture Miles
There’s No Frustrations or Phone Calls Required to Redeem Your Capital One Venture Miles!

Million Mile Secrets team member Joseph has the Capital One Venture card.  And he’s used points to cover the cost of an Airbnb stay in Barbados.  He loves how easy it is to redeem miles!


Bottom Line

The rewards program with the Capital One® Venture® card is simple.  You earn 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases.  And miles are worth 1 cent each toward travel.

But with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can often be worth more than 2 cents each.  That said, it does require some extra effort searching for available award seats or nights with Chase travel partners.

Do you prefer the simplicity of the Capital One Venture card?  Or are there other cards that offer better ways to get Big Travel with Small Money?

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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I totally agree with everyone you say and would never suggest that CapOne Venture is superior to just about any of Chase’s cards! No way:). I was specifically referring to this card being superior to its Barclay competitor, which is also basically a “travel cashback” card. For whatever reason, Barclay Arrival (Plus) is a blogger darling and gets pushed a lot, and there are so many annoying things about that card/site/cs. Unless I am missing something, the only thing Arrival has over Venture is their small redemption bonus. I would love to see an article specifically comparing those two cards, as well as any others that function the same basic way. Our main cards are with Chase for sure, but we will always have a Venture card as part of our strategy. It’s always our “fallback” card when making purchases that would otherwise only reap 1 UR point. (We rack up so many UR points by being strategic with bonus categories, getting 2x Venture miles on other spend squeezes every cent). Very important for us is that Venture’s points/miles can be used for hotel *charges* during you stay that cannot be redeemed the same way that Chase’s can. I totally agree, a 40,000 signup bonus does not compare with Chase’s UR sign-up bonuses, but $400 goes a long way in places like Disney, where almost everything (including food) gets charged to you hotel bill and can be redeemed with Venture, but not with Chase cards.

Million Mile Secrets

I agree with your analysis! Thanks for commenting!

Also, here’s a post with a comparison of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture:

Whether CSP/UR is better than Cap One for ongoing spend depends on both spend (how much is in the bonus categories) and how you want to redeem. And the Southwest example seems flawed, since that 10449 point flight would have cost about $150 at 70 pts per dollar, so only $7500 of Cap One spend, compared to $10500 of unbonused Chase spend, plus the Cap One redemption earns points on the flown flight,

But the real question for ongoing unbonused spend isn’t Cap One vs Chase. It should be Cap One vs Citi Double Cash (or another 2% cash back card). $10000 of Cap One spend gets you $200 travel credit, but $10000 spend on City 2x Cash gets you $200 cash, which is undeniably worth at least as much, more flexible and less hassle to use.

Million Mile Secrets

@swag – great points! Thanks for commenting.

Another example: PHX-SJD business class cost is $681 OW on AA (a route I travel often). I can transfer 15000 Chase points to BA and my flight cost is covered (taxes excluded). Do the math. My points on this redemption are worth over 4.5 cents each. Now how many Capital One points would you have to spend for the same redemption? I’ll stick with Chase!

Million Mile Secrets

@JD – That’s a terrific example! Thanks for sharing!