Capital One Venture Rewards review: 100k miles is hard to pass up!
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Want a guaranteed up to $1,000 off your next vacation? Opening one of the best rewards credit cards like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the easiest way to make that happen.
You can use Capital One miles for practically any travel purchase, like airfare, hotels, and rental cars (read our Capital One miles review). You can even use them for things that other miles and points don’t often cover like Airbnb stays and Uber rides. Or you can transfer your miles to 10+ partners where they’re potentially worth much more toward award travel. In most cases, you’ll get a 2:1.5 transfer ratio, so it’s like earning 1.5 airline miles per dollar spent.
The Capital One Venture card comes with a bonus of 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening. Alternately, you’ll earn a bonus of 50,000 miles after making $3,000 in purchases within three months.
Because each Capital One mile is worth one cent, the full bonus is worth $1,000 in travel, and the lower-tiered one is worth $500. These bonuses are potentially more when you transfer to a Capital One partner. We’ll talk more about that later. This card comes with a $95 annual fee that’s not waived the first year.
Is this worth the annual fee?
It may or may not make sense for you to keep the card year after year. We all have different travel styles and spending habits. Whether the Capital One Venture is worth the annual fee hinges on one thing: Do you already have other mid-range travel credit cards? The card doesn’t come with many unique travel perks (though it has a couple). If you’ve been involved in the miles-and-points hobby for a while, it’s likely that you already own a card with these same benefits.
I opened the Capital One Venture a couple of years ago and had an absolute blast with the sign-up bonus. I used part of it to order extravagant room service in Dubai. I used the rest to book a treehouse in Barbados through Airbnb.
Benefits and perks
The Capital One Venture has ongoing benefits that can be reason enough to keep the card year after year.
Because of the simplicity of this card’s rewards, the Capital One Venture is great for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of minding blackout dates, available award seats, hotel reward nights or any other mumbo-jumbo. If you open this card and earn the full 100k welcome bonus, you are guaranteed to receive $1,000 in travel. Likewise, the lower-tiered bonus will bring you $500 in travel.
Note that Capital One won’t process more than one application per six months. So if you’ve applied for another Capital One card recently, you’ll need to wait to open the Capital One Venture.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
This card reimburses you for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (via a statement credit of up to $100). Global Entry can save you lots of time by getting you quickly through U.S. Customs and Immigration when you return to the U.S. from abroad.
And once you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll also get access to the TSA PreCheck security line when traveling domestically. So you won’t have to take off your shoes or dump out your computer bag when you go through the security checkpoint.
How to redeem miles
Because you earn a flat 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent, this card effectively earns 2% back toward travel. You’re guaranteed to earn 2 cents towards travel for every dollar you spend. That’s not the case with lots of other cards. Or you can transfer your miles to most partners at a 2:1.5 ratio. So it’s like earning 1.5 airline miles per dollar spent.
There are two main ways to use your Capital One miles:
Erase nearly any travel purchase
Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each. You can use your miles for nearly any travel purchase, like taxi rides, hotels, room service, and flights. You don’t even have to worry about searching for available award seats or hotel nights.
To redeem your miles for travel, just buy travel as you normally would with your card. Then you have 90 days to sign in to your online account, find the travel purchase and “erase” it with your miles.
You also have the option to book travel with your miles instead of purchasing your travel and erasing it later. You’ll find this option after signing into your account. If you use the portal, there is no minimum miles requirement to book.
Whether you choose to redeem your miles this way or by erasing your purchase later, you’ll still get a value of 1 cent per mile.
Transfer to several airline partners
There exist 13 airlines that are Capital One transfer partners:
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air France and KLM (Flying Blue)
- Cathay Pacific
- Singapore Airlines
You can also transfer to two hotel programs:
The transfer ratio to partners is 2:1.5, so you’ll get 1.5 airline miles for every 2 Capital One miles you transfer. The exceptions are Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Accor, which have a 2:1 transfer ratio, so you’ll get 1 airline mile/point for every 2 Capital One miles.
Because you earn 2 miles per dollar spent with the Capital One Venture card, it’s effectively like earning 1.5 airline miles per dollar if you transfer your miles (or 1 mile per dollar spent in the case of Emirates, JetBlue and Singapore Airlines).
Having this option gives you dozens of new ways to redeem Capital One miles. Some of these partners, like Air Canada, Flying Blue, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines, can make your Capital One miles extra-valuable. For example, you could:
- Transfer 84,000 Capital One miles to Avianca and book a business-class flight to Europe for 63,000 Avianca miles
- Transfer ~22,000 Capital One miles to Qantas and book round-trip, short-haul flights of 600 miles or less on American Airlines for 16,000 Qantas miles
- Transfer 70,000 Capital One miles to Singapore Airlines and fly round-trip in coach from the U.S. to Hawaii for 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles
At the same time, if you fly a particular airline often, you might be more interested in the best airline credit cards for your travels.
The Capital One Venture is perfect for anyone who has procrastinated at collecting miles for their upcoming trip.
The card provides you with a discount on travel purchases as soon as you receive the card. You don’t need to complete a minimum spending requirement and earn the sign-up bonus before you book your travel. That’s because the Capital One Venture allows you to redeem your rewards for travel you’ve already booked. You have 90 days from the day you book your trip to redeem your miles for those travel transactions. You can worry about earning the welcome bonus when you get home, and then apply the miles retroactively.
Which cards compete with Capital One Venture?
The Capital One Venture isn’t the only card that earns Capital One miles. You’ve got a small business option in the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. This card has a $95 annual fee, and it earns 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our top recommendation for beginners in the miles and points hobby, and the best all-around mid-range travel credit card — especially right now with its incredible increased bonus! You’ll earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. We estimate that Chase points are worth 1.7 cents each on average (though you can squeeze much more value from them if you know the best ways to use Chase points), so you should quite easily receive a value of $1,700 from this bonus.
Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred review for more details.
If you’d like to avoid annual fees at all costs, there are no-annual-fee versions of these cards which offer lower return rates:
- Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card – 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (earn 1.25 miles per dollar on all spending)
- Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business – 20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening (earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending)
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Also note that Capital One miles are essentially cash back, with the added restriction that you can only redeem them for travel purchases. The no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card earns 2% cash back (1% back for every purchase you make, and another 1% back when you pay off your balance). In other words, this card has just as good a return as the Capital One Venture.
The Capital One Venture offers up to 100,000 Capital One miles (worth at least $1,000 in travel) after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening. Or, you can still receive 50,000 miles (worth $500 in travel) by making $3,000 in purchases with the card in the initial three months.
This is an excellent card for folks who want free travel without worrying about blackout dates. You can use your miles to book nearly any travel purchase. So if you find yourself staying at boutique hotels that don’t have a loyalty program or if you prefer a flat earning rate without juggling bonus categories, this card is what you’ve been looking for.
You can also transfer the miles you earn to travel partners, most of which have a 2:1.5 transfer ratio — so it’s like earning 1.5 airline miles/points (in most cases) per dollar spent. Depending on how you redeem them, you can potentially get much more value from your Capital One miles.
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Featured image by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy.
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! :)