For many years, reward travelers were faced with a choice of two kinds of rewards credit cards. On one hand, they could take their chance with cards that offered airline miles, which may or may not be of much value when it came time to redeem them. Otherwise, they could use cards that offered statement credits towards travel rewards. This offered consistent value, but those amazing rewards in business or first class were no more affordable than before. But now that the Capital One Venture Rewards card offers you both options, you no longer have to choose.
How the Capital One Venture Rewards card works
With this card, you’ll receive 50,000 bonus miles sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in new purchases within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 2X miles on all purchases, with no limits, and 10x bonus points on reservations booked at Hotels.com/Venture through January of 2020.
Points are worth one cent each as statement credits towards any travel purchases you make, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. Alternatively, you can now transfer your points to miles with 14 different frequent flyer programs. The available transfer partners are:
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
- Cathay Pacific
- Air Finnair
- Hainan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
You can transfer miles to most of these programs at a 2:1.5 ratio, which means that 20,000 Capital One miles will transfer to 15,000 airline miles. Also, keep in mind that all of these airlines have partnerships with a dozen or more other airlines. For example, you can redeem miles from Air Canada, Avianca, EVA and Singapore on flights from United or other Star Alliance partners. You can redeem miles from Air France/KLM and Alitalia on Delta and other Skyteam airlines. And finally, miles from Qantas, Qatar, and Aeromexico can be redeemed for flights on American and other Oneworld partners.
You also get a $100 travel credit towards a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application, which includes PreCheck. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and like all Capital One cards, you never have to pay a foreign transaction fee on charges processed outside of the United States.
How does this card compare to its competitors?
This card fills a unique niche as a jack-of-all-trades travel card with annual fees of $95- $99. In contrast, you have cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Citi Premier that have offered transfers to airline partners for a long time. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is particularly valuable since it has great domestic partners in its loyalty program including United and Southwest Airlines, plus Hyatt hotels.
But at the same time, these competitors only offer one point per dollar spent on most purchases, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are only worth 1.25 cents each towards travel reservations booked through Chase. With the Capital One Venture travel loyalty program, you are always receiving two cents per dollar spent towards any travel reservation, or with most transfer partners, 1.5 miles per dollar spent.
When it comes to competing cards without mileage transfers, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a chief competitor. It also offers double miles on all purchases, with miles worth one cent each towards travel statement credits. But it also offers a 5% rebate on miles redeemed, yet doesn’t feature a Global Entry statement credit.
Still, none of these cards offer travel statement credits and mileage transfer partners, making the Capital One Venture card a unique offer, for the moment.
The Bottom Line: Who is this card is right for?
This is the best travel card for people who want an easy way to earn a competitive amount of travel rewards on all purchases. And at the same time, this travel rewards card makes sense for anyone who can see themselves wanting to transfer their rewards to airline miles, and redeem them for expensive reservations in business or first class. And if you can use the $100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credits, so much the better. Remember, that you can use these credits for anyone’s application, not just your own. So even if you already have TSA Pre or Global Entry, you can use this credit for a friend or family member’s application.
Once you understand the powerful award travel capabilities of the Capital One Venture card, you can decide if this card makes sense for your needs.