Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a well-known travel rewards credit card due to the high amount of publicity and celebrity endorsements it receives on a constant basis. But is this card actually a valuable card that’s worth applying for or is it just a bunch of hype? This article will answer that question by looking at the different benefits and perks it has to offer.
Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!
Early spend bonus
- The current early spend bonus is for 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 within 3 months.
That means that once you hit the minimum spend you’ll have earned 56,000 miles worth $560.
That also means this card (which comes in metal, btw) offers a very valuable early spend bonus.
While there are many great cash back cards out there that earn a similar 2% return, most don’t offer such a high early spend bonus and and that’s one of the main reasons I include the Capital One Venture in my Top 10 Travel Credit Cards.
- $95, waived the first year
The Venture also comes with an annual fee of only $95 and it’s waived the first year. If you can put a few thousands dollars of spend on this card each year, you stand a good chance of getting your annual fee waived year after year. That means you could receive over $500 worth of value without ever paying an annual fee which is a fantastic opportunity!
Obviously, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the annual fee waived but even if you don’t, the $95 annual fee is very reasonable when compared to what you receive with the $500+ early spend bonus.
Bonus earning potential
The Capital One Venture card doesn’t earn extra points for special categories like dining but it does earn 2X miles on every single purchase. While other cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card earn 2% they don’t come with valuable early spend bonuses and since you can get the annual fee waived on the Venture, it could definitely make sense to go with the Venture card over alternative options.
The Venture card offers a much simpler alternative for using reward points than other cards.
Unlike Chase, Citi, and American Express cards, where you earn points that are transferred to frequent flyer programs or hotel loyalty programs, the Capital One Venture works in a different fashion. For the Venture, you earn “miles” (which are really just points) through spending at a rate of 2 miles/per dollar spent. So if you spend $3,000 you earn 6,000 miles.
These miles can then be redeemed at one cent per mile after you make a qualifying travel purchase. So for example, let’s say you booked a hotel for a total of $400. You would then log in to your online account after the charge posts in order to use the Capital One “Purchase Eraser” feature. You’d then select to have your miles credited to your account for that $400 hotel stay and if you had at least 40,000 miles, the statement credit would be applied to your account within 2 to 3 business days, cancelling out your hotel expense.
This means you don’t have to worry about black out dates or transferring your points to certain programs which can get quite confusing or frustrating at times. The simplicity of the this process is very attractive to many.
Extended time to redeem your points
You are technically required to redeem your statement credit within 90 days from the date of purchase. That doesn’t mean that your miles expire, just that you won’t be able to get reimbursed for a charge if you wait longer than 90 days from the date that it posts to your account.
A lot of people don’t know this but you can actually call and request an extension for up to 6 months on this time restriction. Of course, it’s always better to play it safe and redeem within 90 days, but at least there’s an option for you in case you find yourself in a bind.
No minimum redemption amount!
One of the best perks of the Capital One Venture card is that there is no minimum requirement for redemptions. This is a huge benefit because it allows you to use this card to cover any of the random travel expenses you will incur as you travel, such as parking, taxis, busses, etc.
If you’re truly trying to travel for free, the Capital One Venture is one of the best cards to supplement your other “heavy hitter” travel credit cards with.
If you want to make partial redemptions for expenses the minimum requirement is $25 (or 2,500 points).
What constitutes “travel” for the Capital One Venture?
In order to redeem your miles toward a purchase, it needs to be coded as a “travel” purchase. This might sound like it would be very limiting but that’s actually not the case at all because the travel category for the Capital One Venture is very broad.
Here are the terms taken straight from Capital One’s website:
Purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares are generally considered to be travel purchases and availability for redemption is based on the merchant category code assigned to them by the merchant.
It all comes down to how the merchant codes the purchase. You can pretty much always expect purchases on things like airlines, hotels, and rail lines to properly code as travel but things get a little less clear when when you try to redeem on things like campground purchases or excursions, so sometimes you might have to do a little bit of research to see how a merchant codes a purchase.
Still, because this travel category is so expansive, it makes the Venture a solid card that’s easy to use.
Redeeming for non-travel items
You can also redeem your miles for cash in the form of a check or account credit, gift cards and more. The redemption rate remains at 1 cent per point for gift cards and charitable redemptions but if you’re trying to redeem for a check or statement credit, it drops down to .5 cents per point.
This means you want to do your best to redeem for travel purchases so you don’t lose 50% of your value!
The Venture comes with a number of nice travel benefits.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Fraud coverage
- Security alerts
- Travel upgrades and savings
- 24 hour concierge service
Since this is a Visa Signature card, it also comes with all of the Visa Signature benefits, some of which include:
- Purchase protection
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Auto rental insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Roadside dispatch
Overall, the Capital One Venture card is a great travel rewards card that offers a lot of value especially when you can get the annual fee waived by doing some spending on the card. I personally recommend the Venture as my go to credit card for covering miscellaneous travel expenses with rewards due its high early spend bonus, so I definitely think the Capital One Venture is worth it.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.