Using credit card points for travel has become all the rage these days. It seems like you can’t scroll more than a couple of posts before reading about “that guy” who’s using points to travel the world.
If your interest in this lifestyle is piqued, but you aren’t ready to drop big bucks on a travel credit card with a hefty annual fee, you’ve got options. We think that the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a great starter travel credit card to get your award travel journey going. If you want to know more about why you should get this card, keep reading.
What does the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card offer?
Quick card details:
- Rewards rate: 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases
- Welcome offer: 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 within the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
Now that you know about some of the card’s basic details, let’s take a look at why this card makes sense as an entry-level travel credit card.
Earn rewards on travel spend
The VentureOne card has a generous rewards rate when booking travel through the Capital One travel portal, where you can book airline tickets, hotel accommodations and car rentals. The issuer has recently relaunched its travel portal, and it includes some pretty neat AI-powered features like:
- Price prediction
- Price watch
- Price drop protection
- Price match guarantee
- “Cancel for any reason” insurance
With this tool at your fingertips, you’re poised to get a great deal of value from your VentureOne Rewards card. You’ll earn rewards towards your next trip and have access to a robust travel booking platform that could give you substantial savings on your travel.
Flexible redemption options, including travel
Although you earn miles with this card, there are plenty of redemption options for them, including:
- Travel purchases in the Capital One Travel portal
- Statement credit
- Gift cards
- Amazon.com or PayPal purchases
- Travel partners
Gift cards generally have a 1:1 redemption, while converting your miles to cash back only gives you 0.5 cents per mile. Putting your miles toward Amazon.com or PayPal purchases means each mile will only be worth 0.8 cents apiece.
Boosted miles value for travel partners
Even though there are plenty of redemption options, you’ll get the most value out of your miles by transferring them to one of Capital One’s transfer partners. Transfer partners include brands like Wyndham Rewards and Accord Live Limitless. New transfer partners now include British Airways, TAP Air Portugal and Turkish Airlines.
Although most Capital One transfer partners redemption ratios are 1 cent per mile, in some cases, your miles could be worth up to 2.36 per mile depending on the transfer partner, according to our valuations.
No annual fee
If you are new to using travel rewards, the last thing you want to worry about is a carrying cost. Some premium travel cards can have fees of over $600 per year. For the right person, this may not be a problem, but for the newbie travel hacker, an annual fee could be a deal-breaker.
This no-annual-fee card gives you a chance to test the waters of award travel without bogging you down with extra costs.
Another plus of snagging this card is the welcome bonus of 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $500 within the first three months of opening your account. For a card with no annual fee, you’re already getting a ton of value with the welcome bonus alone.
Though you won’t get many of the perks and benefits that come with more premium travel credit cards, the VentureOne Rewards card does offer some to its cardholders. There’s 24-hour travel assistance services, which can help you get cash if your card is lost or stolen. Also, you get auto rental insurance when you rent a car with your card, along with fraud coverage.
Other protections you may receive for paying with your card include extended warranty coverage, fraud coverage and travel and emergency assistance.
You can upgrade to the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
If you’ve used your VentureOne card the right way, hopefully you will have enjoyed your first taste of award travel to the utmost. But, with a basic travel credit card, there will be limits to the award travel feats you can accomplish.
If you are ready to take your travel to the next level, then you might consider getting a card like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which offers a generous sign-up bonus, additional credits and other travel perks like airport lounge access. Though the card has a significant annual fee, it could be a strong consideration if you’ve reached your limit with a starter card like the VentureOne Rewards card.
The good news is that Capital One makes it pretty easy to change credit cards. It’s not uncommon to be targeted for upgrade offers from this issuer, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until you get an offer from Capital One.
You can simply call customer service and request an upgrade. Though there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved, your odds are much better if you’ve got a decent credit score and have kept your current Capital One account in good standing. (Note, you might not be eligible for welcome offers if you upgrade instead of applying fresh.)
The bottom line
Starting your award travel journey can seem complicated and confusing at first. That’s why a no-fuss card like the VentureOne Rewards card can be a great starter travel credit card. You don’t have the pressure of trying to justify an annual fee while figuring out how to get the most out of your miles.
Once you’ve made some headway in your award travel strategy, you can choose to upgrade to a better travel card down the road. The VentureOne Rewards card lets you navigate these waters at your own pace, then makes it easy for you to graduate to a better card when you are ready.