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In the last few years, Capital One has made massive strides in making its travel credit cards more competitive with other major players such as Chase and American Express. On Thursday, the issuer took another huge step by announcing its first-ever premium credit card, the Capital One Venture X.
The Venture X, which has an annual fee of $395, opened for applications starting Nov. 9. Its perks include $300 in annual statement credits for bookings made through the newly relaunched Capital One Travel portal, 10,000 bonus miles each year starting with the second year you have the card, up to $100 in credits for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, complimentary cell phone insurance and, perhaps most importantly, a Priority Pass Select membership and complimentary access to the issuer’s new airport lounge network, which opens its first location today at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.
The Capital One Venture X features fewer perks than other popular premium travel credit cards, but also a lower annual fee. “Many people don’t want to pay $500 to $600 for a credit card,” says Lauren Liss, managing vice president of premium products, rewards and partnerships at Capital One. “Many don’t want to take the time to keep track of all the benefits. So we felt this was the right time to launch a new credit card.”
Like its sister card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, the Venture X earns 2 miles for every dollar you spend on everything you buy, along with a total of 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
And new Capital One Venture X card holders can currently earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account.
Redeeming Capital One Venture X miles
Miles earned with the Capital One Venture X can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent apiece for any travel purchase made with the card using Capital One’s “Purchase Eraser” tool. At that rate, the 75,000 bonus miles from the Venture X are worth an impressive $750 toward travel.
Card holders can also use the miles to book flights and hotels at Capital One Travel at the same redemption rate. Capital One Travel offers additional features such as price protection and price prediction technology, powered by Hopper’s prediction algorithm.
But Venture X miles can also be transferred to any of the issuer’s 16 airline and hotel transfer partners for potentially even greater value. Most of these partners transfer at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning for every 1,000 miles you transfer from the Venture X, you’ll get 1,000 points or miles in the corresponding airline or hotel loyalty program.
It takes extra time and flexibility to book travel this way, but it can result in significantly better redemption rates, especially for first- or business-class flights. That’s why frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents apiece, which would make the 75,000-mile bonus worth a whopping $1,350.
Capital One Venture X credit card perks
Without a doubt, the two best perks on the new Capital One Venture X card are the $300 annual credit for bookings made via Capital One Travel and complimentary access to Capital One’s new airport lounges.
If you can use the entire $300 credit on travel bookings each year — which shouldn’t be difficult given that Capital One Travel provides access to most flights and hotel rooms — it effectively reduces your out-of-pocket cost for the card to an extremely reasonable $95, an excellent value if you can utilize even a few of the card’s additional perks.
But there’s also the 10,000 bonus miles that all card holders receive starting at the beginning of the second year you have the Capital One Venture X, and every year thereafter. Those 10,000 bonus miles are worth $100 when redeemed through Capital One Travel or by using the card’s “Purchase Eraser,” which effectively covers the remainder of the $395 annual fee.
As far as the issuer’s new lounge network, CNN Underscored got a sneak peek of the first new lounge in Dallas last month, and came away extremely impressed with its excellent natural light, ingenious use of space, delicious cocktails and acute attention to detail. It’s a major step up from the competing Amex Centurion Lounge, also located in DFW’s Terminal D.
Capital One Venture X card holders will have unlimited access to Capital One lounges starting three hours before their flight’s scheduled departure time. They can also bring in two guests per visit at no charge, while additional guests will cost $45 each. Children under 2 can enter for free.
While the Dallas location is the only new lounge open so far, additional Capital One lounges are currently being built in Denver and Washington, DC’s Dulles airports, with more locations undoubtedly to follow. In the meantime, the Venture X’s complimentary Priority Pass Select membership provides free access for you and two guests to over 1,300 airport lounges and restaurants around the world.
Also of interest is the Venture X’s complimentary cell phone insurance. When you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Venture X card and your cell phone is stolen or damaged, you’re eligible to be reimbursed for its repair or replacement, up to $800 per claim with a maximum of two claims per 12-month period. There is a $50 deductible per claim.
One other neat feature of the Capital One Venture X is that, if you have family or friends that you’d like to add to your account, primary card holders can add authorized users at no cost, and those authorized users will also get unlimited access to all Capital One lounges, along with a Priority Pass membership and cell phone insurance when they pay their monthly cell phone bill with the card.
Should you get the new Capital One Venture X credit card?
With cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express regularly adding new features while increasing their annual fees, it’s somewhat refreshing that Capital One has chosen to create a premium card with a relatively low price point and basic easy-to-use elite perks that many travelers truly want. While $395 may seem like a lot of money for a credit card, it’s much cheaper than the $550 annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the $695 annual fee of the Amex Platinum, and it’s easy to essentially offset the Venture X’s entire annual cost with its $300 annual travel credit and the 10,000 anniversary bonus miles that start with the second year you have the card.
Our first impression of the Capital One Venture X is certainly positive, and when accompanied by the impressive new Capital One Lounge in Dallas, we’re very much looking forward to the launch of this new credit card on Nov. 9, along with the opening of additional airport lounges in the Capital One network in the near future.
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