September 24, 2023

Is the Capital One Venture Card Worth It?

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was my very first foray into the travel…

Is the Capital One Venture Card Worth It?

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was my very first foray into the travel credit card landscape, and I’m still glad for it years later. When I first signed up, I knew very little about credit cards—suffice to say, the $95 annual fee seemed daunting at the time.

But it’s been easy to get more than the annual fee’s worth of value out of the Venture card each year I’ve owned it, and I love having a flexible miles card that also earns a flat rate of rewards on every purchase. Not to mention the card is currently offering a once-in-a-lifetime sign-up bonus of 100,000 miles if you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first year (or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months). That many miles (worth around $1,000 in travel) is typically only offered by the priciest luxury cards on the market.

So, is the Capital One Venture Card worth it? I think so, and I believe the same is true for many other kinds of spenders as well. But it’s not for everyone, so here’s a breakdown to help you decide if this Capital One credit card is right for you.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Overview

  • Rewards rate: 2X miles on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Other perks: No foreign transaction fees, up to $100 in credits for Global Entry or TSA Precheck applications, virtual card numbers for secure online shopping

Reasons the Venture Card is worth the annual fee

The sign-up bonus is top-notch

The Venture card is currently offering the highest sign-up bonus it has in its history—100,000 miles if you spend $20,000 in the first year or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months. While the full $20,000 spend threshold might be too high to meet for some cardholders, the value of this bonus is incredible for an entry-level travel card. If you redeem for travel purchases, those 100,000 miles can score you $1,000 worth of flights, hotels, rental cars and more.

You earn a solid flat rate of miles on every purchase

Unlike other rewards credit cards that offer more miles in particular categories of spending, the Venture card offers the same 2-miles-per-dollar rate on every purchase. This takes all the planning and guesswork out of earning with the card—no need to only pull it out for certain categories of spending or worry about merchant category codes. Just swipe anywhere you shop and watch the rewards pile in.

The great thing about a high flat rate of spending like this is that it suits multiple kinds of cardholders. Those who like to keep things simple with a go-to card for all their purchases can count on a competitive rate no matter what they buy.

Then again, cardholders like me who like to juggle multiple credit cards to earn more in particular categories have a lot to gain, too. That’s because the 2 miles per dollar earned on general purchases with the Venture is higher than the standard 1 mile per dollar on cards with tiered earning categories.

For instance, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of my favorite credit cards thanks to its 6 percent cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent). But it only earns 1 percent cash back on purchases like airline tickets or online shopping. By using my Blue Cash Preferred for groceries and then swapping out my Venture card for new clothes, I can make sure I get the best possible return on my spending.

The Global Entry/TSA Precheck waiver covers the annual fee in the first year

In addition to a great rewards rate, the Capital One Venture card will cover up to $100 (as a statement credit) for your application fee to Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years. If you maximize this offer, that more than pays for your first-year annual fee and a renewal every fourth year after that.

Not to mention, these programs can save frequent travelers a lot of time at the airport.

Points redemption is very flexible

The miles you earn with the Capital One Venture card are also extremely flexible and offer the same 1-cent-per-point value whether you book travel through the Capital One portal or any third-party site. Many travel credit cards only offer full point value when you book through the issuer, so this is a big perk for cardholders who like to budget-hunt on multiple platforms.

Plus, for added flexibility in the pandemic, the Venture card is also offering a 1 cent per point value when you redeem miles for past delivery, takeout and streaming purchases through June 30, 2021.

The card just feels luxurious

The Capital One Venture card is a metal credit card, and while this is obviously not a make-or-break feature, it does add a certain sense of luxury when pulling it out of your wallet. In fact, the Venture is one of the heaviest metal credit cards on the market—even more so than some cards that require a $400+ annual fee.

Reasons why the Venture Card might not be worth it for you

Travel transfer partners are limited

The truly points-and-miles-savvy know that a good list of transfer partners is the best way to eke the most value out of your credit card rewards. And unfortunately, Capital One’s travel partners just don’t measure up to lists from American Express or Chase. The transfer value is low (2:1.5 for most partners, though the issuer recently upgraded some to a 1:1 rate), and there are no major U.S. airlines on the list.

The value for non-travel miles redemptions is low

The Venture card is first and foremost a travel card, and that’s obvious in its rewards redemption structure. While redeeming for travel purchases is super flexible and gets you steady value, trying to spend your miles for options outside of travel is not so lucrative. Cash back, for instance, only gets you 0.5 cents per mile, and Amazon purchases get 0.8 cents.

That means you’ll need to travel at least semi-regularly to really make use of the Venture card’s rewards.

Is the Capital One Venture Card worth it?

If you can take advantage of the sign-up bonus, application credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and flexible redemption options for travel purchases, the Venture card is absolutely worth it. A flat earning rate makes it easy to offset the card’s annual fee.

But if you don’t spend much on travel and prefer rewards that can be leveraged for cash back, you might want to opt for a different card. The Citi® Double Cash Card, for instance, earns up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase—1 percent as you buy and an additional 1 percent as you pay off your purchases. It doesn’t have a sign-up bonus or many fancy perks, but it also doesn’t charge an annual fee, and the rewards are much more flexible.