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I have to hand it to Capital One, its marketing campaign for the Venture® from Capital One® is on point. Jennifer Garner has done a masterful job in drilling the idea of 2X points per dollar on all purchases and no blackout dates into our heads.
I can’t tell you the number of times I hear people brag about these two aspects of their Venture card. I mean, if you can’t trust Jennifer Garner to give you the best credit card advice, who can you trust?
Disclaimer: I do not know nor do I have any problem with Jennifer Garner but, because I’m sure she reads OMAAT daily, I wanted to be clear about that. #BringBackAlias
While I prefer flexible points that allow me to book premium cabin awards on long-haul flights, there are certainly times when simple fixed-value points can come in handy — you’ll find that the Venture card is quite similar to the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® (see terms) in that aspect.
We’ll get into who might want to consider this card and some of the uses of Venture miles in a bit but first let’s take a look at what the Capital One Venture card offers.
Sign-up bonus of 50,000 Venture miles worth $500 in travel
When I look into a new card, the first thing I do is check the sign-up bonus — there’s nothing like a little incentive to get you to consider adding a new card to your wallet. With the Capital One Venture card, you’ll have a solid incentive of 50,000 Venture miles if you can meet the $3,000 minimum spend within 3 months.
Unlike cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® which earn Ultimate Rewards points, the Venture card earns fixed-value points. Each point is worth one cent so that 50,000-mile sign-up bonus is worth $500 — $560 if you include the points you’d earn for hitting the minimum spend.
The Capital One Venture card comes with a $95 annual fee which is waived your first year with the card so you can decide whether it deserves a long-term place in your wallet before paying an annual fee.
Earn 2X on all purchases (except one)
We can say that you’ll get at least $560 worth of travel because of the card’s simple earning structure. Similar to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, all purchases earn 2X miles per dollar rather than having bonus categories as many other cards do.
While it doesn’t earn flexible points – Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi ThankYou Points, it provides simplicity.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus has the slightest of advantages on the earning as each time your redeem Arrival miles, you’ll receive a 5% rebate of your points which, practically speaking, means it earns a return of 2.1X on all purchases.
Hotels.com purchases earn 10X
Recently, Capital One partnered with Hotels.com to offer 10X miles per dollar on hotel bookings through Hotels.com. Hotels.com has its own loyalty program which provides one “free” stay every 10 nights you book (and stay) through Hotels.com.
Earning 10x Venture miles on hotel stays and getting a “free” night after your 10th stay booked with Hotels.com is an easy way to get more out of your hotel stays.
Redeem Venture miles – even after you’ve made the purchase
Sticking with the theme of simplicity, the Capital One Venture card allows you to redeem your Venture miles for any travel purchase you’ve made within the last 90 days – we’ll talk about what counts as “travel” below.
The redemption comes in the form of a statement credit so it basically erases the purchase. If you don’t have enough points to cover the purchase of, let’s say, $100 (10,000 Venture miles), you can redeem for part of the purchase or earn the necessary miles after the fact. As long as your Venture miles have posted to your account and you redeem them within 90 days, you’ll be all set.
While the Arrival Plus has a very slight edge because of the 5% rebate, I’d argue the Venture card fights back with an even bigger advantage when redeeming miles for travel purchases.
While the Arrival Plus requires a purchase to be at least $100 (10,000 Arrival miles) if you want to redeem for a statement credit, the Venture card does not have a minimum redemption requirement. In theory, you could redeem 100 Venture miles for a $1 travel purchase. This makes Venture miles much easier to redeem than Arrival miles.
What counts as travel when redeeming Venture miles?
One of the most important pieces of info to keep on hand if you have the Capital One Venture card is what counts as “travel”. It would really suck to make a purchase assuming it will be covered only to find out later that you were wrong.
Here’s a list of travel purchases you can expect to be covered:
- Uber, Lyft, taxis, etc.
- Rental cars
- Limo services
- Time shares
- Travel agents
Should you get the Capital One Venture card?
You won’t find me running around saying this is the best card, as again — I like to redeem for premium travel. However, I think there is a time and a place in which this card makes sense.
If you’ve just started your miles and points journey, that time is not now. There’s no point burning a Chase 5/24 spot for this card. I’d probably even consider Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi ThankYou Points after that but this is a less clear-cut scenario than maximizing your Chase 5/24 options.
So, while I consider the Capital One Venture card a second-tier priority, it does have one big selling point if the time is right for you to get the card. That selling point is simplicity. While Venture miles might not help you book over the top luxury flight experiences such as Emirates first class or Singapore Suites, they can help you cover economy flights on the date of your choosing.
The ability to redeem miles for cash fares on any date can come through big time if you must travel on a specific date. You might even find a good premium economy or business class deal and use the 50,000 Venture miles from the sign-up bonus to knock off a huge chunk of the price.
Of course, redeeming for Airbnb or boutique hotel stays, park tickets through Expedia, Orbitz, Undercover Tourist, etc., or covering award ticket taxes/fees are also great ways to redeem Venture miles. And if you regularly book paid hotel stays through Hotels.com, earning 10X miles per dollar is a great deal.
Breakfast at the Shangri-La Paris
If you decide you’d like to apply for this or any other Capital One card, keep in mind that Capital One will pull your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. While I think the fear of credit pulls is somewhat overblown, I don’t want you to be caught off guard.
Is the Capital One Venture card as great as Jennifer Garner would have you believe? No, of course not, but that doesn’t mean that it is a useless card. As I mentioned above, the key is getting the timing right.
If you’re still under 5/24, earn those valuable Ultimate Rewards points (and maybe some United miles or Marriott Rewards points) while you can. Once you’ve done that, you might find that having some Venture miles to cover Airbnb stays, boutique hotel stays or even some flights can come in handy.
What are your favorite ways to redeem Venture miles?