The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) and Capital One Venture X Business (review) are Capital One’s two premium cards. While each card has a $395 annual fee, the cards offer all kinds of perks that help offset that fee.
The way I view it, the two biggest perks that help justify the annual fee are the $300 annual Capital One Travel credit and the 10,000 anniversary bonus miles. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at the $300 annual Capital One Travel credit offered by the cards, and how exactly this perk works. Several premium credit cards offer travel credits, but they all work differently, so let’s get into all the details of how this one works.
How does the Venture X $300 annual travel credit work?
- The credit applies each cardmember year (or anniversary year, if you prefer), including the year in which you open the card; the credit timing isn’t based on the calendar year
- The credit can be used across one or multiple transactions, until the $300 limit is reached
- There’s no registration required to use the $300 annual travel credit
- Any purchase through Capital One Travel qualifies toward using this credit, so this credit can be used toward flights, hotels, or rental cars
- If you want to use the credit, simply select that you want to pay with the credit during checkout; when this benefit first launched it was issued as a statement credit after the fact, but that’s no longer the case
- If you can cancel a refundable trip booked with the credit, then you can have that credit reinstated, up to the standard expiration date
What travel can you book through Capital One Travel?
Capital One Travel is Capital One’s travel portal, as you may have guessed based on the name. The portal is powered by Hopper, and Capital One is essentially acting as the travel agent here. You can use Capital One Travel to book everything from flights, to hotels, to rental cars.
In general, I’m not a huge fan of using travel portals, though in my opinion Capital One Travel is the best travel portal of any of the major credit card companies. You can easily search flights, hotels, and rental cars.
The portal has some nifty features. For example, when searching flights, there’s a calendar showing the dates with the best prices, which is something I wish we’d more consistently see from airlines.
Similarly, the option to filter results is great, better than with most other portals, in my opinion.
If you wanted to apply your $300 annual travel credit toward a purchase (like a flight), you’d just want to start the process of purchasing a flight. Then on the checkout page, you should see the credit automatically applied, unless you specifically choose not to apply it.
Keep in mind that the Venture X is also rewarding for purchases through Capital One Travel, so you can earn lots of miles for purchases beyond the amount that the credit covers. The card offers:
- 10x Capital One miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel
- 5x Capital One miles on flights booked via Capital One Travel
For what it’s worth, I value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each, so that’s like an 8.5-17% return on that spending.
But isn’t booking through credit card travel portals annoying?
Some people are probably thinking “I don’t really want to book through a travel portal though.” I hear you. To be honest, I only rarely use travel portals. Even if a travel portal is great, there are downsides to using them:
- On the flight front, in the event of schedule changes or wanting to cancel, it can be easier to do so if you book direct, especially in an era where airlines largely allow free ticket changes
- On the hotel front, you don’t usually receive elite perks or earn points when booking through a third party
- On the rental car front, there are often discount codes available online that can’t be used if booking through a portal, and elite perks also often don’t apply through third party bookings
That being said, I still think the credit is worth pretty close to face value, and have no issues whatsoever using it. What’s my strategy? To keep things simple, my strategy is to book a single flight that costs $300+ at least once per year, which triggers the $300 credit.
You still generally earn points and receive elite perks when booking flights through a portal, and the pricing is almost always identical. Therefore the opportunity cost to booking this way is limited.
The way I see it, having to book through Capital One Travel is hardly a huge deal or anything that prevents this from being maximized, and most people shouldn’t have any issues taking advantage of this.
How does this compare to travel credits on other cards?
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) has a $300 annual travel credit that can apply toward any travel purchase, and it doesn’t have to be booked through Chase’s travel portal; this continues to be the easiest to use travel credit
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) offers all kinds of credits, including a $200 airline fee credit (Enrollment required); this is rather complicated to use, and includes all kinds of restrictions
I’d argue that the Capital One travel credit isn’t as easy to use as the Chase travel credit, but is much easier to use than the American Express travel credit.
This also doesn’t tell the full story of the card’s value proposition, though:
- The Venture X has by far the lowest annual fee of the three cards
- The $300 annual travel credit is only one of the annual perks the card offers — the card also offers 10,000 anniversary Capital One bonus miles, which can be redeemed for $100 worth of travel, or can be transferred to airline & hotel partners at a ratio of up to 1:1
- For savvy travelers, the $300 travel credit plus 10,000 bonus miles should be worth more than the card’s $395 annual fee, not even factoring in anything else
The Capital One Venture X and Capital One Venture X Business are incredibly lucrative. The cards have a $395 annual fee, and one of the primary things that offsets that fee is the $300 annual travel credit, which can be applied toward virtually any purchase with Capital One Travel.
While some people might find a slight hassle factor to using a portal, this really shouldn’t be that hard to maximize on a flight, hotel, or rental car. My strategy is to simply book a $300+ flight every year through the portal, and that gets me $300 back. There’s almost no opportunity cost, so I’d consider that to be pretty awesome.
To fellow Venture X cardmembers — what’s your strategy for using the $300 annual travel credit?