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Capital One Venture Credit Card: Still Tops for Travel Rewards

We give the Capital One Venture Credit Card a top spot among travel rewards cards. Choose between a no annual fee card that pays 1.5 miles on every purchase or earn double miles for a modest annual fee.

Capital One Venture Card

Capital One Venture credit card.

The Capital One Venture Card pays double miles for every dollar spent. There is a $59 annual fee after the first year.

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Capital One VentureOne Card

Capital One VentureOne credit card

The Capital One Venture Card pays 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. There is no annual fee.

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The Capital One Venture Credit Card has stood out among miles rewards credit cards for a couple of years now with a generous rewards plan and funny ads with Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon.

But if you’re reading my blog, you don’t choose a credit card based on a funny ad or celebrity pitchman; you’re smarter than that.

IS THE CAPITAL ONE VENTURE CARD A GOOD DEAL?

If you prefer to earn miles that can be used towards free flights, hotel stays, and other travel rewards (as opposed to, say, pure cash back), then the Capital One Venture Card or the no-annual fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card are excellent options.

Note that there are two versions of this card:

(Of course, as a friendly reminder, if you do not pay off your credit card balances in full every single month, don’t bother with a rewards card…you won’t come out ahead. Stick with a card with the lowest interest rate possible and work on paying off your balance.)

Capital One cards are becoming popular with travelers for two reasons:

  • Simple Rewards: Many users say Capital One’s miles rewards programs have been living up to the card company’s “no hassles” tagline. For example, with these cards you earn rewards at a set rate (either 1.25 miles per $1 or 2 miles per dollar depending on the card). Compare this to cards like the Chase Freedom and Discover which pay higher rewards only on certain purchases and they change this every three months).
  • More Generous Rewards: If you use your card a lot, the extra rewards Capital One provides over other cards can add up.
  • No Foreign Currency Fees: Capital One international transaction fees are lower than most U.S. credit cards. They are among the only cards that do not charge foreign currency transaction fees and they have pledged to continue this practice even as other issuers raise fees. Because that could save you between two and four percent on any overseas purchases, some would say Capital One cards are among the best credit cards for international travel because of their low international fees.

HOW VENTURE REWARDS ARE DIFFERENT

At first glance, the Capital One Venture Credit Card offers similar benefits to the card company’s old No Hassles Miles Rewards cards except that the Venture Card has a higher rewards level: You’ll earn two miles for every dollar spent, without limits. According to Capital One:

There are no limits on when, where or how you earn double miles, no retailer specifications or spending categories, no separate rewards enrollment or re-enrollment requirements, and no limit on the number of miles cardholders can accumulate. What’s more, cardholders enjoy easy redemption by booking on any airline at any time, with no blackout dates, no advance booking required, and no expiration. Rewards can be redeemed for any travel related expense, such as airline, hotel, cruise line and rental car transactions.

The other big difference with the Venture Credit Card is the way you redeem rewards—you can use your miles to pay for any travel-related purchase you make with your card. You simply purchase your travel and flag the charge for reimbursement from your accumulated miles. And the redemption rate is average—100 points equals one dollar’s reward. So $15,000 in spending earns you 30,000 miles which can buy a $300 airline ticket…any airline ticket. That’s better than a lot of points rewards cards that only give you one point for every dollar spent and then require you to cash in up to twice as many points to get a cash-value reward like a gift card.

VENTURE VS. VENTUREONE

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is free for the first year but has a $59 annual fee thereafter (with its rewards structure, you’d need to spend about $3,000 a year on the card to break even with the annual fee). At around $8,000 spent per year, the Venture Card begins to be more rewarding than the VentureOne card. As of the last update (December 2013) the card has a variable APR between 13.9 and 20.9 percent depending on your credit.

Which pays better rewards: The Capital One Venture or VentureOne Card?

There’s also a no-fee version of the card: the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card — which offers similar benefits but pays only 1.25 miles rewards per dollar spent. The VentureOne Rewards card offers a slightly lower regular APR (between 11.9 and 19.9 percent) and a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases until September 2015. (The Venture Card, by contrast, offers no introductory teaser APR).

If you spend more than $1,000 each month and pay your balance in full every single month, the Venture Card will pay off despite the annual fee. If you spend less than that or even sometimes carry a balance from month to month, consider the VentureOne Card or another card with no fee and low interest.

WHAT CREDIT SCORE DO YOU NEED FOR THE CAPITAL ONE VENTURE CARD?

Both the Capital One Venture and VentureOne credit cards require good to excellent credit. In most cases this means a FICO credit score of 700 or higher and that you don’t have too much other credit card debt. You can see the average credit score and lowest credit score approved for these cards on the detail pages below.

LEARN MORE

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Disclaimer: One way I’m able to support blogging while helping you is to link to products that pay a referral commission if you sign up. I only link to products I trust. That said, you should know that if you click the links to these cards and ultimately apply for and are approved for that card, I may be paid for that. If you choose to support Money Under 30 in that way, thanks!

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.