The Best Credit Card Pairing for Beginners: Capital One Venture X and American Express Green Card

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What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

How can I maximize the rewards earned with my travel credit card?

To maximize rewards, use your travel credit card for everyday expenses and large purchases. Take advantage of bonus categories and special promotions to earn more points or miles. Consider combining your travel credit card with loyalty programs to stack rewards and get even more value out of your purchases.

Non-Affiliate Disclosure: The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Daily Navigator. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. 

Points and miles are a magnificent tool for saving money on travel. Nothing else can let you fly as far for as little or as luxuriously short of coughing up the cash itself.

But so much of the strategy is built on opening cards for their introductory bonus offers. And while it’s great to see 60,000 points or more drop into your account, it’s just not sustainable in the long run to open a new card every month or two.

In other words, you need cards that support your strategy over an extended period of time. But can one card do the bulk of the heavy lifting for you? Maybe…if you spend enough or your habits are super narrowed in on one category. For the rest of us, a strong credit card combo is required to maximize our points and miles.

If you’re in the market for a new card or are looking to find a strong pairing to complement your lifestyle, look no further because we’re looking at the mega-powerful credit combo of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the American Express® Green Card.

An overview of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Venture X is Capital One’s flagship premium card. It has almost unmatched value for most credit card users for a multitude of reasons. And despite a high annual fee, its easy-to-use benefits offset the cost, making it approachable for a much wider market.

Its annual fee is $395 a year, and it boasts an intro bonus of 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 within three months of opening an account. Transferred effectively, those miles can easily score you over $1,500 in free travel.

The long-term value of the card comes from its flat-rate earning opportunities. Instead of using predetermined spending categories with elevated earning rates, Capital One opts for a flat 2x miles per dollar on all spending. The only exception to this is travel spending on the Capital One travel portal which enjoys elevated earnings. It’s this flat-rate earning that makes it such a strong candidate for any credit card combo. It mops up everything.

Another attractive aspect of the Venture X is its premium perks like lounge access and simple statement credits that help offset the larger annual fee.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

An overview of the American Express Green Card

The American Express Green Card is arguably the most underrated product in the Amex lineup. With an annual fee of $150, it positions itself just above most mid-range cards, but still far lower than any of the premium options.

It’s currently running a 40,000-point intro bonus earned after spending $3,000 within six months of opening the card. It’s a modest bonus with a modest spending threshold—but that’s not why you want this card. The earning rates are up there with the best premium cards.

This earning powerhouse earns 3x points per dollar on dining worldwide, takeout and delivery in the US, travel, and transit, and drops to 1x points per dollar on everything else. That’s a generous spread of points earned, especially considering how broad its definitions of travel and transit are. It’s designed to fit a high-traveling lifestyle.

Travel includes the usual suspects like flights, trains, buses, and hotels, but also includes less common triggers like tours and Airbnbs. Transit covers the entire spectrum of public transport from ferries to taxis, Ubers to subways, and even tolls.

Its perks are limited, as expected at its price point, but it still gives you a $100 Loungebuddy credit and a $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit.

American Express® Green Card

40,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. 

Annual Fee: $150  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Why a credit card pairing is vital to your strategy

An effective credit card pairing is designed to maximize your spending. Everyone’s lifestyle is different and, in turn, so is our spending. While one card may be hugely valuable to one person, it could be almost useless to another.

However, it’s rare for one card to cover every base. Typically, a credit card issuer will determine specific spending categories, like travel and dining, or marketing expenses for a business card. But in these cases, any surplus spending outside of the elevated categories will only earn one point per dollar. A credit card pairing can help eliminate those minimal earnings by plugging the points leaks left by each card.

By choosing your credit card combo carefully, it’s possible to maximize almost every dollar spent. As you grow in confidence, it’s possible to add extra cards to this equation.

Why the Capital One Venture X and American Express Green credit card combo is so valuable

The Capital One Venture X and American Express Green credit card combo is a strong option for anyone on the go. It ticks so many boxes and could help build the foundation for an even stronger multi-card lineup. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider this credit card combo.

The Capital One Venture X and Amex Green credit card combo covers all your spending

The Capital One Venture X is almost indispensable when it comes to building a credit card combo for the simple reason that no purchase is left untouched. Whatever you use it for, whether it’s a pack of gum at the store or a five-star hotel, you’re guaranteed to get at least 2x miles for every single dollar you spend. It’s the perfect base.

The Amex Green, on the other hand, lets you earn big on some potentially high-spending areas of your life. If you’re a regular traveler or eat out a lot, you’re pulling in 3x points per dollar. That’s a huge number of points when tallied up over the course of a year. Travel doesn’t even need to mean the exciting kind—the transit category earns the same, so your commute or even your Uber back from the bar can earn you that same rate.

For example, if you live in NYC, commute via the subway to work every day, drop $150 on Uber each month, and spend an average of $500 a month on eating out, you’d be pulling a residual 28,872 points just from those expenses alone. That’s not factoring in any trips you take.

 If we factor in another $1,500 a month on groceries and other expenses that all go onto the Venture X, you’re then looking at 64,872 points and miles a year—more than enough to grab a roundtrip or two to Europe.

If we took out just one of those cards, it looks a lot different.

  • Only the Venture X = 55, 248
  • Only the Amex Green = 46,872

A 10,000-mile difference may not seem like a lot, but when that could fly you one-way to Europe with Virgin Atlantic, you might start to think about it differently.

The Capital One Venture X and Amex Green credit card combo could earn you 132,000 points in six months

The Amex Green may not have a huge intro bonus compared to some other cards, but 40,000 points is nothing to turn your head away from. Combined with the Venture X and taking the respective $4,000 and $3,000 spending into account, you could wind up with at least 132,000 points within six months.

To hit the Venture X’s bonus, you’ll need to spend a monthly average of $1,333 after opening the card, while the Green’s bonus requires a $500 average for six months. Whether you open them at around the same time or with time between, you could have access to those points pretty damn fast.

If you’re unfamiliar with points, you may not grasp how valuable those bonuses are. To put them in context, for a roundtrip on Qatar Airways’ $10,000 one-way business class seat, you’d need 140,000 points. You’re only a few thousand off that mark with the bonuses alone. That’s a lot of value from two cards. If that didn’t interest you, you could likely fly to Europe and back at least four times.

The Capital One Venture X and Amex Green credit card combo is low-risk 

Annual fees add up and premium cards in particular can be to gain maximum value from the money you pay into it. The Amex Green offers the earning rates of a premium card at a far more palatable yearly rate—$150 is a far cry from the eye-watering $695 annual fee attached to The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Even if you redeemed your Amex points on the portal for 1 cent each, you’d still only need to earn 15,000 points to come out even. That’s equivalent to $416 of spending a month on one of the 3x point-per-dollar spending categories. That’s not an unreasonable spend for most of us.

The Capital One Venture X on the other hand is a premium card with a high fee. But, unlike the Platinum, it’s incredibly easy to come out on top. The Venture X comes loaded with an annual $300 travel statement credit, which effectively drops the $395 annual fee to $95. As long as you normally spend $300 a year on travel, it’s having zero impact on your finances.

It also throws in a bonus of 10,000 miles each year on the anniversary of your card opening. These are equivalent to around $100, so technically speaking, you’re up $5 before you even swipe the card.

If you’re new to points and miles, a credit card combo like this could be the way forward allowing you to earn a lot of points while minimizing the financial risk.

The Capital One Venture X and Amex Green credit card combo still gets you the perks

Despite the comparatively low risk, holding both of these cards allows you to enjoy the high-end perks everyone looks for.

The Venture X does the bulk of the heavy lifting by granting the cardholder a Priority Pass membership for every year the account remains open. This allows access to more than 1,400 lounges around the world, helping ease the stress of big travel days and even save money on overpriced airport food. Better yet, the Venture X allows up to four authorized users at no extra cost—all four get the same lounge access. The Venture X also grants entry to Capital One’s own lounges. While there aren’t many yet, plans are well underway to expand in more of the US’ most popular airports.

You can ease travel days further by applying for a TSA PreCheck and Global Entry membership using the Venture X’s statement credits for the services.

Throw in luggage protection, rental car primary coverage, and trip coverage, and you’re more than set for anything the world of travel throws at you.

While the Green isn’t bursting at the seams with add-ons, it doesn’t leave you empty-handed. You can enjoy a $100 Loungebuddy credit which could come in handy in an airport without a Priority Pass lounge, and a $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit. The latter is more valuable than it seems. CLEAR just became another provider of TSA PreCheck, so you could use the Green’s credit for that and the Venture X’s credit for Global Entry—you’re covered for them all in one go.

The Capital One Venture X and Amex Green credit card combo diversifies your transfer options

A big part of an effective points and miles strategy is ensuring you have a variety of high-value point stores. Capital One Venture Miles and American Express Membership Reward Points are among the most valuable out there, and this credit card combo has the potential to give you a ton of each. Better yet, several airlines are transfer partners of both credit card companies, giving you more scope for a big redemption further down the line. 

Here are all of Capital One’s transfer partners.

  • Accor Live Limitless
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Choice Privileges 
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Air Portugal Miles&Go
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Red

And here are all of Amex’s transfer partners.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub 
  • Aeromexico Rewards 
  • Air Canada Aeroplan 
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue 
  • All Nippon Airways Mileage Club 
  • Avianca LifeMiles 
  • British Airways Executive Club 
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 
  • Delta SkyMiles 
  • Emirates Skywards 
  • Etihad Guest 
  • HawaiianMiles 
  • Iberia Plus 
  • JetBlue TrueBlue 
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer 
  • Singapore KrisFlyer 
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 
  • Choice Privileges 
  • Hilton Honors 
  • Marriott Bonvoy 

Who is this credit card combo perfect for?

There’s a long list of potential candidates for this credit card combo. The Venture X has an argument to be in everyone’s wallet, while the Green would be extremely useful for anyone with regular commutes, travel, eating out, or a combination of them all.

Digital nomads (like myself) should find this card indispensable. As many of us live exclusively in Airbnbs, the 3x points per dollar is an excellent opportunity to grab 3x points per dollar on accommodation. I earn almost 100,000 points a year using this card for this purpose.

Would any other cards complement this credit card combo?

It’s a solid all-round credit card combo, covering the bulk of the bases for many people. The only major shortcoming is in the grocery department. Opting for a card with high earnings there, like the American Express® Gold Card or the Citi Strata card would be a good option to plug that leak.

The Gold has a higher annual fee but also comes with 4x points per dollar on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, so could pull up the slack comfortably for someone who spends a lot on food. In fact, this is the main combination of cards I use.

The point

The Capital One Venture X and American Express Green Card credit card combo is an extremely effective pairing for maximizing daily spend. The catch-all characteristics of the Venture X combined with the high-earning specificity of the Green leaves no dollar left untouched and lays the groundwork for an even stronger grouping further down the line.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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