If you’re relatively new to travel rewards space, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent contender for your go-to credit card. With a large welcome bonus, simple-to-understand points-earning opportunities, a low annual fee, and versatile redemption options, it should be a staple in your wallet.
But its generous 75,000-mile intro bonus is what should really be catching your eye, which is earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the card. The bonus alone is worth anywhere from $750 to $1,500 in travel, ready to be redeemed for flights, hotels, statement credits and more.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Capital One Venture, its welcome bonus and how you can maximize its miles for a ton of free travel.
Let’s get to the points
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture is an excellent go-to card for any traveler, thanks to its easy to navigate 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. With no bonus categories to consider, a reasonable $95 annual fee, and a strong 75,000-mile intro offer worth over $1000, Alec Baldwin might be onto something.
How can you earn the 75,000-mile bonus?
First off, a 75,000-mile bonus for a card with a $95 annual fee is impressive. It’s the exact same bonus offered by its premium sibling, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which has a $395 fee. So if you’re just signing up for the intro bonus, you’ve already got a great deal.
To see the 75,000 Capital One Rewards miles drop into your account, you’ll need to spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening the card. This works out to $1,333 a month, which is a moderate spending requirement compared to some other cards. Prioritize using the Venture card over your debit card or another credit card to ensure you hit the mark.
I often open cards when I know I have a big purchase coming up, so if you know you’re on the hunt for a new laptop or something similar, that’s an opportunity to hit the spending requirements quickly. The laptop I’m typing on right now paid for an entire trip to London this year using the same strategy.
Do remember not to spend on things you wouldn’t normally. It might be tempting to blow through the $4,000 believing free travel is on the way, but is it really free if you just spent $2,000 you would never have spent otherwise? That’s a fast track to unwanted debt and defeats the purpose of earning points and miles.
However you hit the target, the miles should appear in your account pretty quickly. Capital One and other companies often say they’ll appear within 60 days, but my own experience has typically been far quicker.
How to use the Capital One Venture’s 75,000-mile bonus
Now for the fun part: using your hard-earned miles.
As is the case with most travel-rewards currencies, you have several ways to use your miles. Some ways make your miles far more valuable than others, so I’ll start with the method that maximizes them and work down.
Transfer miles to an airline or hotel partner
Transferring your miles to a travel partner easily offers the most bang for your buck. Using your 75,000 miles this way makes them worth over $1,200 to $1,500 in real value. Here’s how to do it.
Capital One has partnerships with 18 airlines and hotels that allow you to transfer your credit card miles into their unique loyalty programs. Log into your Capital One account and check the list of airlines and hotel brands available. Some notable partners include British Airways Avios, Air Canada Aeroplan, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. While these are all foreign airlines, they all partner with U.S.-based carriers, and you can use their miles to fly all around America.
After researching the cost of your desired route, transfer the required miles to the carrier providing the flight and book your trip.
Here’s an example of what those 75,000 miles could get you.
- Up to 10 domestic US one-way flights on United by transferring your miles to Turkish Airlines
- A one-way business flight to Asia by transferring your miles to Virgin Atlantic or Air Canada and flying ANA
- A round-trip from the US to Europe by transferring your miles to Air France, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Avianca and more
- Multiple nights in a Wyndham Hotel by transferring your miles to Wyndham Rewards
There are near-endless possibilities, but it will take a little research to guarantee you maximize the value of those miles.
Use the Capital One Travel Portal
The simplest way to use your miles is inside the Capital One Travel Portal. Here, your miles will have a fixed value of 1 cent a piece, so your 75,000 miles are worth $750 in travel. Obviously, that’s far less than the potential value found in transferring to a partner, but it does offer some positive benefits.
For one, it simplifies the booking process. You can search for flights the way you would with any travel search engine and simply choose the miles option instead of cash. $750 is more than enough to cover a flight or two, especially if you use Capital One’s new partner, Hopper, to gauge the cheapest days to travel on. It’s far less work than sifting through airline loyalty programs, and $750 is still no chump change.
You can also avoid the portal and simply get statement credits for any travel purchases — this includes flights, hotels, car rentals, train tickets, Airbnbs, Ubers and more. For example, if you buy a flight with any airline or book any hotel directly, you can put your miles to use and have them redeemed for the same 1-cent-a-point rate as a statement credit. This is why the company says its’ miles have “no blackout dates.” As you’re not bound by award flights, it’s just a normal flight you’ve been reimbursed for.
Cash back and gift cards
The least lucrative option, and one I’d never recommend, is getting cash back or gift cards with your miles. You’re slashing the value of your miles by at least half, which is okay if you’re not intending to travel and just fancy a bit of extra money in your pocket.
But for travel, it makes no sense. Cash back and gift card options vary wildly in value, from as low as .5 cents a point.
What other benefits does the Capital One Venture Offer?
The Capital One Venture is very much a mid-tier card, so it doesn’t offer a mammoth amount of perks. If that’s your cup of tea, look to its premium alternative, the Venture X.
It does offer up to a $100 credit that covers the application fee for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry and a range of travel protections, including warranty protection, secondary car rental insurance and travel accident insurance.
Naturally, as a travel card, there won’t be any annoying foreign transaction fees to navigate, and you’ll also enjoy two free airport lounge visits a year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges.
Can the Capital One Venture earn miles easily after the intro bonus?
Truthfully, this is where the Capital One Venture comes into its own. The company made a clear decision to simplify earning with its cards and sets its rates at a steady 2x miles per dollar on every purchase. It also offers 5x miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals when booked through the Capital One Portal.
While this might not be as lucrative as utilizing multiple different cards for eating out, traveling, and groceries, it does make things incredibly simple and allows every single purchase to go a little further for you. If simplicity is your thing, and you’ve no intention of becoming a points geek anytime soon, this card is the one for you.
What cards compete with the Capital One Venture?
The most straightforward comparison for the Capital One Venture is the Capital One Venture X. Yes, I know they need to think up clearer names.
The Venture X currently has the same intro bonus and 2x miles per dollar earning rate but tacks on some premium perks to justify the higher $395 annual fee. Its $300 yearly travel credit alone makes the Venture X worth considering, as it practically makes it the same price. Throw in the bonus 10,000 miles each anniversary year, the travel spending bonuses (10x miles on hotels & rental cars and 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel Portal), and a Priority Pass airport lounge membership and it makes a strong argument for aiming high.
With that said, if you don’t travel a whole lot, and you’re not guaranteed to use that $300 credit (it has to be spent through the portal), you might be happier sticking with Venture.
The Venture’s biggest competitor is undoubtedly the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It has the same annual fee, and although its current bonus of 60,000 points is smaller, Chase points are generally valued more, and are worth 25% more when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal. The Sapphire Preferred also has varied spending categories, which could be beneficial for regular globetrotters.
The Sapphire Preferred is a good choice for someone who values Chase’s transfer partners like United, Southwest and World of Hyatt, but again, simplicity wins out for the Venture. The Sapphire only earns 1x point per dollar on most expenses, balancing out its higher travel categories. The Venture keeps its steady 2x miles regardless of what you spend it on.
The Capital One Venture makes an excellent go-to travel credit card, forgoing premium perks and complicated spending categories for simple earning potential at a reasonable annual fee, tied up with an outstanding intro bonus and handful of valuable travel benefits.