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.
Annual Fee: $95 | Terms Apply | Rates & Fees
The Capital One Venture offers 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Because of the power of Capital One miles, this bonus is worth a lot. Here are some examples of trips you can book with it—while still having some miles to spare:
- 5 roundtrip coach flights to Hawaii on United Airlines, which otherwise costs $2,500+
- A one-way first class flight to Europe on American Airlines, which otherwise costs over $5,000
- $750+ in free rental cars
- 4 roundtrip coach flights between Charlotte and Turks and Caicos on American Airlines, which otherwise costs $3,200+
Of course, there are many other ways to use Capital One miles. No matter your travel strategy, it’s easy to make good use of them.
In our Capital One Venture review, we’ve learned the card is very uncomplicated in how it earns rewards. It’s perfect for those who want to earn a respectable amount of miles on all purchases without having to worry about the best card to use for specific expenses.
With the card, you’ll earn:
- 5x miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
- 2x miles per dollar for all other eligible purchases
Because the card earns at least 2x miles per dollar spent, you’ll have at least 83,000 miles after meeting the $4,000 minimum spending requirement to earn its 75,000-mile bonus.
At minimum those 83,000 miles are worth $830 in travel, but you can potentially squeeze much more value from them.
Again, Capital One miles are as easy or hard to redeem as you want to make it. If you’re willing to dive into the less elementary ways of using them, it’ll pay off in a big way. Here are a few popular ways to redeem Capital One miles:
Transfer to partners
If you’ve got the Capital One Venture, your main goal should be cheap or inexpensive travel. The best way to use your miles is to convert them into airline miles and hotel points.
Capital One has 18 transfer partners. Most transfer to partners at a 1:1 ratio, though there are a couple exceptions.
Because of the solid variety of airline partners, you can travel nearly anywhere on Earth for pennies on the dollar. You can transfer to members of all three major airline alliances (Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam), which means Capital One miles can be used to fly on several dozen different airlines, including the major US airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines.
Here’s a quick look at ways you can use the Capital One Venture’s welcome bonus:
- Transfer 75,000 miles to Turkish Airlines for five roundtrip economy flights between the mainland US and Hawaii on United Airlines ($4,600+ in value)
- Transfer 50,000 miles to Turkish Airlines for two roundtrip business class flights between the mainland US and Hawaii on United Airlines ($4,600+ in value)
- Transfer 63,000 miles to Avianca for a one-way business class flight to Germany on Lufthansa ($2,300+ in value)
- Transfer 60,000 miles to Wyndham for four nights in a one-bedroom Vacasa vacation rental ($1,600+ in potential value)
- Transfer 60,000 miles to Virgin Atlantic for a one-way first-class flight between New York and Japan on ANA ($14,000+ in value)
The fact that you can receive thousands of dollars in value from this card’s bonus is reason enough to give the card a year or two in your wallet to see if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle.
There are easier ways to use your miles for travel than transferring them to airlines and hotels. With Capital One miles, you can simply use them to offset the cost of any travel expense at a rate of 1 cent each.
Our Capital One Venture review reveals that all you need to do is use the card for your travel purchase (things like airfare, hotels, rental cars, Ubers, etc.). Then, sign into your online account and locate the purchase on your statement. You’ll see the option to completely offset the expense at a rate of 1 cent per mile.
For example, if you spent $460 on a hotel stay, you could redeem 46,000 miles to effectively “erase” the purchase.
Note that you can only erase travel purchases up to 90 days after the purchase date.
Alternatively, you can book travel through the Capital One Travel portal and use miles to pay for your travel. This way, your card will never be charged, so you won’t have to erase it later.
Cash back and gift cards
You can redeem your Capital One miles for cash, but it’s a bad deal—you’ll get a paltry 0.5 cents per mile.
You can also redeem your miles for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon at a rate of 0.8 to 1 cent per mile.
So, 10,000 miles would be worth $50 of cash back or $80 to $100 worth of gift cards.
If you plan to use your rewards for cash back or gift cards—or even for travel at a rate of 1 cent each, for that matter—take a look at cash back credit cards instead. Earning cash back might better fit your goals.
Benefits and perks
Our Capital One Venture review points out a significant benefit of the card globetrotters will especially love—saving big time on Global Entry.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
If you’ve never experienced the joys of skipping the line at airport security checkpoints, you’re really missing out. There are two main trusted traveler programs that help you to do just that: TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, and the Capital One Venture card offers a credit to cover the cost of either membership.
With TSA PreCheck, you can pass through TSA checkpoints without removing your shoes, belt or light jacket—and you can keep your laptop and carry-on approved toiletries in your bag, too. TSA PreCheck even gives you a dedicated security lane, which is often much shorter than the standard security lanes. Having TSA PreCheck can mean the difference between making and missing a flight.
Global Entry serves a different purpose. It lets you skip immigration lines when returning to the US from abroad. You’ll find Global Entry kiosks at most international US gateways (and even some airports outside the US which serve as pre-clearance). Simply enter some biometric data (like an iris scan) and spend a few seconds answering a quick questionnaire on the touch screen. The kiosk will print a receipt you can hand a security officer as you leave the airport. Global Entry also offers TSA PreCheck privileges—so it’s like getting two memberships in one.
The Capital One Venture gives you a statement credit to reimburse the application fee of either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years. Membership with both programs lasts for five years. In other words, you’ll never have to pay out of pocket for either program as long as you keep your card open.
Discounted airport lounge access
At the moment, Capital One Lounges are few and far between. Only one Capital One-branded lounge is open, located at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Capital One plans to open more lounges in the near future (there are already some in the works at Washington Dulles and Denver).
Access to Capital One Lounges costs $65 per person. However, the Capital One Venture comes with two single-use Capital One Lounge passes annually. After that, you can buy day passes for $45 per person (a $20 discount).
Note that you can also use your two annual day passes at Plaza Premium lounges, of which there are more than 100 worldwide.
The Capital One Venture comes with travel insurance when you use the card to reserve your travel. Here’s what you’ll get:
- Rental car insurance: You’ll get secondary rental car insurance when you decline the rental agency’s CDW. This means you’ll be covered against damage or theft that is not covered by your personal rental insurance.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: If a common carrier such as an airline or cruise ship loses your luggage, you’re entitled to up to $3,000 in reimbursement.
- Roadside dispatch: You’ll have a dedicated hotline that can arrange things like towing, unlocking your car, fuel delivery, etc. Some services are included, but most are not. But it’s still a nice option to have when you’re in a bind.
You’ll also get travel and emergency assistance, which isn’t insurance but instead is a hotline that helps you arrange emergency services like legal referrals, medical services, and more. You’ll pay for anything you decide to use.
When you buy an item with the Capital One Venture, you’ll receive insurance against theft and damage for up to 90 days. You’re entitled to up to $500 per claim with a $50,000 cap per cardholder.
You’ll also receive up to a one-year extension on any US manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less. You’ll get coverage up to $10,000—again with a $50,000 max.
Access to Capital One services
Capital One has its own ecosystem of services that are only available to its cardholders. Here are the notable ones:
- Capital One Travel: An online travel agency (like Orbitz or Kayak) where you can reserve flights, hotel stays, and rental cars. It also has built-in features such as price freeze (which lets you hold a price for 14 days) and price drop protection (which reimburses you if your fare drops up to 10 days after purchase).
- Capital One Entertainment: You can book experiences that you can’t find anywhere else, and sometimes receive early access to popular event tickets like concerts.
- Capital One Dining: This will give you a better shot at booking hard-to-get restaurant reservations. It’ll also suggest locations for you based on your preferences, and gives you the ability to flag the restaurant with things like dietary preferences, dining occasion, and more.
The savings these perks offer are hard to quantify, but they’re a nice addition if you think you’ll use them regularly.
Is the Capital One Venture right for you?
The $95 annual fee Capital One Venture’s best features are its earning rate on everyday spending and welcome bonus. In fact, it manages to offer the same 75,000-mile bonus as its fancy sibling, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which incurs a $395 annual fee.
The Capital One Venture’s rewards are powerful and easy to use. But its ongoing travel perks are only decent. If you’ll be traveling a lot, you might instead look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which offers superior travel insurance for the same $95 annual fee. You’ll get:
- Primary car rental insurance instead of secondary, meaning if you wreck your rental car, your personal insurance company doesn’t even need to know about it, and your premiums won’t rise
- Trip delay insurance which will reimburse you up to $500 for common expenses like meals, hotels, and transportation if your flight is delayed by at least six hours (or requires an overnight stay)
- Baggage delay insurance which will reimburse you up to $100 per day (for up to five days) for clothes, toiletries, and more when your bag is delayed by at least six hours
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a similarly sized signup bonus compared to the Venture. These points can be used in many of the same ways as Capital One miles (transfer to airlines and hotels, buy travel through the Chase Travel Portal, etc.) and are widely considered to be even more valuable than Capital One miles.
The Capital One Venture earns rewards that can help you to achieve bucket list items you thought were reserved for Instagram influencers or trust-fund babies. With the card’s 75,000-mile intro bonus alone, you could potentially book a lie-flat seat across the ocean, take a group of friends to Hawaii, or many other things.
The card’s ongoing benefits are a bit light, however. If you plan to do some serious traveling in the near future, you may want to at least complement the Capital One Venture with another rewards credit card with beefier travel insurance—like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.