Verdict: For travelers with excellent credit, Capital One’s Venture card provides first class service with a much lower annual fee than the American Express Platinum card. With no foreign transaction fees, this card is also an excellent choice for frequent international travelers. The Venture card has an annual fee of $59 annual fee (waived for the first year), but you’ll more than make up for this if you spend at least $8,000 a year.
The Capital One Venture card currently has a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. This is a great bonus that’s worth $400 in travel. The $59 annual fee is also waived for the first year, so the card’s definitely worth a test run.
The Rewards system with Capital One Venture is easy-to-understand, and cardholders have multiple options to use rewards points, including redeeming them for a statement credit or donating the cash value to a favorite charity.
With the Venture card, you earn a flat two miles on every $1 you spend, with no bonus categories to worry about. Each mile is equal to $0.01. For example, you’d need 6,000 miles to cover a $60 car rental, or 23,500 miles for a $235 flight.
As an added bonus, if you redeem your Venture miles to cover a travel expense, you can also earn airline miles on redemptions, which usually does not happen when you redeem normal airline miles. This means you can redeem your Venture miles to buy tickets that help you earn elite status with the carrier of your choice.
One of the biggest benefits of the Venture card is the ability to basically double dip by buying reward travel wherever you want, whether it’s a discount ticket from a carrier or a hotel stay through a discount site like Priceline.
You have two ways to redeem Venture miles for travel: you can use Purchase Eraser to redeem miles for past travel expenses, or you can book new travel reservations through Capital One. If you choose Purchase Eraser, eligible travel expenses include: cruise lines, bus lines, limo services, airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, taxis, time shares and travel agencies.
You have the option of redeeming miles for statement credits, merchandise or gift cards, but travel rewards will always give you the best deal.
Venture miles do not expire and there is no limit to what you can earn.
As a Visa Signature card, the Capital One Venture Rewards card provides tons of benefits. Some are pretty typical to any travel rewards card, such as:
- $0 Fraud Liability
- 24-hour travel and emergency assistance (including card replacement)
- 24-hour roadside assistance
- Extended warranty on purchases
- Travel accident insurance
- Rental car insurance
You’ll also get other convenient and money-saving benefits, including: complimentary travel upgrades and special savings, 24-hour concierge service to help you secure hard-to-get tickets to events, make restaurant reservations, and even select the perfect gifts for friends, family members and business associates. Other rewards include special access and preferred seating to events and shopping discounts.
International travelers will appreciate that the Capital One Venture card has no foreign transaction fees at all.
The American Express Gold card , which also waives the higher annual fee of $125 for the first year, is fairly comparable to the Venture card. The AmEx Gold card gives you 1 point for every $1 you spend, plus 2x Membership Rewards points for spending at amextravel.com. The card also offers greater benefits, including premium access and complimentary benefits with up to a $75 hotel credit with qualifying stays and room upgrades.
American Express Membership Rewards are some of the most highly valued points, as they can be transferred to more than 20 frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio, or redeemed for travel, gift cards and entertainment.
The American Express Gold card does have a foreign transaction fee, however, and the annual fee is almost double.
There are actually two versions of this card. The Capital One VentureOne card is the no annual fee version that offers a lower rewards rate of 1.25% instead of 2%. If you spend at least $8,000 per year, the Venture Rewards card will end up being worth it, earning you back the annual fee and then some with greater savings over the VentureOne. The Venture card also has a 40,000 sign-up bonus, double that for the VentureOne card.
The Chase Sapphire card offers 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 is spent within the first 3 months, similar to the Venture card but with a higher spending threshold to reach. The Chase Sapphire card also has no foreign transaction fees and it offers 2x points on travel and restaurants and 1x points on all other spending. Chase Sapphire points can be transferred to many frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio. The Chase card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), which is higher than the Venture card. While the Sapphire card is great for getting higher rewards on dining and travel, the Venture card comes out ahead for most people with a flat 2 miles per $1 on all spending.
If you spend at least $8,000 per year, the Venture Rewards card is most likely worth it to you. The card has a great sign-up bonus and, since the annual fee is waived the first year, it’s definitely worth a test run. The Capital One Venture card is probably a good fit for you if you want straightforward rewards without a confusing program and you want flexible rewards to offset travel expenses.