Capital One has some very popular cards for travelers, and many people are familiar with them from their heavy promotion in television ads featuring celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Samuel L. Jackson.
The ads talk about earning double miles on everything and trading them in for airline tickets with no blackout dates. The commercials end with the line “What’s in your wallet?” and many people have decided that one of the Capital One cards deserves a slot.
The Capital One Venture card is unusual though because while it calls its rewards miles, it doesn’t earn real miles in a traditional airline program. What you earn are points that can be used to book travel through Capital One’s portal, erase travel charges on your statement or transfer to travel partners.
Fixed Value Cards
Cards like those issued by Capital One and Barclaycard are known as fixed-value credit cards. They are different from airline co-branded cards that offer tens of thousands of miles as a sign-up bonus and the opportunity to earn bonus points on airline ticket purchases and other categories like dining depending on the card. Most other purchases on co-branded credit cards generally earn just one point per dollar spent on everything else.
Airline miles in a traditional reward program can only be redeemed for seats on the carrier they are affiliated with or its partner airlines, but the redemption value can vary depending on how they are used and you need to find an award seat in order to use them to get free air travel which is why Capital One talks about no blackout dates.
Fixed value cards like the Capital One Venture card however, have more predictable earning and trade-in value. All purchases earn 2x miles, and all miles are worth a penny each on trade in. For example, $10,000 in purchases will earn you 20,000 miles that can then be used to book travel or erase a travel purchase of $200.
Credit Score Required
Like most travel credit cards, you will need to have excellent credit to be approved. That means your credit score needs to be at least 720.
You may be eligible with a score as low as 700, but if the score is 750 or more that will give you the best chance at obtaining this card. You also need to have had a credit card with a limit over $5,000 for three years or more before applying.
If you don’t know what your credit score is you can find it at many online banking sites which offer a free credit score to those that bank with them. Or you can use a service like CreditKarma to see your credit score and credit report.
Your FICO credit score, which is the one that is used most often to screen credit card applications is made up of several factors on your credit report including:
- payment history (35%),
- the amount you owe (30%),
- credit history (15%),
- new credit (10%) and
- your mix of credit (10%).
It’s a good idea to review your credit report for errors as that may impact your application. If you find something that is not correct, report it to the credit bureau and see if you can get the mistake removed before applying, especially if it is dragging your score down as it may stop you from getting approved.
There are three credit reporting agencies that track your credit history including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You are allowed to get a free credit report from each of them annually so you can make sure the credit reporting agencies are reporting your credit history accurately.
Credit History and Income Level Needed
There are a few things on your credit report that will cause your application to be denied. If you have ever declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan that will stop you from getting approved for the Capital One Venture card. And if you have been more than 60 days late on a credit card, medical bill or loan in the past year they will also deny your application.
You will be asked what your income level is on the application, and in addition to wages you can report other sources of income like child support payments, though you can leave that out if you want to. There is no particular income level required for approval as what you earn is only one of the things that Capital One takes into account when reviewing your application.
As with any credit card application, the higher your income is, the better your odds are of getting approved. If you are earning over $100,000 a year then this may help offset some less-than-stellar credit history as long as you don’t run afoul of the issues noted previously that will cause an automatic denial.
Odds of Approval
If you have an excellent credit score, good credit history and sufficient income, then you have very good odds of getting approved.
Capital One doesn’t have rules like Chase’s 5/24 rule, where the bank will deny you if you have opened more than five cards with any issuer in the past two years. The bank does consider how many cards you have opened recently though, and although there is no particular number of recent applications allowed, it can be another reason for having an application denied.
If you’re worried about not getting approved for the Venture card or you think you may not qualify, you can see what Capital One credit cards you are pre-approved for with no impact on your credit report by using the bank’s pre-approval application.
It will ask for your name, Social Security number, employment status, income and housing costs and it will determine whether or not you qualify for a number of Capital One cards including the Venture card.
Keep in mind that you can still get approved even if you are not offered this card when you check on pre-approval status, but your odds of getting approved are lower if Capital One is not offering you this card when you fill out the pre-approval application. You can also still be denied, but it’s not likely if you’ve gotten pre-approval.
Who is the Capital One Venture Card For?
The Capital One Venture card is perfect for someone who is interested in earning free travel through sign-up bonuses and spending on a credit card, but wants more earning power for all of their spending and flexibility when it’s time to book travel. Capital One has widened its appeal to travelers in recent years with the addition of travel partners that miles can be transferred to so that is another redemption option.
The Venture card is also good for people who don’t have the time or inclination to learn the nuances of frequent flyer programs, which can be complicated. Airline loyalty programs can often offer outsized value on redemption, especially for international travel in first or business class. But finding award space on the dates you want to travel can be challenging, especially if you want to travel to a popular destination during peak travel season.
With the Venture Rewards card you can have the best of both worlds. Points can be used to reimburse you for travel charges on your card, or you can use them to get even more value by transferring them to a travel loyalty program.
You can also choose to book your travel through the Capital One travel booking portal, which is powered by Orbitz. Miles are worth the same penny per point as they are worth when you use them to erase a travel purchase, but you don’t have to wait for the charge to hit your statement and you can skip the extra step of erasing the charges so this is the simplest way to redeem your points for travel.
Capital One Venture Card Benefits
The Capital One Venture card comes with a 60,000 bonus miles for signing up and spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card. If you already have this card or you’ve received this bonus before you may not be eligible for this welcome offer.
You earn 2x miles on all purchases, so you don’t have to worry about using different cards to get bonus points for select categories. Other cards with a similar annual fee only let you earn double points on select categories like travel and dining purchases and everything else earns just a single point.
Even though the Capital One Venture credit card is promoted as a travel credit card, it is not affiliated with a particular airline or hotel like co-branded travel cards so there are no benefits like free checked bags or upgrades.
One nice thing about using Capital One rewards to erase an airfare purchase on your statement or to book travel through the bank’s portal is that you will still earn miles in an airline program or points in a hotel program because using your Capital One miles is the same as using cash to buy the ticket or book the room. This can help you achieve elite status faster and get perks like free checked bags or lounge access with your airline elite status.
Capital One Lounge Openings
The card doesn’t offer extensive airport lounge access like some other cards, but it is opening its own lounges starting with Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in fall 2021, with two additional lounges scheduled to open in Denver International Airport and Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, in 2022.
This follows in the footsteps of American Express that has opened its own Centurion lounges in over a dozen airports to give its most valued cardmembers a premium lounge experience.
Capital One lounges will have all the amenities you would find in traditional airport lounges like high-speed WiFi, chef-inspired meals at dining stations, pre-packaged food that you can take on the plane with you, fully stocked bars, coffee stations and quiet work zones where you can charge your devices.
Other offerings, which vary by location, will include shower suites, relaxation rooms, yoga and cycling rooms, and luggage lockers so you can go out and explore a city during a long layover.
Airline and Hotel Reward Program Transfer Partners
The Capital One Venture card also has travel partners that points can be transferred, unlike co-branded airline and hotel cards which earn points that stay within the frequent traveler loyalty program they are affiliated with and need to be used to book travel with that supplier or its partners.
There are currently 17 airlines and hotels that you can transfer your Capital One miles to, but look at the transfer ratios before you pull the trigger on that as they vary.
There are several airline programs that have a 1:1 transfer ratio for Capital One Venture miles including Aeromexico, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Finnair, Qantas and TAP Air Portugal. Capital One miles also currently transfer to one hotel program at a 1:1 ratio and that is Wyndham Rewards, though Choice Privileges is expected to come on board this year at that transfer rate.
These are the partners that you will get the most value from since you are earning miles at a rate of 2x per dollar. For these programs, 10,000 Capital One miles will translate to 10,000 miles in the airline or hotel program.
Several airlines have a less generous transfer rate of 2 Capital One miles to 1.5 airline miles, which is still a good deal because you’re earning the Capital One miles at double the rate of many other cards. The airlines that have a 2:1.5 mile transfer ratio include Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, British Airways, EVA Air, JetBlue and Turkish Airlines. For these carriers, 10,000 Capital One miles will become 7,500 airline miles when transferred.
There are also a few airlines that transfer at a 2:1 ratio, which is not as good as the other transfer rates, but still useful especially if you are just looking to top off your account. The airlines that accept two Capital One miles for each airline mile are Emirates and Singapore. The ALL Accor hotel program also has a 2:1 transfer rate. In this case, 10,000 miles = 5,000 miles or points in the airline or hotel program.
Other Travel Benefits
The Venture One card also has some other benefits for travelers as it is a Visa Signature card. It offers travel accident insurance, and there are no foreign transaction fees. It also includes car rental collision damage waiver (CDW) so you can rent a car and avoid that costly insurance if you pay for the rental with your Capital One card. It also comes with a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Capital One Shopping
Capital One also has a shopping portal that looks for discount coupons at the online retailers you are shopping at and automatically applies them to your purchase. You can also use your points for purchases on Amazon.
Or you can redeem your rewards at millions of online stores through PayPal. To do this you just need to link your Capital One Venture Rewards card to your PayPal account and use your rewards balance when checking out.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card
The Capital One Venture card has an annual fee of $95, and some people don’t like to pay a fee to hold a credit card. There are a lot of great benefits that can help offset that cost, but if you don’t want to pay a fee you might be interested in the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card, which sounds similar but has less benefits.
The VentureOne card also has a smaller sign-up bonus at only 20,000 points for spending $500 in the first three months, but that is a much more manageable minimum spend than the $3,000 in spending required to get the Venture card bonus. And you’ll only earn 1.25 miles per dollar compared to 2x with the Venture card, so you’ll earn less miles on your spending.
One attractive element of the VentureOne card though that is not offered with the Venture card is a 0% introductory APR for 12 months so this card may be a better fit than the Venture card for someone with a tight budget.
There is also a Capital One VentureOne Rewards card for people with good credit, but with that offer you won’t get a sign-up bonus. The card will still earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent so it is another option for people who have a credit score below the excellent range that is needed to get approved for the Capital One Venture card or VentureOne card with a sign-up bonus. Also, the APR on this card is higher than the other two at 26.99%.
The Capital One Venture card is a great travel card, especially for people that are just starting to collect miles and points for award travel, because it has a simple earning scheme that doesn’t require you to use different cards or watch for rotating bonus categories to earn bonus points.
It’s also good for experienced miles and points collectors, especially since Capital One added transfer partners back in 2018 and has been adding more every year. It is also more attractive to travelers now that Capital Once has started opening airport lounges, especially if you fly out of one of the cities where they have plans to open.
The Capital One Venture card is most often compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which is very popular with travelers. Both cards earn points that can be used in their own travel booking portal and both transfer to multiple airline and hotel programs.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a better transfer rate to most of its travel partners as they usually transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and you get a 25% bonus when booking travel through the Chase portal. But most of the spending on that card is only earning 1x per dollar.
You also won’t be eligible for a sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you’ve gotten a bonus for either a Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card in the past 48 months. And if you’ve applied for too many cards in the past two years, Chase will also not approve you because of its 5/24 rule.
As other banks tighten their rules about who can apply and get sign-up bonuses for their cards, Capital One has become a great option for people who may not qualify for travel rewards cards at other banks because of restrictions they have in place.
The Capital One Venture card is also a good option if you have several frequent traveler accounts, but not enough points in any of them to book award travel, because you can transfer your points to Capital One travel partners to reach your travel goal.
Another great selling point of the Capital One Venture card is that miles in its program don’t expire like many airline programs, and if you have a tendency to save up your points for a big vacation you don’t have to worry about an airline program devaluation which can greatly decrease the value of the rewards you’ve been saving.
And best of all, you can earn 2x points on your everyday spending, and can then use them for any airline ticket at any time as long as there is a seat available. This is a big plus for people who have had trouble using airline miles because they don’t understand how mileage programs work, or they travel during peak season and can’t use traditional miles because of limited award seat availability.