Capital One Venture Rewards Card Review
Plenty of credit card users are fed up with the game that frequent flier programs have become. Credit card users dutifully earn tens of thousands of frequent flier miles, sometimes over the course of years, with the hopes of redeeming these miles for award flights. In many cases, their hopes are dashed when they discover that the airlines have allocated scant award seats at the lowest mileage levels. In other cases travelers are hit with taxes, fees, and surcharges for award flights that they were led to believe were free.
Capital One perfectly captured this frustration in a series of advertisements, like this one, that feature comedian David Spade informing credit card users that they can't actually use their miles. The solution offered by Capital One is their No Hassle miles that can be redeemed for statement credits toward any travel expense.
How This Card Works
The Capital One Venture Rewards card offers double miles on all purchases. Once earned, these "miles" can be redeemed for a statement credit towards any airfare, hotel, car rental, or cruise. Miles are worth one cent each, so each dollar spent returns 2% back in reward value. Cardholders simply log into their account on Capital One's website, select travel expenses, and apply for reimbursement. In my experience, reimbursement came quickly.
There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. Also, Capital One was the first major credit card issuer to eliminate foreign transaction fees on all of its products. Even today, most other credit cards will charge a 3% fee on all transactions processed outside of the United States.
- Flexible rewards program. Capital One maintains that rewards can be used for any flight on any airline with no blackout dates. Of course they can! You are not redeeming your miles for a reward in the traditional sense as much as you are asking for a statement credit after the fact. Although this program is designed for airfare, car rental, and hotel expenses, there are many reports of Capital One reimbursing cardholders for vacation rentals and charges from travel agents.
- Rewards earn points and miles. One of the loopholes of an award program like this is that the airlines and hotels don't know or care that you are traveling for free. This means that you can earn points and miles, and be eligible to receive upgrades, just as you normally would with paid travel.
- Competitive rate of return. It is easy for many cardholders to think of this product as being the equivalent of a 2% cash back card. When viewed that way, this card offers the most cash back of any reward card on the market.
- No foreign transaction fees. I don't travel internationally more than once a year, but I still refuse to pay these ridiculous fees. What would be the point of earning a reward worth 2% if you were being charged 3% to do so? It is for this reason that Capital One will always have a soft spot in my heart.
- Small sign up bonus. The current offer for this card is for 10,000 bonus miles after using the card for $1,000 of purchases in the first three months. Those miles are worth $100, which is pretty small by the standards of today's sign up bonuses.
- High interest rates. Cardholders can expect a standard APR of 13.9%, 16.9% or 20.9%, based on their creditworthiness. That said, those who carry a balance should forget about reward cards and look for a product with the lowest possible interest rate. This isn't it.
- Annual fee. The annual fee of $59 is not terrible, but there are plenty of fee free cards on the market. In fact, Capital One offers their VentureOne card without an annual fee. This card is almost identical the Venture Rewards card, except you only get 1.25 miles per dollar spent instead of two.
Who This Card Is Best For
This is the ideal card for credit card users who are not getting two cents in value for each dollar spent on their airline or hotel credit cards. In many instances, these are travelers who would like to take shorter trips that don't maximize the value of their frequent flier mile awards. But in general, this is the card for people who want to earn competitive rewards that they can apply to any airline, hotel, or rental car without restrictions.
By combining competitive rewards and a flexible redemption program, the Capital One Venture Rewards card can be a great choice for those who aren't interested in playing games with points and miles.