The Capital One Venture Rewards Card isn't worth it for me, as an avid luxury traveler. I've never had it, and never will. I value being able to turn our miles and points into international first class and business class award travel, such as Singapore Suites, Qantas First Class, Cathay Pacific First Class and similar flights--and the Capital One Venture card won't get you these flights.
Yet I often get asked about the Capital One Venture card by readers who notice its conspicuous absence on the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card page. For example, this recent comment, from a reader seeking advice on which card to apply for next:
"I'm looking for a new credit card for every day use but I don't travel regularly. I'd love for my rewards to be able to be used primarily for travel. Most of my spending is on groceries and dining out, along with your usual bills etc. I have been considering the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card, which I currently have an offer for a 50k sign up bonus after spending 1k in 3 months. Also, I like the looks of the Capital One Venture card, which has a 40k pts sign up after 3k spend in the first 3 months and 2x spend on every purchase. First, is there a reason you don't mention the Capital One Venture card in your blog? Finally, after doing further research it looks like the Chase Sapphire Preferred is in consideration as well. Any guidance would be very much appreciated! Thank you!"
To give proper guidance, I'd want to better understand this reader's travel goals. But even if he mainly wants to travel domestically in economy rather than internationally in first class, I'd still recommend other cards before the Capital One Venture card.
Here are the 5 reasons I'll never bother with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card:
1. 3 Hard Credit Pulls: Lowers Your Credit Score More Than Applying for Other Credit Cards
If you apply for the Capital One Venture card, Capital One will initiate 3 hard pulls from Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Most credit card companies do just one hard pull--Chase typically pulls just Experian, Barclays typically pulls just Transunion, etc.
Each hard credit pull knocks a few points off your credit score, so by pulling from all three credit bureaus, Capital One does triple the damage to your credit score. Sure, your score will eventually recover, but why would you get a Capital One card when, as we'll see, there are so many more lucrative travel rewards cards you could get with just 1 hard credit pull?
2. There Are Bigger Credit Card Signup Bonuses
The Capital One Venture Rewards card is currently offering 40,000 points, but as we'll see, Venture Rewards points are worth less than a number of other miles and points currencies, especially if your goal is international first class or business class award travel.
Nor is 40,000 points all that great as a signup bonus. Consider that non-AMEX cardholders or lapsed cardholders can get targeted for as much as 150,000 signup bonuses--see 150K AMEX Business Platinum Bonus Offer (Targeted). And last year, there was a 100K Citi Executive AAdvantage Card and a 70K Ink Plus Bonus Offer.
Even among current offers, I would signup first for the 50K Citi Platinum Select offer, the 50K CitiBusiness AAdvantage card, 50K Ink Plus, 40K Chase Sapphire Preferred (45K if you earn the 5K from adding an authorized user), 50K British Airways Visa, 50K United MileagePlus Explorer Visa, 50K US Airways Mastercard, etc., all of which provide both a higher signup bonus and greater value than any Capital One card.
3. There Are Better Spend Bonuses Than 2X
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of seeing the Capital One ads "What's in Your Wallet?" Here's what's in my wallet, and as you can see, no Capital One card.
2X on all spend? I'd much rather have 5X on a good chunk of my spend, where each "X" is more valuable. That's what the Ink Plus and Chase Freedom provide:
Ink Plus: 5X on phone spend, cable and Internet spend, 5X on all Amazon, 5X on all Whole Foods spend, 5X on all Starbucks and other store spend via gift cards bought for 5X at Staples and other office supply stores
Chase Freedom: 5X on rotating categories such as groceries, gas, restaurants, up to $1500 per quarter. Make sure your spouse or travel partner also has the card so you get 5X on up to $3000 per quarter on the bonus categories.
4. Airline Miles and Transferable Points Are MUCH Better for First Class and Business Class Award Travel
Some people give up on frequent flyer miles because they say they can never use them. But if you can either plan far enough in advance or at least be flexible with dates and routings, you can get so much more value out of frequent flyer miles and out of points that can be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards points and SPG points.
That's because you can use, for example, 67,500 (135,000 roundtrip) AAdvantage miles to book yourself from the U.S. to Asia in Cathay Pacific First Class, or 57,375 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer to book Singapore Suites (with closing doors, pajamas, pre-ordered lobster thermidor, etc.) between NYC and Frankfurt, Germany, or any one of a number of other redemptions that give you a nominal value per mile of anywhere between 6 and 14 or more cents per mile.
You'll never get that kind of return on any kind of cash back card, such as the Capital One Venture, which basically is 2% cash back. That means that for the Cathay First Class flight above, which often costs $23,000, you'd have to spend over 1 million on your Venture card to be able to earn enough Venture points to book that ticket. Instead, you could have signed up for a couple of Citi AAdvantage cards when there was the 100K Citi Executive AAdvantage offer, or two 50K cards currently, and spend or transfer SPG points to earn the additional AAdvantage miles to book a Cathay award.
5. There Are Better "Travel Cash Back" Cards
Even if you do want a cash back card, depending on your spend, you could easily be better off with the Chase Freedom, with no annual fee and rotating 5X cash back categories (plus, if you have the Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred you can transfer those points to airlines instead of taking it as cash back) or the Barclays Arrival Plus World MasterCard, which has a similar 40K bonus and gives you an effective 2.2% cash back when redeemed on travel, due to its 10% rebate when you redeem your points on travel.
Do you find the Capital One Venture Card Worth It or Not?
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