You don’t need a premium card with a high annual fee to find value in travel rewards cards. Start with the basics.
If you’re just dipping your toe into the world of points and miles, Capital One’s Venture cards are among the first to come up. We’re talking about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.
We love both these cards because Capital One boasts one of the easiest ways to redeem your points for travel: the Purchase Eraser. And, unlike most other cards, you can redeem your Venture miles for more than just flights and hotels. That means you can use miles to purchase train tickets, Airbnb or hostel stays, cruises, and so much more.
But what’s the difference between these cards, and which is right for you? That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.
If you’re looking for one of the best no annual fee travel rewards cards, you’re looking for the VentureOne card.
The annual fee on the Venture card is $95, but the fee is waived in your first year of card membership. The out of pocket cost for year one on the Venture card $0. A waived annual fee for that first year is awesome, but in this category, you can’t beat no annual fee.
Winner: Capital One VentureOne card.
Welcome Offer Bonus
While the VentureOne card has no annual fee, the Venture card has a more lucrative welcome bonus.
Capital One VentureOne Card: Earn 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months of card membership. Since Capital One Venture miles are worth a flat 1 cent each when booking travel, this sign-up bonus is worth at least $200.
Capital One Venture Card: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. Since Capital One Venture miles are worth a flat 1 cent each when booking travel, this sign-up bonus is worth at least $500.
Winner: Capital One Venture card.
Capital One Miles Earning
Capital One VentureOne Card: You will earn 1.25x Venture miles on all purchases. Considering each mile is effectively worth 1 cent when redeemed towards travel, you are getting a 1.25% return on all spending with the Venture card.
Capital One Venture Card: You will earn 2x Venture miles on all purchases. Considering each mile is effectively worth 1 cent when redeemed towards travel, you are getting a 2% return on all spending with the Venture card.
Winner: Capital One Venture card. The money you spend on this card goes further since your spending earns you 2x (instead of 1.25x with the VentureOne card).
You can book travel within Capital One’s own travel portal, but one reason we love the Venture cards is that you don’t have to.
Capital One makes it easy to redeem your miles for travel. Instead of booking through their portal, simply pay for any travel-related booking with either Venture card, and use the Purchase Eraser to erase that purchase from your statement. It’s the easiest way to redeem travel rewards, period.
Winner: Tie! Both Venture cards offer the same travel portal and Purchase Eraser options for booking travel.
The Capital One Venture card added transfer partners in December 2018. You can transfer your Capital One Venture miles to 15 different airline partners, generally at a rate of 2:1.5.
This means that for every 2 Capital One Venture miles you transfer, you will receive 1.5 airline miles. If you transfer to Singapore Airlines or Emirates, its a 2:1 transfer ratio – every 2 miles you transfer gets you 1 mile with either airline. And Capital One also frequently offers transfer bonuses to sweeten the transfer ratio.
Read our guide to transferring Capital One transfer miles. Here are all 15 transfer partners:
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Airline||2:1.5||Same day|
|Air France/KLM||Airline||2:1.5||Same day|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|EVA Air||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|Qantas||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|Singapore||Airline||2:1||Up to five business days|
We typically recommend using your points to erase any travel-related purchases from your Capital One statement instead, but if you’re in a pinch and need some miles to book an award sale, this can be an option.
Winner: Tie! Both Venture cards offer the same transfer partner options.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
Getting through airport security and clearing immigration is a breeze if you have either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. Considering Global Entry includes a PreCheck membership, we recommend opting for Global Entry.
And the Venture Card is one of the best ways to get it. Capital One added a credit for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry last year. Just charge the membership fee for either security program to your Capital One Venture card, and you’ll be reimbursed the full amount once every four years. It’s a great benefit, and one that isn’t offered on many cards with an annual fee below $100.
Thrifty Tip: You could get the Venture card, sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, and cancel the card before even paying the annual fee.
Winner: Capital One Venture card.
When it comes to trip insurance, Capital One’s policies are the same for both the Venture and VentureOne cards.
Capital One covers travel accident insurance at no extra charge, as long as the entire fare was purchased with your Capital One card. When it comes to baggage, the Capital One policy will kick in if your bag is lost or stolen – but not delayed.
Both cards have the same services to help with roadside assistance and rental car insurance. Unfortunately, neither of these cards cover trip delay or cancellation. Read up on all the cards offering the best travel insurance.
Winner: Tie! Both cards offer the same coverage.
We have a winner! While the VentureOne Card is an awesome no annual fee card, the Venture Card is the clear winner. It has a higher welcome bonus offer valid for $500 towards travel, earns more points per dollar spent, and offers a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years. That’s a tough combination to beat.
Although the VentureOne Card doesn’t have the annual fee, it lacks some of these travel perks and benefits travelers could really use. And the Venture Card packs all that into a reasonable $95 annual fee – and it’s free in the first year.
Every cardholder will weigh these individual categories differently so. At the end of the day, your decision should be based on which categories you value highest. If you’re looking for a no annual fee card you can use towards travel rewards, the VentureOne is for you. But if you’re looking for a low annual fee card that does (and earns) a bit more, go with the Venture.
Both the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card and the Capital One Venture Rewards card are great choices for beginners with points and miles. While we give the win to the Venture card, both are awesome ways to ease into the world of points and miles.