Capital One Venture X vs Amex Platinum: Which Top Travel Card Wins?

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capital one venture x vs amex platinum

Capital One Venture X vs Amex Platinum: Which Top Travel Card Wins?

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Capital One has launched its very first premium travel card called the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, offering lounge access, annual travel credits, and a massive, 75,000-mile bonus after spending $4,000 in three months.

It’s going head-to-head with other premium travel cards, none of which looms larger than the Platinum Card® from American Express. In fact, Capital One hasn’t been shy about taking a shot at its competition in the premium card market.

“In talking to customers, we feel that there is a gap in the market,” Lauren Liss, Capital One’s managing vice president of U.S. cards, said in an interview with Thrifty Traveler. “Customers don’t want to pay $600 for a card that offers travel benefits. And they don’t want to take the time to continually track a laundry list of benefits they have to remember to register for.”

From annual fees to bonuses to lounge access and more, there are plenty of differences to dissect between these two cards. So keep reading for a full breakdown of the Capital One Venture X vs Amex Platinum Card.

 

Comparing Annual Fees

This one couldn’t be any easier.

The annual fee on the new Capital One Venture X card is just $395. Compare that to the $695 annual fee on the Amex Platinum Card (see rates & fees), thanks to an increase earlier this year from its previous $550 annual fee.

The contrast couldn’t be starker. That means each and every year, you’re saving $300 with the Venture X as opposed to the Platinum Card. That alone could make this question a no-brainer: While there’s plenty of value to squeeze out of the Platinum Card, paying $695 a year in upfront annual fees is unthinkable to almost any traveler.

 

amex platinum card

 

Fee increases like what we saw in 2021 have become the norm among premium travel cards, and there’s no way to rule out an eventual price hike for the Venture X. But Capital One has made clear that a lower annual fee was a clear part of its strategy with the new Venture X Card: They’re angling for travelers who want travel perks like lounge access without paying exorbitant fees.

Read more: ‘No Asterisks, No Gotchas’: A Q&A with Capital One on the New Venture X Card

With an annual fee of only $395, Capital One is clearly filling that gap. And that makes it the obvious winner in this category.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Capital One Venture X vs Amex Platinum Lounge Access

There are lots of pros and cons to each card when it comes to lounge access. This category alone could sway travelers one way or the other.

For starters, no travel credit card on the market offers better lounge access than the Platinum Card® from American Express. This is the top dog if you want to get into airport lounges.

It starts with the outstanding Amex Centurion Lounges, Amex’s own branded airport lounges in a growing number of airports across the U.S. – and increasingly abroad. For years, these have been the best lounges in the U.S., with great decor, top-notch food and drinks, and more.

And Amex has doubled down on lounges coming out of the pandemic, opening several new locations including in Denver (DEN), New York City (JFK), and its latest international lounge in London-Heathrow (LHR). Today, there are 13 U.S. lounges and counting, plus two international branches. More are coming.

 

amex centurion lounge at JFK

 

Read our review of the JFK Centurion Lounge to see what we mean! 

When it comes to the network of these branded lounges, Capital One can’t compete with Amex – at least not yet. Capital One just opened its very first lounge in Dallas, giving Venture X cardholders exclusive free access. It’s a truly incredible space, with great design, fun amenities, and outstanding food. Venture X cardholders and two guests can get in free. More lounges are on the way in Denver (DEN) and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) in 2022, with goals to build more in the future.

 

capital one lounge in Dallas

 

Take a look inside the Capital One DFW Lounge!

That’s an outstanding opening salvo for Capital One: This new lounge might just put even the best Centurion Lounge to shame. But the fact of the matter is that Capital One has a long ways to go to grow its network of lounges before it can compete with Centurion Lounges on this front. 

One area where Capital One shines is with guest access. Not only can primary Venture X cardholders bring in two guests for free, but they can also add up to authorized users to their accounts at no additional cost. Those Venture X authorized users will also get the same lounge memberships – with the ability to bring in up to two of their own guests on each and every visit.

Today, Amex Platinum cardholders can bring two guests free. But starting in February 2023, that free guest access will disappear: Platinum cardholders will have to pay $50 per guest, or $30 for minors. Authorized users on Platinum Cards will still be able to get in free, but Amex charges $175 total for up to three authorized users.

Both Capital One Venture X and Amex Platinum cardholders get a Priority Pass membership, opening the doors of 1,200-plus airport lounges in cities big and small across the globe. But only Venture X cardholders also get comped meals at select Priority Pass airport restaurants, too. Amex cut that particular benefit back in 2019.

But after that, the lounge access on the Amex Platinum really starts to pull away thanks to what it calls the “Amex Global Lounge Collection.”

  • Amex Platinum cardholders can get into any Delta Sky Club so long as they’re flying Delta that day
  • They also get access to all Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide, plus one free guest
  • Even Escape Lounges are accessible with the Platinum Card for free, including our hometown favorite: The Escape Lounge MSP

 

escape lounge msp cafe seating

 

There’s no question that the new Capital One Lounge is impressive. The additional guest access and ability to eat free at some Priority Pass restaurants is nice, too.

But the amount of lounges you can access with the Platinum Card is simply unparalleled. Until Capital One can open more branded lounges or add more options to its portfolio, the Platinum Card gets the edge here.

Winner: The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

 

Welcome Bonuses

When you sign up for a travel credit card, it’s all about the welcome bonus. Comparing the Capital One Venture X and Amex Platinum, you really can’t go wrong.

With the Amex Platinum, you can currently earn at least 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. Those points are worth a minimum of $1,000 – and potentially much more if you leverage Amex transfer partners.

But it gets better: You might be able to snag a 150,000-point offer if you’re targeted by CardMatch.

With the Capital One Venture X Card, you’ll earn 75,000 Capital One Venture Miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. Considering you earn 2x on every dollar you spend, that bumps your total earnings to 83,000 – worth at least $830 toward travel.

 

capital one venture x

 

No matter how you slice it, spending $4,000 to $6,000 is no small matter. Credit cards are serious business: You should never open a credit card and spend money you can’t pay off immediately just to earn some points or miles. If you can’t do so responsibly, it’s not worth it.

That said, there’s no question that earning the bonus on the Platinum Card is a bit easier with $6,000 in spending required over a six-month span. Earning the 75,000-mile bonus on the Venture X requires spending $4,000 but in a shorter three month span.

With up to 150,000 points on the table, we have to give a slight edge to the Platinum Card here.

Winner: The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

 

Earning More Points

Both these cards give you a reason to keep swiping your cards after earning the bonus. But just which one is better depends on where you’re spending money.

On the Capital One Venture X, you’ll earn 2x miles on each and every purchase. That’s tough to beat. Beyond that, you’ll earn 5x points on flights and 10x on hotels and car rentals – but only when booking through the new Capital One Travel Portal.

There’s no question that the Amex Platinum Card is the best in the business if you’re booking flights: You’ll earn 5x on all flights booked directly with the airline or through Amextravel.com. You’ll also earn 5x on hotels booked through Amextravel.com.

So here’s what it comes down to: Which is better? 2x on every single purchase with the Venture X? Or earning 5x on flights and some hotels with the Platinum? We’d call this one a draw, but your own spending habits could sway you one way or the other…

At least until you make it to a second year with the card, at which point the new Venture X has a serious advantage. Every cardmember anniversary, Capital One automatically gives cardmembers 10,000 Venture Miles each year. At a bare minimum, those points are worth another $100 toward travel.

The Platinum Card doesn’t offer a similar benefit. If you’re spending a lot of money on flights, that could tip the scales to the Platinum Card. Otherwise, there’s a clear winner if you ask us…

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card.

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Annual Travel Credits

Both the Capital One Venture X and Amex Platinum Card offer credits that can drastically offset your annual fees. But none of them are exactly straightforward.

Let’s start with the Venture X Card, which is much simpler. Each and every year you’ve got the card starting right from the time you open it, you’ll receive a $300 annual credit. Right off the bat, that essentially brings your cost for holding the card from $395 a year down to $95 a year.

Read more: Why the Capital One Venture X Annual Fee Shouldn’t Scare You

However, that credit is only valid for purchases you make within the new Capital One Travel Portal. But Capital One has improved its travel portal with a handful of new features that could incentivize you to use their portal to book your travel.

They partnered with Hopper to give cardholders price freeze options, refunds if your flights drop in price after booking, and other predictive and powerful analytics. Plus, you earn up to 10x on travel on those purchases – even when using your $300 annual credit. Just charge your travel purchase to your Venture X Card and voila – it kicks in automatically.

 

capital one travel portal home

 

The Amex Platinum essentially comes with two annual travel credits, totaling up to $400 in value each year. But they’re much more convoluted.

For starters, there’s a $200 annual credit that goes towards fees on a domestic airline that you choose each year. Maximizing these Amex airline credits has gotten harder in recent years: They’re meant mainly for incidental fees like seat assignment, baggage, award taxes and fees, and more.

And there’s a new addition in 2021: A $200 annual hotel credit. Like the airline credit, you get this credit once each calendar year. But it only works when you book select properties through Amextravel.com.

 

amex hotel credit

 

You can use this credit to book any Fine Hotels and Resorts stay, Amex’s collection of high-end properties that come with special perks like free upgrades, dining credits, and guaranteed late checkout. Or you can book properties that are part of The Hotel Collection, though you’ll need to book at least a two-night stay to trigger this credit.

This is close. In pure dollar figures, the Amex Platinum is the winner here. But from our perspective, putting the $300 credit on the Venture X to use is much easier. And that gives it the edge here.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

There are some other perks that aren’t earth-shattering. And this is one of them – though it’s still a nice perk that both cards offer.

Both of these cards give you a $100 credit to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. That’s fairly common these days among premium travel cards. Even the cheaper Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers it.

Just pay your application fee with your card and poof – the credit kicks in to automatically cover the cost. You get this credit once every four years, and membership in either program lasts for five years. That means you’re set.

Can’t decide? Go for Global Entry, as that comes with TSA PreCheck benefits but also gets you into a designated customs and immigration line when returning to the U.S. from abroad.

Winner: Tie.

 

Other Credits

Remember that crack a Capital One executive made about tracking “a laundry list of benefits they have to remember to register for.” She was talking about the Amex Platinum Card, which has earned the moniker of “a metal coupon book.”

For starters, there’s up to $200 a year in credits towards Uber Rides or Uber Eats orders. These are split up into $15 monthly installments … and $35 to round out the year in December. You’ll also get up to $100 towards purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, split into $50 credits twice a year.

Back when Amex raised the annual fee on the Platinum Card  this summer, it added a slew of new credits – some better than others:

  • You can get up to $179 a year towards CLEAR, which is enough to cover the entire cost of the program.
  • Amex also added a credit of up to $300 a year towards Equinox Gym memberships, split into $25 a month.
  • Finally, there’s up to $240 a year in entertainment credits: $20 a month that can only be used at Audible, SiriusXM, Peacock, and the New York Times.

 

clear price increase

 

There’s no question there’s some additional value here. But does it outweigh the card’s new $695 annual fee? That’s in the eye of the beholder.

Still, there’s only one competitor when it comes to these extra credits…

Winner: The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

 

Using Points to Book Travel

When it comes to booking travel, let’s compare what you get with both Capital One and Amex. And we’ll start at the easiest level.

Both Amex and Capital One run their own travel portals that allow you to book flights, hotels, and rental cars using your points and miles. The value is the same: With each card, you’ll get 1 cent toward travel for each point or mile you use.

But the Venture X has an ace-in-the-hole: Capital One Purchase Eraser, the easiest and most straightforward way to book travel using points and miles. Rather than searching through portals, you can simply book a flight, hotel, or other travel expense with your card, then go back and erase the purchase using your miles. Once again, every 1 Venture Mile = 1 cent toward your travel purchase.

The ease of redeeming Venture Miles gives the Venture X Card a win here.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Transfer Partners

You can go beyond travel portal or purchase erasers and get even more value out of your points and miles by leveraging transfer partners. For years, Amex and Chase have reigned supreme when it comes to transfer partners. But Capital One is closing the gap.

A few years ago, Capital One launched its own stable of airline transfer partners. But it wasn’t a great deal: In most cases, you’d have to transfer 2 Venture Miles to get 1.5 airline miles in return. That meant 50,000 Venture Miles would get you just 37,500 miles with your airline of choice. All Chase transfers, meanwhile, are on a 1:1 basis.

But Capital One has improved drastically, adding more options, a few hotel chains, and making almost all of them 1:1 transfer partners. This puts their transfer partner network on a more level playing field with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Check out the full list of Capital one transfer partners.

 

ProgramTypeRatioTransfer Time
AeromexicoAirline1:1Same day
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Same day
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Same day
Avianca LifeMilesAirline1:1Same day
British AirwaysAirline1:1Same day
Cathay Pacific AsiaMilesAirline1:1Up to five business days
EmiratesAirline1:1Same day
EtihadAirline1:1Same day
EVA AirAirline2:1.5Up to five business days
FinnairAirline1:1Same day
QantasAirline1:1Up to five business days
SingaporeAirline1:1Up to five business days
TAP Air PortugalAirline1:1Same day
Turkish AirlinesAirline1:1Same day
Virgin RedOther1:1Same day
AccorHotel2:1Up to two business days
WyndhamHotel1:1Same day
Choice HotelsHotel1:1Same day

 

Read up on Capital One transfer partners, how transferring works, and your best options!

Amex has been the gold standard for transferring points for years, with more than two dozen options and counting. There’s a lot of overlap between which airlines you can send your points to between Amex and Capital One, but Amex still stands out in a few ways.

Here’s the full list of Amex transfer partners.

 

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1N/A
AeroMexicoAirline1:1.62-12 days
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
ANAAirline1:11-2 days
AviancaAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Cathay PacificAirline1:11-7 days
DeltaAirline1:1Instant
EmiratesAirline1:1Instant
EtihadAirline1:1Instant
HawaiianAirline1:1Instant
IberiaAirline1:11-3 days
JetBlueAirline1.25:1Instant
QantasAirline1:1Instant
SingaporeAirline1:112-48 hours
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
Choice PrivilegesHotel1:1Instant
Hilton HonorsHotel1:2Instant
Marriott BonvoyHotel1:1Instant

 

No bank does a better job of offering frequent transfer bonuses than Amex. By giving travelers a bonus of 10% to 40% or more when sending their points to a specific airline or hotel, it’s a relatively easy pathway to earn some additional points and miles. For example, you can get a 30% bonus when transferring points to Virgin Atlantic through Dec. 31, 2021.

 

delta one suite

 

Capital One has offered these bonuses, including a current 25% bonus to LifeMiles through Dec. 17, 2021. But they seem to be less frequent.

Plus, Amex has the ability to transfer points to Delta SkyMiles. Capital One doesn’t have a U.S. airline transfer partner, which is a weakness. And while Capital One has hotel transfer partners, Amex’s are stronger.

With that in mind, Amex wins when it comes to transfer partners. But Capital One is closing in fast – especially with valuable niche options like Turkish Airlines. Which card is better for transferring points will ultimately depend on how you want use them.

Winner: The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

 

Travel & Rental Car Insurance

The best travel credit cards help protect you when things go wrong – and help you avoid paying for add-on coverage. These cards are no different.

Both the Venture X Card and Amex Platinum offer strong travel insurance coverage when booking flights like trip interruption and delay insurance. One important hitch to be aware of: With the Platinum Card, you book a round-trip flight to get that coverage – one-ways don’t qualify.

There’s no such requirement with the Venture X Card. But where it really shines is with rental car insurance – an area where the Platinum Card simply isn’t as strong.

 

capital one venture x car insurance

 

Read more about the Capital One Venture X rental car insurance benefits!

Charge your rental car to your Venture X, and you get of the strongest rental car insurance you’ll find. Decline the rental car agency’s policy and you’ll have a strong insurance policy that will cover most damages or even the theft of the vehicle. It applies to rentals in the U.S. as long as 15 days and in most foreign countries for up to 31 days.

Winner: Capital One Venture X Card

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Card

 

Rental Car & Hotel Status.

Both cards unlock instant status with some top rental car companies. But one is clearly better.

Venture X cardholders will receive complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status.

As the highest level of elite status in their Gold Plus Rewards program, President’s Circle elite members who book an intermediate car or higher get guaranteed upgrades to the next available car class or the ability to choose a car from the President’s Circle Ultimate Choice aisle. Members can also skip the counter when renting a car, have access to a dedicated Hertz Rewards customer service line, and have the ability to add an additional driver at no cost.

This benefit will be available for both primary cardholders and authorized users. And while you don’t have to book through the portal to get the benefits, Venture X Cardholders will also earn 10x Venture Miles on car rentals booked through the Capital One Travel Portal.

The Platinum card will also get you perks when you book with Hertz, like a free car upgrade and a four-hour grace period for returns  – something that’s free to anyone. But it also unlocks status with Avis and National – including National Executive Status, our favorite among these perks by far.

 

National Executive Status

 

With Executive Status at National you can skip the check-in desk when you rent any midsize car and head straight to the Emerald Aisle, picking any car that’s available! In our minds, getting status with National outweighs the top status at Hertz.

Plus, with the Platinum Card you get automatic Gold status with both Hilton and Marriott. The Venture X doesn’t come with any automatic hotel status.

Winner: The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.

 

Venture X vs Amex Platinum: Which Wins?

This is a tough one. While they’re both premium travel credit cards that offer some similar benefits, the Venture X and Amex Platinum Cards are very different – with a different target audience.

By the numbers, each card won five categories – plus one tie. But that doesn’t mean these cards are dead even. At the end of the day, every traveler should weigh each category differently.

If you’re after lounge access, you simply cannot beat the Amex Platinum Card. That generous lounge access alone could be enough to sway travelers towards Amex – and easily stomach its $695 annual fee. Meanwhile, the Venture X Card offers better travel insurance and rental car coverage. And for some travelers, specific prized transfer partners will make the decision easy.

Still, there’s no question Capital One has taken many of the best features of the Platinum Card and matched them. And they’ve done it on a card that charges an annual fee of just $395.

Saving $300 a year in annual fees is enough to make this a one-and-done matchup. And with the ability to freely add authorized users on the Venture X Card, that gap only grows if you want to share benefits with family.

 

Venture X vs Sapphire Reserve

 

We always encourage readers to do the math before ruling out credit cards with larger annual fees. While you can certainly make the case for the Platinum Card, that has gotten harder as fees have increased. Meanwhile, the new Venture X Card makes it easier to do the math than any other premium travel credit card on the market.

 

Bottom Line

When comparing the new Venture X Card vs the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it was a no-brainer to us. This one isn’t so simple.

The Platinum Card from American Express has long been the gold – no, platinum – standard when it comes to premium travel cards. With unbeatable lounge access and automatic hotel status, that may still be true today.

The Capital One Venture X Card has shaken up the premium travel card market, but it’s a bit different. While it lacks some of the punch, it still has plenty to offer. And it does so at nearly half the annual cost.

In the end, which of these cards is best depends on which perks and benefits you value most – and how much you’re willing to pay for them.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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