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Capital One Tightens Up Welcome Bonus Eligibility on its Credit Cards

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Capital One credit cards are fan-favorites among many travelers, but there's one glaring downside: The company is notoriously secretive about its standards for approving or denying applicants. Now, Capital One has quietly added a new restriction on when cardholders can open another card and earn the bonus again, including both the *capital one venture card* and the *venture x*.

Unlike other banks, Capital One previously had no written rules on welcome bonus eligibility, allowing both existing and previous cardmembers to apply for the same credit card again. That opened a little-known avenue to earn the bonus on the exact same card twice.

But Travel Freely first discovered a new disclosure on the application pages for personal Capital One credit cards that would put a stop to that practice.

“Existing or previous cardmembers are not eligible for this product if they have received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 48 months,” it reads.

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Let's say you earned a big bonus on the *capital one venture card*  within the last four years – whether you still have that card open or not. Some savvy travelers have been getting approved and earning yet another welcome bonus on that same credit card – even if they still have their previous Venture Card open. That's exactly what Capital One is attempting to crack down on with this new policy.

Critically, this new policy wouldn't stop you from earning a welcome bonus on either the *venture x* or the no annual fee *capital One ventureone*. By the way it's written, Capital One handles this restriction on a card-by-card basis. But until four full years have passed since you last earned the bonus on the Venture Card, that specific card is off limits.

That's drastically different from Chase, which treats the *chase sapphire preferred* and the *chase sapphire reserve* as one product family. Chase rolled out a restriction on its Sapphire cards years ago, stopping consumers from earning a bonus on both cards within a four-year period.

To date, we aren't seeing this same rule listed in the terms and conditions section on Capital One's suite of business credit cards, but that may change soon.


Capital One's Existing Credit Card Application Rules

Capital One has some of the most mysterious credit card application rules and standards you'll find from any bank. Beyond this new restriction on its personal credit cards, the bank doesn't officially publish any rules, period.

But enough data points and trends have emerged over the years to give us a bit of information that can help get you approved for a Capital One credit card. Even so, its approval standards seem inconsistent at best. Here's what we know:

  • First and foremost, if you have applied and been approved for any other Capital One credit card within the past six months, it's likely that any new credit card application will not be approved. This includes both personal and business credit cards.
    • There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. But generally speaking, keeping your Capital One application and approval history clean for at least six months will give you the best chances of getting approved.
  • Data points also suggest that Capital One will only allow you to hold two personal credit cards simultaneously. But this rule seems murky: Some travelers have reported having more than two Capital One personal credit card accounts open.

But this new rule seems pretty clear. If you have or have had a Capital One personal card and earned its welcome bonus within the past 48 months, you won't be able to get approved for that specific card again. You'll have to wait at least 48 months since you last earned the bonus in order to get one again.

Read more: A Master Guide to Credit Card Application Rules: Bank by Bank


Bottom Line

Capital One has quietly rolled out a new eligibility rule on all of its personal credit cards.

If you have or have had a Capital One personal card and earned the bonus on that card within the past 48 months, you won't be able to get approved for that specific card again until you don't have the card and at least 48 months have passed since you last earned the bonus.


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.

7 Responses

  • I love the Venture X card. For me, it’s a no-brainer with the $300 travel credit each year plus the 10,000 mile bonus for renewal every year, Capital One pays me $5 a year to have the card. I’ve used the benefits extensively, especially this year when I was traveling in Southeast Asia for 4 weeks: every airport I visited had a club I could use and the points were easy to convert into travel credits.

  • So to clarify, if I opened the VentureOne Card within the last year (attaining the bonus), I still would be eligible for the VentureX Card bonus?

    • That is correct – as long as you meet the other Capital One application requirements mentioned in the story.

  • Capital One online tool told me I was not eligible for the new card member bonus. However, I have never had a Capitol One card. When I called, they did not know why I wasn’t eligible. They don’t inspire a lot of confidence.

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