Is the Capital One Venture card right for you?

As many of you know, I am not usually a fan of cash back cards. While it is valuable to have the flexibility of cash back, you tend to lose a lot of value that comes with having airline miles or hotel points. For instance; $500 worth of cash back on the Chase Freedom card can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire card. This translates to 50k Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to United Airlines and many other airlines. Many people would say, “I’d much rather have $500 than 50k United miles.” However, that same amount of miles could get you roundtrip from Denver to Honolulu with miles left over. Paying out of pocket would cost you at least $750. Here you can see the obvious value in having miles.

Overall, many cash back cards make it easier to earn cash back than most miles cards. This can take the edge away from the value of points over their cash equivalents. While this is starting to change as consumers put a premium on points, you can still earn some fantastic rewards from pure cash back cards. If you don’t want to be tied to any particular program(s) and want maximum flexibility, then cash back cards are for you. Today we will look at one of the most popular of these cards–the Capital One Venture card. 

I have to admit, this card was my first ever Capital One card so I didn’t know what to expect. However, they’re highly rated, and regularly win awards in terms of customer service. Their website and app are also clean, simple, and easy to use. I will keep you posted if I come across any surprises or negatives. 

Onto the deets. It is purely a cash back card, and you cannot transfer it to any loyalty programs of any kind. This does allow you to pay for travel with the card, earn cash from that travel, and then apply it to the cost of the travel. This sort of “double-dipping” is one of the satisfying perks of the card. Other than that, it really is just that simple. You accrue cash back and apply it towards eligible travel purchases. From what I have seen, Capital One is pretty liberal as to what constitutes travel. They have a full list on their website but by and large applies to airfare, car rentals, hotel, and the like. While it is a cash back card, they do use the term “miles” instead of cash back in terms of how they describe the program. My guess is that they do this because it sounds better to earn 2 miles per dollar rather than 2 cents.

Next we will look at how you earn cash back:

  • 10x miles at hotels booked through hotels.com
    • This effectively amounts to 10% off on hotels.com while still earning some of hotels.com perks like free nights.
  • 2x miles everywhere else

While this is not as enticing as some other $95 annual fee cards, it does have some great perks like no foreign transaction fees, free credit reporting, and a waiver for global entry/precheck up to $100. This is starting to pop up in other cards with similar annual fees, like last month’s article on the new United Mileage Plus Explorer card, but is still a very awesome perk for a card of this caliber. 

In short, this card is a very solid option to save you money while traveling. While you don’t get points in the traditional sense, it gives you a lot of flexibility to save in other areas by utilizing your cash back. In general, I would still recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited as it offers you a lot more flexibility when paired with an Ultimate Rewards card. This will not be a wallet staple, but will get me some free travel! I would attempt to knock this down to a $0 annual fee card at renewal to keep a good credit line open. 

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