The biggest reason I keep swiping my Venture card is its potential as an “everything else” card in my multiple-card strategy. Its flat earning rate on general purchases is an excellent complement to everything else in my wallet.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was my first travel credit card, and it got me started in the world of points and miles. And yet, even as I’ve moved on to more expensive offerings with more perks and cards for individual rewards programs, the Venture card has maintained a starring role in my credit card lineup.
This is for a few reasons, not the least of which being that Capital One miles are incredibly flexible, and I always have a purchase to spend them on. Beyond that, the card has a high credit limit and is good for my length of credit history, boosting my score and making me more competitive on future applications.
But the biggest reason I keep swiping my Venture card is its potential as an “everything else” card in my multiple-card strategy. Its flat earning rate on general purchases is an excellent complement to everything else in my wallet.
Read on to learn more about how I earn with my Capital One Venture card – and all the great trips I’ve been able to score on miles alone.
How the Venture card fits into my multiple-card strategy
The Capital One Venture card has a $95 annual fee and earns a straightforward rewards rate of 2 miles per dollar on every purchase you make, so there’s no need to worry about spend categories or merchant category codes. This is a decent rate on everyday items, especially since most cards that offer bonus categories only offer 1 point per dollar or 1% cash back on general purchases.
This means I use cards like my American Express® Gold Card for purchases where it earns a higher rate: 4 points per dollar on restaurants and U.S. supermarket purchases (capped at $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) and 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or Amextravel.com.
My Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gets me 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (capped at $6,000 per year, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. It also earns me 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit.
Then, where the Amex Gold or Blue Cash Preferred would only earn 1 point per dollar (or 1% cash back) on everything else, I swap in my Venture to earn 2X miles instead. I have cards with a higher bonus rate for all the categories I spend the most in, and the Venture makes sure I still earn a competitive rate on the rest.
How I spend my Venture card miles – and the best things I’ve gotten from them
Like I mentioned, Venture card miles are incredibly flexible. You can use them to book travel through the Capital One Travel portal or apply them as a statement credit to cover travel booked on any site in the last 90 days. Both of these options get you the same 1-cent-per-mile value.
Other redemption options – like cash back and gift cards – get a lesser value per mile. I’ve stuck to travel redemptions because of this.
Here are some of the memorable trips my Venture card has helped me fund.
A trip to Iceland with my sign-up bonus
In my first year with the Capital One Venture card, I earned a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in my first three months of card membership. That comes out to about $500 in travel purchases – or $560 after you consider the earnings from the $3,000 you spent to get there.
After finding an incredible deal for a flight to Reykjavik for a little less than $400, I was able to use these miles to cover a round-trip flight to Iceland as well as my half of an Airbnb for our five-day stay.
It was a truly amazing trip – I spelunked in a lava tube, chased waterfalls along the southern coast and soaked in the Blue Lagoon. And the only costs I had to cover out of pocket were food, tours and a car rental.
Other trips since
After the sign-up bonus, earning on the Venture card can feel a little slow. But without changing my spending patterns, I’ve still managed to rack up enough miles to cover several other vacations (or parts of them):
- I spent about 30,000 miles on a flight to Los Angeles to visit a friend of mine one Fourth of July, and I got to witness the city’s awe-inspiring volume of fireworks.
- I covered my portion of an Airbnb stay in Lake Tahoe for a week at Christmas, where I briefly feared for my life after finding a bear picking at our garbage.
- I used the flexible miles redemption to cover the taxes and fees on flights purchased with other cards, including an upcoming trip to Mexico for my cousin’s wedding.
- I’ve saved on more Ubers than I can count, since those rides count as travel.
Honorable mention: I earned a statement credit that covered my TSA Precheck application fee
Let me tell you, once you go TSA Precheck, you’ll never want to wait in a standard airport security line again. It seems like small potatoes, but getting to leave your large electronics in your bag, shoes on your feet and liquids packed away saves a lot of stress when rushing to a flight. And with the Venture card, I won’t have to worry about shelling out the $85 application fee the next time I want to renew my membership. (Note, in years that you use this credit, your Venture annual fee is essentially $10.)
I’m not traveling much internationally at the moment – with the pandemic plus several weddings to attend this year, I’m focusing on domestic travel – but I might opt for Global Entry the next time I need to choose an airport security option. The $100 application fee for Global Entry is also covered by the Venture card; plus, it comes with Precheck and you can get expedited passage through customs in participating countries (you are eligible for an $85 statement credit towards TSA PreCheck every 4 years or one $100 statement credit for global entry per account).
Why the Venture card is staying in my wallet
The Venture card is my second-oldest credit card, so I definitely won’t be closing it any time soon (so as to protect my credit score). But unlike my old student credit card, which is gathering dust in a junk drawer, the Venture will also maintain a key part in my card plan for the near future.
As long as I’m still earning plenty of miles on purchases that I don’t earn as much on elsewhere – and can find plenty of lucrative ways to spend them – the Venture card has definitely earned its place in my wallet.