Capital One Venture versus VentureOne: Which is better?

Venture cards from Capital One

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The Capital One Venture and VentureOne cards look so much alike – with similar-sounding names and similar blue exteriors – you may be puzzled over the difference between the two cards.

Essentially, both cards offer the same redemption options, but the Venture card is the premium version of the card, with a larger sign-up bonus (50,000 miles for spending $3,000 in the first three months), a higher 2-percent earnings rate and an annual fee of $95.

Note, the annual fee on the Venture card recently jumped from $59 to $95 per year.  You may be wondering if the Venture card is still worth it with a nearly $100 price tag.

Our math shows that for most cardholders – those who spend at least $12,667 per year – the Venture card more than makes up for its annual fee, especially in the first year of membership. Read on to see why:

CAPITAL ONE VENTUREONE VERSUS CAPITAL ONE VENTURE
  Capital One VentureOne
Capital One VentureOne
Capital One Venture
Capital One Venture
Rewards rate
1.25% every purchase 2% every purchase
Sign-up bonus
20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
Annual fee
$0 $95, $0 in first year
Rewards earnings averaged over 3 years ($15,900 spend. Includes sign-up bonus) $265 $421
Pros
  • Fairly high rewards rate for card with no annual fee
  • Large sign-up bonus for card with no annual fee
  • Redeem any number of points at any time for any hotel or airline purchase
  • Large sign-up bonus
  • High unlimited 2% rewards rate
  • Redeem any number of points at any time for any hotel or airline purchase
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • Most cardholders will get a better rewards value with an annual fee card
  • There are several better cash back cards with 1.5% rewards rate and higher
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • High $95 annual fee
Who should get this card?
  • Cardholders who want to earn a high rewards rate with minimal maintenance
  • Cardholders who don’t want to pay an annual fee
  • Cardholders who spend less than $12,667/year ($1,065/month)
  • Cardholders who want to earn a high rewards rate with minimal maintenance
  • Cardholders who spend more than $12,667/year ($1,056/month)
  • Cardholder who don't want to pay a foreign transaction fee

Capital One VentureOne card overview

The Capital One VentureOne card is a good pick for cardholders who want rewards-funded travel, but don’t want to deal with blackout dates or complicated rewards schemes. The card awards the same 1.25 percent rewards rate on every purchase. You can book your travel from any website or travel agent that you choose and redeem your points for statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Upsides: Simplicity, flexible redemption options, a generous sign-up bonus and a fairly high rewards rate with no annual fee.

Downsides: The card’s flat 1.25 percent earnings rate combined with its straightforward redemption value of 1 cent per point is also its greatest drawback. With a cash back card, you can get the same redemption value for your points with more flexibility, since you can use cash back any way you please, not just for travel redemptions. (Note: the VentureOne card does offer cash back as a redemption option, but at a lower value of .5 cents per point.)

It happens that there are many cash back cards on the market that charge no annual fee and offer rewards rates of 1.5 percent and higher. In other words, there are a plethora of cards that offer a higher rewards rate and more flexibility than the VentureOne card.

Capital One Venture card overview

The Capital One Venture card offers the same simplicity and flexibility as the Capital One VentureOne card, but with a much larger sign-up bonus (50,000 points), a flat 2-percent earning rate on every purchase and a $95 annual fee (waived the first year).

Upsides: Simplicity, flexible redemption options, an industry-leading sign-up bonus and a high 2-percent rewards rate on every purchase. Also, frequent travelers take note: It doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

Downsides: The card comes with a high $95 annual fee (waived the first year), but don’t let that deter you – as long as you spend at least $12,667 each year (more on that below) the fee is worth it. The card also suffers from the same drawbacks as the VentureOne card – with its straightforward redemption value of 1 cent per point, you are always going to be better off with a cash back card that offers the same point value and more flexibility. However, at least there are far fewer cards that can compete with the Venture card’s 2 percent rewards rate.

Best for first year cardholders: Capital One Venture card

One key thing to note: The fee for the Capital One Venture card is waived the first year. This means, for any cardholder in the first year, the Capital One Venture card offers the best value. The card’s 50,000-mile sign-up bonus offers $500 just on its own.

If you add in the 2 percent cash back on $15,900 of spend in the first year, that comes to more than $800 in travel rewards in the first year of card ownership. That’s more than twice the value of the VentureOne card in the first year.

FIRST YEAR ESTIMATED REWARDS VALUE ($15,900 SPEND)
Capital One VentureOne card Capital One Venture card
(1.25% x $15,900) + 20,000-mile sign-up bonus ($200 value) = $399 (2% x $15,900) + 50,000-mile sign-up bonus ($500 value) = $818

Best for cardholders who spend more than $12,667 per year: Capital One Venture card

If you’re searching for one simple, go-to travel card for all your purchases, the Capital One Venture card is also the better choice.

Our math in the table below shows that it doesn’t take an exceptional amount of spending to see the advantage with the Capital One Venture card. You only need to spend $12,667 per year ($1,056 per month) for the rewards earnings on the Venture card minus its annual fee to outweigh the earnings on the VentureOne card.

While that’s not pocket change, it’s a pretty reachable amount for most families who intend to put all their spending on one card.

REWARDS VALUE FOR $12,667 ANNUAL SPEND ($1,056/MONTH)
Capital One VentureOne card Capital One Venture card
1.25% x $12,667 = $158 (2% x $12,667) - $95 annual fee = $158

Best for low budget cardholders and infrequent travelers: Capital One VentureOne card

Of course, not everyone’s up for paying a $95 fee. If you don’t have the funds to manage over $1,000 per month of spend on a credit card or you’re not certain that you’ll travel frequently enough to redeem your rewards on a regular basis, the VentureOne card is a very good no-annual-fee alternative. The card’s 20,000-mile sign-up bonus on its own is worth $200.

How do other travel cards compare?

The Venture and VentureOne cards are great, simple, flat-rate travel cards, but our table below shows that there are a few better options.

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is another card that offers 2 miles per dollar on every purchase and the same flexible travel redemption as the Venture card (you can redeem any travel purchase for a statement credit within 60 days of the purchase for a value of 1 cent per point). Where the Barclaycard comes out ahead is its 5 percent bonus on travel redemptions: Every time you redeem your miles for travel purchases, you earn 5 percent of your miles back to use toward your next redemption. Essentially, this boosts the earning rate on the Barclaycard to 2.1 percent per dollar.

In terms of overall rewards value, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the most bang for your buck, due to an annual $300 credit for travel purchases, a high earning rate and a variety of redemption options that offer more value than 1 cent per value for your points, including a 50 percent bonus for redemptions made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You’ll have to be able to foot the card’s $450 annual fee, however.

Under the no-annual-fee travel card category, the Discover it Miles card is by far one of the best. It offers the same flexible redemption options as the VentureOne card, a higher 1.5 percent rewards rate on all your spending and even allows you to redeem your rewards for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point. Plus, it comes with a great sign-up offer: The card doubles all of miles that you earn at the end of the first year. Essentially, you get a 3 percent rewards rate on all your spending for the first year of membership.

COMPARING TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS
  Credit card Annual fee Average rewards rate Average annual value ($15,900 yearly spend)
Capital One Venture $95 2% $421
Capital One VentureOne $0 1.25% $265
Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 1.4% $501
Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 (waived first year)
1.2% $412
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard $89 (waived first year) 2% $455
Citi ThankYou Premier $95 1.7% $228
Citi ThankYou Preferred $0 1.2% $210
Discover it Miles $0 1.5% $318
PNC Premier Traveler Visa Signature card $85 (waived first year) 2% $361

See Related: Venture card from Capital One raises sign-up bonus to 50,000 miles, Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which is better for you?

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy


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Updated: 11-24-2017