If you’re a budget-minded traveler intrigued by high-priced cards but you don’t want to pay the highest annual fees out there, you’ll like the new Capital One Venture X. Despite a substantial annual fee, the benefits on this card stack up.
Capital One has been in the travel rewards card game for a long time, but it’s only recently that it’s really started aiming toward higher-end travelers. In November 2021, it launched the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Although it offers a lot of the meaty features of big-name cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or The Platinum Card® from American Express, it comes at a more reasonable cost: just $395 per year, compared to $550 and $695 per year, respectively.
Still, that’s a hefty price tag. Luckily, it’s easy to recoup the cost of the annual fee with the benefits that come with this card. We’ll show you how.
Capital One’s Venture X at a glance
The first thing that sticks out about the Capital One Venture X card is its annual fee: $395, making it just about the most affordable luxury travel card on the market. If you’re new to the high price tag of luxury rewards cards, don’t fret this one too much; as we’ll discuss below, it’s very easy to get this much value in travel from the card each year.
Another nice thing about this card is that it doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. It’s a nice perk that you can take this card with you on an adventure abroad and not have to pay extra to use it. Although it does charge miscellaneous balance transfer, cash advance and late fees, these really aren’t that out of line with the rest of the industry. Similarly, its interest rate (16.99% to 23.99% variable APR) is about what we’d expect.
Sign-up bonus and rewards rates
Typically when a new rewards card launches, it offers a juicy sign-up bonus, and the Capital One Venture X card doesn’t disappoint. You can earn 100,000 miles (worth $1,000 toward travel), but there’s one catch: You’ll need to spend $10,000 within the first six months. This is a larger-than-normal spend for such a card, but the amount of time you get to make it in is also twice as long as the more common spend period of three months.
The normal earnings rate with this card isn’t bad, either. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, which means you don’t have to track categories or pick and choose which card to use, if you have more than one. The only thing to remember is that if you’re booking travel, do so through the Capital One Travel portal with your card because you’ll earn a far higher rate: 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars and 5 miles per dollar spent on flights.
The Capital One Travel portal has recently been upgraded with lots of handy features like price protection and flexible travel cancellation, making it a worthwhile first stop when you’re shopping for travel.
Finally, one of the things we like about this card is that you’ll earn an annual 10,000-mile bonus to your account each year on your cardholder anniversary. There are no strings attached with this gift: You’ll earn it whether you spend $10,000 or $0 (although be careful, because if you go too long without making a purchase, it’s not uncommon for credit card companies to close your card for you).
Redeeming your rewards is also super simple with this card. The best way to redeem them is for travel, and you can do this in two ways. You can use your miles to book travel in the Capital One Travel portal, or you can pay for whatever travel you want with your card and then redeem your miles at a rate of 1 mile per cent as a statement credit against that purchase.
Keep in mind that Capital One, like other card issuers, relies on the merchant category code, or MCC, to figure out what counts as a travel purchase or not. If you’re worried that a purchase might not count, it’s safer to go through the Capital One Travel portal since that’s guaranteed.
You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards, a check or an account credit, but you probably won’t be able to maximize your value that way.
Travel benefits and statement credits
The Capital One Venture X card also offers three money-saving statement credits that can help you travel farther:
- $300 annual travel credit: Each year you’ll get a $300 credit toward travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal. Simply make your purchases and Capital One will automatically give you a credit against those purchases on your statement.
- $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit: If you charge the application fee for either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) to your card, Capital One will automatically give you a credit against that purchase. You’re eligible for it again every four years so you can continue to stay in the program.
- $200 vacation rental credit: You’ll get a statement credit back against up to $200 for vacation rentals like Airbnb, Vacasa or VRBO in your first year. This is a limited-time offer, however, and it’s not clear when it’ll end.
Aside from the credits, the Capital One Venture card also has a few other benefits up its sleeve:
- Complimentary Priority Pass: This common perk with luxury travel cards grants you access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
- Capital One lounges: These new airport lounges are yet another inroad with the luxury travel world. As a Capital One Venture X cardholder, you, plus two complimentary guests per year, will have free access to these lounges. Currently, there’s only one in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, with two more on the way in 2022 at Denver International Airport and Dulles International Airport.
- Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status: This elite status with the car rental agency gives you handy perks, like a wider selection of cars to choose from, a free extra driver and guaranteed upgrades.
- Cellphone protection: If you pay your bill with your Capital One Venture X card, you’ll automatically be covered for up to $800 if your cellphone is stolen or damaged. That can come in very handy for mobile-connected travelers.
This list of other benefits isn’t quite as long as those of the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex’s Platinum Card. But again, you’re paying a lot less for this card while still retaining the highest-value perks.
How to maximize your Venture X benefits
The Capital One Venture X card makes it much easier to recoup your costs from the annual fee each year than other luxury rewards cards. The $300 annual travel credit and the 100,000-mile bonus alone, which is worth $1,000 toward travel, will entirely negate the cost of the annual $395 fee (just make sure to meet the $10,000 spending requirement within the first six months to snag your bonus). Since these statement credits and miles can be used for any travel purchases, not just those booked through the card issuer’s proprietary travel portal like with other cards, it’s an especially powerful travel card.
However, you will still want to use the Capital One Travel portal if you’re paying for travel with your card. That’s because you could earn between 5 and 10 miles per dollar spent through the portal on flights, and hotels and rental cars, respectively.
If you’ve been wanting to try a higher-end travel rewards card but you’re put off by the high annual fee, try the Capital One Venture X card instead. It offers many of the same benefits but at a more reasonable price.
Even better, it’s much easier to make up for the cost of the card each year: the annual 10,000-point bonus (worth $100 toward travel) and the annual $300 travel credit for Capital One Travel bookings together add up to $400 in free travel each year for a card that only costs you $395. And that’s even before your regular earnings with the card and miscellaneous other perks.