|Rewards Rating:||4.5 / 5|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
Boasting a roster of valuable perks and annual credits and one of the best rewards rates available on a luxury travel card, the Venture X card should offer terrific value for frequent travelers.
Capital One Customer Service Ratings
Other notable features: Capital One lounge access, Priority Pass Select membership, up to $100 in credits for TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee every four years, no foreign transaction fee
Put simply, the new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a game-changer.
The first luxury travel card from Capital One, the Venture X stands out not only for its impressive roster of travel perks – including a pair of annual benefits that can easily justify the card’s cost on their own – but also for its generous rewards scheme, which gets you bonus miles on all eligible purchases, not just travel spending.
Add in a massive sign-up bonus and an annual fee that’s lower than most of the card’s luxury competition and it’s safe to say the Venture X has debuted as not only one of the best new credit cards on the market, but perhaps the best travel credit card out there.
That said, since its key perks, annual bonuses and most valuable redemptions are centered squarely around travel, the Venture X card may not be the best option for occasional travelers. Plus, though the Venture X can easily offer more value than a lower-cost travel card, you may not be comfortable with the idea of a $395 annual fee – no matter how much value you can squeeze out of the card.
See related: How to pick a travel credit card
Why you might want the Capital One Venture X card
If you’re a frequent traveler who doesn’t mind putting up an annual fee in exchange for competitive rewards rates and useful perks like travel credits and airport lounge access, the Venture X card should be one of your first stops.
Along with a big sign-up bonus and several valuable benefits that make it easy to offset the card’s cost, the Venture X comes with a versatile rewards program that gives you the flexibility to redeem miles for travel with the issuer or to cover outside travel purchases.
Terrific rewards rate on both travel and non-travel purchases
One of the most unique and appealing aspects of the Venture X card is its generous rewards rate not only on travel purchases like airline and hotel bookings – a feature common among luxury travel cards – but also on everyday spending.
Along with the 10 miles per dollar you’ll earn on hotel and rental car bookings made via the Capital One Travel portal and the 5 miles per dollar you’ll earn on flights booked through the portal, you’ll get 2 miles per dollar on general purchases.
While other luxury travel cards may match the Venture X card’s rewards rate on hotel and airline bookings, almost none can compete with its boosted rate on general purchases. Comparable cards that earn 2 to 5 points per dollar in categories like travel, dining and groceries almost always offer just 1 point per dollar on general purchases. Meanwhile, though plenty of flat-rate rewards cards offer 1.5 or 2 points per dollar on all eligible purchases, they don’t carry bonus rewards rates in any specific spending categories. This makes the Venture X card’s rewards program truly unique and potentially very lucrative, especially for big spenders and frequent travelers.
To get a sense of how much you can earn via card spend with the Venture X, let’s say you take 10 round-trip flights per year at an average cost of around $350, for a total of $3,500 in spending on airfare. If you booked those flights through the Capital One Travel portal, you’d earn 17,500 miles (at a rate of 5 miles per dollar). Add in $2,000 in spending on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One (at a rate of 10 miles per dollar) and $1,500 per month in general spending (at a rate of 2 miles per dollar) and you’d earn another 56,000 miles per year, giving you a total of 73,500 miles, worth $735 when redeemed for travel.
Even if you subtracted the card’s $395 annual fee from that total, you’d be up $340.
Compare this with the same spending breakdown on one of the Venture X card’s main competitors, The Platinum Card® from American Express. Setting aside both cards’ valuable perks and credits, you’ll see just how much of a difference the Venture X card’s boosted rate on general purchases makes when it comes to earning rewards via card spend:
|Card||Rewards calculation||Total estimated value|
|Venture X||$3,500 airfare spending (5X miles) + $2,000 hotel bookings (10X) + $18,000 general purchases (2X) – $395 annual fee =||$340 in travel|
|Amex Platinum||$3,500 direct airfare bookings (5X points) + $2,000 hotel bookings with Amex Travel (5X) + $18,000 general purchases (1X) – $695 annual fee =||-$240 (assuming a 1-cent-per-point redemption value)|
Perks and annual bonuses alone easily cover annual fee
The Venture X card’s steep annual fee may make you nervous, but rest assured that the fee is easily worth it if you take advantage of the card’s generous benefits. In fact, you can completely cover the card’s cost by maximizing just two of its key perks – the account anniversary bonus and the annual statement credits on Capital One Travel purchases – which together offer up to $400 in annual value.
You’ll get 10,000 bonus miles each year on your account anniversary, worth $100 when you redeem for travel through Capital One or use to cover outside travel purchases. You’ll also get up to $300 in annual statement credits for Capital One Travel purchases.
This means that if you already spend at least $400 per year on travel, it essentially costs you nothing to keep the Venture X card in your wallet: For a $395 annual fee, you’ll automatically get $100 worth of travel rewards added to your account each year, and if you purchase travel through the Capital One Travel portal, your first up to $300 in spending will be covered by statement credits.
The card’s other major perks also add value but may be more suited to especially frequent travelers, including an up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years and a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you access to over 1,300 lounges around the world. You’ll also get unlimited access to the brand-new Capital One Lounge and two complimentary guest passes per year. Considering a Priority Pass Standard Plus membership costs $299, the value of these lounge access benefits alone could make up a big chunk of the card’s annual fee.
This list of cardholder benefits is even more impressive considering the Venture X card’s relatively low cost compared to its luxury travel competitors. While a $395 annual fee is certainly nothing to sneeze at, it pales in comparison to the $695 annual fee you’ll find on the Amex Platinum and the $550 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Flexible travel redemptions
Like the original Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Venture X stands out for its impressive redemption flexibility. Unlike most travel rewards cards, which require you to redeem rewards through an issuer’s travel portal to enjoy full value, the Venture X lets you redeem miles for travel not only through the Capital One Travel portal, but also to cover outside travel purchases – such as bookings made directly with airlines and hotels or via third-party travel sites like Expedia.
This is a big plus if you prefer to shop around for the best deals on flights and hotels and don’t want to be tied to booking through an issuer portal.
Capital One also offers a decent mix of travel transfer partners, the majority of which allow you to transfer miles at a 1:1 ratio, including British Airways, Air France-KLM, Avianca LifeMiles, Wyndham Rewards and more. Depending on the value of the transfer partner’s rewards currency, you may even get more bang for your buck by moving your Capital One miles around this way.
See related: Capital One travel partners
Enormous sign-up bonus
The Venture X card has debuted with one of the highest sign-up bonuses currently available on a travel rewards card, making now a great time to apply if you have a big trip on the horizon and are looking for an influx of rewards. You can earn 100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 with the Venture X in your first six months as a new cardholder.
A 100,000-mile bonus not only matches the all-time-high bonuses we’ve previously seen on the classic Venture card and its competitor, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but also beats out several established luxury competitors like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (which currently only offers a 50,000-point bonus after a $4,000 spend in your first three months).
Those 100,000 miles are worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel, whether you book through the Capital One Travel portal or use miles to cover outside travel purchases. On top of that, the card is currently featuring a limited-time offer of up to $200 back in statement credits for vacation rentals – such as Airbnb and VRBO stays – charged to your account within your first year.
Leaving aside all of the card’s perks and rewards from ongoing spending, that’s a total value of $1,200 in your first year via the Venture X card’s welcome bonus. Depending on how you redeem or transfer your rewards, that could easily beat out the bonus value offered by the card’s main competitors, the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve:
|Card||Welcome bonus||Total estimated value|
|Venture X||100,000 miles if you spend $10,000 in first six months; $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals in first year.||$1,200 (miles redeemed from travel)|
|Amex Platinum||100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in first six months||$1,000 (miles redeemed from travel)|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first three months||$750 (miles redeemed from travel)|
Why another card might be a better fit
While the Venture X is no doubt one of the best travel rewards cards on the market thanks to its valuable bonuses and terrific rewards rate on both travel and general purchases, it may not be the best fit based on your goals and spending habits.
If you only travel occasionally or want the flexibility to redeem rewards for both cash back and travel without sacrificing rewards value, you may be better off with a lower-cost, more versatile rewards card.
A risky option for infrequent travelers
Despite its generous rewards rate on non-travel purchases and easy-to-use perks that help offset its cost, the Venture X card could still prove too pricey for novice travelers.
To get the most value out of the card, you’ll need to take advantage of its boosted rewards rate on Capital One travel bookings and its up to $300 in annual statement credits for Capital One Travel purchases. If you don’t travel enough to make use of these features or don’t want to be stuck using the issuer’s portal to earn boosted rewards on travel bookings, the Venture X card’s annual fee may be tough to swallow.
Assuming you only use the card for general purchases and never make any travel bookings, you’ll need to spend at least $19,750 per year (just under $1,650 per month) to earn enough rewards to break even with the Venture X card. Compare this with a lower-cost option like the original Venture card. To cover the Venture card’s $95 annual fee, you’d only need to spend $4,750 on general purchases per year (just over $395 per month) – around a fourth of the spending required to break even with the Venture X. This may be an extreme example, but it illustrates just how difficult it could be for modest spenders and infrequent travelers to justify the Venture X card’s cost.
Plus, since you’ll need to redeem miles for travel to get the most value out of your rewards, the Venture X won’t make much sense if you plan to use your rewards for cash back, gift cards, online shopping or other non-travel redemptions. Opting for a non-travel redemption with the Venture X typically means diluting the value of your miles, making it even more difficult to justify the card’s cost.
On this front, the Venture X card’s rewards program simply can’t match the versatility of a program like Chase Ultimate Rewards, which lets you redeem points for travel with Chase, cash back, gift cards and more at a minimum of 1-cent-per-point.
See related: Cash back vs. points
High bonus spending requirement
Though the Venture X offers one of the most generous sign-up bonuses currently available, it comes with a high spending requirement of $10,000 in your first six months.
To reach that threshold, you’ll need to spend a minimum of about $1,667 per month for your first six months. While that may be doable if you put most of your spending on the Venture X, it could put the bonus out of reach for modest spenders.
The bonuses on comparable travel rewards cards tend to require a much lower spend of about $4,000 to $6,000 in your first three to six months. The Amex Platinum, for example, also carries a 100,000-point welcome bonus, but only requires a $6,000 spend in your first six months.
Limited non-travel perks
If you don’t place much value in perks like expedited security screening or airport lounge access, the Venture X card’s perks may be a disappointment. You won’t get many of the one-off extras that pop up on luxury cards, like complimentary food delivery service subscriptions or shopping and rideshare credits.
Compare this with the Amex Platinum, an elite card so packed with extra credits and discounts that some users have described the card as “starting to resemble a coupon book”. Along with the sort of travel benefits you’ll find on the Venture X, the Amex Platinum would get you hundreds of dollars’ worth of perks, including up to $200 in Uber credits, up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credit, up to $300 in Equinox gym membership credits, up to $240 in digital entertainment credits and more.
How does the Venture X compare to other travel rewards cards?
The Venture X is no doubt a top-tier travel rewards card that more than holds its own against established competitors. However, depending on your spending and redemption habits, your appetite for annual fees and the other cards in your wallet, one of these alternatives may be a better fit:
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
|Welcome bonus||Welcome bonus|
60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Capital One Venture X vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the most popular luxury travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve carries a much higher annual fee than the Venture X, but also has a clear edge when it comes to redemption value. Not only do you get 50% more value out of your points when you redeem for travel with Chase (1.5 cents per point), but you can also opt for cash back, outside travel and more at a minimum point value of 1 cent per point.
You can also take advantage of the Chase Trifecta to stack the Sapphire Reserve with no annual fee Ultimate Rewards cards that earn rewards in unique bonus categories, then pool your points to enjoy the higher travel redemption value. This gives the Sapphire Reserve a bit more flexibility compared to the Venture X.
You also won’t miss out on many of the Venture card’s best perks, as the Sapphire Reserve comes with its own $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership and other valuable benefits.
Capital One Venture X vs. The Platinum Card from American Express
Another standout in the luxury travel space, the Amex Platinum is famous for its generous roster of cardholder perks, which could translate to thousands of dollars’ worth of value if you take full advantage. These extras can more than cover the card’s extremely high annual fee.
The Amex Platinum also offers broader lounge access and a more robust set of transfer partners than the Venture X, some of which could boost the value of your rewards to as much as 2 cents per point – double the standard value you’ll get out of miles redeemed through the Capital One Travel portal.
Though it certainly falls short of the Venture X when it comes to rewards earned via general spending, the Amex Platinum can be one of the most lucrative travel cards out there in the hands of the right cardholder.
See related: Who should get the Amex Platinum?
Capital One Venture X vs. Capital One Venture
If you’re on the fence about whether you’re willing to put up the Venture X card’s steep annual fee, the original Venture card is well worth a look, especially if you want to earn travel rewards but don’t typically spend much on travel.
Offering the same base rewards rate at less than a fourth of the price, the Venture card could be a much safer choice for occasional travelers since you’ll only need to spend about $400 per month to offset its annual fee.
How to use the Venture X card
- Be sure to spend at least $300 per year on travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal to take advantage of the card’s annual $300 travel credit.
- To maximize your earnings on airline, hotel and rental car bookings, be sure to buy through the Capital One travel portal.
- Use the card for most of your general spending to take advantage of the card’s generous base rewards rate.
- Consider transferring your Capital One miles to a partner airline or hotel program if you need to top off a rewards balance or could squeeze more value out of a partner’s rewards currency.
Is the Capital One Venture X right for you?
If you travel frequently and are looking for a card to use for the majority of your travel and everyday spending, the Venture X card should offer remarkable value with few downsides.
The card’s perks alone should easily cover the annual fee and its best-in-class rewards rate on general purchases means it should offer solid ongoing value, even if your travel spending dips.
However, if you aren’t sure you’ll spend at least a few hundred dollars on travel each year or if you want the option to redeem for cash back without sacrificing rewards value, a lower-cost, general rewards card may be a better fit.
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