Capital One Venture Card Review: Is 100k points worth it?

Realistically, you’ll probably net $375 from the Capital One Venture sign up bonus. I’ll explain how I got that number in this ultra-detailed Capital One Venture credit card review. We’ll go over the signup bonus, how much Capital One miles are worth, Capital One transfer partners, and my overall experience using the card.

The Capital One Venture card earns a flat rate of 2X on all purchases. Every 100 points is worth $1 which makes it a 2% cashback credit card. As for transfer partners, 1000 Capital One miles will get you 500 to 750 airline miles (depending on the program).

If you’re interested in getting the Capital One Venture card, I would only get it if you have already gotten ALL the other good credit cards from Chase, Citi and American Express. There are many better credit cards that offer a better sign up bonus and cashback rates on your credit card spend. But if you’re the person who’s already gotten every other credit card, keep reading cause this is for you.

Capital One Venture Credit Card Basic Info:

The Capital One Venture card has a “limited time” offer of 100k bonus miles. Really, the card is 2 different 50k bonuses and most people will probably just get the first 50k. In the past, the sign up bonus for the Capital One Venture credit cards has been 40k, 50k and 70k. It’s probably not worth your time if it’s anything less than 50k.

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 in 30 days and another 50,000 if you spend a total of $20,000 within 12 months of opening the account.
  • Earning Rate: 2X on all purchases / 5X on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel / 5X on Uber and UberEats until January 31, 2021
  • Capital One Miles Cash Back Value: 2X = up to 2% cash back
  • Recommended Credit Score: 700
  • Introductory APR? None
  • APR: 17.24% to 24.49%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
  • Earn it and burn it? Yes. Cancel or downgrade this card after the first year.
  • Who is this card for? For anyone who already earned all the other credit card bonuses
  • Sign Up: Official Link

Pros and Cons of Capital One Venture Card

ProsCons
Earning rate for every dollar spent gets you 1 to 2 Capital One Miles. It’s as good and slightly better than some of the 1X airline cardsTemporary “Cover your purchase” promotion to get the full 1 ($0.01) cent value per point. Otherwise, redeeming for cash is $0.005 per point.
Wide variety of airline transfer partners that also overlap with other bank rewards programsSetting up the card is frustrating
You can downgrade from the Capital One Venture to the VentureOne no annual fee credit cardThe $20k spend requirement for the full 100k bonus makes it a 7X per dollar card.
50k Capital One miles is worth up to $500 in cashbackMiles DO NOT transfer at 1:1
$95 annual fee is high considering the other credit cards on the market have better cashback and trasnfer rates

Sign-Up Bonus: $375

To get maximum value for your dollar, the 50K bonus miles for $3000 is your best value instead of going for the full 100k Capital One Venture sign-up bonus. Really, $20k to spend on one credit card is a lot of money while there are many more credit card sign-up bonuses you could be getting:

50k Capital One miles after spending $3k in 3 months:

  • [$560] 50k bonus + (spending $3k at 2X) = 56k Capital One miles
  • [-$90] Manufactured spending typically costs me 3%, so to manufacture spend for $3k = $90
  • [-$95] annual fee
  • Actual sign up bonus: $375

If you can spend money on the card naturally without wasting money, you’ll of course save on that $90 that I calculated in for the manufactured spend.

100k Capital One Miles after spending $20k in 12 months:

  • [$1400] 100k bonus + (spending $20k at 2X) = 140k Capital One miles
  • [-$600] Manufactured spending typically costs me 3%, so to manufacture spend for $20k = $600
  • [-$95] annual fee
  • Actual sign up bonus: $705

To get the 100k bonus, you would be spending an additional $17k to earn an additional $340. That’s a lot of work and is the same amount of spend for 5 different credit card bonuses. You can also consider the Capital One Venture card 100k bonus to be getting you a return of 7X per dollar spent on $20,000. My biggest factor is the cost to manufacture spend at 3%. If you happen to spend a lot of money naturally (and not wastefully), then big spend bonuses are worth your time. For myself and most people, the 50k Capital One Venture bonus is more reasonable.

How Much Are Capital One Miles Worth?

At best, you can get 1 cent per mile. Since the Capital one Venture card earns 2X per dollar, that mean’s it’s a 2% cashback credit card (at best). Unfortunately, the redemption options to get the full value from these Capital One miles makes it challenging.

Use Your Capital One Miles
  • Cover Purchases: Get 1 ($0.01 cent per point to cover a purchase made until December 31, 2020. If you have 4,000 points, that’s worth $40. Unfortunately, if you want to cover a purchase that’s more than $40, Capital One won’t let you because they don’t allow partial point redemptions for Cover Purchases. It’s all or nothing.
  • Shop With Reward: This brings you directly to Amazon where you can get $0.008 of value on your points. While the Cover Purchases promotion is still active, it makes more sense to directly buy something on Amazon and then use the Cover Purchases feature.
  • Get Gift Cards: More like, get ripped off. You can get $0.008 of value towards the purchase of a gift card.
  • Redeem For Cash: More like, Redeem for trash. You get $0.005 of value towards a statement credit or check. If you’re earning 2X per dollar on the Venture card, this just makes it a 1% cashback credit card with a $95 annual fee!
  • Transfer Your Rewards: Transfer to eligible airline and hotel parters at a rate of 1000:750 or 1000:500 depending on the program.
  • Book A Trip: The highest value you can get for your Capital One miles (at least consistently) because you get $0.01 (1 cent per mile) in value towards the booking of a flight or hotel. You can make partial redemptions. Example: A hotel booking costs $100 and you have 4000 points, you can apply up 4000 in points and then pay cash.
  • Share Your Rewards: You can transfer Capital One Miles to another account.

Capital One Venture Benefits

Most of the Capital One Venture benefits are pretty common and something you’d find on most premium credit cards. Personally, I end up using almost none of these:

  • Capital One Experiences (no actual events available…because…you know)
  • $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Pre-check (probably won’t be traveling much)
  • 24-Hour Travel Assistance Services (my experience just calling Capital One was bad)
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Wikibuy (Seems like just a referral link to something anyone can use)
  • Shop with your rewards
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Extended Warranty
  • Transfer miles
  • Paribus: Get paid if the price goes down after you buy something (I actually like this one but it doesn’t apply to Amazon)

Capital One Transfer Partners

The transfer rate for most partners varies between 1000:750 and 1000:500. This seems pretty misleading when you call your earning rate 2X but the transfer rate is not 1:1. American Express, Citi and Chase each have transfer rates at 1:1 for most programs. So when I see Capital One say their Venture credit card is 2X, they found a loophole to lie to your face.

The good thing is that most Capital One’s transfer partners overlap with AMEX, Citi and Chase. Capital One only has the exclusive transfer edge with Accor Hotels, Wyndham Hotels and Finnair. Unfortunately, with the low transfer rate, there aren’t many sweet spots with the program.

Capital One Transfer PartnersTransfer Rate
Accor Live Limitless1000 Capital One Miles = 500 ALL Rewards points
Aeromexico1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Premier Points
Air France KLM1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Flying Blue Miles
Air Canada1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Aeroplan Miles
Alitalia1000 Capital One Miles = 750 MilleMiglia miles
Asia Miles1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Asia Miles
Avianca Lifemiles1000 Capital One Miles = 750 LifeMiles
Emirates Skywards1000 Capital One Miles = 500 Skywards Miles
Etihad Airways1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Etihad Guest Miles
EVA Air1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands Miles
Finnair1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Finnair Plus Award Points
JetBlue1000 Capital One Miles = 750 TrueBlue points
Qantas1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Qantas Points
Singapore Airlines1000 Capital One Miles = 500 KrisFlyer miles
Wyndham1000 Capital One Miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards Points

See this example of how many miles you earn after spending $10k:

  • Capital One Venture (2X on everything) 20k Capital One Miles -> Converts into 10,000 Singapore Airlines miles
  • Chase Sapphire (1X non-bonus categories) 10k Ultimate Rewards  -> Converts into 10,000 Singapore Airlines miles
  • Citi Premiere (1X non-bonus categories) 10k Citi Thank You points -> Converts into 10,000 Singapore Airlines miles

Chase and Citi have more generous earning categories and a higher sign-up bonus (if you factor in how many miles you actually get when transferred or redeemed). I excluded American Express because most of their Membership Rewards cards have an annual fee higher than $95 while Chase and Citi have cards with this exact price.

List of Capital One Transfer partners (note the lower rate compared to other banks)

My Experience: Capital One Venture Rewards Review

I actually signed up for this credit card without looking at a Capital One Venture rewards review. That was my mistake. I assumed the rewards system would be 1 cent per point and the transfer rate would be 1:1. I was very wrong. After learning about how the Capital One rewards program works, I felt cheated. The “2X” was just a fancy way of saying 1.6% cashback and the every dollar spent (with 2X) meant you get either 1:1 or 1:1.5 from transfer partners. The earnings rate is still pretty good, but when I see 2X I expect more than what I got.

Activating your Capital One Venture Card: Get Angry

Maybe it was just me, but I had the WORST experience trying to activate my Capital One credit card. When you receive the card, you get two options: (1) download the app (2) go to capitalone.com/activate. I hate downloading apps, so I went to the website. Since I already had a Capital One account, when I went to the activate page, it asked me to log in [Sign In & Activate]. After logging in, it just showed me my existing Capital One account with no new credit card. Sooooo, I try again. The same thing happens. That was frustrating so I tried the app. I find banking apps absolutely useless because I don’t access any of this information on my phone.

With the Capital One app downloaded, I signed into my account to find no option to activate my Capital One Venture card. I take the time to really look at all the options but can’t find anything! Even more frustrated, I go back to the Capital One website. This is all because there is no activation phone number on the credit card. The activation sticker on the card just mentions to use the app or go to the website.

Continuing my journey to the most frustrating credit card activation in my life, I return to the Capital One activation website. I previously selected the [Sign In & Activate] option which failed, this time I tried the [Enroll & Activate] page. After inputting all my information, it returned me back to my original Capital One account, but now I had the Venture card added. The Capital One Venture card was added to my account, but the account was still not activated! It then requested me to CALL Capital One to finish my card activation. If you’ve followed me up until this point, I think you can understand how incredibly frustrating this entire process is. I love AMEX and Chase because they just add new cards to your account

No phone number to activate the Capital 1 Venture credit card

Issue setting up the Capital One Venture card with Google Pay

It said I had to verify my account through the Capital One App. I hate downloading apps, but I did it anyway. I setup the app and it say my card activation was not complete. The outstanding item for my card activation was to add an authorized user. Capital One forces you to add an authorized user for the Capital One Venture Card to complete the card activation on the app. That’s outrageous. I added my brother so it would say the process was complete. After ALL that, I go back to Google Pay and still have the same issue of authorizing the Venture card.

After two days of being frustrated with Capital One, I called them up. They didn’t really have an answer and said I would need to talk to their tech support. This seems insulting because adding a credit card to Google Pay is just adding the information from your credit card. I really can’t believe how bad the Capital One Venture new user experience is because you have to jump through a lot of hoops just to use their crappy credit card.

Comparing Similar Credit Cards:

Essentially, the Capital One Venture card’s 2X earnings rate is really 1X to 1.5X when it comes to earning miles. So on the earning side for general spend, the Capital One Venture card does beat the Chase Sapphire and Citi Premier. But when it comes to the sign up bonus, the 1:1 transfer rate makes the bonus for Chase and Citi superior.

Capital One Venture CardChase Sapphire PreferredCiti Premier
Annual Fee$95$95$95
Sign up Bonus50k miles after $20k spend total 50k miles after $3k spend80k UR after $4k spend60k TYP after $4k spend
SUB Value100k full bonus = $1000
50k partial bonus = $500
80k UR = $120060k TYP = $300-$600
Bonus amount With spend (rate)140k = 7X per dollar
56k = 18.6X per dollar
21X per dollar16X per dollar
Points Transfer1000:(500 or 750)1000:10001000:1000

I know it looks a little confusing, but when you spend exactly $3000 on the Capital One Venture card you are getting 18.6X points per dollar. The effort to get to $20k in spend will result in you getting 7X per dollar which isn’t as appealing. On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire gets you 21X per dollar for exactly $4k spend. Citi gives you 16X per dollar so it’s the biggest loser when it comes to points per dollar spent for the sign up bonus.

Capital One Venture Retention Offers: Keep or Cancel?

Is the annual fee worth it on the Capital One Venture credit card?

The Capital One Venture offers 2X on all spend, which can range from 1% to 2% cashback. Take a look at how much you have to spend to offset the $95 annual fee and you’ll realize the Capital One Venture card is not one you should keep: $9500. There’s no point in keeping the Capital One Venture card since it has a $95 annual fee. You could try asking for a retention bonus on the card, but I would still never use it unless I wanted to take advantage of one of their unique transfer partners.

There are better point earning credit cards with no annual fee, so I would recommend downgrading the Capital One Venture credit card to the Capital One VentureOne credit card. The VentureOne has NO ANNUAL fee so you might as well keep the card open forever. This is one of the greatest tips to get a good credit score.

If you were to keep the Capital One Venture card more than a year, to break even with the $95 annual fee you would need to spend $5,938

Retention Offers for the Capital One Venture Credit Card

There are retention offers available to users of the Capital One Venture credit card. Retention offers help waive or subsidize the annual fee on a credit card. Data points from Reddit show these retention offers for the Capital One Venture card:

  • The full $95 annual fee waived
  • No retention offer provided
  • One customer paid the $95 annual fee and tried to downgrade to the Venture One (no annual fee card), Capital One did NOT reimburse the customer for the annual fee.

I know Capital One doesn’t have the best credit card offers, but after hearing about how strict they are about refunding the annual fee, I would downgrade the Capital One Venture card after having it for 11 months. There’s really no point in keeping the Venture credit card because the earning rates and benefits are too low when compared with that $95 annual fee. This information has been added to the credit card retention offers list.

TLDR:

I was incredibly disappointed when I found out that my 100k Capital One Venture card bonus was actually 50k-75k airline miles but $1000 cashback sounded more appealing. That is of course if I can spend $20k before the end of 2020. Getting to that $20k spend requirement sounds pretty crazy, so I know I’m in for at least the 50k sign up bonus which REALLY gets me 25k-37.5k airline miles or $500 cashback. Overall, the Capital One Venture credit card is NOT BAD, but I would recommend prioritizing other credit cards first. I think the effort to get bank sign up bonuses is actually a lot better and I got a lot more value with much less effort.