Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review: The newest premium travel card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the latest entry in the premium travel credit cards category, giving Capital One a high-annual-fee competitor to the likes of Chase and American Express.

Premium travel credit cards charge a high annual fee and in return provide a suite of travel rewards, often including points or miles, travel credits and other perks. Higher-than-average rewards rates and credits will quickly make up for the considerable annual fee and then some, but the onus is on you to take advantage of the card. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself spending hundreds of dollars each year in fees without a lot to show for it. Generally speaking, those who spend around $10,000 or more annually on airfare and hotels are best positioned for these cards.

The current frontrunners among premium travel rewards cards are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express, which charge $550 and $695 in annual fees, respectively. The Capital One Venture X charges $395, with comparable rewards rates and bonuses. The main caveat for the Venture X is that cardholders need to book their travel through the Capital One Travel portal to earn the headline rates, although you do have the option to redeem rewards for any travel you book.

All in all, the Capital One Venture X offers a valuable combination of rewards. However, the card is still in its infancy, and several important features still haven’t been launched, including a few final touches on the Capital One Travel portal and benefits like Capital One airport lounges (only one currently exists at Dallas-Fort Worth airport).

Intro BonusEarn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening

APR16.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent

Reward Rates

  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases

Annual Fee$395

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Intro Balance Transfer APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee $0 at this Transfer APR

Balance Transfer APR16.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees None

Penalty APR None

  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases

Related: Capital One credit cards

Rates, rewards and bonuses

As a premium travel credit card, the Capital One Venture X’s reward rates are in-line with what you’d expect — which is to say, they’re very high. Cardholders receive 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on all other purchases. In general, miles are worth about 1 cent apiece, but there are methods to receive higher redemption rates detailed in the next section.

The welcome bonus offers 100,000 miles after spending $10,000 on purchases within the first six months. That $10,000 spending threshold is much higher than the American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve. 

Capital One also gives cardholders 10,000 miles every year on their account anniversary, no questions asked, and up to a $300 annual travel statement credit, which can be applied toward travel bookings through Capital One Travel. (Notice a theme, yet? Capital One definitely wants cardholders doing all of their travel booking on the portal.) For a limited time, users will also receive up to a $200 vacation rental statement credit for any qualified lodging (excluding major hotel chains) charged to your account within the first year. 

The 10,000-mile anniversary bonus alone is worth $100, so together with up to a $300 annual travel statement credit for bookings through Capital One Travel — plus the limited-time up to $200 vacation rental statement credit in the first year — you’ll essentially already be compensated for the $395 annual fee.

Finally, Capital One Venture X cardholders get unlimited access to Capital One airport lounges (there are plans to invest in developing this program beyond the one lounge that exists now), complimentary membership to Priority Pass and its participating lounges, as well as up to a $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when you use your Venture X card to pay for the application fee. 

Redemption options

One of the ways to redeem miles is by applying them as a statement credit toward past travel purchases. Note that those travel purchases don’t have to have been made through the Capital One Travel portal, giving you the freedom to book travel however you want. Another way to redeem miles is to use them to book new travel through the Capital One Travel portal. For both of these redemption options, 100 miles will be worth $1.

You can also redeem miles by transferring them to one of the 15+ Capital One travel partners, including airlines like British Airways, AirFrance-KLM and Etihad. Miles usually transfer at a rate of 1:1 (one Capital One mile equals one mile in the airline rewards program), and the value of the rewards program miles will vary. You can also redeem miles for gift cards, although these typically yield lower redemption values.

The Points Guy currently gives a value of 1.85 cents per Capital One mile based on how much they can potentially be worth when transferred strategically. But keep in mind that you typically get the highest monetary value from your miles when they’re used to book business-class and first-class international flights. As usual, you’ll need to put in a little extra time and research if you are determined to find the best value on flights — a lot of factors can go into value differences. That being said, if your travel is more flexible and you like to use miles on expensive international flights, you can expect a value closer to 1.5 to 1.85 cents.  

It’s also worth noting that the Capital One travel partners don’t include any US domestic airlines, though some partners — like British Airways and Avianca — do allow you to book on domestic airlines like American Airlines or Alaska Airlines through their rewards programs, depending on reward-seat availability.

Booking travel through Capital One

The Capital One Travel booking tool is similar to any third-party booking platform, allowing you to search for fares across multiple airlines and hotel chains, with an easy-to-use interface. It also has similar pros and cons to any booking tool. You lose out on hotel rewards and may experience more complications than if you were to book directly with an airline if something unexpected comes up, but with the upside of easier bargain hunting and price comparisons.

Capital One has partnered with Hopper, an app that predicts when it’s most affordable to book flights and hotels. The Hopper integration looks seamless and substantial, with clear notifications and tips on when it’s best to book. According to The Points Guy, it’s also planning to roll out two travel insurance features: cancel-for-any-reason coverage, which allows you to cancel your flight and receive most of the ticket price back, and price-freeze protection to lock in the current price for later purchase, for a fee. With the Capital One Venture X, you’ll have access to these features when they’re implemented through the portal.

How it compares to the competition

There are two cards that we think consumers should consider before signing up for the Capital One Venture X: The Platinum Card from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Platinum Card from Amex 
The Platinum Card from American Express has a $695 annual fee, nearly double that of the Venture X. But if you spend $6,000 in purchases within your first six months of card membership, you earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points. According to The Points Guy, Amex Membership Rewards Points are worth 1 cent each when used to book flights through the American Express Travel, or a 0.6 cent cash-back redemption rate. By these measures, the Venture X has comparable welcome-bonus earnings to The Platinum Card, but is earned at a lower spending threshold, making it more accessible.

You’ll also earn 10x points for the first six months on eligible restaurant purchases worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, as well as 5x points on flights booked with American Express Travel or directly with the airline (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). You can also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1x points on other purchases. Benefits also include up to a $179 annual statement credit for Clear, up to a $200 airline fee statement credit each calendar year at one select qualifying airline and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually on U.S. rides and eats (up to $15 per month, plus a bonus $20 in December).

Overall, if you’re willing to book all your travel through American Express, the welcome bonus and rewards rates could be more worthwhile for some, but if you require flexibility for your travel booking, Capital One Venture X is a better option.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, a 50,000 point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening (worth $750 of travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards) and offers up to a $300 annual travel statement credit. Cardholders also earn 5x points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 10x on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 3x points on other travel (earn elevated rewards on travel after you earn your $300 annual travel credit). Plus, earn 3x points on dining purchases and 1x points on all other purchases. Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed toward travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, raising the floor value significantly without needing to strategically transfer the points (cash-back redemption is valued at 1 cent per point).

The Venture X welcome bonus is significantly higher, even considering the higher value of Ultimate Rewards points versus Capital One miles. But the substantial difference in their spending thresholds may make one more valuable to a consumer than the other. Otherwise, the Venture X reward rates and credits are comparable to the Sapphire Reserve. The main advantage of the Sapphire Reserve is the ability to get more value out of points simply by booking through the Chase portal. 

Overall, the Capital One Venture X seems to have earned its seat at the premium travel table.

FAQs

How do travel credit cards work?

Travel credit cards turn purchases into points or miles that can be redeemed for travel purchases, like flights and hotel stays. Sometimes you can redeem those points for cash or a gift card, but you typically get the best rate when using them to book travel. The top cards have their own travel booking portals through which you can find flights, hotels and rental cars; sometimes, points are worth more when used in those credit card company portals.

Airline credit cards and hotel credit cards operate like loyalty programs in that you stay in a closed-loop rewards system. You earn rewards when you purchase flights or hotels through your chosen airline or hotel company, and you can use those points for perks or future bookings through the same airline or hotel group.

How do you choose the best travel credit card?

The points and travel benefits that you accrue through a travel rewards program are often redeemed through your credit card issuer’s website (or app) or appear as a statement credit that reimburses you for past travel-related and everyday purchases you made with your travel credit card. Points or miles can also be transferred to travel partners — mostly hotels and airlines — at a fluctuating conversion rate, where they can then be used to book a flight or hotel room.

To choose the best travel credit card, there are a few key factors to consider: 

  • Annual fees: Most travel rewards programs have annual fees, with some climbing as high as $695, but those fees are usually mitigated by monthly or annual credits. 
  • Exclusive perks: Some travel rewards card options also grant access to exclusive travel perks, like airline lounges, priority boarding or VIP welcomes at hotels. The value of those perks is subjective and something you’ll have to evaluate based on your needs and wants.
  • Foreign transaction fees: The best travel cards don’t make users pay a foreign transaction fee, so that’s not something you have to worry about.

What extra benefits do travel credit cards usually offer?

Most travel credit cards — which carry hefty annual fees — include benefits that add additional value to those cards. Benefits like travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay reimbursement or protection, lost luggage reimbursement and rental car collision insurance are typical.

Our approach to credit card evaluation

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren’t any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them to other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn’t right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, click here.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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