Review: Capital One VentureX

 Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

The Capital One VentureX card is the newest card in Capital One’s line-up and its first foray into premium credit cards.  It comes with an annual fee of $395, which is lower than both the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550) and the American Express Platinum ($695). So how does the VentureX stack up against the competition?

Current Offer

The opening sign-up bonus is 100,000 miles after $10,000 spend in 6 months, and for a limited-time, new VentureX cardholders will earn up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rental properties like Airbnb or VRBO in the first twelve months.  The card has a $395 annual fee. This sign-up bonus is worth a minimum of $1,200, assuming you use the statement credits. Capital One has greatly expanded their transfer partners recently, which makes the sign-up bonus  even more valuable. Capital One now boasts 17 transfer partners, most of which have a 1:1 transfer ratio. Notably absent, however, is a United States domestic airline transfer partner.

Earn Rate

The Capital One VentureX has an interesting earn rate that truly focuses on Capital One's travel portal.  You can earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel, and 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel.  By comparison, the Capital One Venture card earns 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.  All other spend earns 2 miles per dollar, which is the same as the Capital One Venture card.

Capital One VentureX cardholders may add up to 4 authorized users at no charge.

Additional Benefits

The Capital One VentureX offers a $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. This is a common benefit among premium cards, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Platinum, and the Amex Hilton Aspire.  The card also offers a $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel.

Additionally, the VentureX comes with Capital One Lounge access (currently only open at DFW) and to Priority Pass membership, including Priority Pass restaurant access. Cardholders and authorized users may bring up to two guests per visit with either lounge network.  In addition, cardholders will receive 10,000 bonus miles each year on their account anniversary, which is worth $100+.

 

The latest Premium Card: Capital One VentureX

Our Analysis

Let's start with the not-so-obvious truth: unless you are willing to book flights, rental cars, or hotel rooms through an online travel agency (“OTA”) (i.e., the Capital One Travel portal), this card is identical to a Capital One Venture card ($95 annual fee) earning 2x Miles on all spend, yet requiring a $395 annual fee. If you're like us at ToP and don't plan to book your travel through an OTA, but still want a Capital One card, you're much better off with the vanilla Capital One Venture at only $95 per year.

Regarding the Capital One VentureX itself, the 100,000 miles sign-up bonus is great, but the $10,000 spend is quite high and could be used to earn 2-3 sign-up bonuses instead of one. For example, the recent Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 sign-up bonus only required $4,000 in 3 months. That said, Capital One gives you 6 months to complete the minimum spend.

How good is the Capital One VentureX once we move past the sign-up bonus? The answer depends on how much you value Capital One's travel portal. The bulk of the card's earning potential is tied to Capital One Travel. For those who travel a lot for work and have their expenses reimbursed, this card can be very helpful. Beyond that, it looks hard to justify booking travel through Capital One Travel in order to receive bonus points. Usually, booking through an OTA means you forego elite status benefits and the ability to earn elite night credits. Booking through an OTA portal like Capital One Travel usually makes changing your travel plans more difficult since you add another party involved in your booking. Given the multitude of problems with OTAs since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we do not recommend booking personal travel through an OTA.

For spend outside of Capital One Travel, the Capital One VentureX still earns 2x per dollar. This is pretty good, but not “premium card good” and is identical to the Capital One Venture. By comparison, the CSR earns 3x on dining and travel, and the Amex Platinum earns 5x on flights booked directly with airlines. Even the Amex Gold, which is a tier below, earns 4x per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and 3x on flights booked directly with airlines. The Amex Gold‘s annual fee is much lower too, at $250. For 2x per dollar on everyday purchase, Citi offers the Double Cash, which has no annual fee. When paired with a Citi Premier, those 2x Citi ThankYou Points can be transferred to Citi's 16 transfer partners, many of which overlap with Capital One.

For benefits, the VentureX fails to stand out from the crowd. The card offers the two most common benefits among premium travel cards: Priority Pass membership and TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credit. Meanwhile, the $300 travel credit is limited to Capital One Travel bookings. This is much more limited than the CSR's $300 credit, which is extremely flexible. That said, most folks should still find some use for the credit. This effectively lowers the annual fee by quite a lot. The $200 credit towards AirBnB or VRBO can be useful to many people, but unlikely to be the deciding factor in opening this card.

For rewards, Capital One lags behind both Chase and Amex in terms of value. While Capital One has greatly expanded their transfer partners recently and now boasts 17 transfer partners, most of which have a 1:1 transfer ratio, it has failed to add a USA domestic airline transfer partner. This means that the vast majority of award travelers will burn their VentureX miles in the Capital One Travel portal at 1 cent per point, as learning how to transfer to Airline “B” to fly Airline “A” is more than most folks have the bandwidth to accomplish on a regular basis. Additionally, Capital One's hotel transfer partners do not include any of the major chains, only Accor (2 to 1), Choice, and Wyndham.

Overall, this card is a major swing-and-miss by Capital One. Of the 3 premium travel cards, it is 3rd in value, behind both the American Express Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Unless you regularly book travel via OTAs and are okay with all the negatives that come from that, you are only interested in using only one card for all your spend, or you are well past 5/24 and are interested in the card for the first year, this card is not for you. It's not worth a 5/24 spot and it is not worth changing your credit card strategy to obtain it. There are many cards available right now with more lucrative sign-up bonuses.

Final Thoughts

Kudos to Capital One for introducing a new card and trying to join the premium card space. But the VentureX is hard to get excited about. The card's 100,000 miles sign-up bonus is great, but $10,000 spend requirement is steep. The VentureX's earning ability is tied almost entirely to the Capital One Travel portal. Aside from the travel portal, the card becomes a 2x card that makes it difficult to justify the $395 annual fee. Meanwhile, the $300 benefit for Capital One Travel bookings helps offset most of the annual fee. But beyond that, the benefits do not compare favorably with the benefits of other premium cards.

What is your take on the Capital One VentureX card? Do you plan to apply for one? Share your thoughts on our Facebook group!

 

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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