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There’s no question that Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is the most improved rewards card of the last year.
I used to feel badly for Capital One, with their ‘2% rebate towards travel card’ they were spending as much or more than any other card issuer rebating to the consumer but savvy customers weren’t giving them as much attention as other cards from Chase, American Express and Citibank. That’s because the best you’d ever do was 2% back (at which point just get a no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card since cash is better). They had no mileage transfer options.
That’s all changed, and they’ve added additional premium features to the card too. It’s gone from a celebrity endorsed card I didn’t used to think about daily, to becoming one that I absolutely love. I mean, the changes they’ve made to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have even made me like spokesperson Jennifer Garner more.
Here are the 16 things I’m loving about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card:
- 50,000 initial bonus offer. Earned once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
- 2x on everything. That means 2% towards paid travel, or when converting to most of their airline partners it’s equivalent to 1.5 airline miles per dollar spent, which is the best you’ll do with a single personal card on unbonused spend, period.
- 2% rebate towards travel. Capital One’s miles let you buy any flight without worrying about restricted award availability. This is most useful for people who use their rewards for domestic economy flights, and can be especially valuable over peak travel dates. You pick the flight you want and don’t inconvenience yourself based on what’s available at the saver level.
- Double threat. It’s a single card that works great as a travel rebate product, and great transferring to airline frequent flyer programs.
- Transfers to Air Canada Aeroplan They’re a great Star Alliance partner with most awards bookable on their website and great pricing for business class to Europe. I just wish they’d finally open up their Signature Suite lounge in Toronto to award passengers!
- Transfers to LifeMiles This is the only Star Alliance frequent flyer program with an award chart and no carrier-imposed surcharge. You can redeem United domestic flights starting at just 3500 miles.
When you are flying a ‘mixed cabin’ itinerary (say, for instance, Los Angeles to Tokyo in first class and then connecting in business class to Beijing) the program will charge you proportionately for each flight segment.
A first class award between the US and North Asia is listed at 90,000 LifeMiles on the award chart. If you flew Los Angeles – Tokyo Haneda non-stop in first class it would cost you 90,000 LifeMiles. However if you added a connection in coach beyond Tokyo Haneda then the price of the award drops — add Tokyo – Beijing in economy and you can get the price down to just over 66,000 miles. That’s a generous perk no other program offers.
- Transfers to Air France KLM Flying Blue. Air France offers better award availability when you’re using Flying Blue miles than when you’re using partner miles. I often transfer to Flying Blue because I find they have business class award seats to Europe when other airlines don’t.
What’s more flights to Europe – especially connections to Central and Eastern Europe – are reasonably priced. For instance flying between the U.S. and some European cities will price under 60,000 miles each way in business.
- Transfers to EVA Air Infinity MileageLands. EVA Air is a totally underappreciated mileage transfer partner.
Flying business class between the US and Asia on EVA Air costs a reasonable 75,000 or 80,000 miles each way depending on the US gateway used. One real hidden gem is that they charge just 25,000 miles each way for business class intra-Asia awards. They also offer Star Alliance round-the-the world awards
US-Europe Star Alliance awards in business class is 65,000 miles each way, 85,000 miles in first class. US-Mideast Star Alliance awards in business class is 67,000 miles each way. And two stopovers permitted on a roundtrip award (one in each direction). Changes to date and flight up to three days in advance of travel are free while additional changes and also cancel/mileage redeposit cost $50.
While many people skip over the program because they add fuel surcharges to partner award tickets you don’t need to get excised about fuel surcharges for awards on EVA’s own flights e.g. $43 Los Angeles – Taipei and $56 Los Angeles – Taipei – Bangkok.
- Transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Since everyone transfers to Singapore it’s easy to build up their miles. And Singapore Airlines offers much better award availability to travel on Singapore’s own flights when you’re using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles than if you’re trying to use miles from a partner frequent flyer program.
- Transfers to Emirates I’ve found upgrades to be easier to get with Emirates than on most other airlines, but you need their own Skywards miles to upgrade a paid ticket.
- Transfers to Etihad Guest. That lets you book award travel on Etihad (one of my favorites) but most importantly they have many great partner awards – for instance if you can find premium cabin international saver award space on American, they still charge you the mileage prices that American used to charge before their March 2016 devaluation. And you can spend just 44,000 miles each way for Royal Air Maroc business class between the U.S. and anywhere that soon-to-be member of oneworld flies.
- $0 annual fee the first year: you’re even able to get benefits like a $100 Global Entry statement credit without an annual fee. After the first year it’s $95.
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit This was an add-on benefit last summer and I love new benefits without taking anything away. It’s pretty rich considering the first year $0 annual fee. And even if you have Global Entry already yourself you can use the credit for someone else’s application.
- James Beard Foundation event access Capital One has launched a new exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation that gives all cardholders special access to events and experiences. This means being able to buy tickets for events before others have a chance to force a sell-out. That’s great for any foodie.
- Exclusive Taylor Swift partnership gives cardmembers access to a Taylor Swift bundle no one else can buy. And who doesn’t like Taylor Swift (except maybe Marsha Blackburn).
Jane Fonda walked into the Russell building and none of the interns waiting for Taylor Swift blinked pic.twitter.com/9HXtjBWtUS
— Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) July 11, 2018
- Jennifer Garner says you should get one.