Is the Capital One Venture worth the annual fee?

I have the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. I’ve used the Capital One miles I’ve earned to dramatically reduce my expenses during fun vacations, like trips to the Caribbean and Dubai. The card collects some of the most useful rewards ever.

When you’re deciding whether you should open any of the best credit cards for travel, oftentimes the answer is…it depends. It depends on your travel style, it depends on your travel goals, it depends on your home airport. The Capital One Venture is perhaps the least “it depends” card out there. If you want to travel, this card will guarantee you’ll save hundreds of dollars.

It’s got a $95 annual fee, but I’ll show you why you should open the card anyway.

The Capital One Venture is worth it – I received FREE afternoon tea (a value of ~$160) at the top of the Burj Al Arab by redeeming Capital One miles. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Is the Capital One Venture worth it?

The Capital One Venture is absolutely worth opening. Here are the two main reasons:

  • The card has a $0 intro annual fee for 12 months (then $95 annual fee after that)
  • You’ll receive 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500 in travel) after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

In other words, Capital One will pay for $500 worth of your upcoming travel — and there’s no catch. They’re just giving you the opportunity to earn $500 when you meet the minimum spending requirements.

Use miles for just about anything travel related

The card earns a flat 2 miles per dollar for every purchase. This means you’ll  have 56,000 Capital One miles ($560 in travel) after you meet the spending requirement. If you don’t think you can spend $3,000 in three months, check out our post on how easy it can be to meet credit card minimum spend.

Here’s a list of popular purchases for which you can redeem Capital One miles:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels (including boutique and independent hotels)
  • Car rentals
  • Cruise lines
  • Hotel meals (when charged to your hotel room, including Disney hotels)
  • Airbnb
  • Lyft and Uber
  • Disney World tickets or other park tickets purchased through Undercover Tourist
Capital One miles provided me with a free tree house Airbnb in Barbados. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Earn 5 miles per dollar with Capital One Travel℠

You’ll earn 5 miles per dollar when you use the one of the miles-earning best Capital One credit cards, such as the Capital One Venture, to book hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel℠. As Capital One miles value is generally 1 cent each, this is like earning 5% back on your hotel stay or rental car.

Again, everything else you swipe your card for will earn a flat 2 miles per dollar. If you plan to purchase airfare often, you may be better off taking a glance at the best airline credit cards.

Transfer Capital One miles

You can also transfer your miles to a bunch of different airlines, though honestly I’m not a fan of using them this way. Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for travel, and it can be difficult to get a value greater than that by transferring them to airlines, since the transfer ratio is a funky 2:1.5. That said, the best transfer partners are:

  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Avianca
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Accor

Transferring points can very well be the best way to use Capital One miles. If you’re thorough, you can often find a way to get outsized value for your miles. Read more about Capital One transfer partners.

Exclusive perks at airport security checkpoints

The card also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (worth up to $100). Global Entry saves you lots of time by getting you quickly through US Customs and Immigration when you return to the US from abroad.

When you enroll in Global Entry, you’ll also receive a membership to TSA PreCheck, which allows you to keep your shoes and jacket on when you go through airport security. You don’t even have to take your laptop and toiletries out of your carry-on.

No foreign transaction fees

Some credit cards will incur a 3% fee if you use them for purchases outside the U.S. The Capital One Venture waives these fees, so it’s a good international companion. I recently saved more than $70 on a recent overseas trip just by using a card that waived my foreign transaction fees.

Bottom line

The Capital One Venture is a no-brainer card for the first year, and one of the fastest ways to earn Capital One miles. You can receive well over $600 in value if you use all the card’s benefits — and the annual fee is waived the first year, so you can try the card out and decide if it’s for you. Read our Capital One Venture review for all the details.

If you find that the Capital One Venture benefits and perks aren’t worth the annual fee, you can simply downgrade the card to the no-annual-fee Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card. You’ll get to keep your account number, and your credit won’t take a hit for canceling a card.

Let me know if you think the Capital One Venture is worth opening. And subscribe to our newsletter to get the details on more miles & points deals.

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