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Review

Review of the Capital One® Venture Rewards® Credit Card

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Brendan Harkness By Brendan Harkness May 14, 2018 | Updated Apr 03, 2020
Our rating
Min. credit level: Good
Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR: 17.24% - 24.49% Variable

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card is a general-use travel card, designed for travelers who don’t spend with one particular airline or hotel more than others. New cardholders will get a metal version of the Venture Rewards, with a stainless steel veneer.

It provides 2X miles per dollar for every purchase. You’ll get an equivalent of at least 2% back, very good for non-category spending.

There are also 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening, worth $500 or more when redeemed.

Capital One recently added the ability to transfer miles to a variety of airline loyalty programs, making this card quite a bit more valuable.

If you’re a frequent flyer, you may find the available TSA PreCheck/Global Entry statement credit useful for reducing time spent in security and customs lines. The credit is available every four years.

The Venture Rewards has a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee. And you’ll pay no fee on foreign transactions.

There’s another card in Capital One’s Venture line, with different card terms and rewards. It might be a better option for you, depending on what you’re looking for in a travel credit card. Both of these cards are designed for excellent credit.

Card Annual Fee Purchase APR Rewards Benefits
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (This review) $0 intro for first year; $95 after that 17.24% - 24.49% Variable
  • 2X miles per dollar on all purchases
Visa Signature
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card (Review) $0 0% intro on purchases for 12 months, then 14.49% - 24.49% Variable
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all purchases
Visa Platinum or Visa Signature
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR17.24% - 24.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Venture Rewards card 4 out of 5 Stars because it could be better, but an equivalent of at least 2% back on all purchases isn’t bad for general spending. And there are some solid travel and shopping perks to enjoy.

Why We Like It

  • 2X miles per dollar on every purchase
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Visa Signature benefits, like the Luxury Hotel Collection and concierge service
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry statement credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why It Could Be Better

  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Must redeem for travel expenses to get the best value for your miles

There are many different types of travel credit cards, and this one might not be best for you. See some other travel cards below, with different rewards programs and features.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Use this card to earn 2X miles everywhere, a pretty competitive rate among credit cards. Use other cards for certain purchases when you’ll earn more rewards.
  • Check the Luxury Hotel Collection to find eligible hotels where you’ll have access to extra perks and complimentary services.
  • Spend enough to get the bonus: 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Transfer your miles to a partner airline to potentially get a better value for them.
  • Expedite your travels at no additional cost by using the card to pay for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. You’ll receive a statement credit for the application fee, which is available every four years.
  • Bring this card with you outside the country because it has no foreign transaction fees, and it’s also a Visa so it will be accepted everywhere.
  • Annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that. Offset the fee by earning 9,500 miles per year, something you can do in various ways.
  • If you have a plastic version of this card and would like the metal version, you may be be able to upgrade by calling customer support and asking.

The Rewards

The Venture Rewards can provide the equivalent of 2% cash back for every purchase. This assumes you’re redeeming for travel expenses at one cent per mile; if you get a better deal through a mile transfer you’ll get higher cash back equivalents.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 2X miles per dollar on all purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

The bonus miles you can earn would be worth $500 when redeemed for statement credits at 1 cent each, or potentially more through a mile transfer.

You can earn an unlimited number of miles, and they’ll never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing (not in default).

Insider tip

The VentureOne Rewards Card is similar to the Venture Rewards. It only provides 1.25 miles per dollar on purchases but it has no annual fee, so it might be a better card for you.

Redeeming

You’ll have three basic options when redeeming your miles.

  • Travel expenses: Provide 1 cent per mile.
    • Past travel expenses from the last 90 days can be paid for with miles using the Purchase Eraser system
    • New travel reservations can be booked with miles through Capital One’s website or by calling customer support
  • Cash back statement credits, gift cards, merchandise: Provide less than 1 cent per mile.
  • Mile transfers: Provide various mile values, depending on the deal.

We recommend always redeeming for mile transfers or travel expenses because you’ll get at least 1 cent per mile. We’ll explain how to redeem for travel expenses first, and then we’ll go over mile transfers.

You can redeem miles for either past or upcoming travel expenses. Miles don’t expire, so you can hold on to them until you can redeem in this way.

The Purchase Eraser system will let you find eligible travel expenses from the past 90 days, and you can use miles to pay them off. Partial redemptions are available, to pay for part of the cost of a purchase.

The types of eligible travel expenses are:

airfare hotels buses taxis car rentals
rail lines limo services cruise lines travel agents time shares

Miles can also be used to pay for travel reservations as you make them. You’ll need to book travel either through Capital One’s website or by calling customer support to redeem miles in this way.

Mile Transfers

You can transfer your Capital One miles to several different airline loyalty programs, where you might find a better value than 1 cent per mile.

Most of the transfer rates are 2:1.5 (2 Capital One miles for 1.5 partner miles), although some partners have a lesser rate.

Airline Partner Transfer Rate
Aeromexico Club Premier 2:1.5
Air Canada Aeroplan
2:1.5
Air France KLM Flying Blue
2:1.5
Alitalia MilleMiglia
2:1.5
Avianca LifeMiles
2:1.5
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
2:1.5
Emirates Skywards
2:1
Etihad Guest
2:1.5
EVA Infinity MileageLands
2:1.5
Finnair Plus
2:1.5
Hainan Fortune Wings Club
2:1.5
JetBlue TrueBlue
2:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer
2:1.5
Singapore KrisFlyer
2:1

 

The Benefits

The Venture Rewards card comes with benefits from two different sources:

  • Card and account features from Capital One
  • Protections and benefits from Visa Signature

Visa Signature cards come with an upgraded set of benefits and protections compared to the more basic Visa Platinum. The VentureOne Rewards card is a similar offer, but it’s available at either the Visa Platinum or Visa Signature level, depending on your credit limit ($5,000 and above provides a Visa Signature).

Luxury Hotel Collection

The Luxury Hotel Collection by Visa Signature provides special perks at select hotels around the world. You’ll get seven services in particular:

  • $25 food and beverage credit
  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Automatic room upgrade on arrival, when available
  • VIP Guest status, with services and amenities that differ by property
  • Complimentary in-room WiFi, when available
  • Complimentary breakfast for two (if not available, you’ll get a different benefit of equal value)
  • Late check-out upon request, when available

You’ll be able to search for participating hotels in different parts of the world and see what they’re rated, along with the services you can expect there. Visa rates hotels on 10 different factors, including “Attention to Detail,” “Generosity & Value,” and “Architecture & Design.”

There are also quite a few special offers available at select locations, which come and go over time. These let you get some particularly good deals on hotel bookings, with free night stays and discounts.

Here are a few examples of the special offers:

TSA PreCheck/Global Entry Statement Credit

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are “Trusted Traveler” programs developed to help frequent flyers move more quickly through airport security and customs lines. The Venture Rewards card caters to travelers with a statement credit that covers the application fee of either program. It’s available every four years.

  • TSA PreCheck: Provides access to an expedited security lane at more than 300 airports when flying with 56 participating airlines; $85 for a five-year membership
  • Global Entry: Includes TSA PreCheck, along with access to Global Entry kiosks that allow you to bypass immigration lines when re-entering the country; $100 for a five-year membership

Shopping Discounts

Use your Visa Signature card to get discounts at certain retailers. There are usually a few dozen offers available here, for both online and physical stores.

Some of the current discounts and offers are:

  • Receive $25 in Ting mobile service credit
  • Free U.S. shipping for online orders of $75 or more from The Container Store
  • 30-day Trial with subscription to GameFly
  • Save 20% on orders from Shari’s Berris
  • Save $5 on purchases of $50 or more from Target.com
  • Save 12% on your next order from Overstock.com

These deals can help you save a bit of money, although they probably won’t be too useful for your regular, everyday purchases. They’re worth checking when shopping around for larger expenses, however.

Many credit card companies offer a shopping portal like this, so if you have several cards you have a better chance of finding an eligible offer. American Express has Amex Offers, Citi has Citi Easy Deals, and Chase has Shop Through Chase.

Fine Wine & Food

This benefit is similar to the shopping discounts above but it’s focused on food, with a bit of wine thrown in too.

There are currently only a handful of offerings here, and only one regarding wine:

  • Benefits at over 50 wineries in Sonoma Wine County, California:
    • buy one standard tasting, get one standard tasting free
    • preferred pricing on non-wine purchases over $50, where applicable
    • savings on wine purchased in tasting rooms
    • savings on reserve tastings and special wine-and-food pairings
    • learn more about Visa Signature benefits in Sonoma

The rest of the discounts are for more common merchants, which are currently:

  • 25% off regular menu price orders at PapaJohns.com
  • $5 off a $25 online order from PizzaHut.com
  • Get 5% off a $25 gift card for Krispy Kreme
  • Get 10% off a $25 gift card for Cold Stone Creamery
  • Buy one pretzel, get one free at Auntie Anne’s
  • Save 15% on your entire purchase at Omaha Steaks

Sports and Entertainment Offers

Get exclusive discounts and offers at sports events and a variety of other experiences. Some of the current deals are:

Usually these entertainment-style offers are limited to some big cities around the country. That’s also how the Membership Experiences that American Express offers typically works, and the Preferred Experiences by Chase.

Visa Signature Concierge

You can call your Visa Signature concierge service any time at 1-800-953-7392. They’re ready to help with a wide variety of non-emergency tasks, very much like a personal assistant.

The concierge can provide assistance in four main ways, although you aren’t limited to these categories:

  • Travel: For help coordinating trips, booking flights and hotels, and finding the best deals
  • Sports and Entertainment: Your concierge can look for good prices on season tickets and may be able to find tickets to sold-out shows
  • Fine Wine and Food: Get assistance finding and making reservations at a variety of restaurants, from family-style to five-star
  • Shopping: Help finding special gifts, sending flowers, or searching for the best prices

Concierge services can be used for many different tasks, but they’re probably most useful when traveling, like if you’re visiting a new city. Call them up to find the best places to eat, or to book a room at a hotel that fits your budget.

Visa Signature credit cards often come with this concierge service, as do many other travel credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) offers a concierge, although the American Express® Gold Card (Review) does not.

Visa Signature Travel Protections

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: A variety of services like medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation or ticket replacement, and pre-trip assistance.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: You, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children are insured up to $250,000 against loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing when traveling by common carrier.
  • Roadside Dispatch: Call 1-800-847-2869 for help while driving, for services like towing, tire changing, and fuel delivery.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Provides coverage for collision damage and theft of eligible rented vehicles, when you decline the rental company’s own insurance.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Provides up to $3,000 in reimbursement to cover the cost of lost or damaged luggage.

Visa Signature Shopping Benefits

  • Purchase Security: If an eligible item you buy is lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per claim.
  • Extended Warranty: Will double an eligible manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year, for warranties of three years or less.

Other Visa Signature Benefits

  • Lost/Stolen Card Reporting: Call customer support to report your card as lost or stolen at any time.
  • Emergency Card Replacement and Cash Disbursement: After reporting your card as lost you can quickly and easily get a replacement, or an emergency cash advance.
  • Year-End Summary Statement: A detailed summary of your yearly spending is available upon request.

Capital One Benefits

  • CreditWise Credit Monitoring: Keep tabs on your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report, and see data from your TransUnion report.
  • Personalized Payment Date: Choose your own due date to make paying bills more convenient.
  • Security and Account Alerts: You can be notified about changes to your account or unauthorized activity.
  • Capital One Second Look Fraud Coverage: Automatically monitors your account 24/7 for fraudulent activity.
  • Zero Liability Protection: You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
17.24% - 24.49% Variable 17.24% - 24.49% Variable 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that None $0 3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None Up to $39 None

The terms and fees of the Venture Rewards card are pretty straightforward. If you carry a balance from month to month you’ll accrue interest at the rates shown above. We always recommend paying off your balance in full each billing period, to avoid interest and improve your credit utilization.

You won’t have to pay the annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, there are no foreign transaction fees, and this card is also a Visa. So it will be accepted just about everywhere that credit cards are accepted, and you won’t have to pay extra when outside the country. This is normal for travel cards, though other cards typically charge fees of up to 3%.

Insider tip

Check the Venture Reward card’s terms and conditions yourself to see the full description by Capital One.

What is the Credit Limit of the Venture Rewards Card?

The Venture Rewards card will come with a credit limit of at least $5,000.

You can request a credit line increase from Capital One at any time, though we recommend waiting about 6 or 12 months between requests. Capital One may also increase your credit line automatically if you show responsible credit behavior.

The Bottom Line

The Capital One Venture Rewards is a pretty simple card, but it has good earnings potential.

2X miles everywhere you spend isn’t a bad deal, and the 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening make for a pretty great introductory bonus.

This card’s value has increased now that you can transfer Capital One miles to a variety of airlines, giving you an opportunity to earn more than 1 cent per mile.

There are extra benefits that can potentially come in quite useful, especially the shopping and travel discounts you’ll find. Try to book hotel rooms through the Luxury Hotel Collection to get the most out of this card.

The Venture Rewards is a general-use travel rewards card, good for a variety of spending. But there are many travel card options out there. Take a look at some other travel cards, with rewards for different types of purchases and other kinds of benefits.

How to Apply for the Venture Rewards Card

You can apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card securely on Capital One’s website.

Most applicants will get an instant decision, but not all. In some cases Capital One may request more information.

The Venture Rewards is issued as a metal credit card, with a stainless steel veneer. This card is designed for excellent credit, meaning a FICO 8 Credit Score of about 700 or above. But this isn’t a direct requirement, and you may be approved if your credit scores are close, depending on your other financial information.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must not have applied for a Capital One credit card two or more times in the last 30 days
  • Must not have five or more open credit card accounts with Capital One
  • Must not be past due or over the credit line with any Capital One credit accounts
  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information, including SSN, address, and phone number
  • Total annual income, and source of income
  • Monthly mortgage/rent payment
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR17.24% - 24.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Alternatives to the Venture Rewards Card

 

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.49% - 24.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

If you like what the Venture Card has to offer but you don’t want to pay the annual fee, you might find the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card (Review) more attractive.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 1.25X miles per dollar on all purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20,000 bonus miles for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

You’ll get a similar rewards program to the Venture card, but with 1.25X miles instead of 2X for “other purchases.” The introductory bonus offer is smaller too, at just 20,000 miles, but it will take less spending to get.

All of the redemption options for the Venture card also apply here, including the mile transfer partners.

Benefits

The VentureOne card is available at either the Visa Platinum or Visa Signature level. The version you get will depend on your credit limit: below $5,000 will get a Visa Platinum, while $5,000 and above will get a Visa Signature.

If your card comes as a Visa Signature, it will have all the Visa benefits mentioned above for the Venture card. If your card is a Visa Platinum, it will only have the following protections:

  • Extended Warranty: Will double an eligible manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year, for warranties of three years or less.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Provides coverage for collision damage and theft of eligible rented vehicles, when you decline the rental company’s own insurance.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $100,000 in coverage is available for accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while traveling by common carrier.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: A variety of services like medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation or ticket replacement, and pre-trip assistance.

Terms & Fees

There’s no annual fee for the VentureOne Rewards card. It also comes with a 0% intro APR for purchases for 12 months before the 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR kicks in, a nice offer that the Venture card doesn’t have. There are no foreign transaction fees to pay.

Since the VentureOne has no annual fee, you may actually earn more overall rewards with it than the Venture card, even though it offers miles at a lesser rate. With no annual fee to offset, any rewards you earn will be all profit. Here’s how much you’ll earn with each card in terms of cash back equivalent, after accounting for the annual fee of the Venture card.

Amount Spent Annually Venture – Cash Back Equivalent (2X miles per dollar) VentureOne – Cash Back Equivalent (1.25X miles per dollar)
$5,000 $5 $62.5
$10,000 $105 $125
$12,667 $158.34 $158.34
$15,000 $205 $187.50
$20,000 $305 $250

So you’ll need to spend $12,667 or more per year for the Venture card to be more rewarding than the VentureOne. Keep in mind we’re assuming a value of 1 cent per mile here.

Read more in our Review of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (Review) is another general-use travel card, popular for its point-transfer options to airline and hotel frequent traveler programs. It has a $95 annual fee.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25% point bonus when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Rather than providing 2X miles for most purchases, like the Venture Rewards, the Sapphire Preferred offers 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides, and 2X for travel and dining.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn here will be worth 1 cent each normally, but they can be redeemed for more than that. The 25% point bonus for redeeming for travel through Ultimate Rewards means they’ll be worth 1.25 cents each, for an equivalent of 2.5% cash back on travel.

Points can also be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, and Hyatt. We’ve found transfer deals that provide the equivalent of 3.3% cash back (when spending in the 2X bonus categories). You may be able to find even better redemption values than that.

Many people use the Sapphire Preferred to earn points and transfer them to their favorite airline or hotel. The Venture Rewards doesn’t have a transfer program like this, although you’ll be able to earn miles on a wider variety of purchases. The Sapphire Preferred is great as a general-use card for point transfers.

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes as a Visa Signature, just like the Venture Rewards. So they’ll have the same set of extra benefits and protections from Visa, for the most part, like the concierge service. There are also some extra card features provided by Chase.

  • Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: At participating properties, provides a daily breakfast for two, room upgrades if available, unique gifts, and more.
  • Shop Through Chase: Earn 1–15% cash back at a variety of retailers, giving you a way to earn more rewards outside the bonus categories (the Venture card does not have a service like this).
  • Chase Preferred Experiences: Get invitations or preferred access to exclusive events, like VIP trips to sports games, golf championships, and music festivals.
  • Direct Access to Customer Support: Call to be immediately connected with a customer support specialist, without having to work with a phone menu.
  • Invite Friends for Bonus Points: You’ll get 15,000 bonus points for every friend you refer who successfully applies for the Sapphire Preferred, up to 75,000 points per year.

So the extra perks of the Sapphire Preferred are probably superior to the Venture Rewards, although the rewards program may be a more important factor for you.

Terms & Fees

The Sapphire Preferred has terms and fees that are similar to the Venture Rewards. There’s an annual fee of $95, and no foreign transaction fees.

Each card will come with a minimum credit limit of $5,000.

You’ll be able to offset the annual fee of the Sapphire Preferred by spending about $2,970, assuming you earn at the 2X rate and then redeem for a good point transfer. Or, if you redeem for travel through Ultimate Rewards, it would take $3,800 in spending at the 2X rate.

Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

 

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$250
Regular APRN/A
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The American Express® Gold Card (Review) has several bonus reward categories, unlike the Venture Rewards. This card has a $250 annual fee, which can be offset by using the benefits effectively each year.

Rewards

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on:
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 35,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Instead of simply offering 2X miles for every purchase, the Amex Gold card provides more points for eligible flight purchases, and has a few other valuable bonus categories as well. This card isn’t as flexible as the Venture Rewards, but it will be more rewarding for certain purchases.

Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for travel expenses at up to 1 cent each, meaning you’d earn an equivalent of 4%, 3%, 2%, or 1% cash back with this card, depending on the rate at which you earn points.

Or, points can be transferred to a wide variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs where they might be worth more to you. You may get as much as 2 cents per point or more through transfers, which would give you a cash back equivalent of 8% when spending in the 4X categories, and 6% in the 3X categories.

The Amex Gold provides a good rate on airfare, and it’s more rewarding than the Venture in those other bonus categories too.

Benefits

The Gold Card has a set of travel and shopping benefits provided by Amex. Many of the protections will be similar, like Purchase Protection.

There are also some other more valuable perks to take advantage of:

  • $120 Annual Dining Credit: Get $10 in statement credits every month at participating restaurants and food delivery services.
  • $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit: Good for incidental airline charges, like baggage and in-flight food. It won’t apply to ticket prices.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more, along with other services like room upgrades when available.
  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a wide variety of merchants, like Etsy, TurboTax, Advance Auto Parts, and more.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: Get free two-day shipping and returns from participating online merchants.

This card has some cost-saving perks that you won’t get from the Venture, but it also has a much higher annual fee. So, if you can’t fully utilize these credits, you may find the benefits of the Venture Rewards card to be more valuable than what you’d get with the Amex Gold.

If you know you’ll use the dining and airline credits, and can also make use of the $100 hotel credit one or more times per year, that would be a good reason to consider this card over the Venture. Otherwise, the Visa Signature benefits you get with the Venture might be preferable.

Terms & Fees

The Amex Gold Card has an annual fee of $250, more than twice as large as the Venture Rewards. There are no foreign transaction fees.

The Gold Card is also a charge card, rather than a regular credit card like the Venture. This means you’ll need to pay off the statement balance in full each billing period, rather than having an option to revolve it over to the next month.

To offset the $250 annual fee of this card, you can begin by using the $120 dining credit and $100 airline fee credit in full each year. That leaves only $30 left to offset, which you could do with a single use of The Hotel Collection’s $100 credit.

Or, you can earn $30 worth of points by spending $750 at the 4X rate, assuming you redeem points for 1 cent each. If you can transfer your points and get 2 cents per point, it’d only take $375 in spending.

Read more in our Review of the American Express® Gold Card

Airline and Hotel Credit Cards

Some credit cards are co-branded with particular airlines or hotels, for which they provide specific rewards and benefits. If you love one airline or hotel brand more than all the others, it will be worth checking to see if they offer a credit card. Most of the major brands do.

Insider tip

Find the right airline or hotel credit card to fit your lifestyle:


Here’s an example of each kind of card.

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR16.49% to 23.49% Variable

The United℠ Explorer Card (Review) is co-branded with United Airlines, where it provides extra miles per dollar and a few nice perks. It could be right for you, if you spend about $1,000 or more with United per year.

The Explorer has a $95 annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees. So the terms are mostly like the Venture Rewards, but the annual fee isn’t waived the first year.

You can offset that fee with as little as $679 in spending, assuming you earn at the 7X rate and redeem for 2 cents per mile (2X from the card, 5X from Basic MileagePlus member status).

Spending Rewards
  • 7X or more miles per dollar on tickets purchased from United
    • 2X miles per dollar from the Explorer Card
    • 5X miles or more per dollar for being a Basic MileagePlus member
  • 2X miles per dollar:
    • on hotel accommodations purchased directly with the hotel
    • at restaurants
  • 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

You’ll earn miles on any tickets purchased from United, even if the flight is operated by a different airline. So you’ll have some flexibility when collecting miles.

We’ve found United Saver Award flights that provide about 2 cents per mile, which would give you an equivalent of 14% cash back. That’s a great deal, but you’ll have to do all your spending and redeeming with United to get it. Different types of flights and other redemption options will provide less value per point.

Cardholders get several benefits when flying with United, and in other situations too:

  • Free first checked bag: The first checked bag is free for you and one traveling companion, for up to $120 in savings per round trip.
  • Priority Boarding: You and everyone else on your reservation will get Priority Boarding, before the general boarding call.
  • Two United Club passes per year: Access the United Club to wait for your flight with complimentary food and beverages, a place to work with WiFi, and other amenities.
  • Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Perks when staying at participating hotels, like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, a gift that’s unique to the location, and other amenities.
  • Chase Inside Access: Invitations to exclusive sports, music, dining, and cultural experiences.
  • Visa Signature Protections: This card comes as a Visa Signature, like the Venture Rewards, so it also has protections like Roadside Dispatch.

See more options for other airlines in our post, The Best Airline Credit Cards

 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
(Rates & Fees)
Annual Fee$95
Regular APR15.74–24.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Review) is co-branded with Hilton, and could be a good option if you spend $1,000 or so with that hotel brand every year.

The Surpass costs $95 per year, and has no foreign transaction fee.

You can offset that fee by spending about $1,145, if you redeem points for free night stays and get a cash back equivalent of about 8.3%. Or, if you redeem for your 5th night free, you can get $95 in value with about $754 in spending. This assumes you’re earning points at the 24.5X rate.

Spending Rewards
  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar at:
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offers
  • 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

This card showers you with Hilton Honors points, although they won’t be worth quite as much as the points you get in competing programs. So it pretty much evens out.

At 30X points per dollar, you’ll be earning a cash back equivalent of about 12–30% assuming a point value of 0.4–1 cent each (12X base points from the card and 18X points from Hilton Honors Gold status).

The Surpass gives cardholders complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, which comes with several nice perks. There’s an 80% point bonus on Base Points earned, rate discounts, and your second guest stays free. Diamond status can be reached by spending $40,000 with the card per year, which has even better benefits.

Some other perks are included as well:

  • Annual Weekend Night Award: A free weekend night is available after you spend $15,000 with the card in a given year.
  • Priority Pass Select Access: You’ll get 10 free visits per year to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, with a fee of $27 after that.
  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a wide variety of merchants, like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ray-Ban, 1-800-Flowers, and more.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: Get free two-day shipping and returns from participating online merchants.

See more options for other hotels in our post, The Best Hotel Credit Cards

Did you like this review? Feel free to share it with a friend! If you use the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, leave your own review for other readers, we’d love to hear from you!

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Details
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Regular APR17.24% - 24.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The information related to Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Learn all about Travel Credit Cards and see our picks for the best ones.

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For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

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