Capital One is attacking the travel reward space aggressively. At a time when premium travel credit cards are increasing their fees and shifting their benefits away from travel and towards lifestyle, Capital One is executing a seemingly comprehensive strategy to win the frequent traveler’s business.  

There have been a number of additions to Capital One transfer partners, they’ve revamped their travel portal, begun to open lounges and most recently released The Capital One Venture X Rewards Card. 

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Card is a premium travel credit card that plans to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express. 

But is it that much of an upgrade from the Capital One® Venture® Credit Card? 

Let’s find out.

Benefits of the Capital One Venture Card

If the Capital One Venture Credit Card is already in your wallet, you are already receiving many of the benefits of the Venture X card, including the following:

  • $100 TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit every 4 years
  • Hertz Five Star Gold Status
  • 2X rewards on all spending
  • 5X rewards on hotels booked through Capital One’s travel portal
  • 2 free lounge visits to Capital One lounges.

The Capital One Venture Credit Card comes with a fee of $95 per year. While the sign-up bonus and annual fee are fairly standard compared against other cards in its class, the Capital One Venture’s 2x earning on all spending makes it a solid card for daily non-category spending.

The most popular feature of the Venture product suite is the ability to ‘erase’ travel purchases with Venture Miles via a statement credit.

Just click on ‘erase my travel purchases’ on your Capital One dashboard and a list of purchases, loosely defined as ‘travel’, displays.

Each Venture Mile has a value of .01 (100 miles= $1) for erasure.

Although this is the most common use of Venture points, Capital One’s new list of transfer partners make these miles even more valuable than they used to be.

Benefits of the Capital One Venture X Card

The Venture X card boasts all of the benefits of the Venture card and adds the following:

  • Unlimited Capital One Lounge Access
  • Complimentary Priority Pass membership
  • Hertz President Circle Status
  • A $300 statement credit for travel purchased through Capital One Travel
  • A $200 credit for travel booked through vacation rental sites like Homeaway and AirBNB (For the first year only)
  • 10X rewards on hotels booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X rewards on flights booked through Capital One Travel

At the moment, the only opened Capital One Lounge is at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport (DFW) with openings planned in Denver (DEN) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) for 2022.

The Venture X requires a $395 annual fee and is currently offering a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus after a $10,000 spend after the first six months of account opening.

That’s a hefty spend.

However, being net positive on this card in your first year is a cinch. The $300 statement credit for the Capital One portal and the $200 vacation rental credit, both easy for an avid traveler to use, more than offset the annual fee.

Bonus Differences Between The Venture and Venture X

When comparing bonuses, it’s easy to let your eyes light up on the six digit numbers, but remember the goal of points and miles is to gain as many points for travel without increasing your daily spending.

I would much rather not spend $10,000 than have 100,000 Venture Miles.

The Venture X card is attractive as a premium credit card and the first year premium credits offset the cost of the card. However, the spend you have to put on the card in order to receive the sign-up bonus should cause you pause.

Consider if you are in two player mode and neither player has a Capital One Venture or Venture X. You could each apply for the Capital One Venture, spend $6,000 and receive 120,000 Venture Miles compared to spending $10,000 on one Venture X and receiving 100,000 miles.

The Venture play nets you 20% more miles for 40% less spend!

If you are a solo player, you will find a plethora of other lucrative sign-up bonuses that can be had for less spend including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Citi Premier Card and the American Express Platinum Card.

For the dollars you have to part with to gain the sign-up bonus, although the Venture X’s bonus is lucrative, the Capital One Venture Credit Card offers more bang for your buck.

This isn’t to completely rule out the Venture X as your next card option.

If your personal spending patterns leave you with plenty of spend to go around, or you are above 5/24 and already have a Capital One Venture Credit Card, the Venture X is a solid option for your next application. The travel credits make it a virtually free way to gain 100,000 Venture Miles.

It’s easy to let your eyes light up on the six digit numbers, but remember the goal of points and miles is to gain as many points for travel without increasing your daily spending.

Which Version of Venture Should You Put In Your Wallet?

Although the Capital One Venture boasts a ‘better deal’ from a sign up bonus perspective, the Venture X is a top contender for prime real estate in your wallet.

As premium credit cards from Chase and American Express raise their fees, add goofy benefits that few need or want, and generally lower the value of their offerings in lounge space access, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card is coming on scene right on time.

The $395 annual fee is the lowest fee in the premium credit card space, and one of the easiest to offset. The Venture X also gives everything I want out of a premium card; Priority Pass lounge access, premium car rental status and good earning potential on daily spend without adding hard to keep track of monthly credits for things I don’t use.

The only thing the Venture X lacks is the quality travel interruption insurance of the other premium credit cards.

When compared with the Venture Card, however, keeping the Venture X is a no brainer. Using the Venture X over the Venture means you will essentially gain Priority Pass membership and Capital One Lounge access, for the same net cost as the Venture card, after considering the $300 hotel credit.

If you don’t currently have a card in the Capital One product suite, and are over 5/24, I would consider applying for the Capital One Venture and then upgrading later to the Venture X and keeping it as a long term card.

Final Thoughts

When analyzing cards and sign-up bonuses, it’s easy to get focused on the large bonuses or shy away from large annual fees. But there’s more to consider than these two factors alone.

The Capital One Venture Credit Card, although offering less points, is a better use of spend for anyone who keeps a tight lid on their spending, but the Venture X is more than worth the annual fee, especially in the first year.

For those who want to keep a premium card in their wallet and are turned off by some of the fee increases seen across other banks, the Venture X has earned at least a spot in the conversation for your ‘in between bonuses’ card.

If you’re over 5/24 and just need a quick sign-up bonus, avoid the trap of the Venture X’s $10,000 spend. But if you’re looking for a card to take first place in your wallet, Capital One may have just earned its spot with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card.