The Capital One Venture X is Capital One’s most recent attempt to elbow its way into the conversation for best travel credit card.

Most players in the points and miles space maintain at least one premium travel credit card in their wallet. They use this card in between sign-up bonuses, benefit from its perks in airports and hotels and consolidate their points for redemptions with transfer partners.

Although the Venture X is a new card, Capital One is no stranger to the travel credit card industry. But has the bank unseated the long standing titans in the premium credit card marketplace?

Let’s compare the Capital One Venture X to the two most notable premium travel rewards cards: The Platinum Card® from American Express (see rates and fees)and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

airport premium lounge

Perks and Benefits

Premium travel cards are loaded with extra perks and benefits that are often overlooked by the casual traveler, but having one of these cards in your wallet can save you thousands of dollars and help you overcome the inconveniences of irregular travel situations.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • DoorDash subscription: Skip delivery fees on DoorDash orders with a free DashPass membership, courtesy of your Chase Sapphire Reserve (enrollment required by 3/31/2022).
  • Priority Pass Select membership: You and up to two guests will have access to Priority Pass lounges in airports across the world (enrollment required).
  • Travel interruption insurance: If your trip is interrupted by weather, sickness or damage to the property, Chase will reimburse you for all or a portion of the trip. Make sure to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay for a portion of your trip.
  • Car rental auto collision damage waiver: Decline the coverage at the car rental counter, and Chase will cover any damage to the vehicle from collision or theft. This is primary coverage that kicks in before your auto insurance coverage.

The Platinum Card from American Express

  • Lounge access: Along with Priority Pass select membership (enrollment required) offered with the Chase card, American Express also operates 24 Centurion Lounges worldwide: 13 domestically and 11 abroad. The Platinum Card will gain you access to all of these along with Delta Sky Clubs and Lufthansa Business and Senator lounges, when flying those airlines. The Platinum Card has the most extensive lounge access of any premium card.
  • Travel interruption insurance: This insurance works much like the Sapphire Reserve, except you must pay for your trip in full with the Platinum Card. For instance, if you pay for the down payment of a vacation rental with the Platinum Card, but the balance with another card, you won’t have coverage for the purchase.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Again, this coverage works similar to the collision damage waiver from Chase. Both issuers require that you pay the rental in full with their card.
  • Concierge service: The Platinum Card also gives you access to American Express Concierge service. The concierge team can book a reservation or experience at hard-to-obtain venues, send gifts or flowers on your behalf or do a number of other tasks. Just call and ask.

Capital One Venture X

  • Lounge access: The Venture X offers the same Priority Pass Select membership that you receive from the Platinum Card or the Sapphire Reserve. It also gains you unlimited access to any of the newly built Capital One Venture Lounges. So far only one of these is open in Dallas (DFW) with two planned openings in 2022 in Denver (DEN) and Washington (IAD).
  • Car damage rental waiver: Unlike the Chase and American Express cards, the Venture X’s car damage waiver is secondary to your auto insurance, meaning that it can supplement any deficiency in your comprehensive or collision coverage, but you must first file a claim with your insurer before this coverage will kick in.

Notably, absent from this list is travel interruption/cancellation insurance.

Points Earning Potential

Each of these cards have select categories that will enhance your point earning potential vs. normal spending. Lining up your typical spending with the premium card you keep in your wallet can mean a lot of extra travel. However, not all points are created equal. While each card has a unique earning scheme, it also has unique uses for their respective points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns:

  • 10X points per dollar on hotels booked through Ultimate Rewards Travel
  • 10X points per dollar on Lyft Rides (through March 2022)
  • 10X points per dollar on prepaid Chase Dining purchases
  • 5X points back on flights booked through Ultimate Rewards Travel
  • 3X points per dollar on all other dining and travel
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point in the travel portal or transferred to 14 transfer partners, notably Hyatt and Southwest, which are unique to Chase vs. other programs.

You can also redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit at a rate of 1 cent per point or 1.5 cent per point on select purchases, based on a rotating category of vendors, using the Pay Yourself Back feature.

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card earns:

  • 5X points per dollar spent on hotels and flights booked through the American Express Travel Portal
  • 5X points per dollar spent on flight bookings made directly with the carrier
  • 1X Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent

Membership Reward points can be redeemed for travel at a rate of 1 cent per point in the travel portal or transferred to 20 partners, notably ANA and Hawaiian Airlines that are unique to American Express vs. the other programs.

You can also redeem Membership Reward points for cash at a rate of 0.6 cent per point, but I don’t recommend it.

Capital One Venture X

The Venture X earns:

  • 10X miles per dollar spent on hotels booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X miles per dollar spent on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles per dollar spent on all other purchases

Capital One Venture Miles can be redeemed for travel at a rate of 1 cent per mile or transferred to 17 transfer partners, notably Choice Hotels and Turkish Airlines that are unique to Capital One vs. the other two programs.

A key feature of the Venture miles is that they can also be used to erase any charge that codes as travel. Just click on the “erase a travel purchase” button on your Capital One account dashboard and select the charge that qualifies.

Statement Credits

Each of the premium cards will reimburse you for certain travel related purchases via a statement credit. These credits can add up to big money, as long as you remember to take advantage of them. Simply make a purchase that falls within one of the credit categories and the statement credit will offset the charge.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Statement Credits

The most notable statement credit for Chase is a $300 statement credit on any purchase that codes as “travel”. The Chase Sapphire Reserve also has these statement credits:

  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit: Your application fee for TSA Precheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100) will be credited back to you via statement credit once every four years.
trip insurance

The Platinum Card® from American Express Statement Credits

The Platinum Card® from American Express, a $695-per-year card (see rates and fees), is packed with $1,400 in value, according to its website.

American Express recently loaded a plethora of statement credits on the Platinum Card, including the following:

  • $179 Clear membership: Get reimbursed up to $179 when purchasing a Clear membership. This service captures your biometrics for seamless entry into some airports and sporting events that utilize the Clear system.
  • $200 hotel credit: Receive up to a $200 statement credit when booking a Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection property through the American Express Travel portal with a two night minimum.
  • $200 airline credit: Receive up to $200 in statement credits for incidentals on one airline carrier of your choice. You can change the airline once per year.
  • $200 Uber Cash: $15 in Uber Cash load onto your Uber account each month (with an extra $20 in December). If you don’t use it by the end of the month, you lose it.
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit: Receive a $50 statement credit every six months for purchases made at Saks stores. This also is a use-it-or-lose-it benefit.
  • $300 Equinox credit: Up to $300 statement credit for an Equinox fitness membership.
  • $240 digital entertainment credit: Get up to $20 credit per month for memberships to Audible, SiriusXM radio, The New York Times or Peacock TV. This also is a use-it-or-lose it benefit.
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit: Either a $100 Global Entry credit once every four years or an $85 TSA Precheck credit every 4.5 years.

That’s a lot of credits!

Capital One Venture X Statement Credits

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Venture X has a $300 travel credit. The difference between these credits is that Venture X’s credit is only valid for travel booked through Capital One Travel. Capital One’s travel portal is powered by Hopper, so any hotels or flights you would find on Hopper should be bookable through Capital One’s portal.

Additionally, the Venture X offers these credits:

  • Vacation rental credit: Up to $200 in statement credits on bookings made on vacation rental sites, such as Airbnb, VRBO, TurnKey Vacation Rentals and Vacasa. This is a first-year only credit and shouldn’t go into your long-term considerations to keep this card.
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry credit: Either a $100 Global Entry credit or an $85 TSA Precheck credit every four years.

Annual Fees

Nobody likes paying fees. However, each of these cards come with a plethora of benefits, credits and augmented point earning ability. Card companies aren’t giving them away for free.

The credit card company uses the annual fee as a way to offset the cost of these benefits in the case you don’t spend enough on the card to cover their costs.

Here are the fees for each card:

  • Capital One Venture X Annual Fee: $395
  • Platinum Card from American Express: $695
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: $550
rental car insurance coverage

Head to Head Comparison

Although it’s tempting to apply for the card with the largest bonus, or to flee from a card with the highest annual fee, many factors go into whether or not you should apply for a card.

To decide if an annual fee is worth it, you must first decide what the actual net annual fee of each card is to you.

This isn’t necessarily the same for each person.

Each premium card offers ways to offset the annual fee through statement credits. However, they only offset the annual fee if you’re already using these benefits and the statement credits would be putting money back in your pocket.

Any additional benefits you are able to take advantage of are nice, but they aren’t actually saving you money.

Subtract the statement credits that you can reasonably use in your travels and other spending activity from the annual fee in order to arrive at your net annual fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express Net Annual Fee

American Express is targeting a specific customer with their long list of credits. You have to decide whether they work for you.

Personally, I consider the airline credits and Uber Cash to be offsetting credits. I find the airline credits are hard to use since I often have a co-branded card that offsets my luggage fees. Historically, I’ve been able to use the credit to offset a couple $100 flights on Southwest Airlines, and we use Uber Cash for Uber Eats when our family decides to order in.

You may be able to use a different set of credits, but it’s fair to say some of the credits might not fit in your normal spending habits.

While American Express thinks you can get $1,400 of value out of this card, realistically, most travelers should be able to find at least $400 in credits out of the total offerings. Therefore, most travelers should experience a net annual fee of $295 at most.

Capital One Venture X Net Annual Fee

Using the $300 statement credit knocks the net annual fee on the Capital One Venture X down to $95.

Remember to not include the first year only $200 vacation rental credit, as it will not offset the fee on an ongoing basis.

Like the other cards, you may choose to use Priority Pass Membership or other perks to offset the fee if Priority Pass is an expense you would normally make..

However you do the math, the most the Capital One Venture X will “cost” you each year will be $95.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Net Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee of $550 is easily offset by a $300 annual travel statement credit. Anyone who plans on spending money on travel can use this statement credit.

One benefit that is unique to the Sapphire Reserve is its ability to augment the Ultimate Rewards points you are earning across the Chase credit card suite.

All points redeemed in the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal are worth 1.5X when redeemed through your Sapphire Reserve card.

To estimate the approximate value of this benefit, estimate the number of points you will redeem in the Chase travel portal each year.

For instance, if you stay in a lot of vacation rentals or plan to use the points to offset the cost of renting a vehicle, these redemptions can be made through the Chase portal.

If you plan on redeeming 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points this year (what would normally be $1,000 in travel) with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, your 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points would be worth $1,500 in travel (100,000 x 0.015 instead of 0.01). That $500 almost pays for the card by itself!

However, if you plan on using the card mostly for transfers to partner airlines and hotel programs, then this feature is negligible and isn’t factored into your net annual fee.

For most travelers the net annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is $250.

Now it’s time to make a decision. Here’s the rundown so far:

Venture XPlatinum CardSapphire Reserve
Net Annual FeeAbout $95About $295About $250
Lounge AccessPriority PassPriority Pass, The Centurion Lounge,
Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa Business/Senator Lounge,
Airspace Lounge, Escape Lounges,
Plaza Premium Lounge.
Priority Pass
Trip InsuranceNoYes, full card payment required.Yes, partial card payment required.
Rental Car CoverageSecondaryPrimaryPrimary
Transfer Partners172014
Regular Earning2X1X1X
Best Non-Portal2X on everything5X on airfare booked directly with airlines3X on dining and travel

Final Thoughts

The best card for you really depends on your spending habits.

Although Capital One is putting a solid foot forward, the Venture X falls just short of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum Card.

Travel cancellation/interruption insurance and car rental collision coverage is worth the higher net annual fee on both cards.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s earning potential on dining and travel, two categories in which most travelers spend a considerable amount, makes it the dominant card to keep in your wallet. And an easy-to-use $300 travel credit makes it a somewhat inexpensive card.

The Amex Platinum has more transfer partners than Capital One or Chase and its lounge access is second to none. If your spending habits happen to align with the Platinum Card’s travel credits you may find you can whittle it’s annual fee down to $0.

Although Capital One is building lounges, too few lounges are open and only time will tell if they can compete with American Express Centurion Lounges. Like the Sapphire Reserve, the Venture X offers a travel credit, but it is just slightly less flexible in its usage..

I wouldn’t rule the Venture X out for a secondary card or a card for Player 2. If you’re skittish about annual fees, the Venture X may be a quality entry-level option to test out Priority Pass and other premium benefits.

For now, the OG premium cards keep their seats, but the more competition among credit card brands for traveler’s wallet space, the better for the points and miles community.