Hello! Today we are going to look at one of the staples to free or cheap travel: points! One of the best ways to get points / miles is by using a travel rewards credit card for purchases you’re already making. This card is one of the best out there – maybe even the best, depending on what kind of purchases you make.
This is my number two travel rewards card – barely. Why? Because we’re talking about travel rewards. The newer Chase Sapphire Reserve card is better for travel-specific purchases, but not for general purchases. When you’re looking at all purchases, this card is the best I have used. Here’s the nuts and bolts for those who sign up:
- Bonus of 50,000 points (Capital One calls them miles)
- Worth at least $500 in travel
- Must spend $3,000 within 3 months of opening account
- Annual fee waived the first year
Primary Benefits and Fees
- Annual Fee of $95 (waived for the first year, as mentioned above)
- 2 points per dollar on everything you buy, with no limits
- No foreign transaction fees
- $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check
- Travel and purchase protections
- 10% points/miles on hotels.com reservations
This is a nicely-designed card that feels solid when you hold it. One of the things I love about this card (and possibly other Capital One credit cards) is that you can customize the design with a picture of your own. While customizing the card makes it around the same thickness of other cards (maybe a bit smaller), it’s a nice personal touch. I put a picture of my wife on the front of mine that I took in an alley in Venice, Italy while we were on our honeymoon. Because of that feature, I’ve gotten more compliments on this card than any other – even the sturdy all-metal Sapphire Reserve. The only down side to this is if you add other card holders, their cards will also have the same image – which means my wife has a card with a picture of herself on the front. That makes her use it less – never for in-person transactions.
What it’s good for
Use this card on everything you can, unless you have a card which maximizes a nice category with greater rewards. You get a full 2% on everything you spend. No other card has a higher reward rate on all purchases. In 2019, I filtered $114,703.71 through this card. That means I earned 229,406 points (“miles” on this card), worth $2,280 in free travel.
It’s even better for people who book through hotels.com – for now you get 10% miles on stays booked through hotels.com/venture page. You still get your Hotels.com reward nights on top of the bonus miles.
This is a nice feature for those who want to travel abroad. Not only does it allow you to save on fees when visiting another country, it makes it possible for you to earn while traveling. Another benefit is you can often save on flights and hotels when booking from America using local currency. See how on this sample trip booking we made flying to Japan from Hong Kong.
This card has the best system for redeeming travel purchases I’ve ever used. You go into their “Purchase eraser” and simply click on the purchase you want to redeem. You tell it how many points you want to use on that transaction, then click and you see the credit on your account within a few days. One benefit of this system is that it makes it look like a normal booking to an airline. That means you earn airline miles on free flights!
Who it’s for
People with Good or excellent credit who pay off their statement in full every month. If you spend less than $1,056 per month on general expenses, the Venture One card is a better option for you, since there’s no annual fee to offset the travel rewards you’ll be earning.
Alternate card options
Citi double Cash – 1% cash back when purchasing, 1% when paying (not travel rewards)
For those with lower credit scores
More Coming Soon
For those who spend less than $1,000 a month
VentureOne (Capital One) – 1.25% on all purchases