Which Capital One Venture Card Version Is Best?

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For those of us in the points world, Capital One has become an increasingly interesting card issuer in recent years, as Capital One’s mileage program has continued to improve.

Capital One’s most popular travel card portfolio is the Venture Card, but nowadays there are three versions of the card. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at those three cards, and help anyone who might be trying to decide between these different products. Is there a clear winner?

The three Capital One Venture Card products

There are three different “flavors” of the Capital One Venture, all going after a different consumer base:

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has no annual feeThe Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual feeThe Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has a $395 annual fee

Which of these cards is the best value? Let’s first go over the basics of these cards, and then we’ll take a look at which of these cards makes the most sense.

Capital One VentureOne Card basics

The Capital One VentureOne Card is the most basic card in the portfolio:

It has no annual feeIt has a welcome offer of 20,000 Venture miles after spending $500 within three monthsIt offers 1.25x Venture miles per dollar spent, with no foreign transaction fees

Being able to earn rewards that can be converted into airline miles on a no annual fee card is awesome, especially as the card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. However, for most consumers I think there’s value in paying an annual fee to get a more lucrative card.

Read a full review of the Capital One VentureOne Card.

The VentureOne has no foreign transaction fees

Capital One Venture Card basics

The Capital One Venture Card is the mid-range card in the portfolio:

It has a $95 annual feeIt has a massive welcome offer of 75,000 Venture miles after spending $4,000 within three monthsIt offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent, with no foreign transaction fees, making it one of the best cards for everyday spendingIt offers perks like a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit once every four years and two Capital One Lounge visits per year

For someone who is willing to pay a reasonable annual fee but wants a rewarding card, the Capital One Venture Card is tough to beat. You’re earning an excellent return on everyday spending, and you get some perks that could help offset the annual fee.

Read a full review of the Capital One Venture Card.

Earn 2x Venture miles with the Venture

Capital One Venture X Card basics

The Capital One Venture X Card is the premium card in the portfolio, and was only introduced in late 2021:

It has a $395 annual feeIt has a big welcome offer of 75,000 Venture miles after spending $4,000 within three monthsIt offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent with no foreign transaction feesIt offers endless perks, including a $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, a Priority Pass membership, unlimited access to Capital One Lounges, unlimited access to Plaza Premium Lounges, primary rental car coverage, cell phone protection, and incredible authorized user perks (including a Priority Pass membership and Capital One Lounge access for up to four authorized users at no extra cost)

If you travel with any frequency, it should be really easy to justify the annual fee on this card. Personally I value the $300 annual travel credit and 10,000 anniversary bonus miles at more than the $395 annual fee, so everything else is just the icing on the cake.

Read a full review of the Capital One Venture X Card.

Get unlimited Capital One Lounge access with the Venture X

Which Capital One Venture Card should you apply for?

How should you decide whether to apply for the Capital One VentureOne Card, Capital One Venture Card, or Capital One Venture X Card? While not everyone is going to agree on the best strategy, let me share some general things to consider.

You have the option of upgrading or downgrading cards

Credit card issuers generally let you upgrade or downgrade cards within the same line, as long as you’ve had a card for at least 12 months. This won’t always be possible, but more often than not it is. That means you could apply for one card in the Venture lineup, and then if you later decide that another card is a better fit for you, you can product change to that.

You should be able to upgrade or downgrade your card

Go after a big welcome bonus

There’s a big difference in terms of the welcome bonuses here. The Capital One VentureOne Card offers a bonus of 20,000 Venture miles, while both the Capital One Venture Card and Capital One Venture X Card offer a bonus of 75,000 Venture miles.

Venture miles can be redeemed for a minimum of one cent each toward a travel purchase, though personally I value them at 1.7 cents each, for the ability to convert them into airline miles and hotel points. So there’s a difference of at least $550 between the value of these bonuses (75,000 miles vs. 20,000 miles), and by my valuation there’s a difference of $935 between the value.

That’s a reason to pick up one of the premium cards, and if you later decide it’s not a good fit for you, there should be the option to downgrade.

Redeem Venture miles toward the cost of travel purchases

The value of 1.25x miles vs. 2x miles

The Capital One VentureOne Card offers 1.25x Venture miles per dollar spent, while the Capital One Venture Card and Capital One Venture X Card offer 2x Venture miles per dollar spent. So how should you account for the difference in value there?

At a valuation of 1.0 cents per Venture mile, that’s a difference in return of 0.75% on spendingAt a valuation of 1.7 cents per Venture mile, that’s a difference of 1.275% on spending

To keep things simple, let’s compare the no annual fee Capital One VentureOne Card and $95 annual fee Capital One Venture Card, and how quickly you could recoup the annual fee. With the difference of 0.75 Venture miles per dollar spent:

If you value Venture miles at 1.0 cents each (based on the ability to redeem them as cash toward travel purchases), then you’d come out ahead with the Venture over the VentureOne if you spend at least $12,667 per yearIf you value Venture miles at 1.7 cents each (based on the ability to convert them into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio), then you’d come out ahead with the Venture over the VentureOne if you spend at least $7,451 per year

This doesn’t even factor in that the Venture Card offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit, access to Capital One Lounges twice per year, etc.

Redeem Venture miles for Singapore Airlines business class

Why the Capital One Venture X is the no-brainer

I think most people can agree that it makes sense to apply for the Capital One Venture Card over the Capital One VentureOne Card, even if they ordinarily prefer cards without annual fees. The welcome bonus is much better, as is the return on spending. You should be able to downgrade the card after a year if you decide it doesn’t make sense to you.

But should you instead pay an extra $300 in annual fees and get the Capital One Venture X Card? Personally I think the math there very much makes sense as well:

You’ll get a $300 Capital One Travel portal credit, which you can use to book a $300 flight or hotel; that right there should recoup the differenceYou’ll get a Priority Pass membership, offering you access to the biggest lounge network in the worldYou get access to 100+ Plaza Premium LoungesYou can even add four authorized users at no extra cost, and they’ll also get a Priority Pass membershipIf you keep the card for a second year, you’ll also get 10,000 anniversary bonus miles

And there are many, many other perks. The Capital One Venture X is really a premium credit card that makes sense even for people who don’t usually get premium credit cards. If you can get over the initial “sticker shock” of paying a $395 annual fee, you’ll quickly get outsized value from the card.

Get a Priority Pass membership with the Venture X

Bottom line

Capital One’s Venture lineup consists of the Capital One VentureOne Card, Capital One Venture Card, and Capital One Venture X Card. Each card has a unique value proposition:

The Capital One VentureOne Card is great for having no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and earning transferable pointsThe $95 annual fee Capital One Venture Card is one of the most rewarding mid-range cards for everyday spendingThe $395 annual fee Capital One Venture X Card builds on the basics of the Venture Card, but offers worthwhile perks that should justify the fee

You can’t go wrong with any of these cards, though personally I’d apply for one of the premium cards for the much better welcome bonus, and then you could always downgrade the card at a later point. I think the Capital One Venture X Card is the best option, as it really has perks that add up in the long run.

What’s your take on which Capital One Venture Card is best?

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