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The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has long enjoyed popularity as a go-to card for those who prefer a simple rewards-earning structure and straightforward award redemptions. The card also offers unparalleled travel perks for a modest $95 annual fee, making it an easy choice when it was the only card of its kind from the card issuer. In recent years, though, it's gotten some major competition from a premium Capital One product: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
Normally, comparing mid-tier and premium credit cards would be like comparing apples to oranges, but these two travel rewards credit cards don't just share a similar name – they also offer many of the same benefits. This makes it especially challenging to differentiate the value offered by each card and to determine whether one is more worthwhile than the other.
To make the decision easier, CNBC Select analyzed the benefits offered by each card to see how they compare. Here's how the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card stacks up against the Capital One Venture X.
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5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
N/A for purchases and balance transfers
20.24% - 28.24% variable
Balance transfer fee
0% at the regular transfer APR
Foreign transaction fee
10X miles on hotels and rental cars, 5X miles on flights when booked via Capital One Travel; unlimited 2X miles on all other eligible purchases
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
21.24% - 28.24% variable APR
Balance transfer fee
0% at the regular transfer APR
Foreign transaction fees
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee while the Capital One Venture X comes in at $395. This difference in price can be attributed to the robust list of travel perks offered by the Capital One Venture X, including premium travel benefits, an annual bonus of 10,000 miles, and an up to $300 travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel. Paying a higher annual fee for a card can be worth it, though, especially if you utilize the $300 travel credit every year (more on that later).
Winner: Capital One Venture Rewards.
Neither card currently offers an intro 0% APR period so you'll want to pay your bills on time and in full each month. Travel rewards credit cards aren't recommended for people who tend to carry balances, as their APRs are higher and the interest you'll end up paying invalidates the value of the rewards you'll earn. That said, if you do need to carry a balance at some point, the Capital One Venture does offer a lower interest rate (20.24% to 28.24% variable) than the Capital One Venture X (21.24% to 28.24% variable APR).
Winner: Capital One Venture Rewards.
Both cards earn 2X miles per dollar on all purchases, a pretty generous earning rate that's well above what most other cards will offer. The real difference is in the category bonuses offered by each card.
The Capital One Venture X comes out ahead with 10X miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles per dollar spent on flights booked through the portal. Cardholders also earn 10X miles per dollar on Turo bookings through May 16, 2023. Meanwhile, the Capital One Venture Rewards earns 5X miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles per dollar on Turo bookings through May 16, 2023.
However, if you don't anticipate booking any travel through Capital One's portal, the category bonuses really won't make a difference.
Both the Capital One Venture and the Capital One Venture X provide the same flexible redemption options. You can transfer your miles to any of Capital One's 18 airline and hotel partners, including Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges, and Accor Live Limitless, among others, or redeem them for flights, hotels, and car rentals through Capital One Travel. You can also use miles to offset recent travel purchases, shop online through Amazon or Paypal, gain access to exclusive events and experiences or redeem them for gift cards or cash-back (in the form of statement credits).
The value you'll get for your miles varies greatly. You'll score as little as 0.5 cents per mile by redeeming them for cash back or you can opt for a travel redemption of 1 cent per mile, a great option for times when award inventory is limited and cash bookings are more convenient and economical. Meanwhile, you may be able to get even greater value by taking advantage of Capital One's transfer partners. Otherwise, you'll get a value of 0.8 to 1 cent per mile when you redeem them for gift cards, events, or experiences, or use them to pay for purchases via Paypal and Amazon.
Winner: Tie. Both cards offer the same redemption options.
While it's worth $750 when the miles are redeemed for travel purchases, you can get significantly more value by transferring them to any of Capital One's airline partners. For example, with 75,000 miles, you can book up to five round-trip economy tickets to Hawaii using Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles. Considering how expensive flights to Hawaii can be, you'll end up with a lot more than $750 in value from your miles that way.
This is far from being the only "sweet spot" redemption when it comes to using Capital One miles. You can also transfer them to airline partner Avianca LifeMiles for flights to Europe from 20,000 miles one-way in economy or 63,000 miles in business class. Alternatively, you could transfer them over to Air France and KLM's Flying Blue loyalty program and take advantage of Promo Rewards, which offer short-haul awards starting at just 3,750 miles each way.
Winner: Tie. Both cards offer the same welcome bonus.
Even with Covid-19 restrictions lifting around the world, travel insurance has become more important than ever. If your trip is canceled or delayed for a reason that is out of your control, travel insurance can help cover the cost of any nonrefundable bookings.
The Capital One Venture Rewards and Capital One Venture X cards both provide travel accident insurance and rental car coverage. The only difference is the Venture card's coverage is secondary while Venture X's is primary — and secondary coverage only kicks in if your own car insurance company rejects the claim.
The Capital One Venture X provides additional travel protections, making it an excellent card if you're interested in more comprehensive coverage during your trip, including cell phone protection, primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement, and travel emergency assistance.
Both cards offer plenty of travel perks that can improve your experience and save you money. Each one also waives foreign transaction fees and includes a $100 credit every four years to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. The credit is especially generous for the Capital One Venture Rewards, since this benefit is typically only offered by premium credit cards.
The Capital One Venture Card also offers two Capital One Lounge visits per year, while the Capital One Venture X provides unlimited Capital One Lounge access for the cardholder and up to two guests, as well as access to more than 1,400 Priority Pass and Plaza Premium lounges across the globe. Needless to say, if you're a frequent traveler, the benefit from the Venture X card will end up being more useful than that of the Venture Card.
Lastly, Capital One Venture cardholders also receive complimentary Hertz Five Star status, while Capital One Venture X cardholders get automatically upgraded to Hertz President's Circle® status.
The similarities end there, with the Venture X card providing a more robust collection of premium benefits than the Venture card, including an annual 10,000-mile bonus (worth at least $100 for travel) and an up to $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel. Venture X cardholders also receive a complimentary subscription to PRIOR (worth $149), free membership with The Cultivist (worth $240) and $300 toward an annual membership with Gravity Haus. Overall, the perks offered by the Venture X card far outweigh those of the Venture card, which also explains the difference in their annual fees.
The Capital One Venture Rewards and Capital One Venture X cards are very similar and offer many of the same benefits with drastically different annual fees. Whether or not the Venture X is worth paying for comes down to whether or not you'll get enough use out of all of its benefits. If you're planning to book a lot of travel through Capital One's portal and use the $300 annual travel booking credit, it would be worth the upgrade over the Venture card — this credit helps to close the annual fee gap between the two cards, while the 10,000-mile anniversary bonus (worth at least $100) offsets the rest of the annual fee.
That said, if you don't like booking travel through a third-party portal such as Capital One Travel, you may not find much use for the $300 annual credit. If that's the case, you'll need to review the Capital One Venture X's other benefits to determine whether you'll get enough use out of them to justify the added cost.
While you are theoretically able to get both the Venture Rewards and the Venture X, keeping both cards probably would not make the most sense given their many similarities.
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