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Credit Cards

American Express Gold Card vs Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Which is the best for your needs?

What makes a card valuable? It largely depends on your spending habits and redemption preferences.

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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The American Express® Gold Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees) are both top travel cards and rewards cards.

Both cards earn transferrable travel rewards you can use to book nearly any type of travel. And their benefits can easily make paying either annual fee worth it. What the decision boils down to is, where do typically spend the most with a credit card and how you prefer to use credit card rewards.

CNBC Select compares the most important aspects of both cards, so you can choose the best one for you.

American Express Gold vs Capital One Venture

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

  • Annual fee


  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee


  • Foreign transaction fee


  • Credit needed


  • See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.


  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.


  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's secure site
  • Rewards

    5 Miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee


  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    20.99% - 28.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR

  • Foreign transaction fee


  • Credit needed


See rates and fees. See our methodology, terms apply.


  • 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every 4 years


  • No introductory APR
  • There’s a $95 annual fee

Annual fee

Winner: Capital One Venture

The American Express® Gold Card has a higher $250 annual fee (see rates and fees) compared to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which is $95 annually (see rates and fees).

Paying a $250 annual fee may seem like a lot, but if you look closely at the Amex Gold's benefits, it's not as daunting. The card's statement credits of up to $120 per year for dining and $120 per year in Uber Cash, nearly offset the annual fee entirely.

That said, the Capital One Venture Rewards card's annual fee is easier to justify paying. Every year cardholders get two free airport lounge passes and every four years they receive up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. (see rates and fees)

Earning rewards

Winner: Capital One Venture

These two cards have rewards programs geared toward very different consumers. If you're looking for a simple rewards program, the Capital One Venture has you covered with 2X miles per dollar on all purchases. Plus, you earn more rewards on eligible travel: 5X miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

The American Express® Gold Card is geared toward foodies. Cardmembers earn 4X American Express Membership Rewards® points on dining (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in combined purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases. Terms apply.

CNBC Select worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126. We used this sample budget to break down how much money you could earn (subtracting the annual fee) if you optimized using each card over five years.

The budget includes six main categories: Groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

We found you could earn an estimated $3,287 after five years with the Capital One Venture. With the Amex Gold, you can earn $2,162 after five years. (This is after the annual fees and assumes you earn the welcome bonus.)

While the estimates we included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Redeeming rewards

Winner: Tie

Both cards allow you to redeem your points or miles in a variety of ways, and the best options are typically transferring rewards to travel partners or using them to directly pay for travel. American Express and Capital One both have strong lists of partner loyalty programs, but Amex has a slight edge. Amex has more transfer partners, more choices for domestic flights and excellent partners for business and first-class awards.

Capital One vs. Amex transfer partners

Capital One transfer partners American Express transfer partners
Aeromexico (1:1)Aer Lingus (1:1)
Air Canada (1:1)Aeromexico (1:1.6)
Air France/KLM (1:1)Air Canada (1:1)
Avianca (1:1)Air France/KLM (1:1)
British Airways (1:1)ANA (1:1)
Cathay Pacific (1:1)Avianca (1:1)
Emirates (1:1)British Airways (1:1)
Etihad (1:1)Cathay Pacific (1:1)
EVA (2:1.5)Delta (1:1)
Finnair (1:1)Emirates (1:1)
Qantas (1:1)Etihad (1:1)
Singapore (1:1)Hawaiian (1:1)
TAP (1:1)Iberia (1:1)
Turkish (1:1)JetBlue (5:4)
Virgin Red (1:1)Qantas (1:1)
Accor Hotels (2:1)Qatar (1:1)
Choice Hotels (1:1)Singapore (1:1)
Wyndham (1:1)Virgin Atlantic (1:1)
Choice Hotels (1:1)
Hilton (1:2)
Marriott (1:1)

However, utilizing transfer partners to get the most out of your credit card rewards can be a tedious and complicated process. And sometimes, there aren't awards available for flights or hotels when you want to travel.

Capital One solved this problem by allowing cardholders to redeem miles for one cent each to offset any travel purchase. This allows you to use Capital One miles to indirectly pay for any flight, hotel, rental car, etc., even if that same travel isn't available for a points booking through a loyalty program. American Express has a similar option where you can pay with points when you book through American Express Travel, but you'll get less value. With this option, each Amex point is worth one cent each for flights booked through Amex Travel and roughly 0.7 cents each for other Amex Travel redemptions. You can also redeem Amex points for statement credits, but the value drops even further to 0.6 cents per point

The bottom line is, Amex Membership Rewards points have more potential value and Capital One miles are more flexible.

Welcome bonus

Winner: Capital One Venture

Capital One Venture card offers 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

The American Express® Gold Card offers 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership.

Additional benefits

Winner: Amex Gold

Both cards offer some of the same travel and purchase-related perks, but also a variety of other unique benefits. Here's a breakdown of these cards' perks:

Both cards have:

Capital One Venture cardholders enjoy these added perks*:

*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.  Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details.

American Express® Gold Card holders enjoy these added perks:

  • Amex Offers, where you can earn statement credits or bonus Membership Rewards® points at select retailers
  • Free 2-day shipping on eligible items at over 100 online stores with ShopRunner (one-time enrollment required)
  • Entertainment access to exclusive presales and premium seating at concerts, plays, sporting events and more
  • Up to $120 in annual dining credits (up to $10 per month) at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and participating Shake Shack locations
  • $120 in Uber Cash ($10 per month)
  • Up to $100 in experience credits when you book rooms through The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • *Trip delay insurance
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Is the Capital One Venture card or the Amex Gold card better?

Neither card is inherently better, but both could be the right card for you, depending on your situation. The Capital One Venture is a good card if you're just starting to earn credit card rewards because its reward structure is simpler. And the Amex Gold card is amazing for anyone who wants to make the most of their dining and grocery expenses and understands how to get the most value out of Amex points.

Can I get the Capital One Venture card and the Amex Gold card?

You can have both the Amex Gold card and the Capital One Venture card at the same time. Having both cards could help you maximize the rewards you earn, plus Amex and Capital One share several transfer partners, so it could make sense. However, if you have both cards, you'll need to pay two annual fees and manage the benefits for two cards.

How much are Capital One miles worth?

The value of Capital One miles depends on how you use them. When you use miles to erase a travel charge, they are worth one cent each. When you transfer miles to a travel partner the value varies but could be double what'd you receive with other redemptions.

Bottom line

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and American Express® Gold Card are both competitive rewards cards that provide useful benefits for cardholders. But depending on what you want in a travel credit card, one card could be better than the other.

If you're looking for straightforward earning and redemption options, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the best option. It earns at least 2X miles per dollar on all purchases and the miles are worth at least one cent each for travel.

However, if you want to maximize your rewards on restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, the American Express® Gold Card can be a great asset with its 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). And Amex points can be incredibly valuable when you transfer them to the best American Express travel partners.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.  Please visit americanexpress.com/ benefitsguide for more details.  Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company

**For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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