Capital One is out swinging with what some have termed a Chase Sapphire Reserve killer. I don’t know about that but it is always great to see a card issuer get in this premium space to see what they do to try and earn the fat annual fee and what they do to keep a customer loyal. So, let’s take a look at it to see if it is for you!
New Capital One Venture X Credit Card
Link: Capital One Venture X Credit Card Now Expired
The Big Features of the Capital One Venture X
Let’s take a look first at the headline items on this card and then we will break it down.
- Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months
- Limited time, earn up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals charged to your account in the first year (like Airbnb and VRBO)
- Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel
- Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
- Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- Earn 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
- Earn 2X miles on all other purchases
- Receive Priority Pass lounge membership
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Annual fee, $395 (not waived the first year)
That is actually a pretty good list of perks and bonuses that cardholders can get. In addition, for any Hertz fans out there, you get complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status as well which gives you guaranteed upgrades, free additional driver, and other benefits.
For a $395 card, it looks like a no-brainer for travel-interested fans, at least for the first year. You get 100,000 points which transfer to a variety of partners (see the list below) for spending $10,000 in 6 months. So, after that 6 months, you will actually have at least 120,000 points when you include the spending required. With the programs that are 1:1, that means 120,000 points available for some awesome bookings.
As far as the fee itself, you can help out a bit with that by taking advantage of the statement credit on travel booked through Capital One at $300 annually. While I do not equate statement credits to be the same as cash, if this is travel you are booking anyway, it is close to cash. However, I would value it more like $280 given that you have to book through a portal and I am not a fan of that – I would rather book right with the airline.
To keep going, you also can get up to $200 in statement credits for vacation rentals. Same thing as the other credit – if you are going to be using something like Airbnb, now you get $200 off of that. When you combine those statement credits, it is a total $500 the first year which certainly helps offset the $395 fee – even before you account for the 100,000 bonus offer.
Capital One Transfer Partners
- Aeromexico Club Premier (1:1 ratio)
- Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1 ratio)
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (1:1 ratio)
- ALL (Accor Live Limitless) (2:1 ratio)
- Avianca LifeMiles (1:1 ratio)
- British Airways Executive Club (1:1 ratio)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (1:1 ratio)
- Choice Privileges (1:1 ratio)
- Emirates Skywards (1:1 ratio)
- Etihad Guest (1:1 ratio)
- EVA Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5 ratio)
- Finnair Plus (1:1 ratio)
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (1:1 ratio)
- Singapore KrisFlyer (1:1 ratio)
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go (1:1 ratio)
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles (1:1 ratio)
- Wyndham Rewards (1:1 ratio)
While this does not have US carriers like American, Delta, Southwest, or United, you do get some foreign carriers which offer excellent redemption opportunities. If you want short-haul around the world, British Airways is great (but there are transfer bonuses from partners Amex and Chase so I would not really do that) as well as some other programs which offer premium redemptions at decent rates.
Card Features – Courtesy of Being a Visa Infinite Card
Being a premium card with Visa also let’s it claim the “Infinite” status which opens up certain features that are even more useful to the traveler. Here is what that designation brings customers:
- Return Protection – Keep your options open with 90 days of Return Protection, here to help when you make a qualifying purchase with your Venture X card.
- Cancel Worry-Free – You’ll have peace of mind with trip cancellation and interruption coverage, which lets you change your dates as needed for qualifying events.
- Extended Warranty Protection – You can receive additional warranty protection at no charge on eligible items that are purchased with your Venture X card.
- Cell Phone Protection – Protect your cell phone every time you pay your bill with your Venture X card. If it’s stolen or damaged, you’ll get reimbursed up to $800.
- Visa Infinite Concierge – Want a hand making the perfect dinner experience? A Visa Infinite concierge will help make the reservation and more, like line up live stage show, music or sporting event tickets.
- Travel Accident Insurance – Get automatic insurance for a covered loss at no extra charge when you use your Venture X card to purchase your travel fare.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver – Rent an eligible vehicle with your card and you could be covered for damage due to collision or theft. Learn more about rental car insurance.
Looking Past the First Year
I have to say that Capital One actually did a pretty good job at building in some value for customers to stay with them after the first year. The 10,000 bonus each year is a nice little boost and encourages you to keep using their points program. Also, the $300 statement credit on travel booked through Capital One is a nice way to lower the impact of the $395 annual fee and make the card become similar to the Venture card but with more earnings and perks.
So, this card could be something you want to keep after the first year, particularly if you take advantage of the big point earnings. Which brings us to…
The Big Earning Potential with the Capital One Venture X Card
While 5X earning on airlines is nothing new (though it is definitely appreciated), getting 10X on hotels and car rentals is definitely something that may keep people using this card for those categories.
However, the big asterisk is that you only get those big earnings if you book through Capital One Travel. If you are someone who enjoys hotel elite status and all that comes with it (or you are chasing it), then you will be missing out on that because hotels do not reward you for booking through online travel agents. You have to book directly with the hotel.
So, that means you need to figure out what is worth more – the 10X earnings on hotels with Capital One Travel or the 3x and above that is available with other cards and hotel cards when booking direct with the hotel. That means you have to ask yourself if you want the (average) 5x points or elite benefits/credit. For more leisure travelers, the Capital One Venture X earnings on hotels will definitely mean more than a free bag breakfast at a hotel and a possible room upgrade.
But, when it comes to airlines, I think many people realized the pain that it is to book air travel through online travel agencies after dealing with the early days of Covid. Booking through an airline gives you a better situation if something goes wrong or if you need to cancel since you are working directly with the transportation provider rather than a third-party who was already on razor-thin margins to sell you that ticket in the first place. Airlines have let up on change fees but OTAs (online travel agencies) may not be so friendly and you typically need to work right with them to make a change.
Even booking through a card’s portal is not something I am a huge fan of. I had big problems with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal last year and have not booked a single flight through an OTA since the start of covid. I recognize that not everyone is in the same boat with me so maybe you are ok with that.
However, I am ok on using my Chase Sapphire Reserve and getting 3X points and missing out on 2X Capital One points that I would be getting over the 3X provided by Chase. Besides, I consider Ultimate Reward points to be worth more than Capital One points so that makes that an even narrower competition.
Bottom Line – Is This For You?
While the card looks pretty great, only you know if this is a card that belongs in your wallet. When we are talking annual fees in the $400 range, you need to make sure you are going to get way more out of that from the card’s bonuses and benefits without having to put a ton of work into making it work for you. For most, it will be worth it.
However, Capital One has typically been a pretty stingy issuer, especially since they pull from multiple credit bureaus. People with amazing credit scores, six-figure incomes, and long, positive credit history have had problems getting a Capital One card. But, it appears that they may be dropping the threshold a bit since the approval data points are better on this than on other Capital One cards.
For sure, I think this is a great card for most – for the first year. After that, you need to consider if the card’s features are worth it for you. Do not depend on the statement credits as your main reason to keep the card since you may be better off using the $395 straight out for your brand of travel purchases than giving that to Capital One and booking through their portal.