The Capital One Venture Card is an interesting one in the points and miles world. In 2018, Capital One partnered with 14 airlines and allowed miles earned with the Venture Card to be transferred to those partners. This partnership entered Capital One into the competitive transferrable miles card niche.
However, Capital One has a long way to go to compete with Chase, American Express, and Citi. They have added a 15th airline partner earlier in 2019. But they are still far behind the others. This post explains five reasons why you should not get the Capital One Venture Card.
Three Hard Pulls
Capital One is infamous for pulling all three credit bureaus when anyone applies for one of their cards. This rule is a holdover from the days when Capital One was a sub-prime lender. But they have had prime card options for many years now with their flagship card being the Venture.
Capital One should change this rule for the Venture and other prime cards like the Savor, Savor One, and Quicksilver. Every other issuer only pulls one of the three credit bureaus for prime cards. Why can’t Capital One be like their competitors in this way?
Limited Redemption Options
Redemption is the biggest why Capital One is so far behind competing issuers. Points and miles earned are useless if they cannot be redeemed for lots of value. The Venture Card has just three redemption options: statement credit, travel center, and transfer partners.
The first option used to be the only option before 2018. That’s because Capital One’s miles were pegged at a fixed value, making it a “travel cash back” card. All rewards earned used to be worth 1 cent per point (CPP). And they still are when you redeem via statement credit.
Furthermore, Capital One’s travel center lets cardholders purchase travel at a rate of 1 CPP. Cardholders can use Capital One’s online portal to book flights, hotels, vacation packages, and rental cards.
Finally, the latter option is the best way to receive value from the Capital One Venture. You will receive more than 1 CPP when redeeming this way. But you will receive less value than transferring competing points from other issuers’ cards. Nonetheless, having the option to transfer to partners has raised the value of the Capital One Venture significantly.
However, Capital One should provide more options for redeeming their points. Chase excels at this because they offer a plethora of options and none of them provide less than 1 CPP in value. For example, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points for gift cards valued at 1 CPP. Redeeming UR points this way is not recommended, but it’s possible. Some of my suggestions are gift cards and direct deposits (for those who have a Capital One bank account), and a check in the mail.
You Fly Domestically
Capital One Miles are some of the worst transferrable points to collect if you want to fly domestically. Like Citi, they have just one domestic partner in Jet Blue. And Jet Blue is partnered with all four transferrable point-earning card issuers. Furthermore, Capital One has no hotel partners, despite their current 10x miles promotion with hotels.com.
However, international flyers should be pleased with their current list of partners:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada
- Air Italia Millemiglia
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific
- EVA Air
- Finnair Plus
- Hainan Fortune Wings Club
- Jet Blue
- KLM Flying Blue / Air France
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
Many of Capital One’s partners also partnered with Citi. Both issuers have specialties in international travel, making them direct competitors in that regard. For consumers, that could provide opportunities to diversify and collect both types of points.
Nonetheless, Capital One suffers from a lack of diversity in their partners. I wish they would partner with more domestic airlines and/or at least one hotel chain.
Poor Transfer Ratios (Set by Capital One)
This is my biggest complaint about the Capital One Venture Card! It’s also the main reason why Capital One is so far behind competitors in the transferrable points. Chase, American Express, and Citi all have 1:1 transfer ratios between most of their points and their partners’. There are exceptions (such as Amex Membership Rewards Points and Hilton Honors Points), but they are uncommon.
Unfortunately, Capital One Miles transfer at a 4:3 ratio for most of their partners. That means you will receive just 3 partner miles for 4 Capital One miles, a 25% devaluation right off the top. Emirates, Jet Blue, and Singapore Airlines are the exceptions to the rule. All three airlines have even worse 2:1 transfer ratios.
The Capital One Venture Card greatly suffers from this one rule. Capital One is effectively taxing Venture cardholders at least 25% any time they transfer points to one of their partners. I am not sure why they would do this. But I’m guessing that saving money is a huge part of it.
Misleading Earning Structure for Travelers
This point only applies for those who want to transfer points to extract maximum value. However, the Capital One Venture essentially becomes a 2% flat rate card if you decide to redeem for a statement credit.
The 25% tax can also be viewed as part of the card’s earning structure. The Capital One Venture earns 2x Miles on all purchases. But that number is reduced to 1.5x Miles after accounting for the 25% tax. This 1.5x multiplier matches that of the Capital One Quicksilver Card, which earns cash back for no annual fee. Therefore, the Venture Card effectively earns 1.5x Miles for all purchases when you transfer points.
For travelers, the 2x multiplier can be viewed as false advertisement from Capital One. They will never tell prospective cardholders about the 25% tax because the card will lose its appeal. But the tax and earning structure should serve as a reminder that not all points and miles are equal. They should also be a reminder to do your research before blindly doing anything credit or travel related.
The Capital One Venture is an interesting card. But its not for everyone, especially those who are interested in transferrable points and miles. Unfortunately, Capital One has a long way to go to compete with Chase, Amex, and Citi for transferrable points cards. They need to do a lot more to improve the Venture Card and their position to compete.