The credit card rewards space has two varieties. Group A is meant to appeal to people with hardcore loyalty to a particular airline or hotel chain. Group A loves being rewarded for loyalty with upgrades. Group A loves to brag about their loyalty. On the other hand, you have group B. Group B is made up of offers that provide more flexible travel reward “currency” that can be used toward any type of travel-related expense. The VentureOne card falls into the Group B category.
If flexibility while you learn with no annual fee is what you're looking for then by all means, keep reading.
With the VentureOne you earn 1.25 miles for each dollar spent with the card. There is no cap or miles ceiling on this. As long as your card remains open and in good standing, these miles don’t expire. There's no rotating category to remember. There are many no annual fee cards that offer 1.5 or 2% cash back, so Capital One needs to up this rewards structure by 1/4 point to be minimally competitive if you're looking for cash back.
What exactly is a mile? Capital One miles were a stroke of marketing genius to help Capital One ride the wave of travel cards. You initially couldn't actually buy any flights or hotels with these points. 1 Capital One mile did not equal a mile in any other points currency. Those days are gone though. In December 2018, Capital One introduced a dozen transfer partners, giving it's card holders access to transfer miles into eligible airline rewards programs. If transferring to partners is too complex for you as a newbie, you can still use miles to erase travel purchases on your Capital One credit card statement. Each mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed this way.
As for the transfer partners, here's what you can expect. These are all non-US based airlines, but keep in mind many have reward arrangements with US airlines as part of their travel alliance programs. For example, booking through Quantas' rewards portal will unlock rewards with American Airlines.
In addition to the transfer partners, Capital One VentureOne holders can also earn 10x miles per dollar on hotel rooms booked through Hotels.com/Venture. This perk is set to expire in January 2020, so don't let it be a deciding factor, but in the meantime, it's a nice to have.
What else does the VentureOne offer to make it a good card?
If you are brand agnostic and like to travel - this is an okay no annual fee credit card if you will make use of the Hotels.com benefit. If you hate rotating categories and like easy - this is a nice simple card for peace of mind and get your feet wet in the points pool. This card is the gateway drug of credit cards. Get hooked on transferring points to transfer partners and you'll never be the same.
Seasoned travelers with brand loyalty. We'd push you to get a travel specific card like the Citi Prestige. You'll enjoy the benefits of the card and make use of the priority lounges. Your travel self will thank you.
While this card doesn't carry an annual fee, it's big brother does. The annual fee on the Venture (notice the lack of "One" in the card name - it is an important distinction) card is $95, but it is waived for the first year. Venture also has an enhanced earning rate of 2 points per dollar and a richer bonus for new cardholders. If you plan to spend at least $1,100 a month on the card, you're better off going for the Venture card. The extra points you'll earn will make the annual fee a wash.
Capital One is unique in that they pull all 3 credit bureaus when looking at your credit score. This isn't the end of the world for most people. Since Capital One specializes in lending to users with average credit they gather all 3 reports to help make sure they are making a good decision on your credit profile. With that being said, VentureOne applicants should have good credit. If you are in the fair category, we'd recommend starting with the Quicksilver cash back card.
Before the December update, we might have scoffed at the idea of keeping the VentureOne card in your wallet. With the addition of travel partners, the VentureOne becomes a credit card newbie playground. Enjoy your miles however you want with no annual fee, while you figure out what works best for you.