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Credit card companies love to tout cards that earn travel rewards redeemable with airline and hotel partners. But there’s a catch: Points and miles earned with these cards are only as good as the award travel programs they’re connected to. As a result, consumers sometimes complain their points and miles can’t be used for trips they want, when they want to take them.
If that sounds familiar, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card could be for you. It offers double “miles” on all your purchases, worth 1 cent each as a statement credit toward any travel-related expense.
- Earn double miles. Two miles are earned for each dollar spent on any purchase. And since each mile is worth 1 cent, that’s comparable to a 2 percent cash back card.
- Redeem for any travel expense. Charge any flight, hotel, car rental, or cruise to your card, and you can use your miles for reimbursement. That means no blackout dates or capacity restrictions, and the better deal you get, the fewer miles you use.
- Sign-up bonus. You earn 10,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account, worth $100 in travel reimbursement.
- No foreign transaction fees. Capital One was one of the first card issuers to eliminate these fees on all of their products.
- No limit, no expiration: The miles you earn don’t expire and there’s no limit to the number you can earn.
- Poor non-travel rewards. You can use your miles for merchandise and gift cards, but you get only 0.5 cents per mile. Therefore, it only makes sense to use your miles for statement credits toward travel expenses.
- Sometimes you can do better with airline miles. Getting value out of airline miles is tough, but it can be done. For example, spending $100,000 on an airline card will earn you enough miles for a business-class ticket to Europe. Spend that on this card and you will only earn enough miles for a $2,000 ticket, barely enough for coach.
- Annual fee. Most Capital One cards do not have an annual fee, but this one has a $59 fee, waived the first year. This card is also available as the VentureOne Rewards Credit Card with no annual fee, but you only get 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
- High interest rate. Like most reward credit cards, you’ll have a higher interest rate if you carry a balance. In this case, 13.9 percent to 20.9 percent variable APR, depending on your credit history. But frankly, if you plan on carrying a balance, you should look for a card with a low interest rate, not a rewards card.
- No promotional balance transfer offer. Many cards come with interest-free financing for balance transfers and new purchases, but this card doesn’t.
Get it if: You have excellent credit, want maximum rewards with the least restrictions, and you travel a lot.
Forget it if: You know how to play the airline rewards game, or you need a card with a low interest rate.
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