In general, I almost always suggest that transferable credit card points (points that you can transfer to various airline frequent flyer programs) are more valuable and useful than fixed-value points (points that are assigned one value, no matter how you use them). However, there’s one obvious exception: when you can earn a lot more of those fixed-value points.
That’s where the Capital One Venture card comes in.
The Capital One Venture card is a solid, all-around card that earns two “miles” per dollar spent on every dollar you spend anywhere. The limitation is that the miles are only worth 1¢ each, and you can only use them to “erase” a travel purchase that you’ve put on the card — in other words, you exchange them for a statement credit to cancel out the travel purchase. That’s a decent return for a card with a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
In January, Capital One announced a new benefit to the card: You could earn 10x miles per dollar spent on hotels booked through Hotels.com/Venture. That’s an outstanding earning rate that guarantees a 10% return on hotel rooms from Capital One, plus up to 10% back in the form of a free night after 10 nights stayed through Hotels.com rewards.
That’s up to a staggering 20% back on hotel stays.
For anyone who stays at hotels relatively often, even just a few times a year, and has the ability to book and pay through Hotels.com/Venture (as opposed to, say, a corporate travel-booking portal), the Capital One card offers a compelling use case.
The one thing to keep in mind is that, even though you’ll be getting at least a 10% return that you can use on future travel purchases, it’s harder to earn enough fixed-value points to afford a flight in a premium cabin — first or business class — than it is to earn enough transferable points. This is because of how airlines handle pricing for award tickets, or tickets booked with frequent flyer miles. You can read more about that here.
Plus, the Venture Rewards card comes with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of card membership — worth $500 toward travel. Combined with the miles you’ll earn from Hotels.com, you’ll be on your way toward free travel.
Nine times out of 10, I suggest focusing on earning transferable points from credit cards that earn bonuses on categories like dining and travel — for example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, it can very well be worth supplementing your transferable points card with the Capital One Venture in order to earn up to 20% back on hotels, as long as you book through Hotels.com/Venture.