Posted: 12/16/2018 | December 16th, 2018
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
I don’t have a dog, so I don’t know if that’s true.
But I do know that an old travel writer can change his mind.
While it had a simple points structure and no overseas fees, it wasn’t really good for travel hacking because you couldn’t transfer points anywhere and it didn’t have a great catagory spend bonus structure. You simply got two points per dollar spent, which you could be used as a statement credit – and that was it.
If you spent $100,000 USD on your card, you got 200,000 points, worth $2,000 USD.
With that many points, I can redeem for tons of flights worth way more than $2,000 USD if used them directly with airlines (and, unlike with Chase and American Express, I couldn’t transfer the points to do that).
Moreover, many other credit cards came with perks that also had some value too, like free checked bags, priority boarding, lounge access, or internet at hotels (just to name a few). Capital One gave you nothing.
Capital One was essentially a 2% cash-back card ($50,000 USD = 100,000 points = $1,000 USD = 2% of $50K).
With so many other no-fee cards with better ways to earn points, why would I want that one?
I was not a fan of the card.
The redemption value of Capital One made it a horrible card for a travel hacker.
But, over the years, Capital One has improved the card’s features to the point where now, even I must admit, this card is actually quite good.
First, you get a $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit, which means that if you use the card to apply for the service, they will cover the cost of signing up. Tons of cards have this feature, but the fact this one has it too is a nice addition.
Second, you get 10x points on spending at hotels.com. While I don’t use that site, if you do, that’s a huge deal. You can earn a ton of points this way, and it’s not a feature offered by any other card. If you’re not loyal to any specific hotel brand, having this card provides a great incentive to use hotels.com.
But what really won me over was the recent addition of 14 airline transfer partners:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Airways Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Sure, many of those are terrible partners (who’s really gonna use Hainan Air or Alitalia points programs?), but Aeroplan, Flying Blue, Krisflyer, and LifeMiles are great programs that made me go “ohhhh”!
The ability to transfer your Capital One points to them makes this card a no-brainer now.
Sure, the points structure hasn’t changed. You’re still only getting two points per dollar spent, which is still only 2% cash back when used as a statement credit, but now that you can transfer the points, those points become a lot more valuable.
With a current 75,000-point sign-up bonus, a yearly fee of $95 (waived for the first year), 2x points on all spending, and these new transfer partners, the card is a super good deal right now.
In travel, the one thing you can always count is that everything is constantly changing. Good becomes bad and bad can become great (or worse). You never know what’s next in such a changing and competitive industry.
This is one instance when we can say something bad became something great.
Therefore, I rescind my old post.
Capital One’s Venture Card doesn’t suck.
It’s pretty great.
I just applied for it.
You should too!
Here’s a (non-affiliate) link: https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/venture/
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I use them all the time.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and that will save you time and money too!