UPDATE: This offer has expired. The current offer is 20,000 points after meeting the minimum spend requirements.
Two and three years ago Capital One had an extremely lucrative credit card sign up promotion where you could earn up to 100,000 points with their Venture card. I was anxiously awaiting for that same promotion to pop up last year and unfortunately it was a no-go. Currently, however, there is a 50,000 point sign up offer which equals a cut and dry $500 towards travel. This is a decent offer (although not nearly as good as the prior 100k offers), as the card has consistently been 10,000 to 20,000 points for the past two years. To earn the sign up offer, you must spend $3,000 on the card within the first 90 days.
This card comes with a $59 annual fee (waived the first year) and you get 2 points per $1 spent. When redeeming your points every point equals 1 cent, so ultimately for every dollar spent on the card you are getting 2% cash back that can be used towards future travel. Points can be used for a slew of travel purchases, including hotels, airfare, car rental, taxis, cruises, tours, etc. Anything that is coded travel on your statement credit is valid. One major thing I want to point out is that when you apply for this card it pulls a credit report from 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Most other credit cards will only get one pull.
Since Venture points are fixed, points do not really allow for aspiration awards of business class or a really expensive hotel. In those scenarios, you are best off using airline miles or hotel points you’ve accumulated. However, this card is great for those who do not want to worry about dealing with points and miles, enjoy redeeming for travel that do not allow the typical points and miles redemption, or have inexpensive travel purchases. For example, my parents redeemed their Capital One points on a 7-day tour in Israel!
The other advantage of using your points is that you still earn points/miles when redeeming your points. You essentially pay for your trip with your Capital One card and then can redeem your points towards the purchase. The only caveat is that you must have enough Capital One points to cover the entire expense. If you charged $700 in a single transaction and you only have 50,000 points (worth $500), you will not be able to redeem your points for that purchase.
With many airlines and hotel devaluing their points, a cash back-ish credit card might be the best value for some. Remember, this card gives essentially 2% cash back, where the Barclays Arrival Mastercard gives 2.2% cash back and points can be redeemed in a similar manner (the sign up bonus for the Barclays Arrival Mastercard will give you $440 towards future travel). I will write more about the Barclays Arrival Mastercard in detail next week along with some other cash back credit card options.
Disclosure: The Capital One Venture card is NOT an affiliate link, however, the Barclay’s Arrival Mastercard is. As always, thanks for supporting the blog and enjoy traveling on a deal!