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Head to head: Capital One Venture vs Bank of America Travel Rewards

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This article was last updated Jul 26, 2016, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

travel-rewards-vs-venture

Maximizing credit card rewards by having multiple credit cards, often times with annual fees can be rewarding, but time consuming.

It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.

If you’re looking for one simple card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are two worth considering with good reward rates and attractive offers.

We’re going to get into more detail below on how to figure out which is best for your spending, but the short answer is:

  • Get the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer if you want good $0 annual fee rewards (though check out a bunch of other no fee options here), or if you have significant amounts of money ($20,000+) in qualifying Bank of America bank accounts and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts, which make you eligible to earn more points on your spending via the Preferred Rewards program.
  • Get the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card if you are looking for a simple credit card to spend on for most or all of your credit card purchases and you intend to spend $4,750 or more per calendar year on the credit card, which helps offset the annual fee — $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Here’s a rundown the the main features of each card:

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer: Earn earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, points don’t expire, no foreign transaction fees, 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, 10% bonus points if you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account, $0 annual fee.
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, miles can be redeemed as a statement credit toward travel purchases, One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel, $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Now we will look at the pros and cons of each card and help you decide which card makes the most sense for you.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Pros

  • New cardmember offer: Earn 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening This is a pretty good offer for a credit card that has a $0 annual fee.
  • Simple points earning. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of different categories that earn different numbers of points. Earn earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad. This is becoming a pretty standard benefit on credit cards that have an annual fee, but is far less common on credit cards without an annual fee. Not paying foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad is a must as it would otherwise add an additional 3-5% to the cost of your trip. There’s no reason at all to be paying these fees when you can have a no annual fee card that won’t charge you foreign transaction fees.
  • 10% bonus points on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America checking or savings account. This is an easy way to earn extra points because you can have an account with no fees even if you don’t use it very often. This means that you’ll earn an additional 0.15 points on each purchase, effectively making this a 1.65 point per dollar spent credit card.
  • You can earn a bonus if you qualify for Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Program. In order to qualify, you’ll have to have a Bank of America personal checking account and have your 3-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America bank accounts and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. At the base level you will earn a 25% rewards boost (1.9x points per dollar), but if you qualify for upper tiers you can earn up to a 75% rewards boost, which means the card earns over 2.6x travel rewards on your spending, a great deal.
  • Points never expire. You don’t have to worry about keeping your account active as long as you have your credit card account open. Since there’s no annual fee on this credit card, simply leave the account open until you are ready to use your points. If you do decide to close your account make sure you redeem your points before closing.
  • Easy redemptions. One point is always worth one cent as long as you redeem towards travel. You can either redeem for travel directly by booking a flight, and if you don’t have enough points you can cover the rest with cash, or you can redeem your points for a statement credit toward travel. You can make a partial redemption for a statement credit, you don’t have to cover the full cost of the travel booking. You will usually need at least 2,500 points ($25 toward travel) for a redemption.
  • $0 annual fee

Cons

  • Non-travel points redemptions. You really will only want to redeem your Travel Rewards for travel even though there are other options. You can redeem for gift cards and cash in addition to travel. Cash redemptions are at a value of 0.6 cents per point and gift card redemptions are usually between 0.7 and 0.85 cents per point. If you redeem for a higher denomination gift card, you may be able to get the full one cent per point of value, but make sure you double check this on the specific redemption you are looking to make. Travel redemptions are always at a rate of one cent per point.
  • No real airline miles. You’re earning cash rewards you can use to pay for travel, but you can’t mix and match these points with real airline miles.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Pros

  • Simple redemptions. You don’t have to worry about finding airline availability when using your miles. As long as a flight is available for purchase, you can redeem your miles toward that flight. Miles can also be used on other travel purchases. To use your miles, all you need to do is purchase your travel with your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and redeem your points as a statement credit against the purchase. The minimum redemption is only $25 (2,500 miles).
  • Same earning on everything. All of your purchases will earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. You don’t need to worry about keeping track of category bonuses or quarterly rotating categories.
  • No foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad. Again, this has become a pretty standard feature on credit cards that have an annual fee, and nothing is different here. Nonetheless, if you travel abroad you need to make sure you are using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees or you’ll be hit with an extra 3%-5% on the cost of your trip.
  • Rewards don’t expire. As long as your account is open, don’t worry about your rewards points expiring. Of course, if you do choose to close your account, you will forfeit any unused rewards – so make sure to use them before closing your account!

Cons

  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee.
  • No real airline miles. You’re earning cash rewards you can use to pay for travel, but you can’t mix and match these points with real airline miles.
  • No trip delay / cancellation coverage. Unlike other cards with an annual fee, there’s no coverage to reimburse you if you need to cancel a trip due to severe illness or weather, and no coverage to help you if your flight is severely delayed.

Does having both make sense?

Probably not, since they’re both cash for travel cards, but the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer has a $0 annual fee to think about.

Which card is right for you?

Consider your travel goals, spending patterns, and what other credit cards you have before determining if one, both, or neither of these credit cards make sense for you to get.

The card that is right for you in this case is going to primarily depend on how much you spend. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases while the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer earns earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.

In order to break even on the annual fee ($0 intro for first year; $95 after that) from the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s 0.5% higher cash back, you would need to spend $4,750 per calendar year.

If you plan to spend at least this much on your credit card, you are better off getting the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

If you spend less than this amount, you should get the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer instead, and if you are eligible for rewards boost with Bank of America, this threshold would be higher, making the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer more compelling. If you want $0 annual fee rewards that can earn you real airline miles, consider The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. It earns real Membership Rewards points you can convert into Delta SkyMiles® anytime.


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