BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs. Capital One Venture Rewards: Which Card Has the Most Value?

We compare the costs and rewards two of the top travel credit cards available.

If you are looking to add a new general travel card to your wallet, then two of the best options are the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card and the Capital One Venture Rewards card. Both of these cards offer their cardholders a simple approach to earning travel rewards. Each has a flat reward rate on purchases, and neither requires you to remember a bunch of different bonus categories.

Let’s take a look at everything these cards have to offer and how they differ from each other. That way you will be able to make a decision on which card would be the best fit for you.

Comparing the Rewards

When you compare credit cards, one of the first things people consider is whether or not the cards have a signup bonus. While both the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card and the Capital One Venture card offer an attractive signup bonus, Capital One has the advantage.

With the Capital One Venture card, you will receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of being a cardmember. This is good for a $400 statement credit on a travel expense. In addition to the signup bonus, cardholders will also receive two miles per $1 spent on all purchases.

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers new cardholders 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. This has a value of $200 toward travel expenses. While this is half of what you can earn from the Capital One Venture card, it also requires only half the initial spend. For some, this might be easier to accomplish. To go along with the signup bonus, you will earn 1.5 points per $1 spent.

Take note, Bank of America banking customers: You have the potential to earn much richer rewards with the BankAmericard. Just for having a checking or savings account you will receive a 10% bonus on the points earned. If you are a Preferred Rewards client, with $20,000 or more in a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch investment account, then you can earn up to a 75% bonus, or 2.6 points per dollar spent.

Redemptions Made Easy

One of the reasons why both of these cards are so popular with travelers is because redemptions are so easy. The rewards you earn don’t need to be transferred to different loyalty programs, and there are no blackout dates on travel. You can simply use the rewards you have as a statement credit toward travel expenses, or you can book travel directly through the issuers’ online travel portals. No matter which way you go, the process is painless. Plus, as long as your account stays open and active, your rewards will never expire.

If for some reason you decide not to use your rewards for travel, there are other options available as well. Just keep in mind that each of these will give you a value less than the normal one-cent-per-point. You will be able to redeem rewards from the Capital One Venture Rewards card for either gift cards or cash back. The rewards you earn from the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card can be used to fund a mortgage, IRA or 529 plan with Bank of America or Merril Lynch. You can also redeem them for gift cards, cash back, or to make a charitable contribution.

How The Fees Stack Up

The Capital One Venture Rewards card might have the higher signup bonus, but it also includes a $59 annual fee (waived the first year). You would never pay an annual fee on the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, and neither card carries foreign transaction fees.

It’s a good idea to pay off your purchases at the end of the month to avoid paying interest, but if you do need to carry a balance, then the Capital One Venture card may be a little less expensive. It’s standard purchase APR is a variable 13.49% to 23.49%, whereas the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card is 15.49% to 23.49%. The APR you receive depends on your creditworthiness. (Pro tip: Check your credit before you apply for a credit card, to get an idea how likely you are to get approved and qualify for a lower APR. You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, and they’re updated every 14 days. If your credit could use some help, check out these tips on how to quickly improve your credit score.)

Why You Might Pick the Capital One Venture Rewards Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards card is a great option for anyone wanting a general travel credit card with a simple reward system. The card has a high signup bonus, double what you would receive from the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Plus, you earn double points on every purchase you make.

However, even though it waives the annual fee the first year, you would need to be able to justify the $59 fee each subsequent year. At a redemption rate of 100 miles per $1 and an earnings rate of 2 miles per $1 spent, you would need to spend $2,950 on the card per year to break even. If you spend more than that each year, then this is a solid credit card to put in your wallet.

Why You Might Pick the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

If you are a Bank of America banking customer, then you’ll want to give serious consideration to the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Standard banking customer will earn a 10% bonus on the base reward rate of 1.5 miles per dollar spent. However, if you have $20,000 or more in your qualifying account, you can become a Preferred Rewards client, which allows you to earn 25% to 75% bonus, depending on your qualifying account balance. This would also be a great card to have if you’re not a big spender and can’t justify the annual fee on the Capital One Venture card.

At publishing time, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and Capital One Venture cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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An Airline Credit Card for Not-so-Frequent Fliers?

allegiant-travel-rewards

Most airline credit cards are designed with the frequent flier in mind. You get the most if you travel (and spend) a lot, either because there’s a big annual fee you need to recoup, a giant sign-on bonus you want to earn or a litany of upgrades you’re looking for each time you fly. But low-cost carrier Allegiant Air’s got other ideas about airline plastic.

Its recently released Allegiant World MasterCard by Bank of America is geared toward leisure travelers — that is, someone who only flies once or twice a year for vacation. Its rewards program is designed specifically to provide value to these not-so-frequent fliers, a spokesperson for the carrier told Credit.com via email.

Business Travel vs. Leisure

Allegiant World MasterCard accountholders earn three points per dollar on Allegiant purchases, two points per dollar on qualifying dining purchases and one point per dollar everywhere else. They’re eligible for buy-one-get-one free airfare when they book a minimum four-night hotel stay or seven-day car rental along with their flight through myAllegiant Member Services (some other restrictions apply). Plus, they receive priority boarding and one free beverage on every Allegiant flight when flashing their branded plastic.

The card carries a $59 annual fee and a fairly low-threshold associated with its sign-on bonus. You get 15,000 bonus points (equivalent to $150 off Allegiant travel) after you spend at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of the account opening. 

Contrast this with a premium travel rewards credit card — like, say, the also recently released Chase Sapphire Reserve, which touts a $450 annual fee and an eye-popping 100,000 bonus points (equivalent to $1,500 through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal) after spending $4,000 in the first three months of the account opening — and you’ll start to get an idea of how Allegiant’s target demo differs.

To break it down: Business travelers won’t have a hard time meeting the Reserve’s $4,000 spending threshold (thus earning that lucrative $1,500 bonus) if they’re flying around the world and charging expenses to their credit card each month, so it makes more sense to pay that $450 fee. Leisure travelers, on the other hand, could easily earn that $150 Allegiant travel credit (and recoup the lower $59 annual fee) by charging their family vacation and calling it a day.

The Allegiant card carries an annual percentage rate (APR) of 13.24% to 23.24%, based on creditworthiness. There are no blackout dates, no destination restrictions and no minimum points redemption.

Thinking About a Travel Rewards Card?

Whether flying for business or leisure, it’s always a good idea to read a credit card’s fine print to be sure it’s right for you. And you should check your credit, too, before applying because you typically need a good credit score to qualify for rewards credit cards. (You view two of your credit scores for free every 14 days on Credit.com.)

Finally, remember, even for small spenders, travel rewards cards are best-suited to people who don’t to carry a balance. Otherwise, you’ll just lose all those precious points and perks to your APR. If you are balance-prone, you may want to look into a low-interest or balance-transfer credit card to minimize any interest-damage. (You can find a list of the best low-interest credit cards in America here.)

At publishing time, Chase and Bank of America credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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