7 Hacks for Using the Capital One Venture Miles Program

The Capital One Ventures Miles program has some of the most flexible rewards out there. Here's how to take advantage.

[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Capital One Venture Rewards and Capital One VentureOne Rewards. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Over the past decade, the Capital One Venture Miles program with the Capital One Venture cards has become quite popular. Not only has the company brought on several A-list celebrities to become the face of the program, but Capital One Venture rewards are also some of the most flexible travel rewards available. Even though the Capital One Venture program might have become a household name, not everyone understands exactly how to use the rewards they earn.

Let’s take a deeper look into the ways you can hack as much value as possible out of your Capital One Venture rewards.

1. Sign Up When You Are about to Make a Big Purchase

If you’re thinking about signing up for a Venture card, do so when you plan to make a big purchase or two—like booking a trip or investing in some new furniture. When you sign up for the VentureOne Rewards card, you could earn 20,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 within three months of opening your account. Similarly, the Venture Rewards card offers 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 within three months of opening your account. That’s the equivalent of $200 to $400 in travel rewards.

The $59 annual fee for the Venture Rewards card is waived for the first year, so near the end of your year term, be sure to assess the benefits of the card to ensure that the annual fee you’ll be paying is worth it.

2. Pay Your Bills Right Away

The APR for the Venture cards range from 12.99% to 23.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. No matter the APR you qualify for, commit to paying off the card every month. Otherwise, the benefits of the card could be quickly negated by the interest you’re paying each month. If you carry a balance, you can use our credit card payoff calculator to determine how long it will take you to pay off the balance.

Paying your bills early can also help you improve your credit score. When your credit card statement is issued, that balance is reported to credit reporting agencies as debt. If your balance is high, the reported debt can lower your credit score—even if you end up paying the balance in full by the due date! Paying off your balance before the statement cycle closes can reduce your debt-to-credit ratio and improve your credit score.

3. Use Your Venture Card to Shop Around and Abroad

Unless you’re fiercely loyal to one airline, the Capital One Venture cards are a great choice for booking travel because you are not limited to one airline. The benefits are decent too, earning you 1.25 to 2 miles for every dollar you spend. The miles never expire and there’s no limit to the number of miles you can earn.

The cards are also great for international travel: both cards have no foreign transaction fees.

4. Book Flights through the Capital One Site

To get the most out of your Capital One Venture card, book your travel through the Capital One website, which is extremely easy to use. Each mile converts to one cent in value. You can also use your miles to book airline reservations, hotels, car rentals, or vacation packages. Keep in mind, however, that you are required to have the full amount of miles needed for your reservation if you book this way. You are not allowed to partially pay with miles and cover the rest with cash.

5. Use the Capital One Purchase Eraser

You can book your travel elsewhere, but you should use Capital One’s Purchase Eraser, which allows you to use the rewards miles you have earned to offset travel expenses and by receiving a statement credit. Simply log in to your online account; if a purchase is coded as travel, you can apply your miles and receive a value of one cent per mile. As an extra perk, partial rewards are allowed with Purchase Eraser. You  can redeem as little as $25 worth of rewards and pay the rest with cash. 

6. Don’t Redeem Your Miles for Cash Back

Opting for cash back sounds like a great deal, but it actually offers the worst value. There is no minimum for the number of miles needed to redeem, but you will receive value of only half a cent per mile. If you still prefer to get cash back, you will be able to receive either a check or a statement credit. 

7. Cash Your Rewards in for Gift Cards

If you’re not interested in redeeming miles for travel or cash back, you can also cash them in for gift cards. Gift cards are available for a large selection of retailers including Bath and Body Works, AMC Theaters, and Best Buy. Most of these come with redemption amounts of $25, $50, or $100; however, a few are as low as $10. There will be a value of one cent per mile, which means there is a minimum of 1,000 miles needed.

Review: Capital One Venture Miles Cards

There are two cards that allow you to earn Capital One Venture Miles: the Capital One Venture Rewards Card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card. Though their offerings are similar, we’ve reviewed the two below to compare their basic perks and disadvantages.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Advantages

  • When you sign up for the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, you can receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months, equal to $400 in travel.
  • You can then earn two miles per dollar on every purchase you make with the card.
  • There is no need to remember different bonus or rotating categories.
  • This card comes with no foreign transaction fees.

Disadvantages

  • The card has a $59 annual fee (which is waived the first year).
  • The APR is a variable 99% to 23.99%, depending on your credit standing. This interest rate is higher than many other credit cards that do not offer rewards.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

Advantages

  • The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card has no annual fee.
  • When you sign up, you can receive 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months—the equivalent of $200 in travel.
  • You can then earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
  • If you travel outside the United States, this card charges no foreign transaction fees.
  • The Capital One VentureOne card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases.

Disadvantages

  • The VentureOne card has a lower earning potential than the Venture card.
  • After the introductory period, the APR rises to a variable 12.99% to 22.99% APR, based on creditworthiness. This rate is higher than many other non-rewards credit cards.

Not sure which card is the right choice for you? Review how they compare.

Qualifying for either card will require excellent credit. To see where you stand, you can check your credit report for free on Credit.com.

Image: wundervisuals 

At publishing time, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. 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).

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.

The post 7 Hacks for Using the Capital One Venture Miles Program appeared first on Credit.com.

4 of the Most-Improved Credit Card Cash Back Offers of 2017

The competition for customers is growing and credit card companies have beefed up their cash-back offers in response. See the most generous new offers.

Many credit card issuers kicked off 2017 by launching attractive bread-and-butter rewards programs, which some experts say is part of an effort to steal market share and attract more middle-class cardholders.

Among the offers being rolled out or already available are 10% cash back on restaurant purchases and an offer of limitless cash rewards as part of a pilot credit card being tested by USAA.

“There’s a battle for dominance,” said David Robertson, publisher of the Nilson Report, which predicted this trend. “Credit card issuers are trying to create maximum loyalty.”

According to Robertson, the credit card market recently emerged from a period of escalating offers among premium cards. The focus has now trickled down.

Beverly Harzog, credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan,” said another driver of the current trend is credit card issuers trying to make rewards programs more straightforward for middle-class users who don’t necessarily have time to sign up for and pursue a variety of rewards deals.

Cash back cards are getting simpler and are breaking into categories that work for specific customers,” Harzog said.

This creates an intriguing landscape of credit card offers. Here are some of the best new middle-class offers identified by experts. And remember: It’s a good idea to know your credit score to have any idea of whether you’ll qualify before applying for a card. You can check two of your scores free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

New Offers From American Express

American Express recently announced a limited offer for the Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday cards.

Both cards now reward new members with 10% cash back on U.S. restaurant purchases made within the first six months of sign-up, up to $200. In addition, new card members receive a welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within their first three months. For the Blue Cash Preferred card, the bonus is $150 and for the Blue Cash Everyday card, it is $100.

USAA’s Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature

The USAA Limitless Cash Back Rewards Visa Signature earns 2.5% on all purchases. What’s more, there’s no cap on the cash back rewards.

As long as cardholders maintain a $1,000 monthly direct deposit in a USAA checking account, they continue to earn 2.5% cash back. If that deposit minimum is not met, the cash back reward drops to 1.5% on purchases.

The downside of this card is that it has not been officially launched yet. It’s being pilot-tested, USAA spokeswoman Gloria Manzano said.

“If we determine this potential new product can help us serve our members better, we’ll make (it) available to all of our members as soon as possible,” Manzano said.

The card is available to those living in more than two dozen states where it’s being tested.

Premier Dining Rewards From Capital One

Capital One introduced its Premier Dining Rewards card last week.

The card offers an enhanced cash back earn rate in categories the company says consumers are spending more on.

Perhaps putting it in competition with USAA, the card’s rewards include unlimited 3% cash back on restaurant purchases, 2% cash back on grocery store spending and 1% on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (read our review here) is promoting a reward for those who spend $500 in the first three months after sign-up.

For those who meet the spending threshold, the card gives $150 cash back. While the offer has been around since 2016, Kerri Moriarty, of Boston-based Cinch Financial, said it’s still worth noting.

“The fact that you can get $150 cash back within the first 90 days for spending just $500 is an aggressive offer,” said Moriarty. “Other cards typically require $1,000 or more of spending before getting that cash back. It shows that they’re really trying to attract customers and steal them away from other cards.”

Image: NicolasMcComber

At publishing time, the Blue Cash Everyday From American Express, Blue Cash Preferred From American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimted 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).

The post 4 of the Most-Improved Credit Card Cash Back Offers of 2017 appeared first on Credit.com.