Wednesday, February 16, 2022

My favorite credit card (Capital One Venture X) for "I only want one card" people (also a great card, and lucrative $900+ sign-up bonus, for anyone!)

I'm often asked, which rewards credit card should someone get if they only want ONE credit card in their wallet. Read on for more details ...

UPDATE: This 100k welcome offer (described below) is expiring on March 14, 2022. (I think that means you can apply on March 14, but not certain. And sometimes the offer hangs around an extra day or two - I wouldn't count on it, but always worth checking if you see this late.) Now I still think that this will be a good card for many people (for all the reasons I list below), even after the 100k offer goes away. I don't think we know what the new offer will be, but I'd guess 50k and maybe not including the $200 first-year vacation rental (airbnb/vacasa/vrbo) rental credit. And that's a lot of value.

UPDATE #2: The new offer (as of May 21, 2022 as I write this) is for a 75k points sign-up bonus after spending $4000 in the first 3 months. That's not bad!! Less than the previous 100k offer, but MUCH less spending (down from $10k spending to get the bonus).

UPDATE #3: The best offer is now back up to 90k (for the same $4k required spend), but is currently (as of this update on 10/20/23) only available via referral links from existing cardholders (the offer is still only 75k from the public Capital One website). Please consider using MY LINK.

If you know me, you know that I have LOTS of credit card. But figuring out which cards to get (and why they are all worth it + how to maximize their benefits) is time consuming. For a lot of people, it is better to just have the simplicity of having ONE credit card and not having to think about it. This post will highlight what I believe to be the BEST single-card solution currently on the market. And it is actually so good, that I think most multi-card-wallet folks will be interested too.

I'm going to keep this fairly brief (below), but if you want to read a LOT more detail on this card, first I'll provide you some links to other blogs with more/good info ...

Miles to Memories

One Mile at a Time

The Points Guy

I'll start my discussion by asking you to PLEASE: a) either use my referral link (CLICK HERE) when you sign up -OR- use one from my friends at Miles to Memories (in the article linked to above); and b) please let me know if you use my referral link (there's a maximum number of referrals I can get per year - so once I hit my limit, I like to change the link to post referral links of my friends/family). ALSO, if you find the information in this post helpful, please consider using my Amazon link (can always find it on the main page of my website in the upper-left-hand corner) whenever you navigate to shop at Amazon. (Much appreciated!!)

Let me start with 2 credit card BASICS:  1) Do NOT apply for credit cards unless you trust yourself to pay off your card balances IN FULL EVERY MONTH (whatever benefit you get from credit card rewards or perks are NOT worth it if you are carrying a balance and paying interest - use it like a debit card!!); and 2) You should always be earning at least 2% cashback (or equivalent/better value in rewards) for your purchases. If you are not, do yourself a favor and apply for a Citibank Double Cash (that has no annual fee and simply pays you 2% cashback on everything you buy - find a link to apply from your favorite blogger who has Citibank referral links, which I do not; or just apply directly on Citibank's website).

While there are TONS of details in those other blog articles above (or you can read directly on the Capital One website) ... here are the key details you want/need to know about the Capital One Venture X card ...

A) Annual Fee: $395*

*Each calendar year, you get up to $300 in statement credits to offset any travel purchase via the Capital One Travel portal. (UPDATE: as of recently, this $300 per year is now in the form of a discount that shows up when you use the CapOne Travel Portal, as opposed to a statement credit. It's not really a big difference, other than the fact that you don't earn points on the spending, since it is a discount.) Generally I don't use credit card travel portals. But just remember to book one $300+ flight or hotel or car rental each year (make sure you aren't paying more than on other websites) via the Capital One Travel portal and they will automatically take $300 off your bill that month. Easy. Also, each year (AFTER your first year) when your account renews (and they charge your annual fee), they will give you 10k Capital One bonus miles (that are worth at least $100 if you turn them into cash). Thus, effectively the annual fee is NEGATIVE $5, as long as you remember to do the one $300+ travel booking via the Capital One travel portal each year!

B) You will earn 2x miles (worth at least 2%) on everything you buy with the Venture X, and then you can earn 5x or 10x on some travel purchases (but I wouldn't buy into that as being too exciting - I'll let you read about that on your own). But 2% cashback on everything is solid for a single-card solution for most people (effectively the same as the Citi Double Cash I mentioned above). You CAN do better than 2% with some other cards, but usually only in certain categories (like "restaurants" or "gas") and/or if you are willing to pay annual fees on multiple credit cards (can totally be worth it! but gets more complicated!). Note: with these "miles" you earn, you can either: a) use them as cashback (at a value of a penny per point - so 2% cashback on everything you spend) by "wiping away" any travel expenses you have on your credit card over the previous 12 months; or b) potentially transfer them to various Capital One transfer partners (hotels and airlines) where you COULD potentially get more than a penny per point value (but much more complicated! feel free to Google the topic!).

C) Get 100,000 75,000 95,000 Capital One miles for signing up for the credit card and completing $10,000 $4000 in spending on the card within 6 3 months. ($10k is a bit higher than some cards sign-up bonuses, but having 6 months to complete it, compared to 3 months on many other cards, is nice.) Also, I believe Capital One is also throwing in an additional $200 credit within the first 12 months you have the card to offset any charges on your credit card for vacation rental websites like Airbnb, Vacasa, or VRBO. (Note: I think, but am not sure, that the $200 credit is no longer part of the current offer.) Capital One miles are worth at least 1 cent each (to offset any future travel you charge to the credit card), or can be worth more if you transfer the miles into the miles/points of other loyalty programs. So 100,000 75,000 Capital One miles are worth AT LEAST $1000 $750.

D) You can have up to 4 additional authorized users on your account for no fee. This is particularly important because each of those users gets (free) access to item "E" below ...

E) Priority Pass Lounge (and Restaurant!) access. (UPDATE: Unfortunately Priority Pass memberships from CapitalOne and Amex no longer give you restaurant/experiences access. Only lounges.) You can read a lot more about this online, but you will get access to many (not all!!) airport lounges AND get FREE FOOD at many airport restaurants in the Priority Pass network (including both Capers locations at PDX - and the Westward Whiskey tasting in the C Terminal of PDX). Note, if you get a Priority Pass card via an American Express credit card, you will NOT get access to Priority Pass restaurants (only lounges). Also note that each of your authorized users can get their own Priority Pass cards for free. With a Venture X Priority Pass membership, you can bring up to 2 guests with you into the lounges and restaurants. IMPORTANT: you will need to sign-up (for free) for Priority Pass after you receive your Venture X card (just google up the instructions - it's quick/easy).

F) TONS of other features and benefits, but I won't try to list them all. I encourage you to see the full list on the Capital One website (or there is a good/simple list in The Points Guy article linked to above). But I will highlight two really quick. 1) Primary car rental insurance (I think only for the primary cardholder??) when you rent cars with this credit card. Lots of credit cards have secondary insurance coverage that only kicks in after your regular insurance company. But this card has insurance that is, well, primary! (read about the details for yourself) ... and 2) The primary cardholder (not authorized users) can get a $100 statement credit (I believe the terms say once every 5 years) to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (both of which last for 5 years after you sign up).

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