As some of my friends, family and returning readers know I am searching for a way to leave my job and start traveling a bit. This site is really about what I am doing to get out of my current job and start traveling. I do alot of reading about the digital nomad life style. Upon reading other travel blogs I learned about travel credit cards. I guess I knew of their existence but never really paid them much attention until I started day dreaming about traveling. While alot of people I read about seem to sign up for multiple travel cards for the big sign on bonuses I just can’t see myself doing that.
After doing a lot of looking around I finally decided on signing up a for a Capital One Venture card. I do want to note that I honestly thought that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was the better card but only opted against getting it because I thought trying to get the sign on bonus would be a bit too difficult for me.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card requires you spend $4,000 in 3 months in order to qualify for the sign on bonus which would equal out to around $625 in travel credit. The Capital One Venture card requires that you spend $3000 on their card in 3 months in order to qualify for a sign on bonus of 40,000 miles. Now don’t get excited by the numbers. That does not mean you can hop on a plane and travel 40,000 miles to anywhere you want. The reality is that every 10,000 miles is equal to 100 dollars in travel. So the bonus Capital One is offering is really $400 in travel credit. In my case while I won’t be able to pay for 1 round trip plane ticket to Thailand with this sign on bonus it will get me a nice little discount on the tickets for my Fiancee and I.
Initially I was worried that I would not be able to spend the $3000 minimum in 3 months to get the sign on bonus but to date I have accrued 4,900 reward miles. That’s pretty close to $2500 and I only been using the card since April 13. I don’t like to carry cash so I usually use my debit card anyway. Once I got my Venture card I just used it for all my daily purchases instead of my debit card. Also I pay 90% of my balance every week.
If you are thinking about getting a Capital One card here are some things you may want to know:
- You earn 2 “miles” for every dollar spent. (every mile is essentially worth a penny)
- Your first year is free after that there is a $59 dollar annual fee
- It takes a few days for the miles you have “earned” to show up in your online account
How many miles do you need to accumulate to pay for a trip?
Capital One makes this pretty easy to figure out. Multiply the cost of your travel by 100. If your travel costs $500 than use this an example 500 x 100 = 50,000 “miles”. So you would need 50,000 points. Which is pretty doable if you get the 40,000 point sign on bonus. If you don’t get the sign on bonus you’re not going to be happy. It would look more like this:
Every $1000 spent = 2000 miles. You would then need to spend $25, 000 for a $500 credit.
When shown in this perspective the capital one card does not seem like a worthwhile card after getting the sign on bonus. If you just use this card in place of your debit card, make ALL your purchases on it and are good about paying your monthly balance on time then I guess you could keep using it every year. Personally I don’t think I will continue with this card after my first year.
How do I redeem my miles for travel.
There are 2 ways.
1 – You can book through any website or travel agent you want using your Capital One card. Then goto capitalone.com or call them directly and use their Purchase Eraser tool to redeem your miles, after this you will receive a credit for your travel costs.
2 – You Can book directly through Capital Ones website. Log into your account via their website click “Accounts >> Reward Summary >> Book a Trip”
With all the above said I would recommend really looking into all your options when applying for a travel card. As I said I found the Chase Sapphire Preferred card more attractive but stuck with the Capital One Venture card because I thought spending $3000 on this card in 3 months was more easily done. If you find you can spend more then maybe the Chase card is for you.