Capital One Ends The Hotels.com Benefit On The Venture Rewards Card


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Capital One has had a relationship with Hotels.com for a number of years and through this relationship holders of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have been able to earn 10 miles/dollar for all spending made through Hotels.com. Traditionally this relationship has run January through January so we’ve been waiting to see if this earnings bonus would be renewed for 2020…but it doesn’t look like this will be happening.

Doctor of Credit was first to report that the dedicated webpage through which Capital One Venture Rewards cardholders could earn 10 points/dollar with Hotels.com is now stating that this benefit has ended…

…and there’s nothing on this page to indicate that this benefit will be coming back.

The Hotels.com benefit was a big reason why a lot of people applied for the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card in the first place (most people will do better if they book with Hotels.com rather than chase status with a hotel chain) so is the card still a winner without this benefit in place?

Here’s what you need to know about the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card:

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee:

  • $95 (waived for the first year)

Early Spend Bonus:

  • Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of holding the card (worth a minimum of $500 in travel purchases).

Earnings:

  • 2 miles/dollar on all purchases (no cap)

Primary Benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Miles can be used to offset the cost of travel booked using the card
  • Miles can be transferred to a variety of loyalty programs

Redeem For Travel Credits

With the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, 1 mile is worth 1.0 cent towards all travel bookings made using the card and redeeming those miles couldn’t be simpler.

The best way to redeem miles earned from spending on the Capital One Venture Rewards Card is to use them to offset any eligible travel purchases made using the card in the preceding 90 days.

The definition of eligible travel covers airfares, hotel bookings, Airbnb, taxis/Uber/Lyft and quite a bit more, and the credits can be applied online or by calling Capital One.

One of the best things about using Capital One miles to offset airfare and hotel bookings is that you don’t have to face blackout dates and you don’t have to find award flights – you simply book a regular flight or hotel using your Capital One Venture Rewards Card and then, when the charge hits your statement, you apply miles from your account to offset that charge (1 mile = 1 cent).

Crucially, this also means that you’ll earn miles/points/status credits on all the flights you book (this is not the case when you book award flights with airline miles) and you’ll earn hotel points and enjoy status benefits for all your hotel bookings too.

Transfer To Airline Partners

After recently adding 2 new hotel partners, Capital One now has 17 loyalty partners in total (transfer ratios are correct at the time of writing):

  1. Aeromexico Club Premier – 4:3
  2. Air Canada Aeroplan – 4:3
  3. Air France/KLM Flying Blue – 4:3
  4. Alitalia MilleMiglia Program – 4:3
  5. ALL – Accor Live Limitless – 2:1
  6. Avianca LifeMiles – 4:3
  7. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – 4:3
  8. Emirates Airlines Skywards – 2:1
  9. Etihad Airways Etihad Guest – 4:3
  10. EVA Air Infinity MileageLands – 4:3
  11. Finnair Plus – 4:3
  12. Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club – 4:3
  13. JetBlue TrueBlue – 4:3
  14. Qantas Frequent Flyer – 4:3
  15. Qatar Airways Privilege Club – 4:3
  16. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – 2:1
  17. Wyndham Rewards – 4:3

Thoughts

The cutting of the Hotels.com benefit is a big loss to the Capital One Venture Rewards Card and this will probably be a dealbreaker for quite a few people…but this is still a card that shouldn’t be ignored.

The 2 miles/dollar earnings on all spending essentially mean that cardholders are earning 2% cashback on all spending (at the very least) and may be able to get more value out of the miles through a clever transfer to one of the airline partners.

It’s worth pointing out that the big competitor to the Venture Rewards card is the Citi Double Cash card which has no annual fee and also offers 2% cashback on all purchases….but don’t let that “no annual fee” persuade you that the Double Cash card is automatically the better option.

As good as the Citi Double Cash card is it still has two weaknesses:

  • On its own, the Double Cash card doesn’t allow cardholders to transfer their earnings to airline/hotel loyalty programs like the Capital One card does. If a cardholder wants the option to transfer their Double Cash earnings to a variety of loyalty programs they would need to hold one of the Citi ThankYou cards too (the cheapest of which costs $95/year).
  • The Citi Double Cash card doesn’t waive foreign transaction fees as the Venture Rewards card does.

It’s hard to argue with the everyday value that the Citi Double Cash card offers but, in year 1 the Capital One card is cheaper (if you want the option to transfer miles to other loyalty programs) and you can use the Venture Rewards card to earn an effective 2% cashback when traveling abroad – that makes it one of the best cards for unbonused spending made outside of the US.

Bottom Line

With an effective 2% cashback on all spending, a waived annual fee in year 1, and no foreign transaction fees the Capital One Venture Rewards Card still has a lot to offer…and if you happen to need to pay for a Global Entry fee in year 2 the card won’t actually cost you anything until year 3.

Without the Hotels.com benefit the Capital One Venture Rewards Card isn’t as great a card as it once was and Capital One will have to add another compelling benefit if the card is to regain its past glories….but I still can’t find a better card to recommend for non-bonused spend when traveling abroad.