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In the miles and points world, it seems like the options are always changing. Hyatt and Marriott recently announced some big changes, and now there is some news coming out of Capital One. And in the surprise of the century, Capital One’s changes are actually positive for consumers!

A few weeks ago, Capital One announced improvements to their transfer partners, and more recently, they announced a new premium credit card, which might become the best premium credit card out there.

New Capital One credit card: Capital One Venture X

First, let’s talk about the new Capital One Venture X credit card. It was just released on November 9 and is an ultra-premium / luxury credit card. That means that it competes with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige and the American Express Platinum card. The Venture X card comes with a $395 annual fee, but you’ll get a $300 travel credit for bookings through Capital One Travel. You’ll also get 10,000 bonus Venture miles every year on your anniversary.

The Venture X card earns Venture miles at the following rates:

  • 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles on all other purchases

It also comes with Priority Pass lounge access for you and up to 2 guests, and access to the new Capital One lounges. The Dallas (DFW) Capital One lounge is open, and they are adding two additional lounges; one in Denver (DEN) and one at Washington Dulles (IAD). As with most premium cards, you’ll also get up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA/Pre credit every four years. The Venture X card also comes with cell phone insurance and Hertz President’s Circle status.

Probably the biggest benefit for the Venture X card is that there is no fee for adding up to four authorized users, and authorized users also get many of the benefits of the Venture X card. Authorized users get the Hertz President’s Circle membership as well as Priority Pass and Capital One lounge access. Maybe I can finally take my family to a lounge again (something I can no longer do at Amex Centurion lounges).

How the Venture X compares with other premium credit cards

So, given that the new Capital One Venture X is a premium credit card, how does it stack up against the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige and American Express Platinum cards? Quite favorably, I think. Its annual fee is the lowest by far ($395 compared to $495 for the Prestige, $595 for the Sapphire Reserve and $695 for the Amex Platinum). Plus, it feels like you can easily recoup the $395 annual fee with only two of the benefits: the $300 annual credit for travel booked through the Capital One travel portal and the 10,000 miles you’ll get each year on your anniversary.

That $300 travel credit isn’t quite as lucrative as the $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The CSR travel credit counts for just about anything in the travel category, while with the Venture X you have to use it through the Capital One travel portal. Still, the annual fee on the Venture X is $200 less than the fee for the Sapphire Reserve. In a climate where it seems the annual fees just keep going up and up, it’s nice to see Capital One buck the trend and go with a lower annual fee. The 10,000 miles each year are worth at least $100, and if you can get 3 cents per mile like I did on a recent redemption, maybe much more. And that’s it – already you’ve earned back the $395 annual fee. It’s much better than the Amex Platinum that has a gigantic annual fee and tons of annual credits of dubious value.

The authorized user policy on the Capital One Venture X credit card is again better than the other premium credit cards. The Amex Platinum charges $175 to add (up to 3) additional user cards. The Sapphire Reserve charges $75 for each authorized user, as does the Citi Prestige. The Capital One Venture X card does not charge a fee for adding an authorized user, and authorized users get the lounge benefits and Hertz elite status. That is a big deal, especially for families with kids wanting to all visit an airport lounge together.

Capital One transfer partners update

Capital One has also recently announced several updates to transfer partners:

  • In early October, they increased the transfer ratio to 1:1 for Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines
  • JetBlue and Brex were removed as transfer partners in late October

That makes 14 different 1:1 hotel and airline transfer partners for Capital One Venture miles, with a 15th (Choice Hotels) slated to join later this year (though I see that we are running out of “year” left 😀 ). There are 2 other transfer partners that still transfer at a lower ratio (EVA Airways at 2:1.5 and Accor at 2:1). Yes, it’s not great to lose transfer partners, but I’m guessing that JetBlue and Brex were both not among the best Capital one transfer partners.

The Bottom Line

It’s always nice when a bank, hotel or airline makes a POSITIVE change to their loyalty program. Too often we see devaluations so it’s a pleasant surprise when there are good changes there. Being able to transfer Venture Miles 1:1 to 14 airline or hotel programs is a big benefit to the value of Capital One Venture miles, and you can make an argument that Venture miles are the best bank loyalty points out there. The new Capital One Venture X card is extremely interesting and has an argument for being the best ultra-premium credit card out there.

What about you? What do you make of these Capital One changes? Are you planning on getting the new Capital One Venture X card?

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