|by Jason Steele|
I have held a plain vanilla Capital One card for many years. At first, it was just a decent rewards card for merchants that did not take American Express. Later, I realized that it was one of the only cards that you could use outside of the United States without incurring a dreaded foreign transaction fee. Now that more and more banks are dropping their indefensible foreign transaction fees, the Capital One is less unique of a card. Nevertheless, they do not charge an annual fee, so there was really no reason to cancel it. The reward rate is 1%, which used to be the standard but is now just a little below average. Without much annual spending at stake, I never worried about it too much.
New Cards From Capital One
These guys have been all over the airwaves with commercials, both good and bad, touting their new line of cards. I recently received an offer in the mail to upgrade my card to their Venture Rewards card or their Venture One card. The mailer said their was no need to open a new account or apply for new credit, so there really isn’t much to loose here.
I have to say, their Venture Rewards card is an outstanding card that gives you 2% back. The reward is technically not cash back; it comes as a statement credit towards any travel related expense. Unless you never travel, you can just think of it as a 2% cash back card. The problem here is that it comes with a $59 annual fee, although that is waived the first year. Again, I just don’t spend enough on that card to justify an annual fee.
The other option I was presented with was their VentureOne card. It returns a 1.25% statement credit towards any travel expense. I really am not spending the $4,720 a year it would take to earn the difference between 1.25% and 2% to return enough cash back to pay for the $59 annual fee.
What I Will Do
So long as they are offering the first year with no annual fee, I will upgrade to the Venture Rewards card. At the end of the year, I will ask them to waive the annual fee. If they refuse, and I don’t see myself spending $4,720 on that card the next year, I will just downgrade myself back to the Venture One card. In this way, I should maximize my rewards on a card that I seldom use.