|by Jason Steele|
It is not hard for a bank to grab the attention of credit card bloggers. Just offer a new or existing card with a phenomenal sign up bonus. We have seen this in the last year with cards co-branded with British Airways and American Airlines. Travel and personal finance bloggers will write about these cards, and hard core credit card churners will all sign up. 12 months later, many of these new cards will be canceled, just before their first annual fee is due. Somehow, I don’t think these are really the customers the banks are after.
Capitol One Offers A Great Card You Can Actually Use
The Venture Rewards card offers a mere 10,000 points at sign up. The points translate to one penny each as a statement credit against any airline, hotel, or rental car purchase. The real value is that your ongoing purchases earn two points per dollar. That is pretty much the same as the Schwab bank card that offered 2% cash back, before being withdrawn from the market. This reward is great for anyone except those who spend very little on travel. Unlike most reward cards, you are not locked into a particular provider, and you even accrue frequent flier miles for your award travel. You can even accrue elite qualifying miles and be upgraded on an award ticket, unlike most airline awards.
Who Would Be Better Off Without This Card
2% back is a great rate, but there are still some reward card aficionados that do better. Most of the awards that are worth more than 2% are international airline awards in premium cabins, as well as some luxury hotel awards. For those saving up for premium cabin awards, you are probably still better off with a Starwood Amex or an airline specific card.
Also, this card is only available to those with excellent credit, so people with a spotty history need not apply.
What Else Is Great About This Card
No mention of Capitol One is complete without recognizing that they are the only major credit card issuer that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. These fees are a pure scam, and I am surprise Capitol One does not do more to advertise this industry leading policy. That said, I do like their television ad that mocks the airlines for offering domestic awards for 25,000 miles that never exist.
There are no fancy gimmicks or headline grabbing bonuses with this card, just a great rate of return, a simple redemption system, and no foreign transaction fees. That is enough for me to consider this the best new card offered this year.