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Capital One Go Miles Ultra Review

Picture of Item Reviewed

Editor's Rating:
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Credit Needed
N.A. $39 Good
Feature Summary
  • Earned double miles for travel spending
  • Can uses your own travel agents when booking rewards
Executive Summary - An upgrade over the regular Go Miles Visa. It's claim to fame (like the Go Miles) was that it was perhaps the first card where you could use any travel agent to book your travel and use your points to get a statement credit. This card was rebranded as the No Hassle Rewards card before being rebranded again to the Venture Rewards.

An Upgrade Over the Go Miles - The Capital One Go miles Ultra is supposedly a step up from the Capital One Go Miles Visa. But as we'll find out, there is a little deception here. If you have read our review of the Go Miles, you would have noted that it was perhaps the first card in it's era that allowed you to use any travel agents to book your travel and then use your points against the expenses in the form of a statement credit. It was a great boost to convenience because back then, programs like the Citi ThankYou and WorldPoints require a fixed number of points to redeem a coach class ticket to certain regions (like US, Europe etc). What Capital One did was to introduced flexibility so that consumers were not bogged down by restrictions like blackout dates etc.

The reason this card is an upgrade over the Go Miles is because rather than earning one point for every dollar that you spend, you get to earn double miles if for spending on travel (but for only one year). That included airline tickets, hotel stays and car rentals. You can also earn unlimited miles. Because they allowed cardholders to earn double miles on travel for the first year, they decided to jack up the fee to $39 (the Ultra Miles had a $19 annual fee).

Double Miles For Only One Year? - While the card offered great flexibility for consumers back in its days because of how you could redeem points for travel, raising the annual fee over the Go Miles Card but only allowing you to earn double miles for a year appears very deceptive to me. It looks more like a sign up bonus feature rather than a permanent feature and does not represent a true upgrade. In fact, after one year, the same is actually the same as the regular Go Miles but you end up paying a higher annual fee (by $20)!

Main highlight on Go Miles program - The main highlight of the Go Miles program is the travel rewards. Most airlines which require 25,000 miles for an internal domestic roundtrip flight and require you to book through the particluar airlines or through the credit card's travel agent. Under the Go Miles program, you buy the ticket (from anywhere, even the internet) and you use your miles to redeem them. Hence, if you find a $100.00 ticket, you only need 9,000 miles (rebate payout of slightly more than 1%). You also get cash rebate, shopping benefits. You can also redeem miles to contribute to 529 college savings plan.

Why not just settle for the Go Miles - My great peeve with this card is that they have the audacity to charge a higher annual fee on the pretext of allowing cardholders to earn double miles on travel for only one year. Once, a year had passed, you are back to earning one mile per dollar spent, but you end up paying a higher annual fee than the regular Go Miles card.

Unless, you knew you would be traveling a lot during a year, I would avoid this card and get the regular Go Miles card instead.

If you had been patient, other issuers started to emulate Capital One and actually improved on what Capital One offered. For example, the Blue Sky from American Express is similar to the Go Miles but without the annual fee. Discovered also came up with the Miles Card, which had no annual fee as well.

This card was later to give away to the No Hassle Miles Card as part of a rebranding exercise by Cap One. That card was to later become the Venture Rewards Card.

If you are looking for a really good no annual fee travel card, then the BarclayCard Arrival World MasterCard, which allows you to earn double points on travel, has no foreign transaction fee and provides you with a free TransUnion FICO score.