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American Express Blue Sky Vs Capital One Venture One Rewards


This post looks at the key differences between the Blue Sky from American Express and the Capital One Venture One Rewards. These two cards are the no annual fee versions (note that both Blue Sky and VentureOne has an annual fee version which we will do a separate comparison). They are both very similar in that points you earn on the card can be redeemed for travel rewards. But there are some nuance in them that consumers should be aware of. But first, let’s look at the chart and table below where we highlight their key differences.

Points Formula 1 pt/$1 1.25 pts/$1
How Points Are Redeemed? Book with anyone and then claim statement credit Book with anyone and then claim statement credit
Value of Points? $100 requires 7,500 points – 1.33% $100 requires 10,000 points – 1%
Annual Fee $0 $0
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.7% 0%

Generic Ability To Earn Points – As far as “generic” ability to earn points goes, the Capital One VentureOne comes out slightly ahead of the Blue Sky.That is because you can earn 1.25 “miles” for every dollar that you spend on the card. In contrast, the Amex Blue Sky lets you earn the standard one point for every dollar that you spend.

Value of Points – However, when it comes to the value of points, the Blue Sky beats the VentureOne. The VentureOne’s redemption value is just 1% (industry norm). That means if you purchase a ticket costing $250 at expedia.com, Capital One will use 25,000 of the “miles” you have earned and give you a statement credit with that.

The Blue Sky has a slightly better proposition. As mentioned in the chart above, you only need 7,500 points to use for $100 in travel value. For Capital One, you would have needed 10,000 “miles”. That means that rather than getting simply 1% return, the Blue SKy gives you a 1.33% return.

Combining Earnings Ability and Value of Points – When we combine how many points you can earn and the value of the points when you redeem them, then Blue Sky comes out ahead (1.33% vs 1.25%). Hence, purely from a value points of view, Blue Sky edges out Capital One (but only very slightly).

Complications: Perk Central shopping portal – We could end the analysis here if not for the fact that Capital One has an online shopping portal for many of their credit cards (including the VentureOne). They have numerous online shopping partners and if you shop at these sites after logging into your Capital One account and use your Capital One card, then you can earn more than 1% rebates (varies depending on agreement with various merchants).

For savvy online shoppers, this an be a way to really boost the points you earn if you have the VentureOne card. Therefore, we can say that Venture One provides card holders a way to earn more than their 1.25% on “regular purchases”.

Other Uses of Points – This is one area where the Blue Sky and VentureOne differs. For the Blue Sky, you could only use them to get back statement credits for your travel expenses (airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises etc). However, the Venture One allows you to use your “miles” to redeem for their other rewards like merchandises and gift cards. Having seen their merchandise rewards (you get way less than 1% in rebate terms) and gift cards (less than 1% below certain value), I would not suggest you use them for other than travel purposes. So despite having better choices, I wouldn’t say Cap One is better.

Foreign Transaction Fee – Another advantage that Capital One has is that all of their credit cards do not charge any foreign transaction fees. For those who travel abroad, they are the better card to get.

Conclusions – Both these cards are very similar in the way they are designed. They both allow you to use book your trips with anyone you choose, whether it be an online portal like orbitz.com, expedia.com, travelocity.com, with the airlines and hotels directly or with an off line agent. You choose what is best for you. And because it works this way, you avoid the dreaded black out dates.

If you travel overseas, then the VenturOne has a slight edge. They have a slight edge also if you do a lot of online shopping. But if not, the Blue Sky gives you a very slightly more “bang for the buck (points)”. If you are looking for a no annual fee card for travel, you really could not go wrong with either of these cards.


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