Thank you to Capital One for sponsoring this post - opinions expressed are my own.
Credit cards and travel have always been a great pair, but I haven’t always been savvy enough to take advantage of them. It doesn’t help that I sometimes travel to destinations that are way off the beaten path and that some credit card information seems like a foreign language to me. However, after a recent trip exploring around Peru, I was determined to figure it out. Something finally sparked my interest (well…I’m pretty sure it was the price tag of the flight from Dakar to Lima via Madrid - eek!) and I got really curious. I’ve been using my debit cards for the past few years, but is that really the best way? What makes a credit card great? How can I benefit from using one? Why not just keep using my debit card or cash?
After doing some research, what I realized is...if I’m planning to make everyday purchases, it might be smarter to take advantage of the perks of a credit card. Especially if I immediately pay off the balance every month so no interest fees eat away at my rewards earned. I think getting a credit card is absolutely essential - especially when you want to make big travel purchases (flights, hotels, etc). Enter the Capital One Venture Card, which comes with incredible features that made me reevaluate how I want to approach paying for both my travel and every day expenses. I’m excited to be partnering with them to share some tips on how to maximize having one and why Venture should be in your wallet. Keep reading for how the Capital One Venture Card can elevate your travels!
SIGN UP BONUS + EARNING Miles
First things first, you have to start with good financial behavior to get the most out of a credit card. Getting one is all about responsible financial practices and using a travel reward credit card to earn rewards and miles from your everyday purchases. It’s been my goal to build up as many miles and I can, so that I can redeem them for everything from upgraded flight privileges to hotel rooms. Let’s break down how this card could make that happen.
Sign Up Bonus: Do you have any big purchases coming up this summer? If yes, there’s no better time than now to sign up. With the Capital One Venture Card, new cardholders can earn a sign up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; which gives you about 35,000 airline miles. I have a few trips planned over the next few months and will likely spend that on flights, so this is a great example of how I could actually start to benefit from the purchases I would already be making anyway.
Earn 2x Miles: Once you’re signed up, you can use your daily expenses to earn miles that can go towards that dream trip. You can earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on ANY purchase, and there is no limit to how many miles you can earn or when you have to use them by - because they don’t expire. So what does this mean? It means that you’ll be earning miles for your travels by spending on your everyday purchases like groceries, filling up on gas, or even paying bills. You’re essentially getting rewarded for making purchases with money you would spend anyway, so that’s definitely a win/win for me!
Earn 10x Miles at Hotels.com/venture: Another great way Venture allows cardholders to earn miles to make their dream trip happen is through their partnership with Hotels.com. Something that always made me hesitate with credit cards in the past was the requirement to stay at only one brand of hotels. What I like about this perk is that I can get a wide variety of options of places to stay and still get the loyalty benefits. When booking and paying at Hotels.com/Venture and paying with a Venture card, you’ll earn 10 miles for every dollar spent through January 2020. It doesn’t tie you to any one city, chain or room type and you can redeem free reward nights at thousands of properties just about anywhere in the world through Hotels.com’s own loyalty program.
REDEEM + TRANSFER MILES
Because I didn’t really know where to start when looking for a credit card, one of the most important things I was looking for was simplicity. I didn’t want to have to deal with trying to play chess to just to get value from my miles, so I really appreciate how easy the process is to transfer and redeem with the Venture card.
Redeem Miles: All you have to do is log in to your Venture account online and choose which eligible travel purchases made in the last 90 days you want to use your miles for. There’s no minimum requirement for redeeming your points, so you can use them whether it’s just to pay a small portion of a flight, or if you want to accumulate them for a more expensive long haul flights, or other travel expenses like car rentals, hotels, cruises or more.
Transfer Miles to Airline Partners: I mentioned earlier that I like options and variety when booking my flights and hotels and with this feature, the Venture Card definitely delivers. After accumulating Venture miles, I love that you’re able to transfer them directly to 15 Capital One’s partners. Looking back, I wish I had this card ahead of my trip to Peru. One, because not only would I have been able to benefit from the amount of miles earned for the purchase of the flight, but two, I could have taken advantage of Capital One’s July partnership with the Avianca LifeMiles loyalty program when transferring Venture miles to the South American airline. It’s not too late for you though, since you can still get a 25% bonus on all Venture miles transferred to Avianca through July 31st. How great would it be to get a ticket or even upgrade an existing ticket from economy to business class (or even first - you fancy!) with this bonus? Since Avianca is a Star Alliance airline partner, you could also book award flights through the Avianca LifeMiles program with airlines like United, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Turkish Airlines, TAP Portugal, Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS and many more!
ADDITIONAL PERKS + REWARDS
Do you have a best friend that’s a VIP everywhere they go, helps you skip crazy long lines, gets you access into exclusive events, and more? If you didn’t before, you certainly do with a Capital One Venture card in your wallet. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite ones:
TSA Pre-Check & Global Entry Benefits: Imagine planning a trip during a holiday weekend, barely making it to the airport to check in before the counter closes, and finally getting your bags checked in only to be get to security and be met with those insanely long TSA lines? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this has happened to me (I really need to start managing my time better…but that’s a story for another day). One of the perks I love about the Venture card is you can receive up to $100 application fee credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It’s a lifesaver, especially for frequent flyers, and could literally be a great form of self care to avoid the stress of having to wait in absurdly long lines.
No Foreign Transaction Fees: One of my biggest frustrations with using just my debit card for my expenses when I’m traveling is how many bank fees I get charged just for using my card out of the US. I mean, this frustration alone is enough reason to convince me not to rely on my bank card internationally. Another great perk I love about the Venture card is that it can be used without worrying about those fees, not to mention it’s actually safer than carrying a lot of cash, since Capital One offers great fraud and security protections.
Lost Baggage: When traveling, I always have a lot of expensive camera equipment with me and never want to be faced with a situation where my bags are lost and I have to personally replace my things. With a Venture card with Visa Signature benefits, you can be reimbursed for lost luggage expenses of up to $3,000 if lost or stolen when you charge your full ticket purchase on your card. It also comes with purchase security on eligible items charged to your Capital One Venture account, which allows you to replace, repair or be reimbursed if a covered personal item is stolen or damaged within 90 days of its purchase date. How reassuring is that?
So what’s the verdict...? I’m definitely now a credit card convert. It’s exciting to know that the purchases I make daily can help me make some of my long term travel goals happen and get me insider benefits I never thought about myself. What do you know about credit cards for travel? Have you ever considered getting one?