[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here —Capital One Venture Rewards. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you are looking to add a new general travel card to your wallet, then two of the best options are the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card and the Capital One Venture Rewards card. Both of these cards offer their cardholders a simple approach to earning travel rewards. Each has a flat reward rate on purchases, and neither requires you to remember a bunch of different bonus categories.
Let’s take a look at everything these cards have to offer and how they differ from each other. That way you will be able to make a decision on which card would be the best fit for you.
Comparing the Rewards
When you compare credit cards, one of the first things people consider is whether or not the cards have a signup bonus. While both the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card and the Capital One Venture card offer an attractive signup bonus, Capital One has the advantage.
With the Capital One Venture card, you will receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of being a cardmember. This is good for a $400 statement credit on a travel expense. In addition to the signup bonus, cardholders will also receive two miles per $1 spent on all purchases.
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers new cardholders 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. This has a value of $200 toward travel expenses. While this is half of what you can earn from the Capital One Venture card, it also requires only half the initial spend. For some, this might be easier to accomplish. To go along with the signup bonus, you will earn 1.5 points per $1 spent.
Take note, Bank of America banking customers: You have the potential to earn much richer rewards with the BankAmericard. Just for having a checking or savings account you will receive a 10% bonus on the points earned. If you are a Preferred Rewards client, with $20,000 or more in a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch investment account, then you can earn up to a 75% bonus, or 2.6 points per dollar spent.
Redemptions Made Easy
One of the reasons why both of these cards are so popular with travelers is because redemptions are so easy. The rewards you earn don’t need to be transferred to different loyalty programs, and there are no blackout dates on travel. You can simply use the rewards you have as a statement credit toward travel expenses, or you can book travel directly through the issuers’ online travel portals. No matter which way you go, the process is painless. Plus, as long as your account stays open and active, your rewards will never expire.
If for some reason you decide not to use your rewards for travel, there are other options available as well. Just keep in mind that each of these will give you a value less than the normal one-cent-per-point. You will be able to redeem rewards from the Capital One Venture Rewards card for either gift cards or cash back. The rewards you earn from the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card can be used to fund a mortgage, IRA or 529 plan with Bank of America or Merril Lynch. You can also redeem them for gift cards, cash back, or to make a charitable contribution.
How The Fees Stack Up
The Capital One Venture Rewards card might have the higher signup bonus, but it also includes a $59 annual fee (waived the first year). You would never pay an annual fee on the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, and neither card carries foreign transaction fees.
It’s a good idea to pay off your purchases at the end of the month to avoid paying interest, but if you do need to carry a balance, then the Capital One Venture card may be a little less expensive. It’s standard purchase APR is a variable 13.49% to 23.49%, whereas the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card is 15.49% to 23.49%. The APR you receive depends on your creditworthiness. (Pro tip: Check your credit before you apply for a credit card, to get an idea how likely you are to get approved and qualify for a lower APR. You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, and they’re updated every 14 days. If your credit could use some help, check out these tips on how to quickly improve your credit score.)
Why You Might Pick the Capital One Venture Rewards Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards card is a great option for anyone wanting a general travel credit card with a simple reward system. The card has a high signup bonus, double what you would receive from the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Plus, you earn double points on every purchase you make.
However, even though it waives the annual fee the first year, you would need to be able to justify the $59 fee each subsequent year. At a redemption rate of 100 miles per $1 and an earnings rate of 2 miles per $1 spent, you would need to spend $2,950 on the card per year to break even. If you spend more than that each year, then this is a solid credit card to put in your wallet.
Why You Might Pick the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card
If you are a Bank of America banking customer, then you’ll want to give serious consideration to the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Standard banking customer will earn a 10% bonus on the base reward rate of 1.5 miles per dollar spent. However, if you have $20,000 or more in your qualifying account, you can become a Preferred Rewards client, which allows you to earn 25% to 75% bonus, depending on your qualifying account balance. This would also be a great card to have if you’re not a big spender and can’t justify the annual fee on the Capital One Venture card.
At publishing time, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and Capital One Venture cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).