Capital One Venture vs. Discover It Miles: Venture’s Plentiful Perks Win Out


The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true in a travel card comparison between the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Discover it® Miles card. You won’t pay an annual fee for the Discover card, but you won’t get many travel-related perks either. Plus, its rewards rate is lower than the Venture’s.

The Venture card and its $95 annual fee may feel like a splurge, but in reality, the card offers multiple opportunities to make up for that yearly cost.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

Sign-up bonus

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

UNLIMITED BONUS: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

Rewards

  • Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day.

  • Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

APR

The ongoing APR is 19.99%-29.99% Variable APR.

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24%-28.24% Variable APR.

Why the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is better for most people

Transfer partners

Capital One has a network of travel partners that allows cardholders to transfer their miles to airline and hotel loyalty programs. The best transfers can increase the value of a Capital One mile from a baseline of 1 cent to about 1.4 cents.

Discover has no such transfer partners, so there’s no way to earn outsize value from a Discover Mile.

Travel protections and perks

The Venture card offers various forms of travel protections that can more than make up for the card’s annual fee, including rental car coverage and travel accident insurance. You’ll also be eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. The credit is available once every four years.

Better rewards

The Venture card earns 2x miles on everything (except for hotels and rental cars booked in the Capital One portal, which earn 5x), which is better than the 1.5x rate on the Discover it® Miles card.

Given the Venture’s 2x rate, and assuming a baseline redemption value of 1 cent per mile when redeemed for travel, you’d need to spend $4,750 a year on the card to break even on the card’s annual fee. That works out to about $396 per month.

Valuable sign-up bonus

The Venture card has the following welcome offer: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. Yes, the sign-up bonus on the Discover it® Miles could be worth more, depending on your annual spending on the card, but you’ll have to wait a year to cash in. Capital One will issue your bonus miles within two billing cycles of hitting the spend threshold.

Who might prefer the Discover it® Miles

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

You’d rather not pay an annual fee

The Discover it® Miles is the only option between the two cards if you’re opposed to paying an annual fee.

Note, though, that Capital One also offers a no-annual-fee travel card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. You won’t pay a cent to use the card, and you’ll still gain access to Capital One’s transfer partners.

You’re willing to wait for a (potentially) bigger sign-up bonus

Discover’s unique sign-up bonus has the potential to give new cardholders a big payout, but you won’t get it right away: UNLIMITED BONUS: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers – only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

To maximize the value of the Discover it® Miles card’s sign-up bonus, you’ll need to spend a lot. Consider: To match the Venture’s current welcome offer, you must spend $25,000 on the Discover it® Miles card throughout the year. The spending requirement to get the Venture’s sign-up bonus feels minuscule in comparison.

You want a break on interest

The Discover card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24%-28.24% Variable APR. This money-saving perk, missing from the Venture card, is ideal for people who want to finance a large purchase — say, a pricey vacation.

Which card should you get?

The Venture card’s suite of benefits is far superior to what the Discover it® Miles has to offer, so if you can swing the annual fee, choose the Venture. For those unwilling or unable to hold a card with an annual fee, the Discover it® Miles is a decent no-annual-fee travel card — but it’s the lesser option compared with other cards in its class. A card like the $0-annual-fee Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card or the aforementioned VentureOne will be better picks for many consumers.



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