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Credit Cards and Miles/Points

redleader

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Joined: August 16th, 2006
Location: San Leandro, CA, USA

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  • Added on: November 18th, 2010
I'm debating on applying for the Capitol One Venture card, which you can earn points that then reimburse you for travel costs. I'd like to know if anyone has experience using this card and the rewards. I currently have a United Mileage Plus Visa, which works by accruing miles from purchases that you can then use to purchase flights or upgrades on United or any of its partners.

Basically, I'm trying to see what's a better deal, accruing miles that you use to purchase/upgrade flights? Or going with the reimbursement route. Opinions welcome!
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"What the hell is wrong with you C3-PO? We're here to see Europe not some crappy statue" (Eurotrip)

2wanderers

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Joined: August 20th, 2003
Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: November 18th, 2010
I can't speak to those two specific cards (being Canadian and all), but on general principle I prefer a card that complements a point stream, rather than creating its own. The points from the card help to unlock the value in the points that I get from buying groceries, gas, books, etc...so they're more valuable than the points by themselves.

I have used an Aeroplan card and now us an Air Miles card. Both meet my criteria, since both programs get me points from other purchases. Aeroplan points can only be redeemed for Star Alliance (AC, United, BMI, Lufthansa, etc.) flights, and I found that to be a major disadvantage, as Star Alliance does not, for instance, fly to Ecuador, or most of Africa. So I switched to Air Miles, that I can redeem on any airline, and it's worked quite well for me.

Your mileage may vary. I spend around $20,000-$25,000 per year on my credit card, and figure the total amount my air miles get me is about $500-$700 per year in rewards - around 2.5%. If my credit card was a separate pool, I would expect to get 1% on that, and my other air miles would take many years to amount to anything.

redleader

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 196
Joined: August 16th, 2006
Location: San Leandro, CA, USA

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  • Added on: November 18th, 2010
Thanks for the input. I've been doing some math on my own and here's what I determined. On the Capitol One Venture, you get 2 miles for every 1 dollar you spend and then to determine what your miles are worth in dollars, you just drop two 0's at the end. For example:

I spent about $1200/month on my card, so that's $14,400/year.
At 2 miles per dollar, that's 2 x $14,400 = 28,800 miles/year
drop the two zeros = $288 dollars I can apply towards travel costs (air, hotel, etc.)
It would take me roughtly 3.5 years to save up enough for a roundtrip ticket to Europe (~$1000)

On my United Mileage card, a round trip ticket from USA to any European destination costs 50,000 miles (in coach). I get 1 mile per dollar (for regular purchase), so at the same rate of spending it would take me also about 3.5 years. The only difference is with Capitol One I can fly anywhere I want on any airline since it pays on a reimbursement basis.
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"What the hell is wrong with you C3-PO? We're here to see Europe not some crappy statue" (Eurotrip)

busman7

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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
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Location: El Salvador

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  • Added on: November 18th, 2010
Never could see that the aggravation of a points card was worth the rewards.

Every Canadian traveler needs a Capitol One card for the times when the Canadian one proves useless, it's nice to have a backup that works. 8-)
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown



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