Capital One Venture X is Probably Not a Replacement for Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve
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Capital One Venture X is Probably Not a Replacement for Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve

Capital One announced the Venture X card last month to great fanfare.   They paid the credit card bloggers handsomely to promote it with many of them obliging all too easily and changing the background of their sites to Capital One wallpaper.

The Venture X card is not a bad card and should have great appeal at once to many of the affluent readers of sites like OneMileAtATime or ViewFromTheWing.

It offers 100,000 points for signing up and 2x points on all spend.  It is instantly a top travel rewards card, accruing points that can then be transferred to a host of airline partners (although no major US airlines are included), and the $395 annual fee is well within reason, especially since it comes with a $300 travel credit for bookings on Capital One’s own travel portal.   It also comes with all the frills that travelers seek – a full featured Priority Pass with restaurant credits, Global Entry, primary automobile rental insurance coverage (only Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers that) and no currency exchange fees. 

The unveiling of the Venture X comes at a great time.   The Platinum Card from American Express now has a much higher price and was converted in the early stages of COVID-19 into a sort of coupon book that benefits those who also patronize American Express’s partners.  Amex had already begun cutting the benefits that most savvy travelers rely on prior to the pandemic (they had already converted the $200 travel credit into a heavily restricted incidental credit and offered a less than full featured version of the Priority Pass), and the Venture X card gives them back similar features at a lower fee.

Venture X also targets the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.   Not only is Capital One offering a larger sign-up bonus, it is offering all the same frills at a lower cost ($95 versus $250 after netting out all direct travel credits that most will be able to use).   While it offers 2x on all spend, it does not offer 3x on travel and restaurant spend.   It also doesn’t have Hyatt and United as travel partners which barring some sort of massive devaluation in point values will always be more appealing to most US-based cardholders than Capital One’s limited partners (Singapore, Air France, British Airways, etc.)

As attractive as Venture X is, here are the three reasons why I would still prefer to have an Amex Platinum or a Sapphire Reserve card in my wallet when I travel, especially internationally.

First, Capital One is not known for its customer service.   Even if I am only likely to call my credit card company once every year or two about a questionable charge or some other matter, I want to be able to get in touch immediately with someone who is competent and able to address my concern.  This is especially true if I am calling from Ushuaia.   I know that I get that with Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Second, the Venture X doesn’t even say that it comes with emergency evacuation coverage.   If I am in some sort of remote corner of Vietnam and have a medical emergency, I want to be able to call someone and try to get medevaced to Singapore or Hong Kong.   This may be more of a “peace of mind” thing, but for the travel that I do, Platinum and Reserve give me this, and Venture X does not.

Third, the Venture X card is just too heavy.   It weighs in at twice the weight of the Sapphire Reserve and more than twice the Amex Platinum.  This heavy card thing may have been attractive a decade ago, but it is the 2020s and it smells of unnecessary excess and indifference to the reality that we all need to limit consumption of everything going forward.  It would be obnoxious to hand the card to a waiter in Paris or Rome; it screams “stupid American”.

So, while Venture X is interesting, I for one will just keep it on my desk and use it to pay taxes and other large expenses for which I cannot get 2x the points on any other personal credit card.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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