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The advent of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has people reevaluating their wallet space for premium credit cards. The American Express® Gold Card (see rates & fees) with its high earning potential in various categories has been a consistent keeper in many people’s wallets.

It’s easy to get excited about the new kid on the block and throw out the well-worn card in your wallet. But should you? Let’s look at each card step-by-step and see which card should be in your world.

Capital One® Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Also, earn up to $300 in statement credits on eligible U.S. advertising and U.S. shipping purchases. Terms Apply.

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Annual Fees and Perks

The Capital One Venture X is essentially a souped up version of the Capital One Venture Credit Card. However, because Capital One recently added several high-value partners to its transfer partner portfolio thereby making Capital One more attractive overall, the Venture X isn’t the credit card equivalent of putting a spoiler on a Honda Civic.

Let’s see which card’s got the right stuff for your spending patterns.

Capital One Venture X Annual Fees and Perks

The Capital One Venture X annual fee is $395.

This is $300 more than the Capital One Venture card, but in exchange it offers unlimited access to Capital One Lounges and a $300 credit for travel booked through Capital One Travel.

In addition to the above credits, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • $100 TSA Precheck / Global Entry enrollment credit: Once every four years, Capital One will reimburse you via statement credit for the cost of either TSA Precheck or Global Entry.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: If you pay for your full ticket with the Venture X, Capital One will reimburse you for luggage the airline loses or damages (up to $3,000 per traveler).
  • Rental car collision damage waiver coverage: If you decline the extra coverage the rental car desk offers, Capital One will cover your rental car as primary coverage.
  • Hertz President’s Circle Elite Status: This is Hertz’s top-tier status in its loyalty program, giving you access to confirmed upgrades, reservation and designated parking location.This is an upgrade from the Five-Star status that the Capital One Venture offers you (enrollment required).
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to the largest network of airport lounges.
  • 10,000 bonus anniversary miles: At each annual fee renewal, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus Venture Miles good for $100 in travel or transferable to one of Capital One transfer partners.

American Express Gold Fees and Perks

The American Express® Gold Card’s annual fee is $250 (see rates & fees) and includes Uber Cash credits of up to $10 per month (up to $120 per year) and dining credits of up to $10 per month at select restaurants and Grubhub (up to $120 per year). These credits make this card virtually free if you can take advantage of them.

In addition, the Amex Gold card includes these benefits:

  • Rental car collision damage waiver coverage*: Like the Venture X, if you decline the extra coverage the rental car desk offers you, American Express will cover damage to your rental car as secondary coverage. (Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.).
  • $100 The Hotel Collection credit: This perk gives you a property credit of up to $100 if you book a stay through The Hotel Collection on Amex Travel. You’ll also earn 2X points on the stay. In addition you’ll be eligible for a room upgrade on two-night or longer stays if available.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement*: If you pay for your full ticket with the Gold Card, American Express will reimburse you for luggage the airline loses or damages (up to $500 per traveler for checked luggage and up to $1,250 for carry-on luggage per traveler, underwritten by Amex Assurance Company).
  • Trip delay insurance*: If your travel on a common carrier is delayed more than 12 hours, American Express will reimburse up to $300 for lodging, meals and other necessities not covered by the common carrier (Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company).

Points Earning Potential

Of course the card that is going to earn space in your wallet has to be able to earn you maximum points with your normal spending patterns.

Let’s look at the point earnings scheme for both of these cards.

Capital One Venture X Miles Earning Potential

The simplicity and earning potential of the Capital One Venture X is a great reason to keep it handy. Unlike many cards that have a series of hard-to-remember bonus categories, the Venture products earn a simple 2X miles on any purchase. From groceries to travel to a New Kids on the Block CD, everything earns 2X miles!

Additionally, you can earn 10X miles on hotels and car rentals and 5X on flights booked through the Capital One Travel portal.

American Express Gold Points Earning Potential

The American Express Gold has a much more complicated yet potentially lucrative earning scheme. Purchases on the Gold Card earn 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent, but some spending categories earn more.

Here’s how many bonus points you’ll earn in the following bonus categories:

  • 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 spent per calendar year, then 1X after that)
  • 4X points on dining at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel
  • 2X points on The Hotel Collection bookings through Amex Travel

The American Gold pays out big on some of the most popular categories for many people’s day-to-day spending yet offers standard earnings on everything else.

Point Redemption Possibilities

It doesn’t make a ton of sense to earn points that you can’t spend. The card with the most useful points to your travel style should be the one that gets first priority when it’s time to make a purchase.

So far the American Express Gold is hanging tough, but you know it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Let’s look at how to spend all those points you’re going to earn.

Capital One Venture X Point Redemption Possibilities

Venture miles are redeemable at a rate of 1 cent per point in the Capital One travel portal, transferable to partners or claimed as a statement credit against any travel purchase on your credit card statement.

Transfer partners: Capital One has 17 transfer partners. Most of these miles transfer within a day to the receiving partner at a 1:1 ratio. The most notable transfer partners available at Capital One that are unavailable with American Express Membership Rewards are Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, Finnair Plus and Wyndham Rewards.

Capital One’s partners are:

Aeroméxico Club PremierEithad Guest
Air Canada AeroplanEmirates Skywards
Air France-KLM Flying BlueEVA Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5)
All Accor Live Limitless (2:1)Finnair Plus
Avianca LifeMilesQantas Frequent Flyer
British Airways Executive ClubSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (five business days)TAP Miles&Go
Choice PrivilegesTurkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Wyndham Rewards

Travel purchase erasure: The most well-known way to redeem Venture Miles is the cash erasure feature. Any purchase that codes as “travel” on your credit card statement is eligible to be erased simply by selecting that charge in your online banking and clicking “Redeem with points.” Keep in mind that how the charge codes is the driving factor here. Some restaurants in hotels or vacation rental sites don’t code as “travel” even though it would make sense if they did.

Capital One travel portal: The travel portal lets you redeem your points at a rate of 1 cent per point. Capital One’s travel portal is powered by Hopper.

Perusing Hopper.com should give you an idea of the availability on Capital One’s portal. The main feature of the Hopper app is its price predictor. This algorithm attempts to forecast the best time to book a flight. If the price predictor is wrong and you book your ticket based on its recommendation, Capital One will refund you the difference up to $50.

In addition, you can pay for cancellation insurance with Venture Miles or cash allowing you to cancel your ticket for any reason, or no reason at all, up to 24 hours before departure or arrival. In this case, you can recoup up to 80% of the original purchase price.

American Express Gold Point Redemption Possibilities

Membership Rewards Points redeem for travel at a redemption value ranging from 0.7 cent per point to 1 cent per point on American Express Travel. Like Venture Miles, they also transfer to 20 transfer partners or can be claimed as a statement credit at 0.6 cent per point.

Transfer partners: American Express has 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners. Most of these miles transfer within a day to the receiving partner at a 1:1 ratio. The most notable transfer partners available at American Express that are unavailable with Capital One are Delta SkyMiles, Iberia Plus and Hilton Honors.

American Express’ partners are:

Aer Lingus AerClubEithad Guest
Aeroméxico Club Premier (1:1.6)Emirates Skywards
Air Canada AeroplanHawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Air France-KLM Flying BlueHilton Honors (1:2)
ANA Mileage ClubIberia Plus
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesMarriott Bonvoy
Avianca LifeMilesJetBlue TrueBlue (2.5:2)
British Airways Executive ClubQantas Frequent Flyer
Choice PrivilegesSingapore Airline KrisFlyer
Delta SkyMilesVirgin Atlantic Flying Club

Converting to cash: Although American Express doesn’t offer a travel erasure program, it does offer to “Cover Your Charge.” This is a similar feature, except that the purchases do not need to be travel-related. However, each Membership Reward point is worth only 0.6 cents using this method.

In addition, American Express offers a “Pay with Points” feature allowing you to purchase goods with Membership Rewards points from select retailers. Again, the redemption value is low, ranging between 0.6 and 1 cent per point, and we don’t recommend it.

American Express Travel: Booking travel through American Express Travel ensures trip delay and luggage reimbursement insurance as long as you book a trip with a combination of points and your American Express Gold Card.

For hotel bookings, you can expect to see a rate of 0.7 cents per point. Airline bookings are slightly better redemptions at a rate of 1 cent per point.

American Express Travel also guarantees that if you are able to find a lower price for the exact same stay at the same property as booked through the site, you’ll get a refund for the difference. You can submit a claim at least a day before your stay on prepaid reservations and up to 30 days after your stay for reservations paid upon checkout. This is a little-known guarantee and makes it worth watching prices after booking your trip through American Express Travel.

Which Card Is Better?

A lot of factors go into deciding which card is best for you.

How much do you spend on your card monthly? Will you use it primarily for points earning or for travel benefits? What are your travel and spending styles?

This may be a controversial take and your situation may differ, but for the majority of regular travelers the Venture X might be a better choice than the American Express Gold.

The $300 travel credit is easily used as a lump sum in comparison to the $10 credits for Uber and for select dining issued every month. This travel credit erases most of Venture X’s fee.

Comparing travel partners is pretty close to a wash. Delta and Iberia are strong transfer partners in American Express’ favor, but Capital One has other SkyTeam and Oneworld partners that could help you access the same flights if needed.

Marriott and Hilton are other standouts for American Express, but it’s rare that transferring points for a hotel stay is better than booking through a portal or simply paying cash for the stay.

Additionally, the two cards are equal in secondary rental coverage, and Capital One has a slightly better luggage reimbursement policy. American Express’s trip delay insurance is nice, but hopefully you don’t find yourself using that too often.

While the additional earning potential on American Express at supermarkets and restaurants looks attractive, if your spending is less concentrated in these categories, the 2X points on everything with the Venture X may come close to averaging out with 4X on some categories and 1X everything else.

These two cards are close, but the tiebreaker is the Priority Pass Select membership and the option to redeem points for cash at a higher rate.

American Express has an incredible transfer partner program and a slick looking travel portal, but when it comes to redeeming Membership Rewards points, the results are lackluster.

Capital One falls just shy of Membership Rewards transfer partners but maintains an ability to book vacation rentals, hotels or flights through any method and utilize points. Any frequent traveler can get use out of a Priority Pass membership, and the Amex Gold card fails to give you access to any airport lounges.

For this reason, and the fact that the card is virtually free when you factor in the $300 hotel credit and the 10,000-point anniversary bonus, the new kid on the block is worth tossing the American Express Gold Card aside.

Final Thoughts

You might be hearing your Amex Gold Card singing “Please Don’t Go Girl,” but when comparing the points earning, redemption and perks of each card with their annual fees, you get more bang for your buck and travel benefits with the Capital One Venture X, the disruptor to the travel card market.

Of course, you’re not limited to having just one card in your wallet. However, the Venture X combines solid day-to-day spending with flexible redemption opportunities and some premium travel benefits to boot.

Call it what you want, but the new kid on the block is here to stay.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company. 

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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