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The Citi Premier℠ Credit Card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are two popular travel rewards cards. But which one gives you more flexibility for earning travel points/miles and booking award travel? This Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards comparison will help settle this debate.

Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards
Will the Citi Premier or the Capital One Venture Rewards take you to exclusive art events in France? Photo by Timea Kadar from Pexels

In-Depth Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards Review

Both the Citi Premier and the Capital One Venture Rewards are packed with travel benefits. As some of the best airline credit cards, you can use either card to both earn points/miles for travel spending as well as for flights. Both cards also come with a $95 annual fee, though the fee is waived the first year with the Capital One Venture Rewards.

Signup Bonus

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card gives you 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus is worth $500 in award travel. As mentioned above, the annual fee is $0 for the first year then $95 after that.

Citi Premier℠ Credit Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. These points are worth $750 in airfare thanks to a 25% airfare redemption bonus. But, it is only worth $600 for other awards. One downside is that you have to pay the $95 annual fee during the first year, reducing the total bonus value.

If you can spend the extra $1,000 with the Citi Premier bonus and redeem all your award points for award flights, the Citi Premier bonus has a higher cash value. Note that the Citi Premier signup and redemption bonuses are similar to those of another popular travel credit card – the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Chase Sapphire Preferred perks include earning 2x points for travel and dining.

Verdict: Citi Premier℠ Credit Card

Earning Points/Miles

The Capital One Venture Rewards miles system is easy. Every purchase earns unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent. Through January 2020, Hotels.com/venture purchases earn 10 miles per $1 spent. It is also one of the best Capital One credit cards for travel.

The Citi Premier earns up to 3 points per $1 spent depending on the purchase:

  • 3x points on travel and gas stations
  • 2x points on restaurants and entertainment
  • 1x points on everything else

Which card is better depends on your spending habits. Earning triple points on travel and gas stations makes the Citi Premier one of the best travel rewards cards for these unique bonus categories. But if your non-bonus spending exceeds the Premier Card’s 3x and 2x bonus categories, the Capital One Venture Rewards is better.

Verdict: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Redeeming Travel Points

Maybe your decision for this Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards battle comes down to which card has the most valuable redemption options. After all, not being able to redeem your points/miles for a good value means you are missing out on the best award travel options.

The most valuable redemption options for both cards is award travel.

Redeeming Capital One Miles

It’s best to redeem Capital One Venture Miles for award travel. Your miles are worth 1 cent each for travel statement credits or booking upcoming travel on the Orbitz-powered Capital One travel portal. For example, your 50,000 miles from the signup bonus are worth $500.

A third travel option is transferring your miles to airline transfer partners although the transfer ratio is usually 1.5 Venture Miles to 1 air mile for most partners. This ratio is less valuable than the 1:1 transfer ratio the Citi Premier offers.

Redeeming your miles for gift cards is the best non-travel award as each mile is usually worth 1 cent each. But your miles are usually worth 0.5 cents each for cashback.

Of the various redemption options, the travel statement credits might be your best option. You can pay cash for your plane tickets and other travel purchases to earn loyalty miles. Then you can request your statement credit to erase all or part of the purchase amount.

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier points are most valuable when booking upcoming travel on the Citi ThankYou Travel Center or transferring to the ThankYou airline partners on a 1:1 basis. Redeeming your points for statement credits only makes them worth 0.5 cents each.

Each point is worth 1.25 cents each when booking flights, hotels, cruises, and rental cars. This is how the 60,000-point signup bonus is worth up to $750 in travel.

A potentially more valuable option is transferring your points to the Citi ThankYou airline partners with a 1:1 transfer ratio. Your points can usually be worth at least 1.5 cents each or more if you save them for a premium cabin seats. Some of the Citi transfer partners include JetBlue, Qantas, and Asia Miles.

Verdict: Citi Premier℠ Credit Card

Transferring Miles to Airline Partners

Both of these travel rewards cards let you transfer points/miles to select domestic and international airlines. Most transfers complete instantly with these cards.

The Capital One airline transfer partners are:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines

The average transfer ratio is 1.5:1.  This essentially means transferring 1,000 Venture Miles gives you 500 frequent flyer miles. This uneven transfer ratio makes it harder to get more than 1 cent per point when booking directly through the airline.

Here are the Citi Premier ThankYou partners:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • EVA Air
  • Air France KLM (Flying Blue)
  • JetBlue
  • JetPrivilege
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Not only does Citi have several overlapping partners, but these transfers also happen on a 1:1 ratio. It’s easier to get more redemption value from each point because of the 1:1 ratio.

Verdict: Citi Premier℠ Credit Card

Additional Card Benefits

Both cards offer some extra card benefits. As both cards have a $95 annual fee, these cards are not as benefit-rich as one of the best premium travel credit cards with a $450 annual fee.

The Capital One Venture Rewards probably has the most valuable additional benefits at this time:

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Secondary car rental collision damage waiver
  • Paribus price monitoring on recent purchases
  • Extended warranty on select purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee

Citi has been gradually removing additional benefits for most of their card lineup and the Citi Premier isn’t exempt. After September 22, 2019, Citi PriceRewind discontinues which monitors your recent purchases for price drops for refunds. You do have access to the Citi Concierge which can make it easier to book entertainment and earn 2x points at the same time. You get these World Elite Mastercard benefits:

  • Secondary car rental collision damage waiver
  • Special discounts at select golf courses and the Luxury Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty on select purchases

Verdict: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards 

Here’s a quick rundown of everything the Capital One Venture offers:

  • Earn 2x miles on every purchase
  • Earn 10x miles on Hotels.com/venture purchases (through January 2020)
  • Redeem miles for travel statement credits and upcoming travel for 1 cent each
  • Transfer miles to 15 airline loyalty partners
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Introductory $0 annual fee for the first 12 months (then $95)
  • 50,000 bonus miles by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Citi Premier

These are the key benefits for the Citi Premier:

  • Earn 3x points on travel and gas stations
  • Earn 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Get 1x points on all non-bonus purchases
  • Redeem points for 1.25 cents each for travel on Citi ThankYou Travel Center
  • Transfer points to 13 airlines on a 1:1 basis
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Summary of Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards

Both cards make it easy to earn bonus points/miles that you can redeem for travel. The largest difference between both cards is how to redeem your points/miles for the most value. Travel statement credits for recent travel bookings is arguably the best booking option for the Capital One Venture Rewards. If airline point transfers are your preference, go with the Citi Premier.

Learn more: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Learn more: Citi Premier℠ Credit Card

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Josh Patoka

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Travel Card Showdown: Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards
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