The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card both just got a nice upgrade in the hotels benefits department. These credit cards will now earn 10X on hotel bookings made exclusively through a Hotels.com channel.
What is Hotels.com?
Hotels.com is a popular OTA (online travel agency) that works like Expedia (and is owned by Expedia).
It offers a unique rewards program that gives you 10% back in the form of a free night stay that’s based on the average cost of your 10 prior stays. Put another way, if you stay at 10 properties, you get a free night up to the cost of the average of those 10 stays.
The 10X you get on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card will be stacked on top of the 10% back that you receive through Hotels.com and on top of the 2X you already earn on the Venture. So in effect this amounts to a 22% return since Venture miles are worth 1 cent per point. Keep in mind that you must book through their exclusive channel at: Hotels.com/Venture.
Better earnings elsewhere?
Getting 22% back on hotel purchases is fantastic but it’s not unheard of. For example, I’ve used one of the newest OTAs available, BonWi.com, to book hotels and have received 40% back on a stay and well over 22% on a number of other stays over the past year. 40% back on a hotel is truly ridiculous.
You can also get extremely high returns of 20%+ when you make bookings directly with hotels if you have top-tier status, jump on the right promotion, utilize cashback portals, and use the right credit cards. In those cases, you’re able to book directly with the hotel and so you also get elite credits on your stays along with all of the status perks like free breakfasts, free wifi, lounge access, and upgrades.
In cases where your earnings fall short of 22% when booking directly, you still might wisely opt to book directly with the hotel to retain those elite benefits so it’s not always about the % return value.
Note: Marriott is very good about honoring elite benefits when bookings are made through an OTA.
So you always have to do a balancing act to see if using OTAs are worth it.
Does this change the value of the Capital One Venture Card?
The Capital One Venture was already one of my favorite credit cards, especially when the 50,000 bonus returned. You can read my review of the card here.
I love that it has a sign-up bonus worth $500 that can be used on anything that codes at travel which is very extensive. I also love that it has a low annual fee of $59 that’s waived the first year. I’ve had the Venture in my top travel credit cards for a while now so I’ve already been pretty big on this card.
But this new perk of 10X on Hotels.com is very nice if you like to utilize OTAs for hotel bookings. Even if you don’t typically use them, sites like Hotels.com and BonWi.com are great for booking boutique hotels where you wouldn’t otherwise earn points (or maybe you would, but you wouldn’t be able to earn enough to actually use them before they expire).
So, yes this new perk definitely made the Venture more attractive but if you don’t like to hassle with OTAs, these changes probably won’t affect you very much either way. And if you do like OTAs, you should also be aware of all of your alternatives, including booking directly with the hotel.