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Capital One rolls out $395-a-year card in effort to attract wealthy travelers

November 4, 2021, 2:48 PM UTC

Capital One Financial Corp. is officially entering the fray for affluent travelers. 

The credit-card giant debuted a new travel-focused card called Venture X on Thursday. The $395-a-year credit card—which will initially come with a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus as long as a minimum spending requirement is met—could challenge popular airline and hotel cards along with American Express Co.’s Platinum card or JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Sapphire Reserve. 

“There’s a gap in the market,” said Lauren Liss, managing vice president of U.S. card at Capital One. “We feel great that it’s the right time to bring this product to consumers.”

Capital One has been doubling down on its travel offerings in recent months after acquiring the flight-protection service Freebird last year. The firm, for instance, is set to open a trio of airport lounges—in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Denver International Airport and Dulles International Airport in Washington—and earlier this year partnered with the startup Hopper on its new Capital One Travel portal.   

The firm’s moves come as rivals also boost spending on marketing their premium cards to consumers eager to get back to the skies. At McLean, Virginia-based Capital One, spending on travel and entertainment has returned to pre-pandemic levels, Chief Executive Officer Richard Fairbank told analysts on a third-quarter conference call last month.

“In the card business, competition has definitely intensified especially in rewards,” Fairbank said. “We saw some modest increases in upfront bonuses mainly in the form of limited time offers and in travel as demand returns.”

Venture X cardholders will be eligible for $300 in statement credits for bookings made through Capital One Travel, as well as perks such as five miles per dollar spent on flights booked through the portal. Capital One miles are valued at 1.85 cents a piece, according to the credit-card blog The Points Guy, meaning a 100,000-point bonus could be worth $1,850. The card also comes with a $100 statement credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

In the firm’s research, Capital One has seen that fewer consumers are interested in signing up for specific airline and hotel-chain loyalty programs and credit cards. Part of the reason, Liss said, is there’s less business travel happening, meaning it’s harder for consumers to earn status with specific travel companies.

“What we’re offering to them is that flexibility,” Liss said. “Maybe they don’t have status at the airline, or they’re not traveling as much for business, so they actually can stay wherever they want.”

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