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American Express® Gold Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card if you want transferable rewards with a lower annual fee.

CNET'S PICK
American Express® Gold Card
Learn More

American Express® Gold Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
60,000 Membership Rewards® Points Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual fee
$250
APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Rewards rate
3x - 4x Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.; Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).; Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Rewards
Rewards redemption
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4x
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3x
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Best for
Rewards
Rewards redemption
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Learn More

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

7.1/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
75,000 miles Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
Annual fee
$95
APR
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Rewards rate
2x - 5x Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options; Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Annual Fee
Welcome offer
Rewards
Rewards redemption
Card perks
5x
Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
2x
Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Best for
Annual Fee
Welcome offer
Rewards
Rewards redemption
Card perks

If you’re in the market for a travel card and you want points or miles that transfer to airlines and hotels, both the American Express® Gold Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* could be worthwhile. They earn rewards in different ways, yet they have the same basic redemption options and offer generous benefits.

That said, the American Express Gold Card stands out for its lucrative rewards structure that benefits foodies, whereas the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers generous flat-rate rewards instead. Which of these travel credit cards is right for you?

Comparing annual fees

Winner: Capital One Venture

American Express® Gold Card
  • $250
WINNER
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • $95

Credit card annual fees can sometimes be worth it in the end, but it’s always nice to have a rewards credit card with a fee that’s easy to justify. With that in mind, the Capital One Venture Rewards wins in this category due to its lower $95 annual fee. 

While the American Express Gold Card costs $250 per year, it does include a number of annual credits to help lessen the blow if you can use them. The welcome offer could also offset the cost for a year, but you’ll have to spend more annually once it’s used up.

Welcome offer

Winner: Capital One Venture

American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
WINNER
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Speaking of welcome offers, the Capital One Venture Rewards card easily wins in this category. Cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus miles when spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. These miles are worth $750 if you redeem for travel, but they can be worth more if you transfer your miles to an airline or hotel partner.

The American Express Gold Card also comes with a generous welcome offer that’s just under what you get from the Venture Rewards card. The Amex Gold card earns 60,000 membership rewards points for spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within six months of card membership. While the bonus is lower, you’ll have more time to reach that $6,000 spending threshold. You’ll need to spend around $1,334 monthly with the Venture to reach its bonus in time, but around $1,000 monthly with the Amex Gold card.

However, American Express Membership Rewards points will change in value depending on how they’re redeemed. You can redeem your rewards at checkout with specific retailers or for shopping with merchant partners, or for gift cards, card charges and travel. However, your best bet will be to use them for airfare through Amex or to transfer them to Amex’s hotel or airline partners.

Rewards and redemption

Winner: Tie

American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.

When it comes to rewards and redemptions, there are definitely some gray areas and plenty of factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, you may want to consider the American Express Gold Card if you spend a lot on food or flights. It offers more rewards and perks centered on food than the Venture.

However, the Capital One Venture offers a flat rate of 2X miles per dollar on every purchase and 5X miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel. This higher earning rate on regular spending could earn you more rewards than the Amex Gold card depending on your purchasing habits.

The Amex Gold card is less flexible than it seems. While it does have various redemption options, you’ll really only want to use it for airfare through Amex or for point transfers to its travel partners. The other redemption methods -- like statement credits or gift cards -- will typically offer less than 1 cent per point. Amex has some popular partners like Delta and Marriott Bonvoy to which cardholders can transfer their points.

With the Capital One Miles program, you also can transfer miles to airline and hotel partners, but they’re better suited to international travelers as there are few domestic options. That said, it’s more flexible in terms of standard redemption. You can redeem miles for past travel expenses made within 90 days and get 1 cent per mile. You also get 1 cent per mile if you redeem Capital One miles for airfare, hotels, car rentals and other travel through the Capital One Travel portal. The other redemption options won’t be as lucrative.

However, the Capital One miles are only worth 0.5 cents each when redeemed for actual cash back and only 0.8 cents each if redeemed for purchases through PayPal or Amazon.com, so using them for travel is your best bet. 

We’re calling this category a tie. The Amex has better travel partners but requires more work to get the most value, while the Venture has less useful partners but more stable redemption values.

Card perks

Winner: Capital One Venture

American Express® Gold Card
  • Up to $120 in Uber cash per year for rides and eats in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to the Uber app
  • Up to $120 in annual dining credits
  • Baggage insurance plan**
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance**
  • Extended warranties**
  • Purchase protection**
WINNER
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership
  • Hertz Five Star status
  • Two Capital One airport lounge visits per year
  • Capital One Entertainment access
  • Capital One Dining access
  • 24-hour travel assistance services***
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver***
  • Travel accident insurance***
  • Extended warranties***

Despite charging a much lower annual fee, the Capital One Venture comes with the better selection of card perks. Not only are they more valuable, but they’re also easier to use. The Venture pulls ahead here thanks to its greater number of travel protections and its Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit.

Standout features of the American Express Gold Card include up to $240 in annual statement credits you can use throughout the year. Keep in mind that the up to $120 Uber Cash is given out in increments of $10 per month, and each month’s Uber Cash doesn’t roll over into the next. This means if you don’t use the $10 Uber Cash for an Uber ride or Uber Eats purchase each month, you lose a month’s worth of benefits.

A similar rule applies to the $120 in annual dining credits. These credits are given out in increments of up to $10 per month that don’t roll over if you don’t use them. Also, the dining credit is only good for purchases at Grubhub (including Seamless), The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The bottom line

Both of these travel cards can be worth it depending on how you spend and which perks you want the most. If you spend a lot on food or at restaurants each year, or if you prefer Amex’s travel partners, the Gold Card might be the better option.

 

That said, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the better deal for most people due to its generous welcome bonus, lower annual fee and flat-rate rewards. Either of these cards can be a real winner for your wallet, so consider your travel budget and purchasing habits before you decide.

FAQs

Annual fees can sometimes translate into higher welcome offers and rewards, plus better card perks. So long as it fits into your travel budget – and you’re able to take advantage of what the card offers each year – an annual fee can be worth it. However, if you won’t use the card often enough, an annual fee could end up becoming an unnecessary drain on your finances.

Capital One airline and hotel partners include Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada, ALL (Accor Live Limitless), Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands), Finnair Plus, Flying Blue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, Virgin Red and Wyndham Rewards.

American Express travel partners are Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, AirFrance KLM, ANA, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, jetBlue, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Capital One doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, and the Amex Gold Card doesn’t either (see rates and fees). However, other Amex credit cards could have foreign transaction fees.

For rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here

*All information about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

**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.

***For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Holly Johnson is a credit card expert and writer who covers rewards and loyalty programs, budgeting, and all things personal finance. In addition to writing for publications like Bankrate, CreditCards.com, Forbes Advisor and Investopedia, Johnson owns Club Thrifty and is the co-author of "Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love."