Capital One Announces Game-Changing Mileage Transfer Program

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When it comes to collecting points through credit card spend, I’ve long recommend earning a transferable points currency, which gives you the flexibility to transfer points to a variety of airline partners.

As of now, Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou are the “big three” currencies. Barclays has also tried to introduce a transferable points currency with the new Barclay Arrival Premier, but that hasn’t been very popular, and it seems like they’re regrouping, as the card isn’t open to new members at the moment.

Well, today Capital One has announced that they’re introducing a transferable points currency, and the details are super exciting.

Capital One miles will be transferable to airlines!

Those who earn Venture miles or Spark miles will soon be able to transfer their miles to 12 travel loyalty programs, including popular options like Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, Etihad Guest, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and more. This new feature is expected to go live in early December.

Here’s a full chart of the new Capital One transfer partners:

Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
Aeromexico (Club Premier)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Air Canada (Aeroplan)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Air France KLM (Flying Blue)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Alitalia (MilleMiglia Program)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Avianca (LifeMiles)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Emirates (Emirates Skywards)2 : 1 | 1000 : 500
Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Finnair (Finnair Plus)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Hainan Airlines (Fortune Wings Club)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Qatar Airways (Privilege Club)2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750
Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)2 : 1 | 1000 : 500

What will the transfer ratio be?

Currently the Capital One Venture and Spark Miles earn two miles per dollar spent, and each of those miles can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase. That option will remain, meaning each dollar spent on the cards will continue to earn the equivalent of two cents you can redeem towards travel.

So, what will the transfer ratio for these cards be? You’ll be able to transfer Spark and Venture miles into partner airline miles at a 2:1.5 ratio.

This means that both cards will essentially offer 1.5 miles per dollar spent, which is a solid return. This is especially solid when you consider that the alternative is earning two cents towards travel per dollar spent on these cards, which is also competitive.

These will be very flexible cards.

What this means for increased new welcome bonuses

At the moment we’re seeing increased welcome bonuses on the two cards that benefit the most from this.

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 Venture miles when you spend $5,000 within the first three months, plus an additional 150,000 Venture miles when you spend $50,000 within the first six months.

This is in addition to the two miles per dollar you usually earn. So that means spending $50,000 within six months would you earn 300,000 Venture miles. Given the 2:1.5 ratio, this means that you could convert those into 225,000 airline miles, which is the equivalent of 4.5 airline miles on the first $50,000 spent, which is incredible.

Meanwhile the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (non-affiliate link) is offering a welcome bonus of 75,000 Venture miles when you spend $5,000 within the first three months.

When you spend $5,000 you’d earn a total of 85,000 Venture miles, which could in turn be converted into ~63,000 airline miles.

Bottom line

This is such a fantastic development on the part of Capital One, since these cards will be so flexible. The cards already offered great flexibility with points being redeemable towards the cost of virtually any travel purchase, but now you’ll also be able to convert them into airline miles at a pretty favorable ratio.

While Capital One lacks the bonus categories offered by some other cards, for your everyday, non-bonused spend, this is a return that is pretty tough to beat, as every dollar spent will earn you either two cents worth of rewards towards travel, or 1.5 airline miles.

What do you make of Capital One’s new transferable points currency?

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Comments

  1. Pretty nice. Just not as nice as 2 miles per dollar spent on Blue Business Plus, which costs nothing, and whose points can also be alternatively used for any flight at 1 cent per point, and which has many of the same transfer partners. Or, on the personal side, 1.5-4.5 points on Everyday Preferred for $95/year. Also, part of the value will depend on how quickly the point transfers take place.

    Still, more competition and choices is a good thing, and the extra flexibility of the Venture points “eraser” as compared with having to book through Amex Travel shouldn’t be ignored. If they didn’t HP all three bureaus and report business cards to them, I’d be excited.

  2. Ben, how would you say this shakes up your cc strategy, if at all, and would you say it’s worth it to pick up one of these cards? Especially since the transfer ratio is all 2:1.5, all the capital one cards that earn 2 points/ dollar on all purchases essentially become 1.33x points/dollar for the sake of calculation. So slighty less than what you’d be earning on the freedom unlimited but then again, I don’t have a valuation yet for Capital one points as a transfer currency….

  3. This could not be better news for me. The Venture card was very first points card, signed up when the annual fee was $59 with 100K bonus. They have never raised my annual fee and I have been banking those points, now up to 540K (would be a lot higher but Cap One stopped offering the points earning linked bank accounts). I just walked into 400K airline miles!

  4. @flyingrohit I’d say that he’d be more than happy to apply for these cards now, especially given how restrictive banks are getting these days.

    @Ivan X Yes but for the Blue Business Plus, 2x is only on the first $50k spend a year. On the Everyday, Everyday Preferred card, you need to meet 20-30 transactions a month to get the bonus. With the Chase Ink Unlimited, you need to have a premium UR card to make the points transferable. So this is a compelling option because you’re basically earning 1.5x/dollar with no limitation.

  5. @flyingrohit I’m not Ben, but my personal opinion is that unless you can hit the $5,000 & $50,000 bonus threshold easily I wouldn’t fall over myself to get on this. The partners are all available elsewhere and you can earn points to transfer to them easier with the 3/4/5x bonus categories available with Chase/AMEX/Citi.

    Another point to consider is that Capital One is apparently notorious for rejecting credit card applications. So unless you have an excellent report, I’d think twice.

  6. Lucky, are you being paid by Capital One for these specific blog posts and the referral links?

    The way you’re gushing over their offer + your 2nd post about the Spark bonus makes it seem like you are being paid to do so.

  7. I jumped on the 200k offer. Instant approval with a legit business. That’s a pretty good sign up bonus even without regard to the possibility of having a really good and instant transfer program. For those that can swing the $50,000 spend in 6 months it seems like a no brainer. Even if the transfer stuff turns out illusory, a sign up bonus worth $2,000 toward flexible travel is a really nice sign up offer and consistent with the very best sign up offers out there.

    I think the math that says that it’s really “worth” $3,000 because of the $50,000 in spend leading to an additional 100,000 miles is not really accurate in how I view sign up bonuses. I can earn 1.5 chase or Amex points on nonbonus spend so my opportunity cost for putting $50,000 on this card is 75,000 amex points or Chase points, which I actually would value more highly than an additional $1,000 in travel. Even if Cap One transfer tuns out to be instant and roughly equivalent to Chase or Amex the transfer ratio of 1.5:1 means that $50,000 in on this card gives about 8,500 fewer transferable points than $50,000 in spend on a Amex or Chase at 1.5x would give.

    So, putting it all together, I come up with a sign up bonus worth in the area of $1850 for those who can swing $50,000 spend, with the possibility of significant upside depending on the details and particulars of the mileage transfer opportunities. The downside is that Cap One business cards are reported to count to 5/24.

  8. Do you know what the requirements for approval are?
    About 2 months ago i applied for a Capital One card with a credit score over 840. I had the Venture card with them for over 10 years and it was cancelled in 2017 due to lack of activity. I was denied the new card and received a very basic letter with no explanation. I called to find out why and they basically said i had opened up to many cards recently….

  9. I think I had the transfer ratio wrong above — looks like essentially 1.5x in miles for every $1 spent. So, same analysis but the Cap 1 actually comes out a bit closer and the sign up bonus for those who can swing the $50k is closer to $2,000.

  10. @David W: Good points. (So to speak.) I don’t see either of those issues as being grave limitations, which is why I didn’t think of them, but you’re correct, this card is the least restricted, relative to its base earning, rate of the transferrable points cards.

  11. No clue how this is any different/better than Barclays Arrival Premier, which was completely trashed and smeared in the blogosphere. At least that card offered annual 25K bonuses, excellent insurance/purchase protections, paid lounge access, and chip&pin. This sounds way overblown, at least Barclays had JAL.

  12. @Morris — the Barclays Card stopped making sense for spend when Amex and Chase both started offering the opportunity to earn 1.5x on nonbonus spend on no fee cards. The Barclay transfer rate is slightly worse and it costs $89. I think that pretty much makes it irrelevant other than for JAL flyers who can stomach the crummy transfer rate or for those who don’t have another barclay or chip and pin card.

    I don’t think this card is necessarily any better for spend, but a 200k bonus is something significant.

  13. Not seeing a reason to be excited. I get two amex points per dollar spent with blue plus and no AF. For chase URs i can get 1.5 points per dollar with freedom unlimited no af also. Dont see the need for hype other than maybe a signup bonus possibility

  14. I just applied and was approved instantly. I have never had a Capital One card before and have a fair credit score (~730). Also don’t really have a business – basically made up a sole proprietorship. The reports that they are super stringent on approvals are a little hard to reconcile with this. Granted they only gave me a $5K credit limit which makes it impossible achieve the 200K points bonus without paying off the bill multiple times per month.

  15. What if “Game-Changing” about the card when you can have the FU or EDP and earn the same ratio to miles with more flexibility????

  16. I hope that they make points (“cash back”) earned on other cards eligible to be transferred, sort of like Chase does with their freedom and freedom unlimited. Let you combine and transfer them as long as you have a premium sapphire card. I peg the chances of this happening at pretty low, but a guy can dream.

  17. except for the 75K sign up bonus, and some unique transfer partners, are there any other reasons you would use this card over Freedom Unlimited (linked to Reserve)?

  18. I wish someone would do an article on teaching people how to use these miles when they live at airports where none of these airlines fly. I know it can be done, but I don’t really understand it.

  19. For everyone saying that the annual fee is a showstopper, I’ve gotten it waived every year on my Venture card by calling and asking. It’s my go-to non-category card for 2% cash back.

  20. @sam The information is out there, including in this very blog. Unfortunately, the using of miles is more complicated than the accumulation of miles by a very wide margin. There is unfortunately no shortcut but the resources are excellent. I would guess that near billions of miles have been redeemed on Avianca by blog followers and others who have never set foot on an Avianca plane. Just as an example.

  21. This is a big, positive change for Capital1 cards – thanks for the post.
    The reason my C1 Venture1 card is likely to stay in the sock drawer is the terrible customer service (Ari, stop insulting Fox Car Rentals). I have banking relationships with all the major banks in the US and the fraud alert system is restrictive, phone customer service is somewhere between inept and ouright rude. On my last call with them to verify an advertised benefit of the card, the agent refused to answer a simple yes/no question and kept reading irrelevant, canned statements… Unbelievable…

  22. Great to see an additional option to transfer miles across to programs. The transfer rate looks reasonable at 2 to 1.5. Will be interested in Aeroplan, LifeMiles.

  23. As a Capital One customer who already has their airline miles accumulated, this is really exciting news. The Travel eraser had always been useful but the flexibility to transfer the miles to airline miles really helps me get closer to my goals. Not the same!

  24. This is indeed a big win for us. Looks like Capital One is stepping up to take a bite out of the “big three”. Including the signup bonus, 1.5 miles per dollar is tough to beat! Will try to apply but heard it’s hard to get approved – do they let you know right away?

  25. After all of those shredded Venture card applications they’ve sent me in the mail over the years I might save the next one from that same fate

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