How Much Are Capital One Miles Worth?

How Much Are Capital One Miles Worth?

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Link: Apply now for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

There have been a lot of changes to Capital One’s mileage currency in recent months, between the introduction of the Capital One Venture X, and Capital One improving mileage transfer ratios for many partner airlines. Readers have had questions about my valuation of Capital One miles, so in this post, I wanted to share what I value Capital One miles at, and what my logic is for that valuation.

I value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each

Let me cut to the chase — I value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each. For that matter, that’s what I value all major transferable points currencies at, including Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.

I’m not suggesting that you should value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each. While I’d like to think I’m an expert at this stuff, the reality is that the value of mileage currencies is subjective, and based on how you redeem your rewards.

I don’t think it would be unreasonable to value Capital One miles at 1.0 cents each, and for that matter I don’t think it would be unreasonable to value Capital One miles at 2.0 cents each. So let me expand a bit more on how I come up with my valuation.

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Cathay Pacific first class

How much value can you get redeeming Capital One miles?

There are several ways to redeem Capital One miles, regardless of whether you’re earning Spark miles or Venture miles (these are more or less the same, and can be combined):

  • You can redeem Capital One miles for 1.0 cents each towards a travel purchase; you can either redeem miles at this rate through the Capital One Travel portal, or you can just charge a travel purchase to your card, and then use your miles to generate statement credits to reimburse yourself for that purchase
  • You can transfer Capital One miles to 18 airline and hotel partners, and with all but two of them, transfers are at a 1:1 ratio
  • You can redeem Capital One miles for statement credits, gift cards, and more, though at a rate of less than one cent per mile, so this isn’t how I’d recommend redeeming Capital One miles

The two travel redemption options give you a ton of flexibility, since you can redeem Capital One miles without dealing with the complexities of airline frequent flyer programs. Or if you’re like me and enjoy the challenge (and outsized value potential), then you can get a ton of value by transferring Capital One miles to partner programs.

Redeem Capital One miles towards virtually any travel purchase

Why do I value Capital One miles at more than one cent each?

“If you can only redeem Capital One miles for one cent each towards a travel purchase, why do you value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each?” That’s a fair question.

If you redeem your Capital One miles for one cent each towards a travel purchase (which there’s nothing wrong with), then you should value the miles at around one cent each.

The reason I value transferable points currencies (like Capital One miles) so much more is because of the opportunities to get outsized value by transferring them to an airline partner. This allows you to get huge value for first & business-class travel. For context, here are Capital One’s airline and hotel transfer partners:

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aeromexico Club Premier
Accor Live Limitless (ALL)
Air Canada Aeroplan
Choice Privileges
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Wyndham Rewards
Avianca LifeMiles
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Finnair Plus
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Virgin Red (parent of Virgin Atlantic)
Capital One transfer partners

To give some real-life examples, I recently transferred 55,000 miles to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and that was enough for a one-way Air France business class ticket from Paris to Miami. I value that at way more than $550 (which would be the valuation at one cent each).

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Air France business class

Similarly, I’ve transferred 85,000 miles to Emirates Skywards, and that was enough for a one-way Emirates first-class ticket from Athens to Newark. I value that at way more than $850 (which would be the valuation at one cent each).

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Emirates first class

I’ve transferred 100,000 miles to Air Canada Aeroplan, and that was enough for a one-way Lufthansa first-class ticket from Miami to Frankfurt to Paris. I value that at way more than $1,000 (which would be the valuation at one cent each).

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Lufthansa first class

These tickets would cost many thousands of dollars, and in some cases, international first-class tickets even cost $10,000+. That’s why the value here is so huge because these are tickets that most of us would never pay for in cash, but fortunately, miles make these accessible.

It’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t for everyone. If you have a family of six and your goal is to travel to Disney for spring break, obviously these international premium cabin redemption opportunities are of limited use. Similarly, there’s a bit of a learning curve to redeeming miles well, so if you don’t want to put in the effort, this also might not be for you.

When I share my valuations of miles, it’s not because I think everyone else should value them the way I do. Rather the intent is to share the thought process I go through when valuing miles, with hopes of others being able to crunch numbers and come up with a valuation based on their own travel patterns.

Capital One cards are amazing for everyday spending

I consider Capital One credit cards to be unbeatable for everyday credit card spending, based on my valuation of miles, and the rate at which miles rack up. Specifically:

Based on my valuation of 1.7 cents per mile, these cards all offer a 3.4% return on everyday spending, which is incredible.

The Capital One Venture X is great for everyday spending

Bottom line

Capital One has done an incredible job upping its travel game recently, between improving mileage transfer ratios and introducing the Capital One Venture X.

Personally, I value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each, and that’s based on the ability to transfer those miles to over a dozen airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. There is huge value with this if you’re booking first & business class travel and know what you’re doing. If you primarily redeem your Capital One miles at the rate of one cent each towards a travel purchase, then you should probably value the miles much less.

Capital One cards offer an incredible return on everyday spending, given that several cards offer a minimum of 2x Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

How much do you value Capital One miles?

Conversations (11)
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  1. mike Guest

    I called Capital One and asked if I could product change or downgrade the Venture X after a year to a no fee card. They said no! Has anyone done that?

  2. scott Guest

    Would like to see some examples of frugal ways to stretch these miles into several domestic flights. We don't all want to fly first class to Paris. Thanks!

  3. beachmouse Guest

    As long as the Euro is worth more than the US dollar, that number is the floor for the Capitol One program. Accor points are Euro-based and at 2000 Capitol One Miles for a 20 Euro voucher, you're doing a bit of arbitrage and turning that US cent into a slight more valuable Euro cent. I know non-Hyatt hotel transfers can have limited value but this could turn into a sweet spot with a weaker USD

    1. Wandervogel Guest

      This aged interestingly, we're sitting at parity today.

  4. Brodie Guest

    Any idea how long referral bonuses post after approval? I gave you mine but had to be selfish with my gf's app.

  5. mch321 New Member

    FYI I received the $200 rental credit on a hotel booking. Visa Infinite hotel (75+ rooms, so not a B&B or anything) that required a refundable deposit for the reservation. Charged directly from the hotel (categorized as "Lodging") and the $200 "vacation rental credit" received a few days later.

  6. Alex Z Guest

    @ Lucky

    How can you value Chase points same as AMEX, Capital One and Citi? Chase has 2 unique transfer partners that is Hyatt and United. In the case of Hyatt it's not only unique but also of great value. Not of the other programs have a more valuable hotel transfer partner

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alex Z -- Fair question. You're right that Chase has the huge advantage of having World of Hyatt, which is probably my single favorite transfer partner of any program. Personally I don't value United MileagePlus as a transfer partner, because United rarely has better pricing than other Star Alliance options.

      There are two downsides to Chase. First of all, Chase doesn't have as many transfer bonuses as we typically see from other programs. Furthermore,...

      @ Alex Z -- Fair question. You're right that Chase has the huge advantage of having World of Hyatt, which is probably my single favorite transfer partner of any program. Personally I don't value United MileagePlus as a transfer partner, because United rarely has better pricing than other Star Alliance options.

      There are two downsides to Chase. First of all, Chase doesn't have as many transfer bonuses as we typically see from other programs. Furthermore, Chase doesn't have as many transfer partners as other programs.

      I also think it's important to point out that Capital One has Turkish Airlines as a transfer partner, as there are some unique redemption opportunities there.

    2. DCS Diamond

      There are two downsides to Chase. First of all, Chase doesn't have as many transfer bonuses as we typically see from other programs. Furthermore, Chase doesn't have as many transfer partners as other programs.

      That claim has very little merit in my view. Chase has UA and SQ as transfer partners, which means that, by extension, since UA and SQ miles are good for booking award tickets on any *A carrier, Chase has 26...

      There are two downsides to Chase. First of all, Chase doesn't have as many transfer bonuses as we typically see from other programs. Furthermore, Chase doesn't have as many transfer partners as other programs.

      That claim has very little merit in my view. Chase has UA and SQ as transfer partners, which means that, by extension, since UA and SQ miles are good for booking award tickets on any *A carrier, Chase has 26 possible transfer partners + some partners of *A carriers. I know this because I seldom redeem my UA miles or Chase UR points to fly on UA metal, despite UA MileagePlus having been my primary FF program for over a decade and I am UA Million Miler. I almost invariably use UA miles and UR points to book award tickets to fly on other *A carriers, especially those in Asia (TG, BR, AI, CA, OZ, NH, in addition to SQ).

      I also think it's important to point out that Capital One has Turkish Airlines as a transfer partner, as there are some unique redemption opportunities there.

      Maybe, but how much more valuable are those "some unique opportunities"? I consider TK a redundant Chase partner when one already has UA and SQ.

      As argued before when the Cap Vx was being pushed aggressively, I believe that the CSR + CFU combo easily beats Cap Vx in points earning potential (everyday or otherwise)...

      So, YMMV.

  7. Sel, D. Guest

    No spend requirement for $200 Airbnb rental credit, other than at least $200 on Airbnb to receive the credit. That sentence could possibly be worded better or separated from the 100k miles statement - I interpreted it to mean I needed to spend the $10k to get the $200 credit, which isn’t true.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sel, D. -- Good point, I rephrased that to make it clearer. Thanks!

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Wandervogel Guest

This aged interestingly, we're sitting at parity today.

0
mike Guest

I called Capital One and asked if I could product change or downgrade the Venture X after a year to a no fee card. They said no! Has anyone done that?

0
scott Guest

Would like to see some examples of frugal ways to stretch these miles into several domestic flights. We don't all want to fly first class to Paris. Thanks!

0
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