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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.
How much value can you get redeeming Capital One miles?
- 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 the Purchase Eraser feature to reimburse yourself for that purchase
- You can transfer Capital One miles to 17 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.
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:
Aeromexico Club Premier
Accor Live Limitless (ALL)
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
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).
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).
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).
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:
- On the personal side, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (review) and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) offer a minimum of 2x Venture miles per dollar spent
- On the business side, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (review) offers a minimum of 2x Spark miles per dollar spent
Based on my valuation of 1.7 cents per mile, these cards all offer a 3.4% return on everyday spending, which is incredible. Also keep in mind that the Capital One Venture X is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Venture miles upon completing minimum spending, plus a $200 vacation rental credit. By my valuation that welcome bonus is worth $1,900, making it the best welcome bonus of any credit card.
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?