How To Earn & Redeem Capital One Miles

How To Earn & Redeem Capital One Miles

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In general I recommend earning transferable points currencies with your credit cards whenever possible, to give you the most flexibility if you’re looking for travel rewards.

Capital One only introduced a transferable points currency a few years back, but has really been doing some amazing things. Capital One recently improved mileage transfer ratios, and has also introduced an incredible new premium credit card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. In light of all this, I wanted to provide an updated guide on earning and redeeming Capital One miles.

Basics of the Capital One mileage program

Several Capital One credit cards earn either Spark or Venture miles, which give you great flexibility for travel redemptions. Capital One miles can be redeemed to offset the cost of a travel purchase with the Purchase Eraser option, or they can be transfered to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners, which provide outsized value if you know what you’re doing.

The efficient flexibility provided by Capital One’s credit cards is pretty unbeatable, especially with the excellent return on everyday spending offered by Capital One credit cards.

Redeem Capital One miles towards amazing travel experiences

How to earn Capital One miles

Let’s start by covering everything you need to know about earning Capital One miles — which credit cards earn Capital One miles, what’s the difference between Venture and Spark miles, and more.

What credit cards earn Capital One miles?

The following five credit cards earn Capital One miles, along with the mileage earning rates, and the annual fees:

Redeem Capital One miles towards business class flights

What’s the difference between Venture & Spark miles?

Often there’s confusion about what the difference is between Venture miles and Spark miles. The reality is that these currencies are basically the same — “Venture” is the name of Capital One’s mileage currency on personal credit cards, while “Spark” is the name of Capital One’s mileage currency on business credit cards.

These points have the same redemption values towards travel, and can be combined if you have both personal and business cards. Despite the different branding, for all practical purposes these currencies are identical.

How fast do Capital One miles post?

One thing that makes Capital One miles unique is how quickly these rewards post. With other programs it can take a couple of billing cycles for rewards to post to your account. In the case of Capital One:

  • Miles post to your account the same time as your purchase
  • This even applies to welcome bonuses on cards

In an age where people love instant gratification, that sure is a nice feature, as you can redeem your rewards towards travel almost instantly.

Redeem Capital One miles with Purchase Eraser

Now let’s talk about everything you need to know about redeeming Capital One miles. Historically the most popular way to redeem Capital One miles has been using the Purchase Eraser option. The Venture Card and Spark Miles Card offer 2x miles per dollar spent, and each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase.

You can choose to use the Purchase Eraser feature to “wipe out” the cost of a travel purchase within 90 days of when you made the purchase on your Venture Card or Spark Miles Card.

This allows you to make a travel related purchase with your favorite travel provider (whether that’s an airline, hotel, online travel agency, Uber, Airbnb, or other travel company), and then receive a statement credit from Capital One for that purchase at the rate of one cent per mile.

Wipe out the cost of any travel experience with Purchase Eraser

The reason this redemption option is so popular is because there are no hoops to jump through — you don’t have to worry about airline or hotel blackout dates when redeeming points, and you don’t even have to book through a specific portal. You just make a purchase with your card as you usually would, and then you can redeem for statement credits. It doesn’t get easier than that.

If you ever saw the Capital One commercials that used to feature Alec Baldwin, that’s exactly the redemption option that’s being promoted. 😉

Convert Capital One miles into airline miles

Capital One Venture and Spark miles can be converted into airline miles or hotel points in over 15 participating programs. The reason this has become a progressively better redemption is because mileage transfer ratios have improved considerably since the program was first introduced, and nowadays Capital One miles transfer to most partners at a 1:1 ratio (initially most transfers were at a 2:1 ratio).

Since the Venture Rewards and Spark Miles offer unlimited 2x miles, this means that the cards essentially offer two airline miles per dollar spent if you transfer to a participating loyalty program, which is a phenomenal return on everyday spending.

Redeem Capital One miles for Singapore Airlines first class

What airlines & hotels can you transfer Capital One miles to?

Here’s the full list of Capital One transfer partners, which includes 14 airlines and two hotel programs (note that Choice Privileges will be added as a partner as of later in 2021):

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aeromexico Club Premier
Accor Live Limitless (ALL)
Air Canada Aeroplan
Wyndham Rewards
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
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
Capital One transfer partners

How do you transfer Capital One miles to airline & hotel partners?

The process of transferring Capital One miles to airline and hotel partners is really easy, and can be done directly on Capital One’s website. You can read about the process in this post.

How long do Capital One mileage transfers take?

Transfer times for Capital One partners vary. For about half of partners transfers are instant, while for others transfers take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You can read about Capital One mileage transfer times in this post.

Capital One Transfer Partner
Transfer Ratio
Transfer Time
Accor Live Limitless (ALL)
1000 : 500
~ 24 to 48 hours
Aeromexico Club Premier
1000 : 1000
Instant
Air Canada Aeroplan
1000 : 1000
Instant
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
1000 : 1000
Instant
Avianca LifeMiles
1000 : 1000
Instant
British Airways Executive Club
1000 : 1000
Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
1000 : 1000
~ 3 to 5 days
Emirates Skywards
1000 : 1000
Instant
Etihad Guest
1000 : 1000
~ 12 to 24 hours
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
1000 : 750
~ 24 to 48 hours
Finnair Plus
1000 : 1000
Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1000 : 1000
~ 24 to 48 hours
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1000 : 1000
~ 24 to 48 hours
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
1000 : 1000
Instant
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
1000 : 1000
~ 24 to 48 hours
Wyndham Rewards
1000 : 1000
Instant
Capital One Transfer Ratios & Times

Look out for Capital One mileage transfer bonuses

While Capital One miles transfer to most airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, note that we sometimes see transfer bonuses, whereby they transfer at a better rate for a limited time. For example, through December 1, 2021, you can receive a 20% bonus when you transfer Capital One miles to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, which could be a great value.

What’s the best use of Capital One miles?

Hopefully the above gives you a general sense of redemption options with Capital One miles. I now wanted to get into a bit more detail to help people decide which Capital One mileage redemption option makes the most sense for them. Are you better off redeeming Capital One miles towards the cost of a travel purchase, or converting Capital One miles into points with partner programs?

Purchase Eraser vs. mileage transfers

For many years, Purchase Eraser was the primary way to redeem Capital One miles. Then in late 2018 Capital One introduced mileage transfers to airlines and hotels. If you already love redeeming Capital One miles towards travel purchases with no blackout dates or capacity controls, that’s great. That’s a flexible option with not much of a learning curve, so for many this is the best bet.

The benefit of converting Capital One miles into airline miles is that often the cost of a ticket when paying cash isn’t correlated to the cost of a ticket when redeeming points. While you historically get a consistent one cent of value per Capital One mile, with airline and hotel points you could be getting anywhere from a fraction of a cent of value per mile, to 10+ cents of value per mile.

The greatest value to be had with converting Capital One miles into airline miles is if you want to redeem your rewards for international first and business class airline tickets. Many people think that these kinds of flights are out of reach, but with airline miles they are more reasonable than you might expect!

Let me give a few examples, based on my own recent travels. Capital One miles transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and I redeemed 55,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way Air France business class ticket from Paris to Miami. If paying cash, that ticket would have cost thousands of dollars, while 55,000 Capital One miles is the equivalent of $550 with Purchase Eraser.

Redeem Capital One miles for Air France business class

Capital One miles transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Emirates Skywards, and I redeemed 85,000 Emirates Skywards miles for a one-way Emirates first class ticket from Athens to Newark. If paying cash, that ticket would have cost $5,500+, while 85,000 Capital One miles is the equivalent of $850 with Purchase Eraser.

Redeem Capital One miles for Emirates first class

Capital One miles transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Air Canada Aeroplan, and I redeemed 100,000 Aeroplan miles for a one-way Lufthansa first class ticket from Chicago to Frankfurt. If paying cash, that ticket would have cost $8,000+, while 100,000 Capital One miles is the equivalent of $1,000 with Purchase Eraser.

Redeem Capital One miles for Lufthansa first class

Mileage transfers give you access to more airlines than you think

The beauty of these frequent flyer partnerships is that in the end you’re able to redeem miles on a lot more than a dozen airlines (as I partly demonstrated with the examples above).

Capital One miles can be transferred to over a dozen airline programs. That’s great in and of itself, but the reality is that you have access to way more airlines than that.

Why? Because airline loyalty programs in many cases have multiple airline partners as well. Just because you transfer miles to an airline loyalty program doesn’t mean you actually have to fly with that airline:

  • Capital One miles can be transferred to Air Canada Aeroplan, and you can redeem Aeroplan miles for travel on any of the over two dozen Star Alliance airlines (including United Airlines), plus airlines like Air Serbia, Azul, Etihad, Vistara, and more
  • Capital One miles can be transferred to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and you can redeem Flying Blue miles for travel on any of the nearly two dozen SkyTeam airlines (including Delta Air Lines)
  • Capital One miles can be transferred to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and you can redeem Asia Miles for travel on any of the over dozen oneworld airlines (including American Airlines)
Redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Etihad

As you can see, these miles give you access to all of the “big three” alliances, and then there are many more airline partners on top of that. The amount of flexibility you’re getting with your miles here is huge, so look beyond the airline transfer partners as such.

Why you shouldn’t always transfer Capital One miles

While the ability to convert Venture and Spark miles into airline and hotel points is exciting, there are still going to be plenty of circumstances under which you get a better deal using the Purchase Eraser redemption method. I’d say this is especially true if you primarily travel domestic, and are happy flying economy and staying at reasonably priced hotels.

For example, in the United States we have ultra low cost carriers that have really lowered the cost of airfare in many markets. Generally these airlines don’t have robust loyalty programs, and there’s no way to efficiently transfer miles to those programs.

So if you’re looking to travel to Orlando for spring break on Frontier Airlines or Spirit Airlines, the Purchase Eraser feature might be the best option — you can just buy your ticket as you usually would, and then have the cost reimbursed.

Purchase Eraser can be great for domestic travel

Furthermore, those who are into earning elite status with airlines and hotels might appreciate the value of Purchase Eraser. Why? Because you can book travel as you usually would (whether flights or hotels), and that would be considered paid travel. With both airlines and hotels, this means you could take advantage of elite perks and earn points.

Use Purchase Eraser for a paid business class ticket

Tips before converting Capital One miles into airline miles

The Purchase Eraser feature makes using Venture or Spark miles so straightforward, and that simplicity has been a large part of the appeal of the rewards program for years. If you’re a cardmember who is used to that, the number of hoops you have to jump through to redeem airline miles might come as a surprise.

If you are going to convert Capital One miles into airline or hotel points, I’d generally recommend going through the following process:

  • Study the loyalty program transfer options that Capital One is offering
  • Look at their respective award charts to understand how many miles are required
  • Find out what partners these loyalty programs have beyond their “home” carrier, so you know which airlines you can redeem on
  • Try to search availability for yourself to get a sense of how many award seats there are; sometimes this can be done directly on the loyalty program’s website, while in other instances you have to call
  • Once you’ve verified there’s availability and have verified the price (both in terms of miles and cash), transfer your Capital One miles to the loyalty program
  • Airline award availability is capacity controlled and subject to change, so you’ll want to book as quickly after finding the award availability as possible
  • If your plan is to book a hotel room, check to make sure the property you are looking at has availability on the dates you need
  • Don’t transfer points to a partner until you’re ready to book and know exactly what you want to redeem for
There’s big value to transferring Capital One miles, but there’s also a learning curve

How much are Capital One miles worth?

Personally I value Capital One miles at 1.7 cents each. That’s primarily because of the ability to transfer Capital One miles to most airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, which is a great use of points, especially for international first & business class redemptions. For that matter, I think all transferable points currencies are worth 1.7 cents each, based on partner redemption opportunities.

When you consider that some Capital One cards earn 2x miles on everyday purchases, to me these cards offer an incredible 3.4% return on everyday spending.

Bottom line

Capital One is doing an incredible job with its portfolio of travel rewards cards lately, especially with mileage transfer ratios having been improved so much. With the Capital One Venture X Card having just been launched, I know there’s going to be a lot of interest in this mileage currency.

The beauty of Capital One miles is how flexible they are. In addition to being able to redeem them for one cent each towards the cost of virtually any travel purchase with Purchase Eraser, you can also transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to over a dozen airline frequent flyer programs, which is where you’ll really get outsized value.

If you’ve earned Capital One miles, what has your experience been with them?

Conversations (4)
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  1. Mishas Guest

    I am confused - you give examples of using miles for expensive tickets, but then say that this ticket instead of $5000 cost, say $500 with Purchase Eraser. Aren’t these two different things/options?

  2. Mak Guest

    I think you mean the Capital One commercial that USED to feature Alec Baldwin.

    I have to say that this company has the world's worst marketing department. I've been a miles enthusiast since there were miles, and I never really understood what these guys were offering until now. They should but Ben on the payroll for doing their job for them.

    1. Brewer Guest

      I don't think their ads resonate with people "in the game," but those Jennifer Garner sure seem to resonate with everybody else.

    2. Steve Gold

      Because they are not targeting people in the game 99% of users just want instant cash back and dont care about gaming and points. Most of the people who fly business are flying on business or have the cash to pay and could care less about the miles. I think people in our points community fail to understand just how small we are (which is a good thing). For example the last round of Chase...

      Because they are not targeting people in the game 99% of users just want instant cash back and dont care about gaming and points. Most of the people who fly business are flying on business or have the cash to pay and could care less about the miles. I think people in our points community fail to understand just how small we are (which is a good thing). For example the last round of Chase bonus transfer were because over 97% of redemptions were for cash and Chase wanted to incentivize the general public to be in the game more and transfer their points to partners and not hit the cash back option.

      The Venture X is an absolute no-brainer but i wonder if the value holds up after 2 years when the lounges are overrun and the annual fee goes up...

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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.

Mishas Guest

I am confused - you give examples of using miles for expensive tickets, but then say that this ticket instead of $5000 cost, say $500 with Purchase Eraser. Aren’t these two different things/options?

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Steve Gold

Because they are not targeting people in the game 99% of users just want instant cash back and dont care about gaming and points. Most of the people who fly business are flying on business or have the cash to pay and could care less about the miles. I think people in our points community fail to understand just how small we are (which is a good thing). For example the last round of Chase bonus transfer were because over 97% of redemptions were for cash and Chase wanted to incentivize the general public to be in the game more and transfer their points to partners and not hit the cash back option. The Venture X is an absolute no-brainer but i wonder if the value holds up after 2 years when the lounges are overrun and the annual fee goes up...

0
Brewer Guest

I don't think their ads resonate with people "in the game," but those Jennifer Garner sure seem to resonate with everybody else.

0
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