Capital One Miles: Everything You Need To Know

Capital One Miles: Everything You Need To Know

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In general I recommend earning transferable points currencies with your credit cards whenever possible, to give you flexibility.

Capital One has one of the four major transferable points currencies, and in this post I wanted to take an in-depth look at how the program works. This is especially worth understanding in light of the recent changes made to Capital One’s mileage program.

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 in some cases provide outsized value.

At the moment points even have increased flexibility, as I’ll talk more about below. Understandably coronavirus has caused many people to stop traveling, though with widespread vaccinations now happening, many people are starting to plan travel again.

Redeem your Capital One miles towards all kinds of amazing travel experiences

Earning 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.

Which cards earn Capital One miles?

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

The Venture is the best personal card for earning Capital One miles

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. Understandably this can cause a bit of confusion, given that with Amex and Chase, points across personal and business cards have the same names.

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. 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.

Redeeming Capital One miles

Now let’s talk about everything you need to know about redeeming Capital One miles. While Capital One largely has travel rewards cards, the miles offer a surprising amount of flexibility. Furthermore, due to coronavirus there are some useful non-travel ways to redeem your miles right now.

Redeem Capital One miles with Purchase Eraser

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.

If you’ve seen a Capital One commercial featuring Alec Baldwin, that’s exactly the feature that’s being promoted. 😉

Convert Capital One miles into airline & hotel points

Capital One Venture and Spark miles can be converted into airline miles or hotel points in 18 programs. The ratio of mileage transfers varies, and is 2:1 at worst and 1:1 at best.

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

Transfer Capital One miles to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

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

Here’s the full list of Capital One transfer partners, which includes 16 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
ALL Rewards points
Air Canada Aeroplan
Wyndham Rewards
Alitalia MilleMiglia
Avianca Lifemiles
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
EVA Air Infinity Mileagelands
Finnair Plus
FlyingBlue
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
TAP 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. 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
TBD
Aeromexico Club Premier
1000 : 1000
Instant
Air Canada Aeroplan
1000 : 750
Instant
Air France KLM Flying Blue
1000 : 750
Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia
1000 : 750
Instant
Avianca LifeMiles
1000 : 1000
Instant
British Airways Executive Club
1000 : 1000
TBD
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
1000 : 1000
~ 3 to 5 days
Emirates Skywards
1000 : 500
Instant
Etihad Guest
1000 : 1000
~ 12 to 24 hours
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
1000 : 750
~ 24 to 48 hours
Finnair Plus
1000 : 1000
Instant
JetBlue TrueBlue
1000 : 750
Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1000 : 750
~ 24 to 48 hours
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1000 : 500
~ 24 to 48 hours
TAP Miles&Go
1000 : 1000
TBD
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
1000 : 750
TBD
Wyndham Rewards
1000 : 1000
TBD
Capital One Transfer Ratios & Times

Look out for Capital One mileage transfer bonuses

While Capital One miles transfer to airline partners at a ratio of up to 1:1, note that we sometimes see transfer bonuses, whereby they transfer at a better rate for a limited time.

In the past, we’ve seen transfer bonuses ranging anywhere from 20-100%. This is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

Redeem Venture miles towards dining & streaming services

While Capital One’s mileage earning cards are typically travel rewards cards, understandably not everyone is looking to travel right now. That’s why it’s worth noting that Capital One has introduced an efficient way to redeem Venture miles for a limited time.

Capital One will let you redeem Venture miles towards eligible restaurant delivery, takeout, and streaming service purchases until June 30, 2021. You can use them the same way you’d redeem them to offset the cost of travel purchases.

Redeem Venture miles towards restaurant delivery for a limited time

Maximizing Capital One Venture & Spark miles

While the above outlines the basic ways to redeem Capital One miles, in this section I wanted to get into a bit more detail to help people decide which Capital One mileage redemption option makes the most sense.

It goes without saying that coronavirus has made all of this a bit more complicated, but that won’t stop me from talking about the best long-term strategy for maximizing travel with Capital One miles.

Purchase Eraser vs. mileage transfers

Purchase Eraser has been the primary way to redeem Capital One miles for years. It’s only in late 2018 that the ability to transfer Capital One miles to airlines and hotels became possible, so understandably this is something many cardmembers may not have previously considered.

If you already have the Venture Card or Spark Miles Card and love redeeming your miles towards travel purchases with no blackout dates or capacity controls, that’s great. That’s an extremely flexible option with not much of a learning curve, so for many this is the best bet.

The benefit of transferring Venture and Spark miles to airline or hotel programs is that often the cost of a ticket or room if paying cash isn’t correlated to the number of points required.

While you historically get a consistent one cent of value per Venture or Spark mile (or two cents for every dollar you spend), 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 Venture or Spark miles into airline miles is if you want to redeem miles 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!

To demonstrate this, let’s take a look at a portion of the award chart of Avianca LifeMiles, one of the Capital One mileage transfer options:

Continental U.S. To/From:
Economy
Business
First
Europe 1
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom
US 1 20,000
US 2, 3, & Rest of N.A. 30,000
US 1 60,000
US 2, 3, & Rest of N.A. 63,000
87,000
Europe 2
Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic., France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland
30,000
63,000
87,000
Europe 3
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Turkey
30,000
63,000
87,000
Middle East / North Africa
Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
42,500
78,000
105,000
Southern Africa
40,000
78,000
105,000
North Asia
China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Mariana Islands, Macao, Mongolia, North Korea, Palau, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan
35,000
75,000
90,000
Central Asia
Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
42,500
78,000
111,000
South Asia
Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
39,000
78,000
99,000
Oceania / Others
40,000
80,000
111,000

Let’s say you wanted to fly one-way from New York to Tokyo on Japanese carrier ANA (a LifeMiles partner through Star Alliance, more on this in a bit), which is one of my favorite airlines.

All Nippon Airways business class

Pending award availability, a ticket would cost you the following number of LifeMiles, plus taxes and fees:

  • 35,000 miles one-way in economy class
  • 75,000 miles one-way in business class
  • 90,000 miles one-way in first class

You’re earning 2x miles for every purchase on your Venture Card or Spark Miles Card. Transfers from Capital One to Avianca LifeMiles are at a 1:1 ratio (though keep in mind not all partners have that ratio). So you could convert 90,000 Capital One miles into 90,000 Avianca LifeMiles, which would ordinarily get you $900 worth of travel.

In this case, you could instead redeem those miles for a one-way ticket that would otherwise cost nearly $14,000 if paying cash.

To further unbundle that, you’d otherwise have to redeem nearly 1.4 million Venture or Spark miles to book that ticket, so in this case transferring to a loyalty program is a much better value.

All Nippon Airways 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.

Venture and Spark 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:

  • Venture and Spark 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
  • Venture and Spark 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)
  • Venture and Spark 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

So 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.

You shouldn’t always transfer Capital One miles, though

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.

For situations where airfare or room rates are cheap, using the Purchase Eraser feature is typically a better deal than transferring miles to a partner.

For example, it’s pretty common to see cheap roundtrip economy tickets from the US to Asia or Europe. Take the below flight from Los Angeles to Beijing, which costs $458.

You could purchase that ticket and then redeem ~46,000 Venture or Spark miles for a statement credit using Purchase Eraser.

Meanwhile, most airlines would charge 60,000-70,000 miles plus taxes and fees for a roundtrip economy ticket.

While hotels sometimes function differently, the other benefit of redeeming Venture or Spark miles towards the cash cost is that you’d still be earning miles for those flights through the airline loyalty program, which you don’t get when redeeming traditional airline miles for award tickets.

This can be great if you’re going for elite status, since you’d earn elite qualifying miles, and would potentially be eligible for upgrades, and other elite benefits.

It can also make more sense to redeem Venture or Spark miles using Purchase Eraser for domestic flights. With the number of ultra-low-cost carriers we have nowadays, domestic airfare can be less expensive than the corresponding number of miles required through an airline award chart. In those cases, you’re better off redeeming Venture miles using the Purchase Eraser, rather than converting them into airline miles.

With how cheap many tickets are, Purchase Eraser can be a better value

Things to be aware of if converting Capital One miles into airline or hotel points

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 Venture or Spark 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 now 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

There’s big value to transferring Capital One miles, but there’s also a learning curve

Combining Capital One miles

Given the confusion in branding between Venture and Spark products, there are often questions about the ability to combine Capital One miles. Well, not only can you combine Capital One miles across all of your cards, but you can even transfer Capital One miles to others with no limit. You can read about how to combine Capital One miles here.

How much are Capital One miles worth?

Personally I value Capital One miles at 1.3 cents each. This accounts for the high “floor” redemption value of Capital One miles, thanks to being able to redeem miles for one cent each towards virtually any travel purchase.

But it also accounts for the ability to transfer Capital One miles to partner programs at a ratio of up to 1:1, which could get you significantly more value than that, given the value of some airline miles.

Bottom line

Capital One has one of the four major transferable points currencies.

What makes Capital One great is that the Venture and Spark cards earn miles in such a way that they can efficiently be redeemed as credit towards a travel purchase, and can also be transferred to airline and hotel partners. For a limited time, Venture miles can even be redeemed towards restaurant and streaming services purchases.

If you don’t yet have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, this is a great time to pick it up.

If you have any Capital One mileage questions that weren’t answered above, please let me know!

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  1. James

    @Alan. The promo clearly states that the 5K bonus is for the first transfer and it has to be at least 5K points. Also, the promotional miles may not show up instantly. If you didn't transfer at least 5K points, I guess you missed the promotion since you already had a transfer.

  2. Alan Bachand

    Regarding the BONUS OFFER you mention... TAP AIRLINES is NOT THE BEST at honoring ANYTHING... So I decided to give this a shot... I just received a promo email from TAP Air Portugal to celebrate their union with Capital One... They were offering 5,000 EXTRA bonus if you made a transfer... The minimal transfer took 2 minutes to transfer which is great but the 5,000 bonus NEVER showed up... Promo was bogus or what??? Anyone else had that issue???

  3. arshi

    One thing that seems to be missed regarding the use of Capital One miles is that for the purchase eraser, you have to put the purchase on the Capital One card which comes with an opportunity cost. For example if I have the Prestige or Gold card that gives 5x/4x on dining and instead i put it on the Capital One which will only give me 2x, for a $1000 spend, you are loosing the...

    One thing that seems to be missed regarding the use of Capital One miles is that for the purchase eraser, you have to put the purchase on the Capital One card which comes with an opportunity cost. For example if I have the Prestige or Gold card that gives 5x/4x on dining and instead i put it on the Capital One which will only give me 2x, for a $1000 spend, you are loosing the additional 3000/2000 points.
    Granted, its not a huge negative but it needs to be pointed out.

  4. Steve

    Could you add to the chart the which partners transfer at 2:1, 2:1.5 and 1:1? That would be helpful.

  5. Ferdinand Magellan

    All of this analysis for a card that most people can't get. I have very good credit, and I was turned down once. I used the "tool" at the website to try to pre-qualify, and I didn't. I don't understand the business model here; what is the point of building a good program, and then keeping your most qualified potential members out of it?

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Alan Bachand

@James . Nowhere did I see any minimum... Is there a link you can share???

James

@Alan. The promo clearly states that the 5K bonus is for the first transfer and it has to be at least 5K points. Also, the promotional miles may not show up instantly. If you didn't transfer at least 5K points, I guess you missed the promotion since you already had a transfer.

Alan Bachand

Regarding the BONUS OFFER you mention... TAP AIRLINES is NOT THE BEST at honoring ANYTHING... So I decided to give this a shot... I just received a promo email from TAP Air Portugal to celebrate their union with Capital One... They were offering 5,000 EXTRA bonus if you made a transfer... The minimal transfer took 2 minutes to transfer which is great but the 5,000 bonus NEVER showed up... Promo was bogus or what??? Anyone else had that issue???

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