Capital One Miles aren’t as valuable as some of the other loyalty currencies, but the program is straightforward. Use the miles for travel expenses at a penny a point, or try to get some more value by transferring to travel partners.
What Are Capital One Miles?
Capital One Miles aren’t actually frequent flyer miles, but the loyalty points that Capital One gives to holders of its main cards. The CapitalOne VentureOne Rewards card earns 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend, and the CapitalOne Venture Rewards card earns 2 miles per dollar on all spending.
The best way to use them Capital One Miles is for travel, especially now. In November 2018, Cap One added more than a dozen airline travel partners that you can transfer your miles to. Before that, your best option was to get a flat rate of 1 cent per mile for existing travel expenses or booking travel through the bank’s portal.
How to use Capital One Miles
- Transfer to travel partners. Capital One has 15 airline and two hotel partners; the transfer rate is generally 100 miles for every 75 partner points.
- Erase travel purchases. 1 mile = 1 cent
- Book travel through the Capital One portal. 1 mile = 1 cent.
- Gift cards. 1 mile = 0.8 cents
- Shop with miles. Available for Amazon, 1 mile = 0.8 cents.
- Cash back. Get a statement credit or check. 1 mile = 0.5 cents
- Share miles. Transfer to anyone with a Capital One Miles earning account.
What Cards Earn Capital One Miles
Transfer to Travel Partners
Capital One cards weren’t always a top choice for travelers, because the reward points were only good for paying for travel, gift cards, and cash back at flat rates.
A couple of years ago the bank added more than a dozen airline transfer partners, and in early 2020 it tacked on two hotel partners. But there’s a catch. Unlike other programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, the exchange rate isn’t 1:1. For most partners, you’ll get 1.5 miles for every 2 you transfer. For Emirates, Singapore, and Accor, you’ll get 1 mile for every 2 points you transfer. You’ll have to do some legwork (or get lucky) to find a great deal. But specials can make your miles more valuable.
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- Hainan Fortune Wings Club
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Although roughly half of partners have instant transfers, others take a day or more. Transfers can’t be reversed or refunded, so once you transfer miles from Capital One to an airline, you can’t get them back again. Make sure your mind is made before you pull the trigger. Also, the minimum transfer is 1,000 miles; after that it’s in increments of 100.
Erase Travel Purchases
Capital One also has an interesting option called the purchase eraser. This allows you to use your miles to cover certain travel purchases made in the last 90 days, including flights, hotels, car rentals, trains, buses, cruises, taxis, and more. There’s no minimum redemption amount, and you’ll get a fixed rate of 1 cent per mile.
If you’re willing to take the extra steps, this can be a better option than using your miles to book travel through Capital One, even though the rate is the same. For example, if you buy a $200 flight with this card, you can get frequent flyer miles from the airline as well as Capital One Miles, then use 20,000 miles to erase the charge.
Book Travel Through Capital One
If you like to keep things simple, you can book travel directly through Capital One. You’ll only be getting 1 cent per mile, however, and will be missing out on any rewards you might get by using your credit card and then erasing the charge with points.
This is not the best use of your miles, since you’ll only get 0.8 cents for every mile. It makes sense only if you need to use up leftover miles
Shopping on Amazon
Capital One recently started letting cardholders pay with Amazon purchases with points. Just link your card to your Amazon account and you’ll automatically be given the option. But it’s not a great one, since your miles are only worth 0.8 cents each.
Amazingly, this option is worse than using your miles to buy gift cards. If you request an account credit or check for your miles, you’ll get a measly 0.5 cents for each point you redeem.
Capital One lets you share your miles with anyone else who has an account—free of charge, regardless of whether they’re in your family or household. That means you can pool resources to pay for travel or other purchases.
Although Capital One may not have as many options—or as high of a transfer ratio—as other cards, it does have some redeeming qualities. Mainly, the ability to accumulate lots of points and the purchase eraser, which lets you stack up rewards.