A recent revamp has made Capital One Travel one of the most robust travel rewards programs out there. Learn the best ways to earn and redeem Capital One miles to get the most out of your rewards.
After a revamp of both its rewards credit cards and its travel portal, the Capital One Travel rewards program has managed to climb the ranks and compete with the likes of other robust travel programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. Nearly all Capital One credit cards now offer access to the Capital One Travel portal, and many provide boosted rewards when booking select types of travel on the site.
If you are on the hunt for a straightforward but rewarding travel credit card, Capital One has a few great options. Whether you are looking for a business card or personal card, you can earn flexible Capital One miles on your everyday purchases. Here’s what you should know about the ins and outs of the Capital One Travel rewards program, the best ways to earn Capital One miles and the best ways to redeem them.
What are Capital One miles?
Capital One Travel is well known for its ease of use, making cards such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card a favorite of frequent travelers. Across all Capital One rewards cards, cardholders can earn an unlimited number of miles per year. The redemption options are also flexible, including statement credits, gift cards and travel bookings.
Capital One also has a list of more than 15 travel partners to which cardholders can transfer their miles.
Capital One Travel rewards program overview
|Type of currency||Flexible miles|
|Average point value (according to Bankrate)||2 cents|
|Credit cards||Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Spark Miles for Business, Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business*|
|Redemption options||Cash back, travel, statement credits, gift cards, PayPal, Amazon.com, Capital One Entertainment and transfers to travel partners|
|Minimum required to redeem||Redeem any number of miles at any time|
|Do rewards expire?||No|
|Blackout dates/travel restrictions||None|
|Mile transfer options||Over 15 airline and hotel partners, certain Capital One rewards accounts|
|Is there a fee to transfer miles?||No|
How to earn Capital One miles
Every Capital One rewards card has its own unique rewards rate and earning scheme, but there are a few strategies to help you earn more. To make the most of your Capital One rewards card, here are a few tips for racking up miles and getting one step closer to your next vacation.
Sign up for Capital One rewards cards to earn intro bonuses
All Capital One rewards cards offer competitive sign-up bonuses. No matter which card works best for your spending habits, the intro bonus can make a significant dent in the price of your next trip.
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Estimated value|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||$750|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||75,000 miles if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||$750|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||20,000 miles if you spend $500 in the first 3 months||$200|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||50,000 miles if you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months||$500|
|Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business||20,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months||$200|
These sign-up bonuses are only available to new cardholders, however, and Capital One also limits the number of cards you can open with the issuer. If you already have two open credit cards with Capital One, you can’t be approved for a new one.
Keep an eye out for referral bonus offers
Another great way to earn Capital One miles is its Refer a Friend program. All you have to do is sign in to your account, get a personal referral link and give it to your friends and family. If someone applies and is approved, you’ll receive a bonus worth up to $500 per year. Just keep in mind that offers are targeted and might change by the cardholder.
Use your Capital One rewards card for most of your purchases
All Capital One rewards cards offer flat rewards rates for general purchases between 1.25 and 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. While many rewards cards require you to weigh your spending toward bonus categories to get a similar overall rate, Capital One rewards you for every purchase you make.
The advantage is that you’ll earn boosted rewards on all your purchases, regardless of the category, so it may make sense to put big charges and everyday purchases on your Venture or Spark Miles cards. All purchases will earn over 1 mile per dollar.
How to use Capital One miles
Capital One Travel is one of the most flexible rewards programs, allowing cardholders to redeem miles for travel purchases, cash back, gift cards, Amazon purchases, tickets from Capital One Entertainment and more. You can even cover previous travel purchases made on third-party websites. You also have the option to transfer your miles to over 15 travel partners, with varying transfer rates depending on the partner.
One downside to redeeming Capital One miles is that you lose some value if you redeem your miles for Amazon purchases, a statement credit or check.
Capital One rewards redemption options
Check out how much one Capital One mile would be worth when redeeming it for all the available options.
|Redemption option||Miles value (cents)|
|Travel purchase from Capital One Travel||1|
|Outside travel purchases||1|
|Gift card||0.8 to 1|
|Shop with points on Amazon.com||0.8|
Some redemption choices decrease the value of your flexible miles. Regardless, Capital One miles have high value potential, especially if you transfer them to one of Capital One’s transfer partners.
Some of the best ways to redeem your Capital One miles include:
1. Booking travel through Capital One Travel
When you use your miles to book travel through Capital One Travel, you can choose to redeem for any portion of the purchase. That means you can make a booking no matter how many miles you have and cover the rest of the cost with cash. There’s also no minimum requirement, and you can redeem as little as one mile.
2. Redeeming for previous travel purchases
Perhaps the best feature of Capital One Travel, one that not many other flexible rewards programs offer, is the ability to use miles for any previous travel purchases (redeemed as a statement credit).
You get the same value for your rewards as if you’d booked through Capital One Travel, with the added flexibility of choosing any airline or hotel you want. That way, you can go hunting for travel deals outside the issuer portal and still take advantage of your miles, as long as you redeem the miles within 90 days of the purchase date.
To use this feature, first book your hotel stay, flight or cruise with your Capital One rewards card. When you log in to your Capital One account and click “redeem rewards,” select “redeem a purchase” and view all eligible travel charges from the last 90 days. Simply choose how much of the charge you want to use miles for, and it will be awarded to your account as a statement credit.
3. Redeeming for cash back
Redeeming your miles for cash back, whether as a check or statement credit, is usually not the best choice for Capital One rewards cardholders. Both of these options only get you 0.5 cents per mile — only half the standard value. However, if you want the flexibility of cold cash, it’s always an option for you.
4. Buying gift cards
If you want to redeem your Capital One miles for something other than travel but aren’t thrilled about the 0.5-cent value, you could instead choose to use your miles to purchase gift cards. With this option, you may get the full point value of 1 cent per mile, though that value may change based on the gift card.
5. Shopping on Amazon
Another option for non-travelers is redeeming your miles for purchases made on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, this redemption option doesn’t give as much value as travel, but it’s still higher than cash back.
6. Transferring points to a Capital One travel partner
When transferring miles to a Capital One transfer partner, you can transfer at 1:1, 2:1.5 or 2:1 ratio, depending on the partner. You may lose value by transferring, such as is the case for the 2:1 transfer ratio. However, some airline miles have higher values per mile than Capital One miles, so transferring can potentially get you more per mile.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what your miles are worth with each Capital One transfer partner.
|Partner||Transfer ratio||Rewards value(cents)**||Value of 2 miles transferred(cents)|
|Accor Live Limitless||2:1||2||4|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1||0.6||1.2|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1:1||1.2||2.4|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1||0.7||1.4|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1:1||3||6|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||2:1.5||1||2|
|Flying Blue (average)||1:1||1.3||2.6|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1:1||0.4||0.8|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1||2.2||4.4|
|TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go||1:1||1.2||2.4|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1:1||0.6||1.2|
|Virgin Atlantic Virgin Red||1:1||2.6||5.2|
To help you understand how these values stack up, consider what you can get out of a Capital One intro offer. With the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card, your sign-up bonus is 50,000 miles (when you spend $4,500 in the first three months). If you transfer those 50,000 miles to Air Canada, that bonus could be worth $600, instead of the $500 in travel when redeemed through the Capital One Travel portal. This could make a huge difference in how many flights you can afford on rewards alone.
If you typically travel domestically, you may not find it valuable to transfer your miles, as there are no major U.S. airlines among Capital One’s list of travel partners. Still, frequent flyers who use certain international airlines, such as Air Canada, Emirates and Singapore Airlines, may find great value in doing so.
*All information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.