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Rewards Programs

Capital One rewards guide

The best ways to earn and use Capital One miles

Summary

Learn the best ways to earn and redeem your Capital One miles to get the most out of the rewards program.

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#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 or personal card, you can earn flexible miles on your everyday purchases.

What are Capital One rewards?

The Capital One rewards program 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 have no limits to the number of miles they can earn. The redemption options are also very flexible, including statement credits, as well as Amazon and travel purchases.

Capital One also has a list of more than 15 travel partners that cardholders can transfer their miles to.

Capital One Rewards program overview

Type of currencyFlexible miles
Average point value1 cent
Credit cardsCapital One Venture Rewards Credit CardCapital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardCapital One Spark Miles for Business, Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business*
Redemption optionsTravel, statement credits, gift cards, Amazon purchases
Minimum required to redeemRedeem any number of miles at any time
Do rewards expire?No
Blackout dates/travel restrictionsNone
Mile transfer options15+ airline and hotel partners, certain Capital One rewards accounts
Is there a fee to transfer miles?No
Best for
  • Straightforward rewards program with a good general rewards rate
  • Booking travel on multiple sites without losing point value
  • Flexible redemption options

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.

Sign-up bonus Estimated value
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card60,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months$600
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card20,000 miles if you spend $500 in first 3 months$200
Capital One Spark Miles for Business50,000 miles if you spend $4,500 in first 3 months$500
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business20,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months$200

Unfortunately, all of these sign-up bonuses are only available to new cardholders. Capital One also limits the number of cards you can have open with them. So if you already have two open credit cards with the bank, you can’t apply for a new one.

Keep an eye out for referral bonus offers

By referring a friend to a Capital One Rewards card, you could potentially earn up to 50,000 miles 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 four Capital One rewards cards offer great 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.

To earn great rewards on spending you are already doing, make any big charges (like mortgage or utility payments) on your Venture or Spark Miles cards. You’ll earn miles faster without increasing your monthly spending. Just be sure to pay off your balance each month to avoid accruing interest.

How to use Capital One miles

The Capital One rewards program is one of the most flexible around, allowing cardholders to redeem miles for travel purchases, cash back or Amazon purchases, among other redemption options. Whether you book through the Capital One Travel Center or an outside travel site, you get the same value for each reward mile.

One downside to redeeming Capital One rewards is that you lose value if you redeem your miles for Amazon purchases or cash back, whether as a statement credit or check.

You also have the option to transfer your miles to over 15 travel partners, with a 1:1, 2:1.5 or 2:1 transfer rate depending on the partner. While the 2:1 and 2:1.5 rates seem like you are always losing value, some airline miles have a higher valuation, and you can occasionally get more for your mile.

Capital One rewards redemption options

Redemption optionMiles value (cents)
Travel purchase in Capital One Travel Center1
Outside travel purchases1
Gift card0.8 – 1
Shop with points on Amazon.com0.8
Statement credit0.5
Check0.5

1. Booking travel through the Capital One Travel Center

When you use your miles to book travel through the Capital One Travel Center, you can choose to redeem for any portion of the purchase. That means you can book this way no matter how many miles you have and cover the rest of the cost with cash. You also aren’t required to meet any minimum requirements and can redeem as little as one mile.

2. Redeeming for previous travel purchases

Perhaps the best feature of Capital One rewards 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 the Travel Center, with the added flexibility of choosing any airline or hotel you can find. That way, you can go hunting for travel deals and still take advantage of your miles.

To use this feature, first book your hotel stay, flight or cruise with your Capital One rewards card. When you log into your Capital One account and click redeem rewards, you’ll be able to select “redeem a purchase” and view all eligible travel charges in the last 90 days. Simply select the amount of the charge you want to use miles for, and it will be awarded to your account as a statement credit.

3. Using miles for cash back

Redeeming your rewards miles for cash back, whether as a check or statement credit, is not usually the best choice for Capital One rewards cardholders. Both of these options only get you 0.5 cents per mile – half of the normal value.

4. Using miles to buy gift cards

If you still want to redeem your Capital One rewards for something other than travel, you can also choose to use your miles to buy gift cards. With this option, you can often get a full point value of 1 cent per mile. However, that value is subject to change. Using your miles for travel purchases still offers the best consistent value.

5. Using miles to shop on Amazon

Capital One recently rolled out the option for cardholders to redeem their miles for purchases made on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, this redemption option doesn’t get quite as high a value out of your miles as if you used them for travel. When you use your miles on Amazon, you’ll only get about 0.8 cents per mile worth of value.

6. Transferring points to a Capital One travel partner

When you transfer your miles to a partner rewards program, you’ll either get 1 partner mile for every 1 Capital One mile, 1.5 partner miles for every 2 Capital One miles or 1 mile for every 2 Capital One miles. In many cases, that means you’re losing value by transferring.

However, there are a few cases when transferring can actually get you more for your mile, since some airline rewards points are worth a bit more.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what your miles are worth with each transfer partner.

PartnerTransfer ratioMiles value (cents)Value of 2 miles transferred (cents)
Aeromexico1:112
Aeroplan (Air Canada)2:1.51.52.25
Alitalia2:1.511.5
Asia Miles1:112
Avianca1:11.73.4
British Airways2:1.51.42.1
Emirates2:11.11.1
Etihad1:11.42.8
EVA Air2:1.511.5
Finnair1:112
Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)2:1.51.21.8
JetBlue2:1.511.5
Qantas1:112
Singapore (KrisFlyer)2:12.362.36
TAP Air Portugal1:11.22.4
Turkish Airlines2:1.511.5
Accor Live Limitless2:122
Wyndham Rewards1:10.71.4

To help 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 worth up to $500 in travel (when you spend $4,500 in the first three months). If you transfer all your miles to Avianca, it could be worth around $850. This can make a huge difference in how many flights you can afford on rewards alone.

Since there are no major U.S. airlines on Capital One’s list of travel partners, you probably won’t end up transferring most of your miles. But frequent flyers of British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Aeroplan (Air Canada), Etihad, Air Portugal and Avianca can get great value.

Other things to know about Capital One Rewards

*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. 

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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