Capital One’s travel booking platform is incredibly straightforward, but it might not be the best value for every cardholder.
But Capital One travel cardholders have another option for booking their next vacation. Capital One offers its own travel portal – Capital One Travel.
Booking a trip through Capital One Travel has its pros and cons, but it can be particularly lucrative for some cardholders. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business cards recently added a new bonus category, allowing users to earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through the portal.
Read on to learn more about why booking through Capital One Travel may or may not be the best option for you.
What is Capital One Travel?
Capital One Travel is the booking site of Capital One. Powered by CX Loyalty, it offers qualifying cardholders the opportunity to reserve flights, hotels or car rentals. You can pay for these bookings using miles, cash or a combination of the two.
You can use the Capital One Travel portal if you carry a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business or Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business.
Straightforward rewards for frequent travelers
Why get this card?
The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card offers a big bonus and valuable travel rewards, plus valuable mile transfer options.
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How to book with Capital One Travel
To access the Capital One Travel portal, visit your eligible card account on either the desktop site or mobile app and hit redeem rewards. You can select book a trip to be redirected to the travel portal.
The Capital One Travel portal looks and works similarly to most third-party booking sites, allowing cardholders to search for flights, hotels or car rentals. You can pay for your trip with miles, cash or a combination of the two.
To book a flight via the Capital One Travel portal, just input your travel dates and departure and arrival destinations. Like with most standard booking sites, Capital One displays search results by lowest price, though you can also sort by departure or arrival time and trip duration.
If you have a particular airline you prefer, you can also filter the results by carrier.
The search results on Capital One Travel automatically display the lowest-cost fare – typically a basic economy ticket. However, the portal lets you easily view the economy price next to the budget fare, as well as a quick synopsis of the difference between the two. Many travel portals make this information hard to find, so this is a huge plus.
Like with a flight, you can search hotels on Capital One Travel by location and date. The search results page is a little different from flights however, as it includes the price per night, total price for your trip and the TripAdvisor rating of that particular property.
As you can see, Capital One Travel makes it easy to get a full snapshot of hotels, without having to separately search reviews of affordable options. You can also filter to properties with specific amenities, like a bar or parking.
Booking car rentals
Finally, Capital One Travel also offers a car rental booking service. After entering your pickup and drop-off information, you can review results on a list or a map.
Drawbacks to booking with Capital One Travel
Booking through Capital One Travel is certainly straightforward, but there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
No travel packages
Many similar issuer booking platforms, like Go Far Rewards, allow cardholders to book full travel packages in addition to individual flights and hotels. For some travelers, this takes the stress out of organizing several different reservations.
Capital One Travel does not have the option to book such packages. It does, however, let you group your hotel, flight and car rentals into an itinerary and pay for the lot together.
No hotel elite status
Capital One Travel is a third-party booking site, which means that you likely won’t be able to take advantage of any hotel elite status you might carry. For the most part, hotels require you to book directly with them to unlock elite perks like free breakfast or room upgrades.
Only Venture and Spark miles cardholders can use the portal
While other issuers allow all cardholders to use their booking platforms – regardless of whether their card earns miles or cash back, Capital One Travel is only available to Venture and Spark Miles cardholders.
Is booking with Capital One Travel worth it?
In some cases, booking with Capital One Travel can be the easiest way to plan your next trip. However, there are a few things to consider before deciding if it is the best platform for you.
Capital One Travel rates compared to other booking sites
For the most part, Capital One Travel has competitive rates to other booking sites. We compared a flight from Austin, TX to London and found nearly identical costs on Capital One Travel and the United site.
|Capital One Travel||United|
However, we also found a few cases where prices varied across different booking sites – with Capital One lagging behind. As you can see here, a seven-night stay at a hotel in the UK is showing slightly different rates on different sites, and Capital One is not always the best price.
|Capital One||Hotels.com||Accor hotels|
|Classic double room||$959||$958||$954|
|Superior double room||$1,084||$1,094||$1,090|
While we found more rates that matched than differences like the example above, we recommend always comparing rates across multiple sites before booking through the portal.
Miles you can earn
Depending on the Capital One card you have, you might be able to earn a few extra miles depending on how you book.
For Venture and VentureOne cardholders, you can earn 10 miles per dollar when you book and pay for hotel stays through Hotels.com/Venture through Jan. 31, 2020. So for hotel bookings with one of these cards, you are probably better off looking beyond Capital One Travel. (This offer has now expired.)
But Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select cardholders can earn more when they book through the Capital One portal. As mentioned, the two business cards just announced a new bonus category, allowing users to earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. So if you have one of these cards, you can actually earn more by booking your trip with Capital One.
Capital One miles are incredibly flexible, and the Purchase Eraser allows you to use them to cover the cost of travel booked elsewhere at the same value. That means there is no benefit to choosing one platform over the other to try to stretch your miles further.
Tips for maximizing Capital One Travel
- Compare rates on flights, hotels and car rentals with other booking sites to ensure you are getting the best deal. You can always redeem miles to cover an outside travel purchase.
- Pay for hotel and car rental bookings with a Spark Miles or Spark Miles Select card to earn more miles on that purchase.
- Combine miles and cash if you don’t have enough rewards to cover the cost of your reservation.
Capital One Travel is an easy way to redeem your miles, but it might not always offer the best value. While Spark Miles cardholders can earn more on hotels and rental cars booked through the platform, Venture cardholders might be better off booking through other sites and redeeming rewards for a statement credit to cover the cost.