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Best ways to use Capital One miles

Summary

Discover how the Purchase Eraser makes it easier to book your next trip using rewards.

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

One downside to redeeming Capital One rewards is that you lose value if you redeem your miles for cash back, whether as a statement credit or check. Gift cards can sometimes get you a bit more, but the mile value can vary.

You also have the option to transfer your miles to one of 15 travel partners, with a 2:1.5 transfer rate for most partners. This might seem like you are always losing value, but since some airline miles have a higher valuation, you can occasionally get more for your mile.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture card

Why should you get this card?

One of our most popular travel rewards cards, the Venture card comes with a high rewards rate and valuable perks for frequent travelers.

Learn more

More things to know:

  • 10 miles per dollar on hotel rooms booked and paid through hotels.com/venture and 2 miles per dollar on other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
  • Transfer miles to more than 12 travel partners
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

Capital One rewards redemption options

Redemption optionMiles value (cents)
Travel purchase in Capital One Travel Center1
Outside travel purchases using Purchase Eraser1
Gift card0.8 – 1
Statement credit0.5
Check0.5

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.

Using the Capital One Purchase Eraser

Perhaps the best feature of Capital One rewards is the Purchase Eraser, which allows cardholders 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 the Purchase Eraser, 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.

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.

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 the 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.

Transferring points to a Capital One travel partner

When you transfer your miles to a partner rewards program, two of your Capital One miles only gets you 1.5 partner miles (2:1 rate for Emirates and Singapore Airlines). For the most part, you will be losing value by choosing this option. 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.

Transfer partnerTransfer ratioValue of 2 miles transferred (cents)
Qantas2:1.51.5
Finnair2:1.51.5
Flying Blue (AirFrance, KLM)2:1.51.8
Aeromexico2:1.51.5
Aeroplan (Air Canada)2:1.52.25
Alitalia2:1.51.5
Cathay Pacific2:1.51.5
Etihad2:1.52.1
EVA Air2:1.51.5
Qatar2:1.51.2
Hainan2:1.51.5
Avianca2:1.52.55
Emirates2:11.1
Singapore Airlines2:12.36
JetBlue2:1.5 (through 5/31/2019, then 2:1)1.5 (through 5/31/2019, then 1)

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 $2,000 in travel. If you transfer all your miles to Avianca, it could be worth around $2,250. This can make a significant difference in how many flights you can afford on rewards alone.

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

Best combined value and flexibility: Purchase Eraser

Booking through another travel site and using the Purchase Eraser offers the most flexibility and highest mile value you can get out of Capital One rewards. You aren’t limited to the hotel chains and airlines available in the Capital One Travel Center, and you can hunt for special promotions that can save you money. Plus, you can redeem miles for any portion of the charge and cover the rest with cash.

Bottom line

No matter how you choose to redeem your Capital One rewards miles, consider the overall value you are getting beforehand. Even if you don’t travel often, you might be better off waiting for a trip than redeeming for cash back.

See related: How much are Capital One miles worth?, How to earn more rewards with Capital One, Which Capital One cards earn miles?

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Published: December 6, 2018

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: November 6th, 2019
Business
15.14%
Airline
17.01%
Cash Back
17.19%
Reward
17.03%
Student
17.23%

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