Planning your next vacation, but like the freedom of booking wherever you please? Find out how to use Capital One Miles to pay for your travel purchases.
Our family has been fortunate to take several trips over the past few years using credit card rewards points, including Walt Disney World.
We funded much of our latest adventure to the Magic Kingdom using Capital One miles earned through spending on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.Capital One miles don’t receive the same hype as other rewards programs, but they offer flexibility that’s perfect for booking our family vacations. Whether using them directly to book travel or erasing travel purchases from our monthly statement, Capital One miles have quickly grown to be one of our favorite rewards currencies. For this particular trip, we used our miles to cover the cost of renting a vacation home for ourselves and our extended family.
Our latest family adventure to Walt Disney World
Unlike previous family trips to the Orlando, Florida, area, this vacation had another purpose besides visiting Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Our youngest son plays travel baseball, and his team was in a week-long tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, just miles from the Disney parks.
We stayed with extended family who also had a son on the same team. Staying on property at one of the resorts wasn’t a great option, plus we had banked tons of rewards points and miles through the pandemic. Our goal was to pay for as much of this trip as possible using rewards.
How we used Capital One miles to rent a vacation home
There are benefits to staying at a Disney resort, but we opted instead to rent a vacation home through Airbnb for this particular trip. After researching houses that would fit all 10 of us, we settled on a beautiful six-bedroom, five-bathroom Kissimmee home within 10 minutes of the sports complex and the theme parks.
Along with enough space for all of us to spend 10 days together, the house had a private pool and spa, game room and access to the neighborhood waterpark and clubhouse. We’ve had luck with Airbnb rentals in the past, and this trip was no different. We also knew that accommodations would be the biggest expense for this trip since we needed a bigger house to fit everyone for an extended time.
I already had the Venture Rewards card and banked tons of miles. Before booking, my wife also applied for a Venture card to pool our miles and cover as much of the cost as possible. She earned a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months of card membership – that’s worth $500 in travel purchases. The bonus and miles earned on card spending before booking netted my wife about $725 to apply towards our Disney trip.
Instead of booking travel directly through Capital One’s rewards portal or transferring miles to a travel partner program, we opted to use our Venture card to book our Airbnb rental. Then, once the charge showed up on our statement, we redeemed our miles to get reimbursed for the travel purchase. The house rental cost just over $2,100 for 10 days, and we ended up with enough miles pooled together to cover the entire cost. The Venture card’s flat 2X earning rate on everyday purchases proved to be a lucrative way to earn enough rewards to pay for our travels this year.
How our multiple-card strategy helps us cover other trip expenses
While our vacation home rental was the largest expense, it wasn’t the only one we wanted to cover using rewards. Luckily, we had other credit card rewards saved up from over a year without travel.
We’re a family of six, so finding flight deals is usually a bigger issue than accommodations. For this trip, though, only four of us were going due to other obligations, and the other two kids stayed with grandparents at home.
Our family tends to gravitate toward Southwest Airlines for most flights. Airfare for large families is almost always expensive, but Southwest has plenty of deals, and there are tons of daily flights to Orlando from our home airport in Cleveland, Ohio. Both my wife and I have the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and a Southwest Companion Pass. We used Rapid Rewards points we had saved up to pay for the other three roundtrip flights.
Car rental costs are through the roof right now, but we found a great deal through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for a minivan and used Ultimate Rewards points to cover the cost of the car rental.
There are ways to save money on theme park tickets, but we prefer to buy tickets directly from the parks to avoid any logistical issues that sometimes accompany third-party purchases. Our youngest son received a five-day Disney park pass as a baseball team member, so we just opted to pay cash for the other three passes.
The other Venture Card travel perk we used on our trip
As travel kicked in full swing after the pandemic, we decided to apply for TSA PreCheck to help our family navigate airport security quicker. The Venture card comes with up to a $100 credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. We used our Venture cards to cover fees for my wife and me and paid cash for the kids’ fees. Not only did we sail through security in less than two minutes at both airports, but our TSA PreCheck memberships are good for five years.
A family vacation to Walt Disney World is a great use of Capital One miles, especially if you value flexibility when booking travel. While many of my son’s teammates were cramped in small rooms at Disney value resorts, our spacious Airbnb was the perfect retreat after full days of baseball and visiting the parks. Our Venture Rewards cards are well worth the $95 annual fee, especially when you factor in other card perks we will use for other trips later this year.