Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide

We’ve previously published complete guides to most transferable points programs, including Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Amex Membership Rewards. Now that Capital One has added transfer partners and initiated the ability to transfer Capital One “miles” to anyone with an eligible account, it was time to write up a complete overview of their Capital One Venture miles and Capital One Spark Miles program…

Capital One “Rewards miles” (which aren’t really airline miles, but can be redeemed for $0.01 each toward travel purchases or transferred to airline partners (at a ratio of 1,000 Capital One Rewards miles to 750 airline miles in most instances or 1,000 Capital One Rewards miles to 500 airline miles for two partners) can be earned via credit card bonuses and ongoing spend. Those “Rewards miles” can then be transferred to airline partners, used to pay for travel, redeemed for gift cards, or converted to cash back.  Capital One’s reward miles program competes with three other bank issued transferable points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Capital One Rewards miles.

Contents

Earn Points

Credit Cards

The easiest and quickest way to earn Capital One “miles” is through Venture and Spark Miles credit card signup bonuses,.  Below are the current Capital One cards that earn Capital One miles.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
50K "miles"
One time bonus: 50K after $3K spend in 3 months from account opening

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

FM Mini Review: This card earns 2 "miles" per dollar, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One big advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles at a 2 to 1.5 ratio.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base

Earning rate: 2X everywhere

Noteworthy perks: Earn 10x miles on hotels through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture ⚬ Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® ⚬ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles at a (mostly) 2 to 1.5 ratio ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
20K "miles"
One time bonus: 20K after $1K spend in 3 months from account opening

$0 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: Many no-fee cards offer better rewards, so there's no point in using this card after collecting the welcome offer.


Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
1.25X
(1.31%)

Earning rate: 1.25X everywhere

Noteworthy perks: Earn 10x miles on hotels through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture ⚬ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles at a (mostly) 2 to 1.5 ratio ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
50K "miles"
Earn a one time bonus: 50K after $4500 spend in the first 3 months from account opening

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

Recent better offer: Expired 1/28/19: Up to 200K miles: 50K after $5K spend in 3 months from account opening. Earn an additional 150K miles when you spend $50K on total purchases within the first 6 months.

FM Mini Review: This card is basically the same as the Spark Cash for Business, but rewards are intended to be used to offset travel purchases. One big advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles at a 2 to 1.5 ratio.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base

Earning rate: 2X everywhere

Noteworthy perks: Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles at a (mostly) 2 to 1.5 ratio ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business
20K "miles"
One time bonus: 20K after $3,000 spend in 3 months from account opening

$0 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card is basically the same as the Spark Cash Select for Business, but rewards are intended to be used to offset travel purchases. This is a good option for business owners who prefer simple rewards with no annual fee, and who value free travel over cash back. If you spend more than $19K per year, though, go for the 2X Spark Miles card.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Base

Earning rate: 1.5X everywhere

Noteworthy perks: Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles at a (mostly) 2 to 1.5 ratio ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

 

Redeem Points

Capital One “miles” are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel.  It is possible to get more value in some instances by transferring points to airline partners.  More below…

Travel

Purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares are generally considered to be travel purchases for the purposes of requesting a statement credit via Capital One’s “purchase eraser”(though note that this is based on the merchant category code assigned to them by the merchant). Purchase eraser requests for a statement credit must be made within 90 days of the date your travel purchase posts to your account and can be done easily online.

Since you can make your purchases directly from travel providers, you can make bookings that qualify for elite credit / benefits and then apply your Capital One Rewards “miles” after the fact. Another somewhat unique feature in the Capital One system is that you do not need to have earned the necessary miles before making a booking since you have 90 days from the date the charge posts to your account to make a redemption.

Transfer points

Often the best use of a transferable currency is to transfer points to airline partners in order to book high value awards.  Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great flight award before transferring points.

Transferring to your chosen program is simple: log in to your credit card account, click your Rewards Miles balance, then choose “Transfer Your Rewards”. From there, select your chosen program and enter your loyalty account information as well as the number of miles you wish to transfer in increments of 100 Capital One Rewards miles. For more on this process, see: How to transfer Capital one miles to partners.

Current Transfer Bonuses

At the time that I’m writing this there are no active transfer bonuses. We don’t yet know whether Capital One intends to offers any transfer bonuses, but if a transfer bonus appears, details will automatically appear here:

Transfer Bonus DetailsEnd Date Sortable

Transfer Partners

Rewards ProgramCapital One Transfer RatioBest Uses
AeroMexico ClubPremier1000 to 750AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Award prices tend to be quite high, but if you transfer points to AeroMexico with a great multiple (such as from Membership Rewards 1 to 1.6), prices can be reasonable.
Air Canada Aeroplan1000 to 750Redeem for Star Alliance flights. Multiple stopovers allowed on international flights. Reasonable award prices to Europe for business and first class.
Air France KLM Flying Blue1000 to 750Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
Alitalia MilleMiglia1000 to 750Alitalia is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. Unfortunately, fuel surcharges can be quite high, and partner awards cannot be booked online. Worse, after numerous devaluations, few sweetspots exist in this program.
Avianca LifeMiles1000 to 750Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 to 750Cathay Pacific has a fairly generous distance based award chart and allows multiple stopovers. Fuel surcharges can be very high on certain routes. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available.
Emirates Skywards1000 to 500Emirates has different award charts for each airline partner. Sometimes they allow one-way awards, sometimes they do not. In general, award prices are fairly high.
Etihad Guest1000 to 750Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others.  For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1000 to 750While there are some niche sweet spots with EVA's program, you'll usually do better transferring points to Singapore Airlines to book Star Alliance awards.
Finnair Plus+1000 to 750Award prices are quite high compared to competing programs. Interestingly, miles can be exchanged for tier points (towards elite status).
Hainan Airlines1000 to 750I’m not aware of any great uses for Hainan miles
JetBlue1000 to 500JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one or both cards.
Qantas Frequent Flyer1000 to 750Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)
Qatar Privilege Club1000 to 750Given Qatar's award chart devaluation plus the addition of award booking fees in May 2018, I'm not aware of any particularly good uses for these miles.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 to 500Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.

Cash back

Capital One Rewards Miles can be redeemed for 0.5 cents each either as statement credits or as cash back via check. That’s a very poor value and not recommended.

Other ways to redeem points

Through the Capital One Rewards portal you can redeem Rewards miles for gift cards. Most merchant gift cards (like Amazon, Best Buy, etc) yield exactly $0.01 per mile — that is to say that a $25 gift card costs 2,500 Rewards Miles.

One notable exception is the ability for some cardholders to redeem for “Special Hotel Offers”, which are specific hotel gift cards offered at much better rates. At the time of writing, this section of the Rewards portal offers a $900 gift card to Fairmont, Four Seasons, Marriott, Raffles, or Ritz-Carlton for 64,250 miles. That’s a value of 1.4 cents per Rewards mile and certainly might be worth considering. It is unclear as to how an account becomes targeted for this capability.

Note that you will not find the Special Hotel Offers under the “gift cards” section. To find these offers, log in to your credit card account, click on your Rewards miles balance, and then choose “Get Special Hotel Offers”:

Manage Points

Combine Points Across Cards

Capital One makes it very easy to combine Rewards miles among your own accounts. To combine Rewards miles within your own accounts (for example, to move Rewards miles from your Venture One card to your Spark Miles card), simply open the card account from which you wish to move the miles, click on your Rewards miles balance, choose “Share Rewards” and then “One of my accounts”. This should give you a drop-down menu where you can choose the account you want to send your Rewards miles to. You can then enter the exact amount you wish to transfer. There is no minimum. The maximum is simply your current available Rewards miles balance.

See: Now share Capital One miles with others for more on this.

Share Points Across Cardholders

Capital One very generously allows people to transfer Rewards miles to anyone else, for free. There are no minimums and no limits as to the number of Rewards miles you can transfer to another cardholder.

Unfortunately, this can not be done online at the time of writing. You’ll need to call the number on the back of your card and provide the agent with the name and card number of the person to whom you would like to transfer your Rewards miles. Keep in mind that the recipient will need to have a Capital One Rewards Miles-earning card to receive your miles.

Why this is valuable:

  • If a friend has airline elite status with one of Capital One’s transfer partners with which you want to book an award, you may be better off transferring points to your friend who can then transfer the points to the airline partner and book the award for you (to get free award changes, for example).
  • Your spouse/sibling/parent/neighbor/cousin/friend is a few thousand miles short of having enough for a business or first class ticket when transferred to a partner. This makes it easy to top up and/or to combine if that person has other transferable points to put together the award you want. Or maybe you’re redeeming points for several travelers and you would rather have them all on one PNR rather than booking multiple tickets out of separate accounts. It’s easy to combine.

See: Now share Capital One miles with others for more on this.

How to Keep Points Alive

Capital One Rewards Miles do not expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. If you cancel an account with a Rewards miles balance, you will forfeit those rewards. For this reason, you’ll want to transfer to an airline partner or another Capital One miles-earning card via the methods above before canceling an account.

More information

You can find the full terms and conditions for your card by logging in to your account, clicking on your rewards balance, and clicking on “Terms and Conditions” or “FAQ”.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

Great I don’t have this card but will in April for use in Jan. for BA..
Cheers

Bill
Guest
Bill

Any tips on applying for the Venture card? A couple of my relatives applied recently and both were denied despite credit scores of +780 and just 2 applications in the past two years…

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I need that card and that’s what happened to me Too .. My Fico is 815 but to many CC’s so they declined and I will Reapply 7+ months after the last apply like this website told me to do..Meanwhile I will wack a Few CC’s and please Keep posting on how it Go’s..

CHEERs

Jay Moore
Guest
Jay Moore

Is anyone else with the Spark Miles for Business card able to access the “Transfer Your Rewards” tab? I don’t see it at all, nor any hotel specials. Two reps and tech support said transfer to airlines is yet to be rolled out and will only be available to Venture products for the time being.

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[…] working on this morning’s complete guide to Capital One Rewards miles, I stumbled on something amazing in one of my Capital One accounts that I’ll argue is a total […]

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[…] These “miles” suck but just in case you were interested: Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide. […]

HoKo
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HoKo

Hasn’t CX had a fairly significant devaluation in the past 6-12 months? That post from Drew that you link to is from 2016 so it’s getting pretty long in the tooth

Jacqueline
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Jacqueline

If I understood well Capitol one miles are not equal to other airlines miles?

eric
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eric

HELPPPP i opened the wrong spark.. i opened cash and not the miles… i hit threshold too but i didnt realize.. any help would be appreciated! !

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

I don’t think you can switch cards mid-stream, but you could try calling Capital One to ask. Keep in mind that the Spark Cash deal was a good one too.

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[…] Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide […]

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[…] Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide […]

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[…] not just with your airline miles, but also with your transferable points: Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One “Miles”, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, or Marriott […]

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[…] This post rounds out our guides to the top transferable points programs: Amex Membership Rewards (this post), Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Capital One “Miles”. […]