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Have the Capital One Venture Card but new to points and miles? Here's what you need to know

March 23, 2020
7 min read
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Editor's Note

</b> This post has been updated with current information.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with current information.

At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information you need to make educated decisions about travel and your rewards-earnings strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route network. But we are sharing these card offers because they could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

Hey there, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card holder -- or potential card holder. You may have heard that you can maximize your Capital One Venture miles when you transfer them at a 2:1.5 (or 2:1 ratio in some cases) and then redeem them for award space via popular loyalty programs such as Aeroplan. If this sounds confusing, you're in the right place, because that's exactly the point of this article.

Whether you got a Capital One card because of Jennifer Garner or because you knew you should sign up for a credit card at some point, we're going to decode exactly what I just said. In short: I'm going to teach you how your credit card can help you travel the world for free – once air travel is back on the table. So sit down, get comfy and start thinking about where you want your next vacation to be once the crisis is over, because we're about to make it happen.

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The card and the bonus

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

First things first: Let's talk about Capital One Venture's 50,000-mile sign-up bonus. At the end of the day, miles are a type of currency, just like points. You can use them to book plane tickets — that's something we like to call an "award redemption." In other words, you're redeeming your miles for award space, also known as a seat on a plane that's available to book using points or miles. While travel isn't possible at the moment, things will go back to normal eventually and you'll be well prepared with the miles from this card and the knowledge to redeem them effectively.

Now you're probably wondering, "Where can I go with 50,000 miles?" We're glad you asked. Since miles are a type of currency, there's a value attached to them. We value Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each; so 50,000 x .014 = $700. That's a lot of value! Easily enough for a round-trip coach (or as we like to say in the aviation world, economy) flight either domestically or abroad... but we'll get to this later. Stay with me.

So like we said, Capital One is currently offering a 50,000-mile bonus on its Venture card. You'll get those 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months that you have the card. Plus you'll earn 5x miles for every dollar you spend on hotel and car rental purchases made with the card through Capital One Travel with your card and 2x miles for every dollar you spend on everything else for as long as you have the card. And, those miles definitely add up over time. The card comes with a $95 annual fee.

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Just as a reminder, never spend more than you can afford. The cardinal rule of points and miles credit cards is to pay your bills on time, in full, every single month. If you take nothing else away from this article — or really, any article on this site — remember that.

Further reading: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review

Using your miles

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Now that we have the sign-up bonus part down, let's talk about the fun part: What you can do with your miles. In late 2018, Capital One introduced airline transfer partners. And, in early 2020 Capital One added hotel partners to the mix. In layman's terms: A way to use the points or miles you accrue by using your credit card — including both the sign-up bonus and everyday spending — is by transferring them to hotels and airlines to book, you guessed it, award space. Clearly, that's not an option at the moment, but when things go back to normal, you'll be glad to have those miles handy.

While Capital One has long let you use miles to cover travel purchases on your credit card statement, transfer partners were reserved for issuers such as American Express, Chase and Citi. So you can imagine that the introduction of transfer partners for Venture miles in December 2018 was a pretty big deal.

Capital One's transfer ratio

Now you can transfer your Capital One miles to these programs: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, Avianca LifeMiles, ALL Accor Live Limitless, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, EVA Infinity MileageLands, Finnair Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Singapore Krisflyer and Wyndham Rewards.

For the most part, miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio. Once you know the number of airline or hotel rewards you need, multiply it by 1.333 (2/1.5) to get the number of Capital One miles you'd need to transfer. The exception is Accor Live Limitless, Emirates and Singapore – these have a 2:1 transfer, ratio so you'd need to multiply the number of airline miles or hotel points you want by 2.

Redemption options

Transfer your miles to the Air Canada-affiliated Aeroplan program to book Turkish Airlines. A one-way business-class ticket to Istanbul (IST) is just 57,500 Aeroplan miles; multiply that by 1.333 and you'd need 76,667 Capital One miles to cross the Atlantic in style. For what it's worth, Turkish Airlines has the best food I've ever had on a plane.

Fly in style in Turkish business class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Prefer a first-class flight instead? You can transfer your miles to Etihad Guest to book an American Airlines flight. You can fly in first from Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow (LHR) or Tokyo Haneda (HND) for only 62,500 Etihad Guest miles each way -- although award availability can be difficult to nail down. You'd need 83,334 Capital One miles for this redemption.

A third (and decidedly less "glamorous") option involves United and Avianca. I'll spare you the tricky details, but traveling between select states in the U.S. can cost as little as 6,500 miles each way (so, 8,667 Capital One miles) when you transfer your miles to the Avianca LifeMiles program. Suddenly that trip to see your parents in Chicago (one of United's hubs) becomes a bit easier.

Further reading: Best ways to maximize Capital One miles

Bottom Line

Keep in mind these are just a few of the easy award redemptions you can take advantage of with Capital One miles. There's definitely more complicated magical sorcery you can get into, but hey, that's why we do what we do. Baby steps, people, baby steps. Now the question is: Where to? What's your dream destination once you're free to travel again?

Apply here for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card with a 50,000-mile bonus

Additional reporting by Katie Genter.

Featured image by (Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.