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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here – Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Unless you’re a very frequent flyer or big spender, the fastest way to rack up points and miles is by taking advantage of a lucrative sign-up bonus on a new credit card. We’ve seen a number of massive bonuses this year, including plenty offering 100,000 points or even more. Unfortunately, these high-value bonuses often come with large spending requirements that are typically spread out across multiple tiers.
As an example, one of the best offers available right now is highest bonus we’ve seen on the Capital One Spark Miles for Business. Now through Jan. 28, 2019, new cardmembers can earn up to a 200,000-mile bonus in two parts:
- Earn 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months
- Earn another 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first six months of opening your account
While that’s a lot of money to spend, it’s certainly possible for many businesses to do so in the six-month time frame. If you’re able to complete both tiers of the bonus, you won’t just walk away with 200,000 miles though. Since the Spark card earns 2x miles per dollar on all purchases, you’ll get another 100,000 miles from spending $50,000. This brings your total haul up to 300,000 miles, worth $4,200 based on TPG’s new valuation of transferable Capital One miles.
Aeromexico Club Premier
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
EVA Infinity MileageLands
Hainan Fortune Wings Club
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Transfers all happen at a 2:1.5 ratio for all partners except Emirates and Singapore — for those two carrier, it’s a 2:1 transfer ratio.
This means that if you transfer 300,000 Capital One miles to any of the above partners, you’ll end up with 225,000 miles in that airline’s currency. That’s a lot of free travel to bank from a single card, so let’s take a look at the best ways to redeem this impressive haul of miles.
If you’re in need of some additional details about the actual decision to transfer and the process to do so, check out the following articles:
- To Transfer or Not to Transfer: What to Do With Capital One Miles
- How to Transfer Capital One Miles to Airline Partners
Cheap Star Alliance Awards With Avianca
Whether you’re looking to use miles to cover business travel or upgrade your next vacation, Avianca has plenty of options for you to consider. Because LifeMiles splits the US into three distinct award zones (roughly eastern, central and western), short-haul flights within the same “zone” only cost 7,500 LifeMiles. This means your 225,000 miles could be used to book 30 one-way economy tickets on United between Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Miami (MIA), for example.
The options get even more fun in premium cabins. At only 87,000 miles each way, you could use the above haul of Capital One miles to book a round-trip Lufthansa first class award to Europe (with practically no taxes or fees) and still have 51,000 LifeMiles left over. Or you could book three one-way business class awards (at 60,000 — 63,000 miles each) and a one-way economy award to complete your two-person trip.
You’ll also have more than enough miles to book a round-trip first class award on ANA or Asiana to anywhere in North Asia (broadly defined to include Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and more) and still have 45,000 miles left over. Or you could book exactly three one-way business class tickets to the same destinations at 75,000 miles each.
With even the longest flights reasonably priced, you could fly round trip to South Africa in first class and still have miles left over. Or you could fly two people round-trip to Australia in economy and still have enough miles left over for as many as six short-haul domestic flights.
For more information on LifeMiles, check out the following posts:
Round-Trip First Class With Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program uses a distance-based award chart for flights on Cathay metal, which is usually not a great value given how far Hong Kong (HKG) is from the US. But with 225,000 miles at your disposal, you can afford to splurge. You could fly round-trip in business class on Cathay’s newest route from Washington-Dulles (IAD) with plenty of miles left over, or round-trip in first class from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO).
If you’re trying to stretch your miles, you would be just short of four round-trip economy tickets between Hong Kong and the West Coast.
Oneworld partner awards use a zone-based chart and can be fairly reasonable in the right circumstances. Short domestic flights on AA, such as the below example from New York-JFK to Chicago (ORD) only cost 10,000 miles each way. This means you could book 11 round-trips flights with your sign-up bonus and help your employees get where they need to be.
For complete information on this program, check out our guides with Everything You Need to Know About Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Deciphering the New Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Award Booking Engine.
Premium Cabin Travel on American Airlines
Etihad Guest remains a hidden gem of a loyalty program, in large part thanks to its award chart for premium cabin travel on American Airlines. This chart closely resembles what AA used to charge before its significant 2016 devaluation and is quite reasonable.
AA only operates a true international first class product on its fleet of 777-300ERs, which fly to destinations such as London-Heathrow (LHR), Hong Kong and (beginning next summer) Tokyo-Haneda (HND).
Tokyo falls into the “Asia 1” zone, so you could book three one-way first class awards with your Spark Miles sign-up bonus, or you could redeem them for four one-way business class awards (and have miles left over in either case). The same pricing scheme also applies to Southern South America, including Sao Paulo (GRU), which AA serves with a first class-equipped 777. You could also book three one-way business class awards to Sydney.
Flights within the US aren’t as great of a deal at 12,500 miles each way, but you could still book nine round-trips from your haul of Capital One miles. If you’re looking to try out AA’s specially configured transcontinental A321T, which features lie flat business and first class, you’d have enough miles to book 3-4 round trips from New York-JFK to Los Angeles or San Francisco (depending on which cabin you picked).
Of course, you would need to find saver award space through American to be able to use your Etihad Guest miles for these flights, but ExpertFlyer could be a great help in this regard.
For more info on Etihad’s loyalty program, check out the following articles:
- Etihad Guest Miles Continue to Fly Under the Radar
- The Ultimate Guide to Booking Partner Awards With Etihad Guest
Round-the-World With Aeromexico
They say don’t spend it all in one place, but Aeromexico offers a convincing reason to throw that advice away: A SkyTeam Round-the-World pass. For 224,000 miles, almost exactly the amount you’ll earn, you can book a round-the-world economy ticket with up to 15 stopovers. The rules are important to keep in mind but relatively lax:
- Valid only for travel on SkyTeam airlines.
- RTW awards cost 224,000 miles in economy and 352,000 in business class.
- Travel must continue in the same direction, east or west (although there are some reports that Aeromexico is flexible on this if you’re backtracking to connect through a SkyTeam hub city).
- Travel must begin and end in the same country.
- You can have a minimum of three or a maximum of 15 stopovers, with no more than five per continent. A stopover is defined as any city where you remain for 24 hours before continuing your travel.
- All flights must be booked in the same class of service.
- Pass is valid for one year from the date of issue.
As long as you build your itinerary around SkyTeam hub cities, it shouldn’t be hard to construct some pretty creative itineraries. One of the tamer ones is this jaunt through Asia and Europe, letting you see six different cities for the cost of one ticket:
Of course, the sky is the limit, and you could easily build an itinerary that covers twice as much ground.
What Not To Do
Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France, KLM and several other (smaller carriers), used to be a great source of value for SkyTeam award travelers. Unfortunately a recent switch to variable pricing gutted most of that value. $50,000 is not a small chunk of change to spend, and with Flying Blue, you could end up blowing your entire sign-up bonus on a single one-way business class flight to Europe:
It’s possible to find the same award for 20% of this cost or even less, especially if you take advantage of the program’s rotating promo awards, but simply put, Flying Blue is no longer one you can count on. In specific circumstances it’s alright, but more often than not you end up with outrageous prices like the one shown above.
Capital One’s addition of transfer partners was a game-changer in and of itself, but the fact that the announcement was accompanied by enhanced sign-up bonuses on both the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business is just icing on the cake. The latter of the two is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 200,000 miles, though you’ll take home a total of 300,000 by spending the $50,000 to earn that bonus. By transferring them to one of the issuer’s new airline partners, you’ll be able to book a seemingly endless amount of domestic travel or fly in premium cabins to every corner of the earth.
But hurry! This limited-time offer is set to expire Jan. 28, 2019, giving just days to apply and start working towards the minimum spending requirements.
Know before you go.
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