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Capital One’s recent announcement of 12 airline transfer partners took some of the best fixed-value credit cards on the market (like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business) and gave them even more flexible and valuable redemption options. When the TPG team got together to discuss how much these newly transferable miles are worth, one thing became immediately clear: these 12 programs require more work to maximize than more familiar programs like American Airlines AAdvantage.
While many people are familiar with some of the top transfer options like Aeroplan (which is also a 1:1 Amex transfer partner), the others are a bit more nuanced. To get the best value out of your Capital One miles, you might have to dig a little deeper and learn the ins and outs of a new program. As a reminder, the 12 transfer partners launching in December are as follows:
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
To celebrate this new redemption option, the Venture Rewards card is offering a limited time sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Points transfer to all 12 partners at a 2:1.5 ratio, meaning that 75,000 Capital One miles will transfer to about 56,000 partner airline miles. When you factor in the extra 10,000 miles you’ll earn from meeting the minimum spend threshold (2x miles x $5,000 of spending), you’ll really end up with 85,000 Capital One miles, which in turn can be transferred to roughly 64,000 airline miles.
We’ve already explored the best ways to redeem this bonus through various partner programs, including Avianca LifeMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Aeroplan and Etihad Guest. Today we’ll continue this series and turn our attention to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles loyalty program. While the program isn’t the easiest one out there, there are some definitely values to be had. Here are some of your best options for redeeming your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card sign-up bonus with Asia Miles.
Cathay Pacific Flights
Asia Miles uses a distance-based award chart for Cathay Pacific flights. You can see that long-haul flights between 5,001 and 7,500 miles are split into two groups: Type 1 and Type 2. Unfortunately, the more expensive Long — Type 2 pricing is what’s used for flights to or from any city in the Americas.
Cathay Pacific currently flies to eight US destinations. Here’s how these cities fit into the above chart:
- Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA) fall into the 5,001 – 7,500 mile range and are thus priced by the Long — Type 2 column.
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Boston (BOS), Washignton-Dulles (IAD), New York-JFK and Newark (EWR) all cover 7,500+ miles and are priced by the Ultra-Long column.
With the 64,000 or so Asia Miles you’ll have after completing the minimum spending requirement, you’ll be able to book a round-trip economy award between any of the West Coast destinations and Hong Kong (HKG). You’ll also be just short of a one-way business class award, which would cost 70,000 Asia Miles. If you’re eyeing one of the ultra-long routes, you’d be able to book a one way award in economy or premium economy but fall shy of a round-trip.
As with most distance-based award charts, some of the best value redemptions come from extremely short flights. If you’re trying to hop around Asia, flights under 750 miles will only cost 7,500 Asia Miles in economy. This means your Venture sign-up bonus could get you eight or more one-way flights between Hong Kong and the following cities (just to name a few):
- Taipei (TPE)
- Hanoi (HAN)
- Manila (MNL)
- Guangzhou (CAN)
Cathay Pacific will also frequently fly internationally-configured aircraft (777s, A350s and A330s) on shorter flights within Asia. This means the chance to snag a lie-flat business class seat at a fraction of the cost. Even though Cathay is notorious for last-minute equipment swaps (including downgrades to regionally-configured aircraft with recliner seats in business class), you could book a business class seat on a flight out of Hong Kong to Singapore (SIN) or Bangkok (BKK) for only 25,000 miles. Definitely look for a flight operated by an A350 if you can (like the one shown below). If your flight is operated by an A330 or 777, you should check ExpertFlyer before booking to see how the plane is configured.
Oneworld Partner Flights
Asia Miles uses a different award chart depending on whether your flight is operated by a single partner airline or multiple. Since multiple partners on a single ticket likely means a longer journey (that costs more than ~64,000 miles), we won’t focus on those here and will stick to single partner awards. You are allowed to book one way awards with all partners except Iberia. Unfortunately, Asia Miles doesn’t actually have a single partner award chart online but instead provides a mileage calculator you can use to check specific routes.
You’ll get the most bang for your buck redeeming for short-haul domestic travel on AA here. Based on my trial-and-error searches, it appears that flights under 1,000 miles only cost 10,000 Asia Miles each way in economy, meaning your sign-up bonus will net you three round-trip awards.
After that, all other domestic flights (including transcontinental routes) price out as shown below. 30,000 miles for a lie-flat business class seat on one of AA’s specially configured A321Ts is not a bad deal at all, especially when you consider the fact that you get access to AA’s flagship lounges. The Venture sign-up bonus is enough to book a round-trip transcontinental business class award or a one-way ticket in first class (with some miles left over) if you want to try out AA’s flagship first dining.
Of course with a nice stash of miles at your disposal, international travel is well within your reach as well. You can fly round-trip from Chicago-O’Hare to London-Heathrow (LHR) for just 50,000 miles, or you’d be just shy of flying there in business class and return in economy (75,000 miles). You could book this itinerary on AA or British Airways for the same number of miles, and note that Asia Miles typically doesn’t pass on all of British Airways’ horrendous fuel surcharges on award tickets.
Prices increase significantly for flights from the west coast to Europe, so if you’re based out west you might want to consider a cheap positioning flight to the east coast to start your award travel.
Finally, only select airlines can be booked online: Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Qantas, Finnair, Iberia, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines and British Airways. While you’ll be asked to complete an Airline Award Request for other carriers, the response time to those tends to be horrifically long, so I’d highly recommend that you simply call instead.
For complete details on this program and booking process, be sure to check out Richard Kerr’s guide with Everything You Need to Know About Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
Capital One’s announcement of transfer partners and enhanced bonuses on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business made waves in the points and miles world. While the issuer did a good job assembling a diverse list of transfer partners, Oneworld arguably gets the least coverage here out of the three major airline alliances. While a single sign-up bonus won’t get you enough miles to try out Cathay Pacific’s incredible first class, you have plenty of options to consider for Oneworld award travel. Since the Venture card earns 2x miles on all purchases (along with 10x miles on hotel stays booked and paid for at Hotels.com/Venture), if you’re eyeing a premium cabin redemption it shouldn’t be hard to earn the extra miles you need.
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