How long do Capital One miles take to transfer?

Nov 3, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Last year, Capital One announced big changes by offering card holders the option of transferring their miles to a total of 15 airline partners. This had the pleasant effect of catapulting our valuations for Capital One Rewards miles from 1 cent to 1.4 cents apiece, for the newfound ability to use miles toward booking flights of outsized value.

How quickly can you expect to see your Capital One miles in your airline’s loyalty account? TPG decided to test and find out. For each of the program’s 15 transfer partners, I transferred 1,000 points from my Capital One account to see how long it would take for them to show up in my airline accounts. Here’s what I found:

Program Transfer Time

Aeromexico Club Premier

Instant

Air Canada Aeroplan

Instant

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Instant

Alitalia MilleMiglia

Instant

Avianca LifeMiles

Instant

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

5 business days

Emirates Skywards

Instant

Etihad Guest

24-hour turnaround

EVA Infinity MileageLands

36-hour turnaround

Finnair Plus

Instant

 Hainan Fortune Wings Club

36-hour turnaround

JetBlue TrueBlue

Instant

Qantas Frequent Flyer

24-hour turnaround

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

24-hour turnaround

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

36-hour turnaround

Note that the times listed above represent my personal experience, and shouldn’t be taken as hard and fast rules. Your transfer experience may be faster or slower, but these times can serve as guidelines for when you plan your own trip.

Related: How to maximize Capital One miles

Caution: The Capital One partner portal defaults to transferring all of your Capital One miles to the airline partner of your choice, and the pop-up screen doesn’t add an additional layer of verification before that all-important “Complete Transfer” button. So be super, super careful to adjust that number to the exact number of miles you want to transfer, because transfers are irreversible once complete. This functionality is a pretty big user concern Capital One would do well to note for future updates.

Less risky but still worth noting: Capital One doesn’t store your airline membership number for any of the partners, so you’ll have to pull up your account info each time you transfer points to an airline. It’s only slightly inconvenient, but for those of us used to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, it’s a slight disappointment. As we all know, award availability changes frequently in this space, so the ability to link airline partners greatly simplifies the process of getting Capital One miles over to the loyalty program as quickly as possible.

If you do find yourself in a scenario where you’re scrambling for some last-minute points to top up your account, here are a few tips:

1. Put your award reservation on hold prior to transferring. Not all programs allow you to do this, but those that do make things much easier. For example, Singapore KrisFlyer allows you to hold an award reservation so long as you have 50% of the necessary miles in your account.

2. Choose flights that have more than one available award seat. This is helpful in case someone else books before your miles show up. Use tools like ExpertFlyer to find how many award seats are available on a flight. You can also do a single search for three or four passengers — that way, you can determine precisely how many seats are available.

3. Select uncommon routes. You can improve your chances by flying routes that are less popular or originate from non-hubs, since those often have better award availability.

4. Let the availability determine your destination. If you have some flexibility and your original itinerary is no longer an option because availability has dried up, one solution is to choose your destination based on which awards are still bookable.

If your original flights have disappeared, don’t panic. Keep in mind that award availability changes frequently and can increase dramatically as you get closer to your departure date. Check regularly and be ready to act quickly when seats do open up.

Related: Beginner’s guide to award searches on ExpertFlyer

Earning Capital One miles

You can earn Capital One miles with four cards from the issuer:

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Current bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Benefits: 1.25x miles on all purchases, 10x miles on hotel stays booked and paid for at Hotels.com/Venture through Jan. 31, 2020
  • Annual fee: $0

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • Current bonus:  Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles; 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 on purchases in the first six months of your account opening.
  • Benefits: Earn 5x miles on hotels and car rentals when booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other purchases, free employee cards
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

  • Current bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Benefits: 1.5x miles on all purchases, free employee cards
  • Annual fee: $0

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles with this business card, plus 5x miles on hotels and car rental booking through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on all other purchases.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
  • Fly through security with one statement credit for either the $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or the $100 Global Entry application fee
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.