How long do Capital One miles transfers take?

Jul 15, 2021

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Editor’s note: This guide is regularly refreshed with updated information.

In 2018, Capital One announced big changes by offering cardholders the option to transfer their miles to travel partners. This announcement had the pleasant effect of catapulting TPG’s valuations for Capital One Rewards miles from 1 cent to 1.4 cents apiece due to the newfound ability to use Capital One miles toward booking award travel of outsized value.

Since then, Capital One has continued to add value to its rewards program by periodically refreshing travel partners and improving transfer rates. Wyndham and Accor were added as Capital One transfer partners in February of 2020. In May of 2021, Capital One announced British Airways (2:1.5 transfer ratio), Turkish Airlines (2:1.5 transfer ratio), TAP Portugal (1:1 transfer ratio) and Choice Hotels (1:1 transfer ratio) were all joining as transfer partners.

Capital One miles still hold tremendous value, so let’s take a closer look at some things you should know about transferring Capital One miles, including how long they take to transfer.

Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

How long Capital One miles take to transfer

Besides the transfer ratio, one important aspect to consider when transferring your Capital One miles to airline and hotel partners is “How quickly can you expect to see your Capital One miles in your loyalty program account?”

To answer this question, TPG decided to run some tests. For each of the program’s 15 transfer partners, TPG staffers transferred 1,000 miles from our Capital One accounts to see how long it would take for them to show up in our loyalty program accounts.

Here’s what we found:

Program Transfer time Transfer ratio
Aeromexico Club Premier Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Premier Points)
Air Canada Aeroplan Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Aeroplan Miles)
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Flying Blue Miles)
Alitalia MilleMiglia Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 MilleMiglia miles)
Avianca LifeMiles Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 LifeMiles)
ALL Accor Live Limitless 1 business day 2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 ALL Rewards points)
British Airways Avios Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles= Avios)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 5 business days 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Asia Miles)
Choice Hotels (Launches later this year) TBD 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Choice Privilege rewards points)
Emirates Skywards Instant 2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 Skywards Miles)
Etihad Guest 24-hour turnaround 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Etihad Guest Miles)
EVA Infinity MileageLands 36-hour turnaround 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands Miles)
Finnair Plus Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Finnair Plus Award Points)
JetBlue TrueBlue Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 TrueBlue points)
Qantas Frequent Flyer 24-hour turnaround 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Qantas Points)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 36-hour turnaround 2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 KrisFlyer miles)
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles= 1,000 TAP Miles&Go miles)
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 24-hour turnaround 2:1.5 (1,000 miles= 750 Turkish miles)
Wyndham Rewards Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards Points)

Note: While the above transfer times are based on data from TPG readers and staff, it is possible that transfer times can take longer in some instances. If you have an award to book within five days of departure, we recommend putting it on hold first and having a back-up plan in case the transfer takes longer than stated.

In Accor’s case, a transfer by TPG’s Zach Griff on Feb. 4 didn’t appear until Feb 14. But, I made my own points transfer on Feb. 12 and the points showed up in my account a day later. I suspect that Zach’s long delay was simply an outlier and one business day is more common.

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 planning your own trip.

Related: How to maximize Capital One miles

Tips for transferring Capital One miles

Unfortunately, Capital One doesn’t store your frequent flyer number for any of its transfer partners. So, you’ll have to pull up your account info each time you transfer points to an airline. This is just a slight inconvenience. But, for those of us used to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which saves that information, it’s still an extra step to take.

(Image courtesy of Capital One)
(Image courtesy of Capital One)

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.

Put your award reservation on hold before transferring

Not all airline programs allow you to do this, but it’s worth checking whether you can put your award reservation on hold before transferring Capital One miles. This is especially useful if you’re transferring to a program that doesn’t offer instant transfers. After all, it’s frustrating to transfer points only to find that another traveler has scooped up the award space you wanted.

Determine the best options for transferring

Regardless of your destination and alliance of choice, there are several options for redeeming your Capital One miles. For example, if you want to redeem Capital One miles for domestic flights, you may want to consider Singapore KrisFlyer or Avianca LifeMiles. Choices get even better this fall, with Capital one announcing earlier in the year the addition of a third tier of redemptions where partners can be booked at a 1:1 ratio. This will improve the transfer rate for seven existing partners and introduces two new partners at that new 1:1 level

Here are the partners that will fall into this new, 1:1 tier:

You can redeem 63,000 LifeMiles for a one-way ticket in Lufthansa business class (Photo courtesy of Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)

Likewise, there are ample opportunities to redeem Capital One miles on Star Alliance airlines, redeem Capital One miles on Oneworld airlines and redeem Capital One miles on SkyTeam airlines. Be sure to determine the best redemption rate before transferring your miles to a specific program.

Related: Best ways to maximize Capital One miles

Choose flights that have ample award seats available

If you can’t put an award ticket on hold, ample award availability improves the odds that you’ll be able to book a seat when your miles hit your account. Use tools like ExpertFlyer to find how many award seats are available on a flight. You can also search for three or four passengers — that way, you can determine roughly how many seats are available for award tickets.

Select uncommon routes

You can improve your chances of finding an award ticket by flying routes that are less popular or originate from non-hubs. Those often have better award availability.

Let availability determine your destination

If you have some flexibility and your original itinerary is no longer an option because availability has changed, one solution is to choose your destination based on which awards are still bookable. Also, keep in mind that award availability changes frequently and can increase (or decrease) as you get closer to your departure date. Check regularly and be ready to act quickly when seats you want open up.

Related: Ultimate guide to searching award availability for the major airlines

Which cards earn Capital One miles?

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

Only some Capital One credit cards earn transferable Capital One miles. Out of the currently available Capital One cards, two consumer travel rewards credit cards and two business credit cards earn Capital One miles. Here’s a quick overview of these four cards:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Related: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Current bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Benefits: 1.25x miles per dollar on all purchases and  no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual fee: $0

Capital One Spark Miles for Business 

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, no foreign transaction fees, free employee cards
  • Annual fee: $0

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.       

Can you transfer Capital One miles to someone else’s account?

You can only transfer Capital One miles to a loyalty program registered to the same name as the Capital One account. There’s also good news: you can easily transfer Capital One miles from one Capital One account to another.

(Image courtesy of Capital One)

Log in to your account, click on “view rewards” and click on “use my miles” under “share rewards.” You can transfer Capital One miles from your account to another one of your Capital One accounts or someone else’s Capital One account. Although Capital One eventually plans to make transfers to someone else’s account available online, you’ll currently need to call the number on the back of your card to do so.

Related: Ultimate guide to points pooling and sharing

Is there a fee for transferring Capital One miles?

There is no fee involved when you transfer Capital One miles to an airline or hotel travel partner. Nor is there a fee to transfer Capital One miles from one Capital One account to another.

Bottom line

The good news is that nine Capital One hotel and airline transfer partners have instant transfer times in our tests. The bad news is that not all partners have instant transfer times and one partner takes up to five business days. So, you’ll want to put your award ticket on hold if you can and consider focusing on transfer partners that usually transfer quickly or for which there is ample award availability.

Additional reporting by Katie Genter, Ryan Patterson

Featured photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy

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.

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