How long do Capital One miles take to transfer?

Jun 23, 2020

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

Back 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. Most recently, Wyndham and Accor were added as Capital One transfer partners on Feb. 3, 2020 while Capital One lost two transfer partners — Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club and Hainan Airlines’ Fortune Wings Club — in May.

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.

Related: Here’s how Capital One is changing my financial strategy in 2020

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)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 5 business days 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Asia Miles)
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)
Wyndham Rewards Instant 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards Points)

In the case of Accor, 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. So, my expectation is that Zach’s long delay was simply due to initial issues and that 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 when you plan your own trip.

Related reading: 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 prior to 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 the award space you wanted has been scooped up by another traveler.

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 are looking to redeem Capital One miles for domestic flights, you may want to consider Singapore KrisFlyer or Avianca LifeMiles.

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 reading: 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 do a search for three or four passengers — that way, you can determine roughly how many seats are available for award tickets.

Related reading: Beginner’s guide to award searches on ExpertFlyer

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 reading: 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 reading: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business 

  • Current bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
  • Benefits: 2x miles on all purchases, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every four years, no foreign transaction fees, 5x miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel, free employee cards
  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95

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, 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel, free employee cards
  • Annual fee: $0

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and the Spark Miles Select for Business Cards 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 exact same name as the Capital One account. But, there’s also good news: you can easily transfer Capital One miles from one Capital One account to another.

(Image courtesy of Capital One)

Simply 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 either another one of your Capital One accounts or to 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 reading: 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.

Related reading: What happens to your points and miles after you die?

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 of the 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.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/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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