Earn, redeem, repeat: How to maximize Capital One Venture Rewards

Sep 23, 2020

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Whether you prefer cash back rewards or transferable miles, Capital One Venture Rewards miles can be a good choice. TPG himself, Brian Kelly, picked the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card as the one card he wouldn’t live without earlier this year. Brian said he chose the Venture over many of his other beloved cards primarily due to the ease of earning and redeeming Capital One miles. And, now the Capital One Venture offers a massive 100,000-mile sign-up bonus.

Historically, the best way to use Capital One miles was to redeem for recent travel purchases. But, in late 2018, Capital One introduced transfer partners. And, earlier this year, Capital One added new, temporary ways to redeem miles. So, now you have to decide whether to redeem at a fixed-value or transfer to partners.

In this guide, I’ll first introduce the cards that earn Capital One miles. Then, I’ll discuss what you need to know about redeeming Capital One miles.

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In This Post

Overview

Capital One has two types of consumer and business credit cards: Cash-back rewards cards, such as the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, and travel rewards cards that earn Capital One miles. Today, I’ll focus on Capital One miles and the cards that earn these miles.

Earning Capital One miles is easy as long as you have one of four specific Capital One credit cards. In particular, there are two consumer cards and two small business cards that earn Capital One miles. I’ll discuss these cards later in this guide.

When it comes to redeeming Capital One miles, redemption options are all the same. In particular, you don’t need a premium card or bank account to get the most value from your miles. I’ll introduce redemption partners in the next section before discussing how to redeem Capital One miles later in this guide.

Related: Have the Capital One Venture Card but new to points and miles? Here’s what you need to know

Partners

Capital One introduced transfer partners in late 2018. And, these partners provide an additional way to redeem Capital One miles. Here are the current Capital One transfer partners:

So, as you can see from the above list, you can transfer Capital One miles to 13 airline partners and two hotel partners. We’ll discuss these partners in more detail below. But, for now, it’s enough to know that JetBlue TrueBlue isn’t your only option to redeem Capital One miles for domestic flights. And, you can redeem Capital One miles to fly worldwide on Star Alliance airlines, Oneworld airlines and SkyTeam airlines.

Related: The easiest airline miles to get and why you want them

How to earn

While there are many Capital One credit cards, only the following can earn transferable miles:

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

Generally, you’ll earn Capital One miles through these cards in two ways. First, you can earn a sizeable sign-up bonus when you open a new account and meet a minimum spending requirement. And second, you’ll earn miles as you use your card.

So, let’s take a closer look at each of these four cards.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. Or, still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. Based on TPG’s valuations (which aren’t provided by the issuer), 100,000 Capital One miles are worth $1,400.

Rewards rate:

  • 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made with the card through Capital One Travel (7% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 5x miles with Uber Eats through Jan. 31, 2021 (7% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 2x miles on everything else (2.8% return based on TPG’s valuations)

Annual fee: $95

Card benefits:

Who should apply: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best cards for everyday spending. In particular, you’ll earn at least two miles per dollar spent on every purchase. But, the value you’ll get depends on how you plan on redeeming your miles. If you redeem at a fixed value, you’ll do better with the no-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card. However, the Capital One Venture Card is a good choice if you’ll transfer Capital One miles to partners. The elevated 100,000-mile sign-up bonus is appealing if you can meet the higher minimum spending requirements over 12 months.

For more details, see the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review.

Related: Why the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card has a front spot in our wallets

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

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

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months. Based on TPG’s valuations, 20,000 Capital One miles are worth $280.

Rewards rate:

  • 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made with the card through Capital One Travel (7% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 5x miles with Uber Eats through Jan. 31, 2021 (7% return based on TPG valuations)
  • 1.25x miles on everything else (1.75% return based on TPG valuations)

Annual fee: $0

Card benefits:

Who should apply: Consider the VentureOne card if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee version of the Venture. But, if you’re looking for a cash-back card with no annual fee, there are better options. For example, you might consider the Citi® Double Cash Card or Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

For more details, see the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card review.

Related: Capital One Venture Card vs. Capital One VentureOne Card: Which one is right for you?

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

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

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months. Based on TPG’s valuations, 50,000 Capital One miles are worth $700.

Rewards rate:

  • 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made with the card through Capital One Travel (7% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 2x miles on everything else (2.8% return based on TPG valuations)

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, $95 after that

Card benefits:

Who should apply: The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is suitable for businesses that only want one card. The card can also be useful if your spending doesn’t fall into common business bonus categories. Plus, it provides simple redemption options as well as the ability to transfer miles to travel partners.

For more details, see the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card review.

Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. Based on TPG’s valuations, 20,000 Capital One miles are worth $280.

Rewards rate:

  • 5x miles on hotel and car rental purchases made through Capital One Travel (7% return based on TPG’s valuations)
  • 1.5x miles on everything else (2.1% return based on TPG valuations)

Annual fee: $0

Card benefits:

  • Extended warranty on purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Who should apply: The Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business is a solid no-annual-fee business credit card. The card earns at least 1.5x on all purchases, which can be useful if many of your purchases aren’t typically included in business bonus categories. In short, this card makes sense if you like the Spark Miles but don’t want to pay an annual fee.

For more details, see the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card review.

How to redeem Capital One Venture miles

South Beach, Miami
You could redeem Capital One miles for a trip to South Beach, Miami (Photo by Pola Damonte/Getty Images)

There are many options for redeeming Capital One miles. But, some redemption options will provide more value than others. So, let’s take a closer look at your options.

Things to know

If you’re new to Capital One miles or simply haven’t been maximizing your miles, here are some key points to know:

I’ll discuss fixed-value redemptions as well as transfer options below. But, in short, you should choose redemptions that provide at least one cent per mile in value.

Related: To transfer or not to transfer: What to do with Capital One miles

Fixed-value awards

You have the following options if you want to redeem your Capital One miles at a fixed value:

  • Redeem to cover recent purchases
    • Redeem for recent travel purchases
    • Only purchases made within the last 90 days are eligible
    • Provides one cent per mile of value
  • Book flights, hotels and car rentals through Capital One Travel
    • Provides one cent per mile of value
  • Buy gift cards
    • Most gift cards give 0.8 cents per mile of value
    • But, some (such as L.L.Bean) give one cent per mile of value
  • Pay for Amazon.com orders by applying miles at checkout
    • Provides 0.8 cents per mile of value
  • Cash-back applied toward your account balance or as a check
    • If applied to your account balance, it doesn’t count toward your minimum monthly payment
    • Only provides 0.5 cents per mile of value

As you can see, multiple fixed-value redemption options provide one cent per mile in value. But, redeeming for recent purchases is your best option. That’s because you may be able to buy gift cards at a discount through other vendors. You don’t need to book through Capital One Travel when you redeem miles for recent travel purchases.

Related: Are non-travel statement credit redemptions worthwhile?

Partner awards

You can also transfer your Capital One miles to select airline and hotel partners.

Transfer partner Transfer ratio Expected transfer time
Accor Live Limitless (ALL) 2:1 (1,000 Capital One miles = 500 ALL Rewards points) One business day
Aeromexico Club Premier 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Premier points) Instant
Air Canada Aeroplan 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Aeroplan miles) Instant
Air France KLM Flying Blue 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Flying Blue miles) Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia Program 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One Miles = 750 MilleMiglia miles) Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Asia Miles) Five business days
Avianca LifeMiles 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 LifeMiles) Instant
Emirates Skywards 2:1 (1,000 Capital One miles = 500 Skywards miles) Instant
Etihad Airways Etihad Guest 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Etihad Guest miles) 24-hour turnaround
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands miles) 36-hour turnaround
Finnair Plus 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Finnair Plus Award points) Instant
JetBlue TrueBlue 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 TrueBlue points) Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Qantas points) 24-hour turnaround
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 2:1 (1,000 Capital One miles = 500 KrisFlyer miles) 36-hour turnaround
Wyndham Rewards 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards points) Instant

Part of the value of transferable miles comes from the flexibility these miles provide. But, some transfer partners offer better value than others. In the next section, I will cover some of the best sweet spots when redeeming Capital One miles.

Related: Savvy rewards travelers focus on transferable points for the most flexibility

Sweet spots

United 757-200 economy cabin (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
You can fly United Airlines domestically using Avianca LifeMiles. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

It’s easy to redeem Capital One miles for one cent each, using fixed-value options. But, if you want to maximize your Capital One miles, you’ll need to utilize Capital One’s transfer partners.

Many travelers aren’t interested in booking international travel right now. But, there are some great options to redeem Capital One miles for domestic flights. Specifically, you’ll want to consider the following domestic sweet spots:

  • Avianca LifeMiles to book domestic United Airlines flights
    • 6,500-13,500 Avianca LifeMiles per direction plus a booking fee of $10 to $25
    • You can transfer Capital One miles to Avianca at a 2:1.5 ratio. So, you’d need between 8,667 and 18,000 Capital One miles each way.
  • Singapore KrisFlyer to book domestic Alaska Airlines flights
    • 7,500-12,500 Singapore KrisFlyer miles for a one-way economy flight within the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii
    • You can transfer Capital One miles to Singapore KrisFlyer at a 2:1 ratio. So, you’d need 15,000 to 25,000 Capital One miles each way.
  • Etihad Guest to book domestic American Airlines flights
    • 12,500 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way economy flight and 25,000 miles for a one-way first-class award
    • You can transfer Capital One miles to Etihad Guest at a 2:1.5 ratio. So, you’d need 16,667 Capital One miles each way in economy and 33,334 miles each way in first class.

International travel is still on hold for most U.S. residents due to entry restrictions and coronavirus concerns. But, if you’re looking to book an international trip, here are some of the best sweet spots for using Capital One miles with each airline alliance:

Related: These are the airlines with the best award availability for late 2020 and early 2021

Bottom line

One of the primary advantages of Capital One miles over other transferable currencies is flexibility. Specifically, you can redeem miles at a fixed value or transfer miles to select airline and hotel partners.

When topping off my frequent flyer account to book an award flight, I generally check whether I can transfer Capital One miles. After all, according to TPG’s valuations, Capital One miles are less valuable than most other transferable miles. But, I haven’t had any issues getting great value from my Capital One miles.

Featured image by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

SIGN-UP BONUS: Up to 100,000 Miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,400

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Miles are now transferrable to several airline partners

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

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named ‘Best Stand-Alone Card' by The Points Guy, 2019
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
$0
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.

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