How (and why) you should be earning lots of Capital One miles

Dec 11, 2020

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Thanks to generous credit card sign-up bonuses and the introduction of transfer partners in 2018, Capital One miles have become more valuable over the years. You can redeem miles at a fixed rate of one cent each toward travel purchases or transfer them to 10+ travel partners at a solid ratio.

The redemption flexibility and above-standard earning rate of Capital One credit cards have made these miles more appealing than ever. If you want a rewards currency that doesn’t tie you to a single program or require you to shell out big bucks on credit card annual fees, Capital One miles might be the way to go.

However, credit cards are far from the only way to stock up on this currency. Here are nine ways to earn lots of Capital One miles:

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Earn Capital One miles with credit cards

Capital One rewards credit card line-up offers substantial welcome and category bonuses. If you’ve seen the commercials featuring Jennifer Garner, you’re probably familiar with how simple Capital One’s reward structure is. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the most popular option, thanks to 2x earnings on all purchases and a nice welcome bonus. The card is also unique in that it offers an up to $100 Global Entry/Precheck fee credit every four years despite only carrying a $95 annual fee.

The only major downside to these cards is that when you apply, Capital One pulls your credit from all three bureaus. That’s a pretty big hit for one credit card and I personally wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re earning a pretty substantial bonus (see the current offer for the Capital One Venture Card).

Here’s a closer look at how you can earn Capital One miles with credit cards:

Related: Best Capital One credit cards of 2020

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Earning miles: Earn 2x miles per dollar on all spending.

Card perks: Capital One Venture cardholders qualify for up to a $100 credit towards Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every four years. Credits like these are common for premium cards that carry annual fees of $450 and up. So this is a unique benefit to include for a card with a $95 annual fee.

Who should get this card: The Capital One Venture is ideal for those who want the highest sign-up bonus and earning rate possible. With the current welcome bonus and 2x earnings on all spending, it certainly fits the bill. With the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, this card is definitely geared toward frequent travelers who want to get lots of value for their money (in this case, $95 per year).

Related: Review: Capital One Venture Rewards credit card

Capital One VentureOne Card

(Photo by Eric Heglas/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 within the first three months from account opening.

Earning miles: Earn unlimited 1.25 miles per $1 spent on all purchases.

Card perks: N/A

Who should get this card: The Capital One Venture One card is a budget-friendly alternative to the Capital One Venture Card. It has a lower sign-up bonus and earning rate, but it also has no annual fee. If you’re not taking advantage of the Venture Card’s Global Entry/PreCheck fee credit or spending at least $12,667 per year on your credit card, then you’re better off with the Capital One Venture One card.

Related: Capital One VentureOne Card review

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0 the first year, then $95 after

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $4,500 within the first three months of account opening

Earning miles: Earn 2x miles on all purchases

Card perks: Receive up to a $100 credit towards Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every four years.

Who should get this card: The 2x earning rate on all spending is where the similarities end between the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and the Venture Card. The Spark Miles card has a lower sign-up bonus and a waived annual fee during the first year. Depending on how much your business spends in this category, it could make sense to opt for a Spark Miles over a Venture Card.

Related: Capital One Spark Miles for Business credit card review

Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn  20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 within the first three months from account opening.

Earning miles: Earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all purchases.

Card perks: N/A

Who should get this card: The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business Card is best if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee business card with an above-average earning rate. The card earns 1.5 miles per $1 on all spending. That’s pretty solid considering you’re not paying an annual fee. The sign-up bonus is on par with most no-annual-fee cards and can be cashed in for $200 worth of travel expenses. Additionally, you can transfer Capital One miles to the program’s 15 airline and hotel partners.

The information for the 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.

Related: The best no-annual-fee business credit cards

Maximize everyday spending

Maximizing your everyday spending is a great way to earn lots of Capital One miles beyond the welcome bonus. Most of you are probably charging common expenses like groceries, gas and dining, but what about purchases that fall outside of those lucrative categories? That’s where your Capital One card comes into play.

(Photo by Maskot / Getty Images)

Capital One credit cards are ideal for non-bonus spending, since they earn more than the typical 1 mile per $1 spent. If you can’t earn more than 1 mile on a purchase, charging it to your Capital One credit card is a great way to maximize that purchase. You can even get a solid 1.25 miles per $1 spent with a no-annual-fee card like the VentureOne, so there is potential to earn lots of Capital One miles – even if you’re not a big spender.

Plus, TPG values Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each, so you can get significantly more than just one cent per mile by redeeming them through a travel partner.

Related: The best Capital One credit cards

Related: Hungry for miles? Use these tips to maximize earnings on your next food delivery order

Combine miles

If you’ve exhausted your earning options, you can always get more Capital One miles by sharing with a friend or family member. Capital One allows cardholders to share miles with anyone, free of charge. Transfers can’t be done online, so you or whoever is sharing their miles will have to call Capital One to initiate the process.

Refer-a-friend

Once you’re done banking your sign-up bonus and maximizing bonus category spending, you can keep earning Capital One miles by referring friends and family. Capital One’s referral program lets you earn up to 20,000 miles per successful referral.

All you have to do is head to the Refer a Friend page, log in to your Capital One account, copy your personal referral link and share it with others. When they apply for and are approved for a Capital One credit card, you will receive a bonus within eight weeks. You can earn up to 50,000 Capital One Miles or $500 per year, if you have a cash back card. Keep in mind that the maximum bonus applies regardless of how many Capital One credit cards you have.

For example, if you have a Capital One Venture and Spark Miles for Business Card and you refer three people for each card, you will still only earn 50,000 Capital One Miles in total. Keep in mind that Capital One may send out a 1099-MISC form for referral bonuses, which may have negative tax implications for you. You’ll want to consult your tax advisor for more information.

Related: How to use your Capital One miles for maximum value

Bottom line

Capital One miles are incredibly valuable, especially during this period of uncertainty. Airlines and hotels are ripe for devaluation next year, after a spree of points sales, mileage expiration extensions and other customer-friendly policies. With so many points and miles on the market and few people actually redeeming them, they are bound for a devaluation next year. This makes transferrable currencies like Capital One miles more valuable because you’re not locked into one currency that may lose its value.

With a fixed redemption option for travel purchases, earning Capital One miles is much safer right now than stocking up on your favorite hotel or airline currency.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Featured photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel 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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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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