How to transfer Capital One miles to airline partners

Sep 24, 2020

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.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

In 2018, Capital One added airline transfer partners to its rewards program, giving cardholders the ability to transfer miles to a total of 15 respective loyalty programs. This perk launched just in time for the 2018 holidays, and greatly increased the consumer value of the Capital One brand with additional ways for credit cardholders to redeem rewards toward travel-related expenses.

In this guide, we’re going to share how to get the highest value out of the miles you’ve earned: By redeeming your miles for flights.

New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and join our community for small-business owners.

Redemption options

You can earn Capital One miles on four different credit cards:

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles and 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.          

You have two broad options for redeeming your Capital One miles: For a fixed value or by transferring them to airline and hotel partners. Transferring will usually get you a better value, but it’s the ability to mix and match redemptions to suit your personal travel needs that gives Capital One such a unique edge here.

Let’s take a closer look at these two redemption alternatives.

Related reading: Should you use cash or miles to book airline tickets?

Fixed-value rewards

Capital One provides a few options for getting a fixed-value return when you redeem your miles. However, not all of these are created equal:

  • Redeem for recent travel — You can use your miles as credit toward eligible travel purchases made in the last 90 days on your Venture or Spark card at a fixed rate of 1 cent each. There’s no minimum redemption amount, and you can redeem for purchases made with airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares.
  • Book new travel — You can book new travel directly through Capital One, and redeem your miles at the same value of 1 cent apiece, but this would prevent you from double-dipping with any rewards program offered by an online travel agency. Bear in mind, also, that booking hotels through a third-party site — including Capital One — would likely prevent you from earning points and enjoying applicable elite status perks. As a result, you’re likely better off booking travel directly, and then redeeming your miles toward the charge on your statement credit.
  • Redeem for gift cards — You can use your Capital One miles for gift cards at the same rate of 1 cent per mile. But since gift cards can often be purchased on sale, redeeming miles to cover travel purchases is a better option.
  • Redeem for cash back — You should do everything possible to avoid this option, as it will only provide a redemption value of 0.5 cents per mile.

If you aren’t in the mood to search for award availability, or you’ve found a screaming deal for cash airfare, or you simply can’t use airline miles for your travel expenses, redeem your Capital One miles at a fixed value. The process is relatively easy, and doesn’t require jumping through any hoops.

Here’s a step-by-step guide showing how to use your Capital One miles at a fixed value.

How to redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value

First, sign in to your Capital One account, click on your mileage balance (located below the card icon) and you’ll be taken to the rewards page. There you’ll be presented with four fixed-value redemption options — you can use your miles for travel, gift cards, cash or transfer them to another account.

Transferring Capital One miles to airline partners

The Capital One Rewards Miles portal can be accessed directly from the main banking summary page. Just click on the little link under your rewards miles total:

Capital One currently has 13 total airline partnerships, as well as two hotel partners. The airline partners are:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates (at a transfer ratio of 2 Capital One miles to 1 Emirates Skywards Miles)
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines (at a transfer ratio of 2 Capital One miles to 1 Singapore KrisFlyer mile)

The link to “Transfer Miles” is toward the right of the page. Clicking on it pops up a window which requires your associated airline membership number to proceed:

Note that a number of users, myself included, have reported experiencing issues accessing the “transfer miles” option on the Capital One rewards page. TPG has notified Capital One about the issue. In the meanwhile, we typically find that the problem seems to be temporary, and that the Safari browser most often seems to give users problems.

Things to know before you transfer Capital One Miles

Transfers are irreversible as soon as they’re complete, so be super careful to adjust that number to the exact miles you want to transfer.

Note that the minimum number of miles you can transfer is 1,000, but from there you can increase the amount in increments of 100. This is a very nice feature that differs from other transferable point/miles currencies (e.g. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers must be in increments of 1,000 points). This can be especially useful if you just need to top off your account, though be sure to pay attention to the transfer ratios.

Capital One transfers for most partners are at a 2:1.5 ratio, so 10,000 Capital One miles will not get you 10,000 airline miles. Fortunately, the above confirmation screen will explicitly tell you how many miles you’ll receive in exchange for the designated number of Capital One miles.

Once the transfer is complete, you’ll see a “Success!” pop-up that includes a confirmation code you can save and/or print. That’s helpful, especially since seven of the partner airlines did not offer instant transfer capability as of our latest test.

Related: The best Capital One credit cards of 2020

Capital One transfer times

In my personal experience, the following airlines received my mileage transfer immediately, although your transfer experience may be faster or slower. Overall, however, these times can serve as guidelines for when you plan your own trip. If you don’t see the miles in your loyalty program account, try logging out and logging back in. This worked for me for a couple of airlines that did not immediately show my updated mileage.

As of 2020, these are the transfer times as reported by TPG staffers:

Program Transfer time

Aeromexico Club Premier
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

Air Canada Aeroplan
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

Air France-KLM Flying Blue
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

Alitalia MilleMiglia
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

Avianca LifeMiles
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant; also received immediate confirmation email from the airline

Emirates Skywards
(2:1 transfer ratio)

Instant

Finnair Plus
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

JetBlue TrueBlue
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Instant

Wyndham Rewards (2:1.5)

Instant

 

Based on personal experience from TPG staffers, the following airlines do not offer instant transfers:

Program Transfer Time

Accor Live Limitless (2:1 transfer ratio)

48-72 hours*

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

Five business days

Etihad Guest
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

24-hour turnaround

EVA Infinity MileageLands
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

36-hour turnaround

Qantas Frequent Flyer
(2:1.5 transfer ratio)

24-hour turnaround

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
(2:1 transfer ratio)

36-hour turnaround

* Transfer times may vary. Some TPG staff have reported transfer times of up to two weeks for Accor.

Of course, just because you can transfer Capital One miles to airline partners does not necessarily mean that you should. If you’re not certain which option gets you the better value, TPG contributor Jason Steele compared the pros and cons of sticking with statement credits versus transferring to airline partners.

Transferring to partners can unlock a variety of valuable redemptions through the above airlines, so be sure to take that into consideration.

Related: Step-by-step: How to complete a Capital One business credit card application

Bottom line

The ability to transfer Capital One miles from cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card was a terrific enhancement to an already solid card. In fact, this change alone resulted in a 40 percent jump in the currency’s value in TPG’s monthly valuations.

You can start taking advantage of some incredible redemptions. Of course, be sure to carefully input how many Capital One miles you want to transfer, in case you inadvertently send your entire miles balance to a single airline.

Featured photo by LWA/Getty Images

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.