Last chance: 8 ways to maximize the Capital One Venture’s 100,000-mile sign-up bonus

Dec 10, 2020

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

When I sign up for a new credit card, I want to get the best possible sign-up bonus. So, I often look for cards that offer elevated sign-up bonuses. Several cards are currently offering 100,000-point sign-up bonuses. But one of the most appealing is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Through Dec. 14, 2020, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 miles. You can earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. Or, you can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 100,000-mile bonus can be worth up to $1,400 if you transfer your Capital One miles to airline or hotel partners (depending on the partner), and then redeem for travel. Even if you want to simplify the experience and use your Capital One miles to offset recent travel purchases made on the card, the 100,000-mile bonus is still worth approximately $1,000.

If you’re thinking about adding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to your wallet, it’s not too soon to start dreaming about all the ways you could use 100,000 bonus miles. Just be sure to act fast, because the elevated bonus ends soon on Dec. 14, 2020.

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Book almost a dozen one-way flights in the continental U.S.

United A320 economy seating
United A320 economy seating (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Capital One’s transfer partner, Avianca LifeMiles, is a great way to book domestic United Airlines flights. Although Avianca made some changes to pricing domestic United Airlines awards in 2019, awards are still reasonably priced. You can expect to pay between 6,500 and 13,500 Avianca LifeMiles one-way, plus a booking fee of $10 to $25 for awards within the continental U.S.

For example, you can fly on United from Los Angeles to the New York City area or between San Francisco and Washington, D.C. for 13,500 LifeMiles plus a $25 booking fee; hop from Chicago (ORD) to Washington, D.C. (DCA) for 7,500 LifeMiles and a $10 booking fee; or travel between Florida and the New York or Washington, D.C. area for 10,000 LifeMiles and a $15 booking fee.

Awards between the continental U.S. and Alaska cost 12,500 miles each direction. And, awards between the continental U.S. and Hawaii cost 22,500 miles each direction. Awards within Hawaii cost just 6,000 one-way.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Avianca at a 2 to 1.5 ratio. So, you’d need between 8,667 and 18,000 Capital One miles each way for awards within the continental U.S., meaning you could book up to 11 one-way awards with the full 100,000-mile bonus.

Related: 3 reasons you need Avianca LifeMiles for domestic travel

Fly round-trip to Hawaii or Alaska with a companion

If you’d prefer to fly Alaska Airlines or want to travel to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada or other destinations served by the Seattle-based carrier, Singapore KrisFlyer might be the perfect Capital One transfer partner for you. After all, you can redeem between 7,500 and 12,500 Singapore KrisFlyer miles for a one-way, nonstop economy flight on Alaska Airlines.

The Singapore KrisFlyer award chart for Alaska Airlines awards
The Singapore KrisFlyer award chart for Alaska Airlines awards. (Image courtesy of Singapore KrisFlyer)

The number of miles you’ll need to fly depends on where you’re starting and ending your trip.

  • Zone 1: California, Oregon and Washington
  • Zone 2: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and Canada
  • Zone 3: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin
  • Zone 4: U.S. states not included in other zones plus Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico
  • Zone 5: Alaska and Hawaii

You can transfer Capital One miles to Singapore KrisFlyer at a 2 to 1 ratio. So, you’d need 15,000 Capital One miles each way to book a nonstop award that costs 7,500 KrisFlyer miles. That means you could book up to six nonstop awards for 7,500 KrisFlyer miles each using the 100,000-miles bonus.

And, you’d need 25,000 Capital One miles each way to book an award that costs 12,500 KrisFlyer miles. So, you could fly from most of the U.S. to Hawaii or Alaska for 25,000 Capital One miles or less each way. You and a companion can fly round-trip to Hawaii or Alaska using the 100,000-miles sign-up bonus as long as you originate in Zones 1, 2, 3 or 5.

Related: Maximizing Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer partner awards

Travel to Europe or Asia in first or business class

American Airlines Business Class on Boeing 777-300ER. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

You can book American Airlines flights with your Capital One miles through the Etihad Guest program. If you want to travel domestically, excluding Hawaii, you can redeem 12,500 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way economy award or 25,000 miles for a one-way business-class or first-class award.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Etihad Guest at a 2 to 1.5 ratio, and there are some standout sweet spots if you want to use Etihad Guest miles to fly American Airlines to Hawaii or abroad. Popular one-way redemptions include:

  • Europe, Japan or South Korea to or from North America in business or first class: 50,000 Etihad Guest miles (66,667 Capital One miles)
  • China or Hong Kong to or from North America in business or first class: 55,000 Etihad Guest miles (73,333 Capital One miles)

The Capital One Venture’s 100,000-mile sign-up bonus would only fund a single one-way redemption if you decided to redeem them for an American Airlines business- or first-class flight between North America and Europe or Asia booked via Ethiad. But, once you start spending on your card, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll find another 100,000 miles in your account.

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

Get round-trip flights to Morocco

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)

You can also use the Etihad Guest program to book nonstop flights to Casablanca, Morocco for just 22,000 miles one-way in economy or 44,000 miles one-way in business class. Royal Air Maroc operates flights between Casablanca and Miami, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Montreal.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Etihad Guest at a 2 to 1.5 ratio. So, you’d need 29,333 Capital One miles each way in economy and 58,667 Capital One miles each way in business class. The sign-up bonus has enough miles for three one-way awards in economy class or a one-way award in business class.

Related: More trouble than it’s worth? Morocco is open again for travelers from over 60 countries

Splurge on a long-haul flight to Asia, Australia or New Zealand

United Dreamliner economy cabin
United 787 economy cabin (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Avianca LifeMiles is an excellent way to book Star Alliance awards without paying massive fuel surcharges. Many of the most aspirational Star Alliance awards will require more LifeMiles than the Capital One Venture’s 100,000-mile bonus will provide, but there are still plenty of sweet spot redemptions in play.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Avianca at a 2 to 1.5 ratio, so the 100,000-mile sign-up bonus becomes 75,000 Avianca LifeMiles.

With 75,000 LifeMiles you can fly to or from North America in business class (100,000 Capital One miles), or you can fly in economy to get as far as South Asia (39,000 LifeMiles or 52,000 Capital One miles one-way) or even Oceania, New Zealand and Australia (40,000 LifeMiles or 53,333 Capital One miles).

Related: What does Avianca’s bankruptcy filing mean for the LifeMiles program?

Get round-trip flights to Europe or Asia

Air Canada A220 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Air Canada’s new Aeroplan program got a lot of attention when it was unveiled earlier this year. With a fixed price, relatively low booking fee and no fuel surcharges, partner awards can provide a lot of value in the new Aeroplan program. You can transfer Capital One miles to Aeroplan at a 2 to 1.5 ratio.

You can also get especially great value out of partner awards between the U.S. and Europe or Asia. The number of miles you’ll need will depend on the distance you’re flying and, of course, the class of service.

With the current award chart rates, the 100,000-mile sign-up bonus could get you two economy-class one-way flights (less than 4,000 miles in length each between the U.S. and Europe) or two economy-class one-way flights under 5,000 miles in length each between the U.S. and Asia.

Related: 11 of the most innovative and exciting changes coming to Air Canada’s Aeroplan

Look for great deals on flights to Europe

Air France 777-300ER Business class
Air France 777-300ER business class (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

The Air France-KLM Flying Blue program has a few sweet spots that can be great ways to use your Capital One miles — one of which is Flying Blue promo awards.

Unfortunately, with most transatlantic travel halted currently, none of the recent Flying Blue promo awards touch the U.S. Instead, this month’s rewards focus on intra-Europe flights and long-haul flights to destinations currently accepting European tourists.

Luckily, Flying Blue releases new promotions each month, so by the time you’re ready to travel to Europe, it’s likely there will be a great deal waiting for you.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Flying Blue at a 2 to 1.5 ratio. Previous Flying Blue promo rewards have included economy-class flights from New York-JFK to Europe for 11,000 Flying Blue miles one-way and Toronto (YYZ) to Europe in business class for 32,000 miles one-way.

To book these previous one-way promo rewards from the U.S. to Europe, you would have needed 14,667 Capital One miles and 42,667 Capital One miles, respectively — meaning you’d have plenty of bonus miles leftover.

Related: 5 reasons to get the Capital One Venture Rewards card

Use your hotel points for luxury hotels stays

Raffles Dubai
Raffles Dubai (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy)

If you enjoy staying at Accor brands such as Fairmont, Raffles, Sofitel and Banyan Tree, you can also transfer Capital One miles to Accor. The Accor Live Limitless (ALL) program uses fixed-value redemptions — meaning you can redeem 2,000 ALL points for 40 euros off a stay (approximately $47).

You can transfer Capital One miles to ALL at a 2 to 1 ratio, so you’d need to transfer 4,000 Capital One miles to get about $47 off your stay. If you transferred the entire 100,000-mile bonus to ALL, you’d get 50,000 ALL points. And these points would be worth approximately $1,175 at Accor brands.

Transferring Capital One miles to ALL and then redeeming for hotel stays provides better value than redeeming your miles at a fixed rate to get a statement credit for recent travel.

Related: You can now book these awesome Accor hotels with miles

Bottom line

One of the best perks of earning transferrable rewards is that you don’t have to know how you’ll redeem them right away. And, since the Capital One Venture Rewards program has 13 airline partners and two hotel partners, the redemptions above are just the start of where your Venture miles can take you.

Some of our favorite ways to redeem Venture miles, such as booking Singapore Suites through Singapore’s KrisFlyer program, require more 100,000 miles. But the welcome offer is just the beginning. So, check out our guide on how to use your Capital One miles for maximum value for more ideas after you’ve built up your balance.

Featured image by aapsky/Shutterstock

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