How to redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value
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Editor’s note: This post is updated with current information. It originally published on Dec. 31, 2018.
Although Capital One has made headlines with its airline transfer partners it’s important to remember that transferring Capital One miles to airlines isn’t always the best idea, as sometimes you’ll get sub-par or even negative value. Not to mention, not all travel expenses (i.e., Uber rides and Airbnb stays) can be covered by airline miles.
Whether you come across an ultra-cheap flight deal that doesn’t make sense to book with airline miles, don’t want to worry about chasing award availability or simply can’t use airline miles for your travel expense, consider redeeming your Capital One miles at a fixed value. The process is relatively easy, and unlike transferring Capital One miles, doesn’t require jumping through any hoops.
With the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card currently offering a bonus of 50,000 bonus miles once you sign-up and spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening, that is $500 you can put toward travel expenses of your choice.
Here’s a step-by-step guide showing how to use your Capital One miles at a fixed value.
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Once signed in to your Capital One account, click on your mileage balance (located below the icon of your card) to 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.
When it comes to redeeming miles for travel, you can either book new travel or use the miles as a statement credit against previous eligible travel purchases. Regardless of which route you take, the redemption rate when using Capital One miles for travel is always 1 cent per mile.
Related: The best Capital One credit cards
Option 1: Erase a previously-made travel purchase
Clicking “Redeem Travel Purchases” will bring you to a screen with all your eligible travel purchases made with the card in the last 90 days. The term “travel” is used quite broadly and includes everything from flight and hotel bookings to Uber and Airbnb purchases. From there, you’re just two clicks away from essentially erasing travel expenses from your statement.
After selecting the purchase you’d like to make disappear, you can either approve the redemption outright or edit the number of miles used for a partial credit of the charge. Note that there’s no minimum redemption amount, unless you’re redeeming for a partial credit, in which case you’ll need to use at least 2,500 miles.
Option 2: Book new travel through Capital One
Alternately, you can use your miles to book new travel directly through Capital One. The portal looks like any other booking site, and since the miles have a fixed value, you’ll never need to worry about blackout dates or award restrictions.
However, you’ll probably be better off booking your travel using an online travel agency (OTA) like Orbitz or Hotels.com and then offsetting the purchase using the method previously described. This is because many OTAs have their own rewards programs and appear on cash-back shopping portals, so you can double or triple dip on a booking and get even more cash back.
Option 3: Redeem for gift cards
Miles maintain the same fixed value of 1 cent apiece when redeeming for gift cards, such as for Amazon. However, you can often buy gift cards with a discount or cash back, so you’re better off using your miles to offset travel expenses first.
Option 4: Redeem for cash back
The least-valuable redemption option is for cash in the form of an account credit or a check by mail. You’d probably want to avoid this option because the value of the miles is cut in half when using this method.
Related: The best cash-back credit cards
Option 5: Transfer miles to another account
The final way you can redeem your miles is by transferring your miles to another account. There are no costs associated with this, and as long as the other person holds a Capital One miles-earning card, there are no restrictions as to who you can send them to.
Redeeming Capital One miles at a fixed value is very simple — even beginners to the award travel hobby won’t have any trouble doing so. When you’re ready to put in more effort and begin experimenting with more complex (and potentially more valuable) redemptions, head to our guide on transferring Capital One miles to airline partners for the full rundown. If you need help deciding how to redeem your miles, check out our post on whether you should transfer Capital One miles to airline partners or stick with one of the fixed-value redemptions discussed above.
Additional reporting by Carissa Rawson.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.