The easiest redemption option: Redeeming Capital One miles at a fixed value
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Although it’s great that you can transfer Capital One miles to 15+ airline and hotel partners, doing so isn’t always the best idea. You’ll sometimes get sub-par value and not all travel expenses can be covered this way. Not to mention, many people aren’t traveling yet due to the pandemic.
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. For a limited time, you can even redeem your miles against takeout orders and streaming services. The process is relatively easy and, unlike transferring Capital One miles, doesn’t require jumping through any hoops. And if you end up canceling a redemption, you won’t have to worry about your points being “stuck” in a program you have little use for beyond your originally-intended award ticket or hotel night.
Redeeming Capital One miles at a fixed rate can provide thousands of dollars in value with ease. footWith the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card currently offering a welcome bonus of either 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months from account opening or 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you’ll be getting at least $1,000 or $500 that you can put toward travel and other 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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Redeeming Capital One miles at a fixed-value
Before we dive in, here’s a high-level overview of the fixed-value redemption options:
|Redemption option||Miles value|
|Cover travel purchases||1 cent|
|Book new travel||1 cent|
|Gift cards||0.8 – 1 cents|
|Shop online through Amazon or PayPal||0.8 cents|
Once signed in to your Capital One account, click on your mileage balance to be taken to the rewards page. There, you’ll see four fixed-value redemption options. You can use your miles for travel, gift cards, cash, PayPal purchases, Amazon orders 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 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 within the last 90 days. The term “travel” is used quite broadly and includes everything from flight and hotel bookings to train tickets, Uber and Airbnb bookings. 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 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 cashback.
Option 3: Redeem for gift cards
Miles typically maintain the same fixed value of 1 cent apiece when redeeming for gift cards. The one major exception is Amazon gift cards, in which case miles are only worth 0.8 cents each. 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: Shop online
Another option is to redeem miles directly when shopping online and checking out through PayPal or Amazon. However, you’ll only get 0.8 cents in value this way. As such, you should probably avoid this redemption option.
Option 5: 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. You’ll only get 0.5 cents in value when redeeming for cash-back.
Related: The best cash-back credit cards
Option 6: Transfer miles to another account
The final way you can redeem your miles is by transferring your miles to another account — either yours or another individual’s. 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. However, you may need to call Capital One to request the transfer.
Bonus: Limited-time redemption options
In light of the pandemic, Capital One temporarily added three additional categories where you can redeem miles at a fixed-value. Through April 30, 2021, you can redeem your miles against purchases made in the past 90 days on food delivery and streaming services. On the business credit cards front, Capital One Spark Miles for Business cardholders can use the redemption option for takeout, delivery and phone services. The redemption process works the same as when you redeem miles against travel purchases and at the same one-cent-per-mile rate.
Eligible delivery services include Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates and more. Eligible streaming services include Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Disney+, Kindle Unlimited and more. You can also use your miles on takeout when you purchase directly with restaurants.
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. Alternately, you can stick with one of the fixed-value redemptions discussed above.
If you don’t already have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, now is a great time to apply while you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles — 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months from account opening or still earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.
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