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Capital One made waves when it added airline transfer partners last year, resulting in a significant jump in TPG’s valuations of the issuer’s currency. Today, Capital One is announcing that it’s adding a 15th transfer partner: JetBlue. It’s the third addition on top of the original 12 after Singapore and Emirates were announced in December, and possibly most importantly, it’s the first US airline to become a part of Capital One’s transferable program, which includes the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business.
Unfortunately, the transfer ratio isn’t spectacular. Most Capital One partners follow a 2:1.5 transfer scheme, meaning that you’d receive 1.5 airline miles for every 2 Capital One miles you transfer. However, when transferring to JetBlue’s TrueBlue program, you’ll have to transfer miles at a 2:1 ratio, similar to the ratio Singapore and Emirates sees. That means for every 1,000 Capital One miles you move to JetBlue, you’ll only receive 500 JetBlue points in return.
However, to celebrate JetBlue joining the program, Capital One is offering a 50% bonus for transfers made through May 31 (offer no longer available), boosting the transfer ratio to 2:1.5 (1,000 Venture Miles: 750 TrueBlue points). With the bonus, it becomes a bit more appealing to transfer miles to the program. However, if you’re looking to get maximum value from the Capital One program, you’re likely going to be better off transferring miles to an airline like Etihad or Avianca, both of which are great for booking premium cabins.
You also may be better off redeeming your Capital One miles against the purchase of a JetBlue flight. This is because TrueBlue point values are tied to the revenue cost of a ticket, and TPG’s monthly valuations peg them at about 1.3 cents apiece on average, although there are cases were you can get up to 1.5 cents each.
Take this example — if you wanted to book a $98.30 JetBlue flight from New York-JFK to Buffalo (BUF), you’d have two options:
1. Purchase the flight with your Venture Card and then redeem 9,830 Capital One miles to cover the cost of the purchase.
2. Transfer 8,700 Capital One miles (by May 31) to JetBlue and receive 6,525 JetBlue points plus pay $5.60 in taxes and fees.
Just bear in mind that if you select the first option, you are essentially booking a revenue flight, so you’d also earn redeemable and elite miles once you complete your flight. You won’t get that when booking an award ticket.
Unfortunately, this option becomes decidedly unattractive without a bonus. Under the normal 2:1 transfer ratio, you’d need to transfer 13,000 Capital One miles to JetBlue for the 6,500 TrueBlue points to book the award ticket. Choosing this option would not only result in spending more miles, but you’d also miss out on earning TrueBlue points for your paid ticket.
Despite all that, it’s still great that Capital One is adding more options to use your miles. You’re probably best off transferring to JetBlue when Capital One runs a bonus like it is now, or if you’re trying to top off your JetBlue account balance.
There’s more good news, as Capital One tells TPG it plans on running more transfer bonuses this year. In March, the issuer ran a week-long promotion where cardholders could earn a 100% bonus when transferring miles to the Emirates Skywards program, temporarily boosting the transfer ratio to 1:1. Hopefully future bonus offers will follow a similar pattern.
Here are the Capital One cards that allow you to transfer miles to the bank’s airline partners:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business
- Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business
It’s unclear how quickly your miles transfer to JetBlue, but we’ll test them as soon as possible. Half of Capital One’s airline partners posted instantly while the others took 24-36 hours (and in one case five business days) in our tests of transfer times.
An earlier version of this story mentioned Virgin Atlantic as a transfer partner; it is not. The story has been amended.
Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
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