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5 incredible sweet spots of Capital One’s revamped transferable miles program

Nov. 02, 2021
9 min read
Lufthansa First Class Boeing 747-8
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American Express and Chase have historically been the perennial front-runners for earning and redeeming points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. However, in recent years, Capital One has made significant ground with a solid transfer program.

Recently, the issuer stepped it up even further with a program overhaul under the Venture and Spark portfolio of cards. That includes simplifying its transfer program by shifting a majority of partners to a 1:1 transfer ratio.

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With access to 17 airlines and hotels — 15 of which are at a streamlined 1:1 transfer ratio — there has never been a better time to accumulate Capital One miles. You can earn 75,000 miles with the sign-up bonus on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card by spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Let’s review what the recent Capital One updates indicate for how you can redeem your miles. Here are five sweet spots of the revamped transfer program.

Related: From Peloton to premium eats: What you can expect inside Capital One’s airport lounges

Capital One program updates

In early 2020, Capital One added several transfer partners. Months later, the bank announced the addition of several more partners and a new 1:1 transfer ratio for select partners.

But the best update came just last month. In October, Capital One further expanded its roster of 1:1 transfer partners. The program has come a long way in just a short amount of time.

Currently, Capital One fields 16 active transfer partners (with Choice Rewards coming later this year). However, Capital One did lose an airline partner in JetBlue in October.

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With all that in mind, here are some of the best transfer options to take advantage of using Capital One miles and the individual loyalty programs whose sweet spots make this possible.

1. Business class to South America: 50,000 Capital One miles

Mileage program: TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go.

Capital One transfer ratio: 1:1.

What’s new about it? Capital One is TAP’s first major transferable miles partner, so this partnership is significant if you’re a TAP and Star Alliance fan. TAP miles can also pretty consistently be purchased for around 1 cent each when there’s a promotion.

You can currently buy 60,000 TAP miles for $870. (Screenshot courtesy of TAP)

Related: Maximizing points and miles to book a flight to Brazil

Sweet spot details

TAP Air Portugal is a member of the Star Alliance, which unlocks the ability to redeem miles for flights with various carriers, including United Airlines. Below is TAP’s published award chart for Star Alliance flights originating from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean (one-way, business class).

(Screenshot courtesy of TAP)

Here, the sweet spot is flying to anywhere in South America — including Brazil, Argentina and Chile — for 50,000 miles one-way in business class.

For example, you can fly one-way from Newark (EWR) to Sao Paolo, Brazil (GRU), in United Polaris business class for 50,000 miles and $36.60 in taxes and fees. You will need to search for saver business-class availability with United.

(Screenshot courtesy of TAP)

2. Economy to Hawaii: 7,500 Capital One miles

Mileage program: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.

Capital One transfer ratio: 1:1.

What’s new about it? Earlier this year, Turkish Airlines became a brand-new transfer partner for Capital One. Then, in early October, the transfer ratio improved from 2:1.5 to 1:1. You can also transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards points to Turkish at a 1:1 ratio, but note that it can take up to two days for the transfer to process.

Sweet spot details

Similar to TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance. Turkish has perhaps the most generous domestic redemption awards of any award chart.

You can fly United flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii for only 7,500 miles each way in economy class. With the updated 1:1 transfer ratio, you need just 7,500 Capital One miles to go one-way from the mainland to the Aloha State.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If business class is more your style, United flights (sometimes equipped with Polaris business class) cost just 12,500 Turkish miles each way. Of course, the roadblock here is going to be finding United saver availability to Hawaii.

3. Economy flights up to 651 miles long: 6,000 Capital One miles

Mileage program: British Airways Avios.

Capital One transfer ratio: 1:1.

What’s new about it? British Airways is a 1:1 transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. Earlier this year, Capital One cardholders got access to Avios for the first time at a 2:1.5 ratio. Now, the ratio has been improved to 1:1, matching that of Chase and Amex.

Sweet spot details

British Airways is part of the Oneworld alliance, unlocking the ability to redeem miles for flights with various carriers.

For non-North American flights on Oneworld partner airlines, it costs just 6,000 Avios each way in economy class for flights up to 651 miles long (or 7,500 Avios for all flights to, from or within North America). At the new 1:1 ratio for flights outside of the U.S., that’s 6,000 Capital One miles.

This redemption is great for hopping around international Oneworld hubs where cash prices are high, such as Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific) or Japan (Japan Airlines), potentially letting you stretch your miles far.

Hong Kong (HKG) is a Cathay Pacific hub. (Screenshot courtesy of British Airways)

Related: How to book awards using British Airways Avios

4. 44,000-50,000 miles for American and Royal Air Maroc business class

Mileage program: Etihad Guest.

Capital One transfer ratio: 1:1.

What’s new about it? While Etihad has long been a Capital One transfer partner, it now costs fewer miles with a 1:1 transfer ratio (it previously was 2:1.5). That means you’ll use 33% fewer Venture miles than before.

Sweet spot details

Etihad Guest offers quite a few sweet spots, including the ability to fly American Airlines business class for fewer miles than booking directly through American AAdvantage.

If you find saver award availability, you can use just 50,000 Etihad miles each way to fly business class to Europe, or up to 55,000 miles to any of American's destinations in Asia.

Royal Air Maroc 787-9 business class. (Photo by Brendon Dorsey/The Points Guy)

Related: Review of Royal Air Maroc business class

Another option is using 44,000 Eithad miles one-way in business class to fly Royal Air Maroc from the U.S. to Casablanca, Morocco (CMN). Any connections from Casablanca require more mileage. Again, the transfer ratio from Capital One to Etihad is now just 1:1, so that’s just 44,000 Capital One miles.

5. 87,000-90,000 miles in Lufthansa and ANA first class

Mileage program: Avianca LifeMiles.

Capital One transfer ratio: 1:1.

What’s new about it? While Avianca has long been a Capital One transfer partner, it now costs fewer miles with a 1:1 transfer ratio (it previously was 2:1.5). That means you’ll use 33% fewer miles than before here, too.

Sweet spot details

Avianca LifeMiles offers quite a few sweet spots. Two of my favorites are ANA and Lufthansa first class. For just 87,000 LifeMiles and $5.60 in taxes, I flew Lufthansa first class from the U.S. to Europe. After suspending service during the pandemic, Lufthansa recently reintroduced first class on select U.S. routes.

Lufthansa first class, booked with Avianca LifeMiles. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Meanwhile, ANA flies its new “Suite” first class on several routes between the U.S. and Tokyo, including from New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX). I had the opportunity to fly in this luxurious cabin right before the pandemic. Air Canada Aeroplan and United MileagePlus charge significantly higher award rates, but Avianca will let you book this amazing long-haul ticket for just 90,000 LifeMiles (transferred at a 1:1 ratio from Capital One).

ANA Suite, booked using Avianca LifeMiles. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Leveraging transfer partners is often seen as the most lucrative way (on a cents-per-point basis) to use credit card points. This is also a reason why we often typically value credit card points and miles higher than other rewards currencies.

Keep in mind that point transfers can’t be reversed, so you should only move your points over from a credit card currency when you are ready to book. Also, be mindful of how long a transfer takes. The last thing you want is to transfer your hard-earned points only to have award availability disappear.

The value of transferable points allows you to access sweet spots in each partner program and ultimately gives you more opportunities to redeem points efficiently. Capital One does exactly that by unlocking more sweet spots with its latest revamp.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

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Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more