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

Apr 22, 2021

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American Express and Chase have historically been the perennial frontrunners for earning and redeeming transferable points to airline and hotel partners. However, in recent years, Capital One has made up significant ground with a solid transfer program of its own.

Now, the issuer has stepped it up even further with a program overhaul under the Venture and Spark portfolio of cards. That includes the launch of four new travel partners and a new 1:1 transfer ratio tier.

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With access to 15 airlines and hotels — and 1:1 transfers in some cases — there has never been a better time to accumulate Capital One miles. You can earn up to 100,000 miles with the increased sign-up bonus on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card by spending $20,000 in the first 12 months from account opening. You can also spend just $3,000 in the first three months of account opening and earn 50,000 miles.

Let’s review what the recent Capital One updates mean for how you redeem your miles. From all-new partners to fewer miles, here are five sweet spots of the new transfer program.

Related: 5 things to know about Capital One’s new airport lounges

In This Post

New transfer partners

The four new Capital One transfer partners for Venture and Spark miles cardholders include British Airways, Turkish Airlines, TAP Portugal and Choice Hotels. Through May 31, 2021 Capital One is even offering 5,000 bonus miles on your first transfers to TAP Portugal.

Capital One miles transfer to British Airways Executive Club and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles at a 2:1.5 transfer ratio, while TAP Portugal Miles&Go and Choice Privileges transfer at the all-new 1:1 ratio.

Let’s use the Capital One Venture card sign-up bonus of 100,000 miles as an example to showcase how this transfer ratio works in practice.

Program Transfer Ratio What 100,000 Capital One miles are worth
British Airways Executive Club 2:1.5 75,000 British Airways Avios
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 2:1.5 75,000 Turkish Airlines miles
TAP Portugal Miles&Go 1:1 100,000 TAP miles
Choice Privileges 1:1 100,000 Choice Hotel points

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 program, so this new partnership is significant if you’re a TAP and Star Alliance fan. TAP miles can pretty consistently be acquired 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.

Here is TAP’s published award chart for Star Alliance carriers 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 countries further south in latitude such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile — for 50,000 miles one-way in business class.

Here’s an example of how you can fly one-way from Newark (EWR) to Sao Paolo, Brazil (GRU), in United Polaris business 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)

Economy to Hawaii: 10,000 Capital One miles

Mileage program: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

Capital One transfer ratio: 2:1.5

What’s new about it? Turkish Airlines is a brand-new transfer partner for Capital One. 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 2:1.5 transfer ratio, that means you’ll need just 10,000 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 in Polaris business) cost just 12,500 Turkish miles each way. That amounts to 16,667 Capital One miles. Of course, the roadblock here is going to be finding United saver availability to Hawaii.

Economy flights up to 651 miles long: 8,000 Capital One miles

Mileage program: British Airways Avios

Capital One transfer ratio: 2:1.5

What’s new about it? British Airways is a 1:1 transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. However, Capital One cardholders now get access to Avios for the first time at a 2:1.5 ratio. While this ratio is not as lucrative as Amex and Chase, having another transfer partner option is always good.

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 a 2:1.5 ratio for flights outside of the U.S., that’s 8,000 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

33% Fewer miles in 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 anywhere in Asia that American flies to.

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

Related: Royal Air Maroc business class review

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. Again, the transfer ratio from Captial to Etihad is now just 1:1, so that’s just 44,000 Capital One miles.

33% Fewer 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.

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. Lufthansa has temporarily cut first class award space on all U.S. routes, so this option isn’t available right now.

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. 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 1:1 from Capital One). 

ANA First 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 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 photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy. 

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