Capital One announces new 1:1 transfer tier, additional travel partners and more airport lounge details
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It’s been a couple of years since Capital One made waves in the travel credit card landscape by introducing transfer partners. When it did, the miles earned with several of its credit cards that were previously exclusively a fixed-value loyalty currency worth 1 cent toward travel became more valuable overnight. Since then, we’ve seen the addition of a handful of new transfer partners, a few limited-time transfer bonuses and even occasional increases in the Capital One card welcome bonus to up to 100,000 miles.
In fact, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card currently has an increased bonus of up to 100,000 miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
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But today, Capital One is announcing even more exciting news, including some far-reaching changes to its lineup of airline and hotel partners along with more details (and a second location) for its previously announced airport lounge at Washington Dulles (IAD).
In short, Capital One is announcing the following updates:
- Adding four new transfer partners for Venture and Spark miles: British Airways, Turkish Airlines, TAP Portugal and Choice Hotels with several joining as early as tomorrow (April 20)
- Creating a new, 1:1 transfer ratio for select partners
- Announcing a second Capital One lounge to come at Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and providing more information on what to expect inside these lounges
Read on for full details on these very positive developments.
New transfer partners
Before today, Capital One had a total of 15 partners — 13 airlines and two hotels. Many of these offered some notable value, but with today’s announcement, the list will soon gain another three airline loyalty programs and one hotel program.
- British Airways Executive Club (2:1.5 transfer ratio)
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles (2:1.5 transfer ratio)
- TAP Portugal Miles&Go (1:1 transfer ratio — more on that in a moment)
- Choice Privileges (1:1 transfer ratio)
The top two additions are probably the most exciting, as you can get some significant value from redeeming British Airways Avios and Turkish miles. I frequently book American Airlines-operated flights with Avios, and there are a number of other great values across the Oneworld alliance using Avios.
Bear in mind that, thanks to the Combine My Avios feature, adding British Airways effectively means that you can transfer to Iberia Plus too — by transferring your Capital One miles to British Airways and then from there to Iberia (as long as your accounts have been open 90 days). With business-class flights on Iberia from the U.S. to Madrid (MAD) starting at just 34,000 Avios one-way and requiring minimal fuel surcharges, this can be an outstanding new option for your miles.
Meanwhile, Miles&Smiles can be a great option for snagging Turkish-operated flights to Europe. It also offers perhaps the single best domestic award sweet spot within the U.S.: United flights from the lower 48 to Hawaii for just 7,500 miles each way. With the 2:1.5 transfer ratio, that means that just 10,000 Capital One miles can get you a one-way flight from the mainland to the Aloha State.
The Choice Privileges program is another new addition, and some TPG staffers see it as an incredibly underrated hotel loyalty program. It does have budget hotels like Econo Lodge and Comfort Inn, but you can also redeem points at upscale brands like Ascend Hotel Collection and Cambria Hotels.
Finally, while TAP Portugal’s award chart won’t be as exciting to the majority of TPG readers as BA and Turkish, the addition of its Miles&Go program highlights another key part of Capital One’s announcement.
New 1:1 tier of transfer partners
Since late 2018, Capital One has utilized a two-tiered approach to transfer ratios.
Most of its airline and hotel partners fall into a 2:1.5 tier — where every 2 Capital One miles will get you 1.5 points or miles in the receiving loyalty program. However, a handful are just 2:1.
Capital One is now adding a third tier to the mix where transfers to some partners will be available at a 1:1 ratio. This improves the transfer rates for seven of the existing partners and introduces two new partners at that new 1:1 level. You can now transfer your Venture miles to a decent list of select partners at a 1:1 ratio — one that matches the majority of other major transferable point programs.
Here are the partners that will fall into this new, 1:1 tier as of tomorrow (April 20, 2021):
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Etihad Guest
- Asia Miles
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Finnair Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- TAP Portugal Miles&Go
- Wyndham Rewards
One of the other new partners (Choice Privileges) will launch with a 1:1 ratio later this year.
As you can see, this 1:1 tier includes airline programs from all three major airline alliances along with a strong non-alliance program (Etihad Guest) and a solid hotel option (Wyndham Rewards) — with another hotel program (Choice Privileges) reaching this level at a future date. The top three programs listed above are probably most exciting to us here at TPG, but we’ll do a deep dive into these new transfer options later this week.
Note that this change means that you can now effectively earn 2 airline miles (or 2 hotel points) with the above partners for every dollar you spend on the Capital One Venture Card or the Capital One Spark Miles for Business — without needing to worry about maximizing bonus categories. Simply put, that’s a fantastic new value proposition for both of these cards.
And that’s not all.
New airport lounges
Just weeks before the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic in 2020, Capital One announced it was planning to open its first airport lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Details were scant at the time, but now we’re getting a better idea of what to expect — and learning that a second location is in the works.
Later this year, the first Capital One lounge will open at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), with the Dulles location now slated for a 2022 opening. The press release provides an exciting glimpse into what the lounge will offer, including:
- Locally inspired food and beverage options — including packaged items to go
- A cycling and yoga room
- Relaxation rooms
Unfortunately, we don’t have details on precisely what it will take to access these lounges, as the advance information indicates that they’ll be “open to everyone, but certain Capital One cardholders will be eligible for a special entry rate and additional perks.”
We’ve asked Capital One for additional information on access requirements, and we’ll be sure to update this post when we receive any further details.
Current sign-up bonus
These new announcements make the current sign-up bonus on the Capital One Venture card even more attractive.
As a reminder, new cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
When you consider the fact that you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on the card, spending $20,000 to earn the full welcome bonus will earn another 40,000 miles — meaning that new cardholders could take home 140,000 miles through this limited-time offer.
That haul of rewards can get you the following:
- Seven round-trip economy flights from the U.S. to Hawaii on United booked through Turkish Miles&Smiles.
- Nine nights in one of thousands of Wyndham properties priced at 15,000 points per night.
- One round-trip, business-class flight from the U.S. to Europe — either on American booked through Etihad Guest or a Star Alliance carrier booked through Avianca LifeMiles.
Or, if you don’t want to research and maximize the new transfer partners, you can simply use those miles at a fixed value and erase up to $1,400 in travel purchases on your account.
Capital One is announcing huge improvements to its travel portfolio today, adding four new transfer partners, improving the transfer rates of seven existing partners by creating a new 1:1 transfer tier and announcing more details on its upcoming airport lounges. If you thought Capital One miles were valuable before today, they’ve gained a ton of additional value with these updates.
In fact, TPG’s early calculations indicate that these miles will jump to a value of 1.7 cents apiece in the next update of our monthly point valuations.
Stay tuned for more details and analysis of these announcements.
Featured photo of Turkish Airlines’ business class by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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