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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Hey there, Capital One card holder — or potential Capital One card holder. So you’ve heard the news, right? The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is offering a 75,000-mile bonus and added airline transfer partners for the first time ever. You’re so excited to transfer your miles at a 2:1.5 ratio and redeem them for award space via popular loyalty programs such as Aeroplan… Right?
If you have no idea what in the world is going on, you’re in the right place, because that’s exactly the point of this article.
Whether you got a Capital One card because Jennifer Garner or Captain Obvious told you to; because you wanted to get 10x miles through Hotels.com; or because you knew you should sign up for a credit card at some point, we’re going to decode exactly what I just said. In short: I’m going to teach you how your credit card can help you travel the world for free, plain and simple. So sit down, get comfy and start thinking about where you want your next vacation to be, because we’re about to make it happen.
The Card and the Bonus
First things first: Let’s talk about that 75,000-mile bonus. At the end of the day, miles are a type of currency, just like points. You can use them to book plane tickets — that’s something we like to call an “award redemption.” In other words, you’re redeeming your miles for award space, also known as a seat on a plane that’s available to book using points or miles.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Where can I go with 75,000 miles?” We’re glad you asked. Since miles are a type of currency, there’s a value attached to them. We value Capital One miles at 1.4 cents a mile; so 75,000 x .014 = $1,050. That’s a lot of value! Easily enough for a round-trip coach (or as we like to say in the aviation world, economy) flight either domestically or to Europe, or even a one-way business-class flight… but we’ll get to this later. Stay with me.
So like we said, the big news is that Capital One is offering a limited-time 75,000-mile bonus. You’ll get those 75,000 miles if you spend $5,000 in the first three months that you have the card. You’ll continue to get 2x miles for every dollar you spend for as long as you have the card, and those definitely add up over time. Just as a reminder, never spend more than you can afford. The cardinal rule of points and miles credit cards is to pay your bills on time, in full, every single month. If you take nothing else away from this article — or really, any article on this site — remember that.
Using Those Miles
Now that we have the sign-up bonus part down, let’s talk about the fun part: What you can do with those 75,000 miles. The big news from Capital One this week, aside from that 75,000-mile bonus, was that it’s introducing airline transfer partners. In layman’s terms: A way to use the points or miles you accrue by using your credit card — including both the sign-up bonus and everyday spending — by transferring them to hotels and airlines to book, you guessed it, award space.
While Capital One has long let you use miles to cover travel purchases on your credit card statement, airline transfer partners were reserved for issuers such as American Express, Chase and Citi. So you can imagine that the introduction of transfer partners for Venture miles was a pretty big deal. Starting in December 2018 (so very soon), you’ll be able to transfer your Capital One miles to these airline programs: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, EVA Infinity MileageLands, Finnair Plus, Hainan Fortune Wings Club, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qatar Airways Privilege Club.
This is where things start to get fun. By transferring your miles to one of these programs (loyalty programs, as they’re called) you can fly on one of these airlines — or partners within their alliance — more or less for free. They don’t transfer at an exactly equal ratio — instead, when you have the number of airline miles you need, multiply it by 1.3 to get the number of Capital One miles you’d need to transfer; this is what we like to call a “transfer ratio.” Here’s what I’m talking about:
Transfer your points to the Air Canada-affiliated Aeroplan program to book Turkish Airlines. A one-way business-class ticket to Istanbul (IST) is just 57,500 Aeroplan miles; multiply that by 1.3, and you’d need 76,666.66 Capital One miles to cross the Atlantic in style. For what it’s worth, Turkish Airlines has the best food I’ve ever had on a plane.
Prefer a first-class flight instead? One of the best out there is Cathay Pacific, and the airline’s Asia Miles loyalty program is a new Capital One transfer partner. The price is steep (110,000 miles, which would mean almost 150,000 Capital One miles), but the seat is bigger than some New York City apartments (well, almost) and there’s an entire course devoted to caviar. Need I say more?
A third (and decidedly less “glamorous”) option involves United. I’ll spare you the tricky details, but traveling between select states in the US will only cost 7,500 United miles each way, (so, 9,750 Capital One miles) when you transfer your miles to the Avianca LifeMiles program. Suddenly that trip to see your parents in Chicago (one of United’s hubs) becomes a bit easier.
Keep in mind these are just a few of the easy award redemptions you can take advantage of with your newfound stash of 75,000 miles. There’s definitely more complicated magical sorcery you can get into, but hey, that’s why we do what we do. Baby steps, people, baby steps. Now the question is: Where to?