That was fast! 10X miles per dollar on Venture X hotel booking post at check-in
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Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve enjoyed collecting miles and points for over two decades. In that time, I’m pretty sure I can safely say I’ve never booked a hotel room through an online travel agency with the goal of earning points. Frankly, I can only recall a single instance or two where I’ve even booked a hotel room via any method other than directly with a hotel chain. Until now.
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Booking a hotel through the Capital One travel portal
The new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has a headline benefit that advertises 10 miles per dollar for hotel bookings through Capital One Travel. That sounds great on paper, but I was curious if it would really be that easy. I signed up for the Capital One Venture X card late last year for the incredible sign-up bonus, but I also had another plan in mind. If I really could easily earn 10 miles per dollar on hotel bookings for me and my employees, I might be able to spin that into a dream Star Wars adventure for our son at Disney World. Since these adventures can easily top $5,000 it just wasn’t something I was willing to pay for out of pocket (unlike my friend Benet).
Booking a room through the Capital One Travel portal was easy. The thing that was even more surprising to me, was that for some dates I searched it was even cheaper than booking with Marriott directly. In this example it was $197.75 to book with Marriott directly:
And yet, only $195.10 through Capital One Travel:
This wasn’t the case in every example. But, by and large, Capital One Travel was within a few dollars of Marriott’s website on the handful of dates I searched.
In situations like this, it’s important to note you’d be foregoing any elite benefits you might otherwise enjoy by booking directly with Marriott. As a small business owner, this was actually a hotel booking for an employee with no elite status at a property where elite benefits don’t get you much anyway. For the 2-week booking, my total was $2,723.35. My confirmation from Capital One noted I would earn 27,234 Capital One miles. Sure enough, on the day of check-in, my Capital One account was credited with 27,234 miles (they even rounded up)!
How does this compare to booking direct?
Your personal earning preference will vary, but I wanted to take a look at a few examples of how these 27,234 miles stack up against booking directly with Marriott. It’s worth noting Capital One awarded me 10 miles per dollar on the entire price of the stay, not just the base room rate. Generally speaking Marriott isn’t going to award points on taxes or fees (including resort fees). In this case, we’re going to use a base rate of about $2,360 to calculate Marriott earning amounts.
Marriott awards five points per dollar on stays at Residence Inns. However, most other brands earn 10 points per dollar so your math will vary based on the Marriott brand you stay with.
In this case, I would have earned 11,800 Marriott Bonvoy points assuming no elite status or other bonuses with Marriott. TPG’s value for Bonvoy points is 0.8 cents, versus 1.4 cents for Capital One miles. That means the Bonvoy points are worth ~$94 whereas the Capital One miles are worth $381. That’s a big difference!
Elite status will also play a big factor in how many Bonvoy points you can earn. For example, as a Titanium Elite member, I would earn a 75% bonus or another 8,850 points. If you’re thinking about transferring your points or miles to an airline, it’s also important to note that Marriott transfers at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000-mile bonus for transfers of 60,000 points) whereas virtually all Capital One transfers are at 1:1.
Using Air Canada Aeroplan as an example (since both programs share the airline as a partner), you would net 6,666 Aeroplan miles if you transferred 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
If instead you choose to transfer 20,000 Capital One miles you would net over 3 times more Aeroplan miles for 20,000 in total. When you combine 1:1 transfer partners with 10X on hotel bookings through Capital One travel, the value can be much higher than booking with a hotel chain directly. Capital One has done a really fantastic job of increasing the number of airline and hotel partners you can transfer to.
And, you can always use your Capital One miles to burn down future travel purchases.
My next test will be booking rental cars through the Capital One Travel portal. I’m eager to see if it’s as easy to earn 10X miles for rental cars as it was for hotels. Admittedly, this is a sample size of one hotel booking, but I’m impressed. The Capital One Travel portal was easy to navigate and the miles posted much quicker than I would have expected. Because I have lifetime Titanium Elite status I don’t need elite night credit, making it easier to be a free agent and book through an online travel agency.
As a small business owner, I’ve never really put much thought into booking through an online travel agency. I valued the perks the hotel chains were willing to offer me when I booked directly. But this new card changes the math.
For employee bookings, the value of 10 miles per dollar through Capital One Travel is easy for me to see. The ease of booking and the quick posting of Capital One miles make me very likely to book this way for myself in the future as well.
There are definitely hotel stays where I’ll want to take advantage of benefits like a late check-out or free breakfast. For everything else, I’ll take 10 Capital One miles for every dollar I spend versus fewer Marriott Bonvoy points on a portion of my total bill.
Featured image of Wilson Residence Inn Big Sky, MT by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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