How Capital One Fixed a Rewards Mistake I Never Should Have Made

Aug 14, 2018

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I consider myself to be something of a credit card expert — from The Platinum Card® from American Express to Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, I know most of the products we cover inside and out.

Having just signed up for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to Capital One “miles,” however, which I just proved to myself (and much of the TPG team) by making a rookie mistake.

So what did I do? I selected “Option 4” in Benji’s How to Redeem Capital One Venture Miles post — I redeemed for cash back. With just 3,572 miles to my name, I didn’t take the time to strategize my redemption, and I foolishly assumed that all redemptions generate the same return, as is actually the case with my Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ credit card. Yeah… no. That’s not the case at all.

I impulsively clicked through without catching my return, which I only saw after completing the transaction. I ended up burning 3,572 miles — worth $35.72 toward travel or gift cards — for a $17.85 statement credit.

In the end, I lost less than $20 in value, so it wasn’t the end of the world, except that I’m not supposed to make mistakes like this.

Embarrassed by the oversight, I called the number on the back of my Venture Rewards Card and hoped for the best. Fortunately, the rep couldn’t have been nicer, and within a couple minutes she had processed a reversal — in about five business days I’ll have those miles back in my account, and you better believe I’ll be redeeming them for travel, once my 50,000-mile sign-up bonus hits as well.

I’m actually planning to “erase” some travel purchases charged to the card, since this redemption offers the most flexibility. My 50,000 miles (and change) will be worth $500+ toward various travel purchases, from airfare to Uber rides.

So what’s the lesson here? Well, first of all, I should be reading all of the great content we publish on the site — Benji’s How to Redeem Capital One Venture Miles post is crystal clear about which redemptions offer the best return, and, as I should have expected, a blanket statement credit does not top the list.

This exercise also reiterates our mantra, “it never hurts to ask.” I expected the customer service rep to give me a standard “sorry, all transactions are final” response, so I was very pleasantly surprised that getting the transaction reversed wasn’t any trouble at all — though I certainly can’t always count on that being the case.

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