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Capital One adds Virgin Red as a transfer partner, announces transfer bonuses

March 01, 2022
8 min read
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There's big news for those with Capital One miles. Virgin Red, the new loyalty program for the Virgin family of brands, will become Capital One's 17th transfer partner in the coming weeks.

This has the potential to increase the value of Capital One miles, as Virgin Points can be used similarly to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, which were rebranded to Virgin Points in September 2020. This means you can leverage them for excellent partner redemptions, like Delta One to Europe and ANA first and business class to Japan at reasonable rates.

Further, Capital One has also announced a slew of temporary transfer bonuses to partners like Aeromexico Club Premier, Avianca LifeMiles and Wyndham Rewards which run through the end of the month.

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Let's take a closer look at this news and how it affects Capital One cardholders.

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Capital One adds Virgin Red as a transfer partner

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Virgin Red is the new combined points program for all things Virgin. Here in the U.S., you can earn Virgin points when you stay at Virgin Hotels and when you shop online with merchants like Apple.com, Booking.com and Lululemon. As you'd expect, you can also earn Virgin points when you fly with Virgin Atlantic. The Virgin points you earn with Flying Club automatically will be synced once you link your Flying Club account to your Virgin Red account.

It's worth noting that those in the United Kingdom have expanded earning options with other Virgin brands, like Virgin Wines and Virgin Media.

Related: Your guide to maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases

On the redemption side, you can use your Virgin points for many purchases beyond flights. For example, a food tour in Austin costs 24,000 points while a Blue Apron certificate worth $120 costs 19,500 points. In the U.K., you can even redeem Virgin points for everyday merchandise, like food and beverage at Greggs.

(Screenshot from virgin.com)

That said, none of these redemptions are a particularly great deal when compared to using Virgin points for flights. Always do the math to see if your desired redemption is worthwhile, especially if you're transferring Capital One miles. Remember, TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents apiece, but it's easy to get more value when redeeming them for business-class flights.

Using Virgin points for flights

You can redeem 50,000 Virgin points for Delta One from the U.S. to Europe. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Of course, you can (and usually should) redeem Virgin points for Virgin Atlantic flights at the same prices outlined on the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club website.

On Virgin Atlantic's own planes, you'll pay 20,000 points plus roughly $500 in taxes and fees for a round-trip economy flight from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or Washington's Dulles International Airport (IAD) to London's Heathrow Airport (LHR). The taxes and fees are expensive, but this redemption can be worthwhile if cash rates are expensive during holidays and major events. Expect longer transatlantic flights to London to cost more miles.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

There are some great partner redemptions too, like 50,000 points for a one-way ticket from the U.S. to Europe in Delta One. These tickets can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket, so having the ability to book them with Capital One miles could make your next trip to Europe a lot more affordable.

(Screenshot from virginatlantic.com)

Another excellent use of Virgin points would be to fly from California to Japan in business or first class with ANA. On a business-class ticket, you can expect to spend 45,000 points one-way, while a first-class ticket will set you back 55,000 miles with moderate taxes, fees and fuel surcharges. To book ANA awards with Virgin Atlantic, you'll need to call Virgin Atlantic as they cannot be booked online.

Use Virgin points to book ANA first class to Japan. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Even if you're a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club member, you still will need to sign up with Virgin Red as the programs currently operate separately. You can link your accounts, and once you do, you'll see your Flying Club award balance in Virgin Red. You can use your Virgin points on the Virgin Atlantic website and vice versa.

When it comes time to link your Capital One and Virgin Red accounts, go to the "Account" page on the Virgin Red website and find your Virgin Red ID. This is what you will enter on the Capital One website to link your accounts.

(Screenshot from virgin.com)

Related: How to book an ANA first-class ticket to Japan for under $2,000 round-trip

Capital One launches 3 new transfer bonuses

Use Capital One's new 20% transfer bonuses to fly Lufthansa first class for fewer points. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

But the good news doesn't stop there. Capital One has added three transfer bonuses which will be available from March 1 to 31.

When transferring Capital One miles to Aeromexico Club Premier, Avianca LifeMiles and Wyndham Rewards during this promotion, you'll earn a 20% bonus. This means that when you initiate a transfer, your points will be transferred at a 1:1.2 ratio instead of the standard 1:1 point ratio.

Avianca's LifeMiles program is likely to be the most appealing of the three transfer bonus promotions. For example, under the promotion, you could book Lufthansa's international first class to Europe for just 73,000 miles. When you transfer your Captial One miles to Avianca during this promotion, your 73,000 Capital One miles will post as 87,600 miles. In turn, a Lufthansa first-class ticket costs 87,000 LifeMiles with minimal taxes and fees.

There are plenty more sweet spots in LifeMiles, like 63,000 miles in business class to Europe on Star Alliance carriers, which would just require 52,500 Capital One miles under this promotion. Better yet, Avianca LifeMiles doesn't pass on fuel surcharges to the consumer, so you'll never pay more than minimal taxes and fees on your international award ticket, even in business class.

Transferring points to Aeromexico and Wyndham may have special use cases too, but in most cases, you'll want to avoid them, even with this transfer bonus.

Related: Get more from your points with these transfer bonuses

How do I earn Capital One miles?

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

There are now five credit cards that allow you to accrue Capital One miles. Here's a high-level overview of three of our favorite credit cards that earn Capital One miles — each has varying benefits and annual fees, so do your research to find which card is best for your wallet:

Related: Tips and tricks to get maximum value from your Capital One miles

Bottom line

Capital One adding Virgin Red as a transfer partner is great news for cardholders. It opens up a handful of great redemptions, like premium flights on ANA and Delta. Plus, it gives you redemption options outside of air travel, like experiences and merchandise. But as always, do the math to see if these redemptions are worth transferring Capital One miles for, as some Virgin Red redemptions may give you lackluster value.

Featured image by (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases