Capital One Venture travel cards and some small business Capital One Spark cards earn miles instead of cash back. Capital One miles are transferable points that can be redeemed for cash back redemptions or transferred to travel partners.
Typically Capital One miles will provide the best cash-back value when you redeem them to offset travel purchases charged to your miles-earning Capital One credit card. If you don’t typically charge travel purchases to your card and don’t plan to transfer Capital One miles to a travel partners,
Here’s everything you need to know about Capital One Miles
Capital One Miles at a Glance
Cards that earn Capital One Miles
Best uses of Capital One Miles
Reimbursing travel expenses
Capital One Experiences
Transfers to travel partners
Points can be combined across cards
Transferable points cards available with no annual fee
No transfers to U.S. domestic carriers
Cash back redemptions offer only 0.5 cents per point
Top tips for Capital One Miles
- You can reimburse yourself for travel purchases using your Capital One Miles at a value of one cent per mile. There is never a reason to redeem for less than 1 cent each. This makes many redemption options (like Shop with Points) irrelevant.
- Transfers to travel partners are the way to get increased value from your Capital One miles.
- Instead of using points to book travel, reimburse yourself instead. You can use your miles to book travel through the Capital One travel portal. But when you instead charge your travel to the card and use your points to reimburse yourself, you’ll earn points for the travel you book.
Best uses of Capital One miles
Capital One miles can be redeemed for cash-back rewards, gift cards, travel, and a variety of other rewards. But like other transferable point currencies, not all rewards have equal value. If you’re looking for easy redemptions that offer good value, consider redeeming for credits that offset travel purchases.
- Cover travel purchases
- Transfers to travel partners
- Capital One Experiences
Cover travel purchases
The best way to use Capital One Venture miles for a cash back credit is to offset travel purchases that you have previously charged to your account. When used to offset travel purchases, Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each.
Redeeming your points to cover a travel purchase is simple and can be done through the Capital One website. Once the travel purchase has been posted to your account, simply log on to the Capital One website and select “Cover Travel Purchases.”
While you can redeem your Capital One miles for travel through the Capital One Travel portal, a better option is to charge the travel to your card and reimburse the charge with points. This way, you’ll both earn points on the travel you book and get maximum value for your points.
Transfers to travel partners
Transferring your Capital One miles to a travel partner presents by far the best opportunity to increase the value of your Capital One miles.
Using transferable points like Capital One miles to get increased value through transfer partners takes some work. You need to search for awards through a travel partner, identify whether that award represents good value for your Capital One miles, transfer your points and book the award through a travel partner.
Here’s an example of a flight that I found through Capital One’s transfer partner Avianca Lifemiles that represents better value than a cash redemption. I can book the Lufthansa flight below for 26,000 Avianca LifeMiles and $50.30 ($25.30 in carrier-imposed surcharges, plus a $25 ticketing fee.) If I would otherwise purchase the flight for the cash price of $650, but instead transfer 26,000 Capital One miles and book the flight through LifeMiles, I am getting a value of 2.3 cents per point.
While a point transfer to a travel partner can be a good use of points, we recommend you only transfer points if you have a specific travel redemption in mind. Not all point transfers happen instantly and award travel availability can change all the time. It’s typically not a good idea to transfer points to travel partners speculatively. Here are Capital One’s miles transfer partners:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airline Krisflyer
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Hotel and other partners
- Virgin Red
- Accor Live Limitless
- Wyndham Rewards
- Choice Privileges
Capital One Experiences
Experience redemptions through rewards programs typically provide lackluster value, but Nick at Frequent Miler has found some great value for baseball fans through Capital One experiences, so these might be worth checking out.
When redeeming for experiences, be sure to see what the experience would otherwise cost if you can pay for a similar experience in cash. If you can get more than 1 cent per point of value out of your Capital One miles, an experience redemption might be a good use of your miles.
If you have multiple accounts that earn Capital One miles, you can move your miles between your own Capital One accounts. This can be useful if you charged a travel purchase on one account, but want to use miles from another account to cover it. Moving your miles between accounts could also be useful if you are closing one account and want to keep your points alive by transferring them to another account.
Redemptions options you can typically ignore
Transferable points programs frequently have redemption options that you should ignore because they offer less value than cash back redemptions. Here are the Capital One miles redemption options you should ignore.
Book a trip. You can use your Capital One miles to book a trip through the Capital One travel portal and get 1 cent per point of value, but booking this way likely means you’re missing out on earning rewards or enjoying credit card travel protections on that trip. Instead, book the trip using your credit card and use the miles to reimburse the travel purchase.
Shop with Amazon. If you use your points to pay for purchases on Amazon, you will get 0.8 cents per point of value. This is better than redeeming points for a statement credit, but less value than you would get if you would redeem your points for a credit to offset a travel purchase. In addition, by paying for your purchase with points, you are also giving up the credit card rewards you could earn on your Amazon purchase.
Redeem with PayPal. Similar to shopping at Amazon, you can use your Capital One miles to pay for purchases when you check out with PayPal. Again, this isn’t a great use of points as you will get 0.8 cents per point of value.
Get gift cards. Gift card redemptions with Capital One miles typically provide only 0.8 cents per point of value (a $100 gift card can be had for 12,500 miles.) Unless you are unable to cash out your points at 1 cent per point through credits offsetting travel purchases, avoid this redemption option.