To transfer or not to transfer: What to do with Capital One miles


Capital One first added transfer companions to a few of its prime bank cards in 2018 — and issues have solely gotten higher since then. With an array of latest companions, enhanced transfer ratios and the launch of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (see charges and charges) in 2021, Capital One has considerably boosted the flexibleness of its rewards program.

However, understanding whether or not it is higher to transfer your miles or redeem them for a set worth will be complicated.

In this submit, we’ll define the benefits and drawbacks of every possibility and provide particular examples to assist you resolve which selection is right on your award journey objectives.

Eligible Capital One playing cards

Booking off-peak Iberia flights to Europe stays probably the greatest methods to maximize Capital One miles. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

These are the Capital One playing cards which might be eligible for transfers to this system’s airline and resort companions:

The data for the Capital One Spark Miles Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card particulars on this web page have not been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.

Capital One has three completely different ratios for these transfers. When you change your miles to Accor Live Limitless factors, the ratio is 2:1 (so 1,000 Capital One miles = 500 ALL factors). Meanwhile, transfers to EVA Air are 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands miles).

However, the remainder of the companions have 1:1 transfer ratios — together with beneficial choices like Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways Avios.

Fortunately, Capital One has a helpful device to present what number of miles you’ll obtain earlier than making a transfer.

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Related: Complete information to Capital One transfer companions

The assertion credit score possibility

By utilizing Capital One miles for assertion credit score, you’d earn Loyalty Points in your American Airlines flight as a standard, money ticket. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business provide 2 miles per greenback on all purchases and the power to redeem your miles for assertion credit towards any qualifying journey expense made inside the final 90 days. Capital One defines journey bills as purchases from airways, lodges, rail traces, automotive rental businesses, limousine companies, bus traces, cruise traces, taxi cabs, journey brokers and timeshares.

Note which you could additionally use your miles immediately for bookings via Capital One Travel. However, we strongly advocate paying for these purchases with your eligible Capital One card (which can earn you bonus rewards) or in any other case reserving immediately with a journey supplier after which utilizing your miles to cowl the acquisition.

Related: How bank card issuers outline journey and eating purchases

The execs

  • It’s easy: Travel assertion credit provide the flexibleness to make reservations in varied methods, comparable to reserving immediately with the supplier, utilizing on-line journey businesses or working with conventional journey brokers. If the acquisition falls beneath the desired service provider classes, you need to use your Capital One miles to offset these transactions. There are not any award charts, blackout dates, capability controls or further taxes, charges and surcharges to fear about.
  • You have flexibility: Capital One’s definition of journey contains purchases for taxis, bus fares and rail traces, increasing your choices for utilizing factors and miles. This flexibility permits you to redeem miles for unbiased lodges and flights on any airline, liberating you from relying solely on main airways and chain lodges.
  • Awards are handled like common purchases: With Capital One, you’ll be able to e book immediately with an airline or resort, pay for the acquisition with your card after which use your miles to cowl journey. This manner, you may nonetheless earn your resort factors, airline miles and credit score towards elite standing.

The cons

  • It solely will get you a set worth: The downside of utilizing Capital One miles for journey assertion credit is that you’re going to at all times obtain a set worth of 1 cent per mile. Since you are incomes no less than 2 miles per greenback spent on all purchases, that is a strong return of two% — however you will not discover any distinctive awards that provide a better worth.

Related: How (and why) you need to earn transferable factors

The possibility to transfer rewards to journey companions

Capital One permits you to transfer your bank card rewards immediately to airline and resort packages, related to different main card issuers. This is not out there for all of its playing cards however permits you to maximize the worth of your miles to a a lot larger extent. There are additionally some potential downsides to take into accout. Capital One gives a wide range of transfer companions, starting from distinctive to much less spectacular choices.

Program Transfer time Transfer ratio
Aeromexico Rewards Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Aeromexico Rewards factors)
Air Canada Aeroplan Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Aeroplan factors)
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Flying Blue miles)
Avianca LifeMiles Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 LifeMiles)
Accor Live Limitless Two enterprise days 2:1 (1,000 miles = 500 ALL factors)
British Airways Executive Club Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Avios)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 24-hour turnaround 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Asia Miles)
Choice Privileges 24-hour turnaround 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Choice Privileges factors)
Emirates Skywards Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Emirates Skywards miles)
Etihad Guest Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Etihad Guest miles)
EVA Infinity MileageLands 36-hour turnaround 2:1.5 (1,000 miles = 750 Infinity MileageLands miles)
Finnair Plus Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Finnair Plus factors)
Qantas Frequent Flyer Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer factors)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles)
TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 TAP Miles&Go miles)
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Turkish Miles&Smiles miles)
Virgin Red Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Virgin Red factors)
Wyndham Rewards Instant 1:1 (1,000 miles = 1,000 Wyndham Rewards factors)

* Transfer occasions might fluctuate. Some TPG employees have reported transfer occasions of up to two weeks for Accor.
Check out our submit on transferring Capital One miles to airline companions for full particulars on this course of.

The execs

  • You have the potential to redeem miles for distinctive worth: Award journey lovers know that there are alternatives to redeem miles for distinctive worth. Programs like Avianca LifeMiles and Air Canada Aeroplan are nice for reserving awards on Star Alliance carriers. If you redeem LifeMiles for a Lufthansa first-class award (with out gas surcharges), you may get distinctive worth on your Capital One miles.
  • You can mix miles with current balances: Capital One miles will be extraordinarily helpful for topping off your frequent flyer account steadiness. For occasion, you probably have credited a flight to Aeroplan however lack sufficient miles for an award, you’ll be able to transfer some Capital One miles to Air Canada to make up the distinction and e book the ticket.

The cons

  • Choosing a transfer accomplice and reserving awards will be complicated: Booking award journey requires understanding completely different frequent flyer packages and trying to find the most effective awards. It will be value it — once you journey in business- or first-class seats that may normally be unaffordable, you may be glad you bought into factors and miles. However, gaining this data requires important effort and is extra advanced than merely utilizing miles for assertion credit.
  • You will not earn miles or elite standing from conventional frequent flyer awards: Frequent flyer packages typically do not enable you to earn miles or elite standing on flights booked with miles (although there are exceptions). If the award you are keen on prices an analogous quantity of Capital One miles, it is advisable to pay on your flights with your bank card and use your miles to erase the associated fee slightly than transferring them. This strategy permits you to earn miles from the flight, obtain credit score towards elite standing and probably qualify for upgrades if you have already got elite standing.
  • Transfers might not be prompt: There could also be a delay when transferring Capital One miles to airline or resort companions, though most transfers occur immediately. However, it is essential to notice {that a} sought-after premium-class award seat might be taken if there are any delays. To mitigate this, contemplate placing your required award ticket on maintain or having a backup plan prepared.
  • It might provide inferior worth: When you transfer Capital One miles to airline or resort companions, there is not any assure that you simply’re getting extra worth on your rewards. For instance, if a flight requires 50,000 airline miles via one in every of Capital One’s companions however solely prices $250 in the event you paid for it, you might cost it to your Capital One card after which use simply 25,000 miles to cowl that buy.

That’s why it is important to resolve which is the best choice.

Related: Why you need to add licensed customers on the Capital One Venture X

How to resolve in the event you ought to transfer Capital One miles

The greatest manner to resolve is to crunch the numbers to evaluate the worth you’d get by transferring vs. assertion credit. KRISANAPONG DETRAPHIPHAT/GETTY IMAGES

If you’ve got a Venture or Spark Miles card, exploring the most effective airline and resort transfer companions is essential. When you may get extra worth than 1 cent per Capital One mile, transferring your rewards to airline companions is healthier than redeeming them as journey assertion credit.

Remember to contemplate the worth of the lowest-priced flight you might have booked, not simply the present worth of the award ticket. For occasion, in the event you may have bought a less expensive flight on a reduction provider and obtained an announcement credit score, that worth ought to be thought of when deciding.

Additionally, evaluate award charges when reserving flights with carriers which have a number of Capital One transfer companions. Some examples embody utilizing Air France-KLM miles or Virgin Red factors for SkyTeam flights and Asia Miles and British Airways Avios for American Airlines-operated flights.

Finally, in some circumstances, there could also be no possible manner to transfer your Capital One miles to e book a given flight or resort room.

Real-world examples of transferring Capital One miles


Let’s say you have been a round-trip flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Here are the primary choices for nonstop financial system flights on United on a random date subsequent 12 months.

  • Paid ticket: $1,724.90 (172,490 Capital One miles)
  • Award ticket via Aeroplan: 80,000 factors plus about $160 in taxes and charges
  • Award ticket via LifeMiles: 55,500 miles plus about $140 in taxes and charges

In this case, Avianca LifeMiles is the winner.

However, let’s contemplate a one-way flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on an off-peak date:

  • Paid ticket: $119.80 (11,980 Capital One miles)
  • Award ticket via Aeroplan: 10,000 factors plus about $35 in taxes and charges
  • Award ticket via LifeMiles: 12,500 miles plus about $6 in taxes and charges

For this journey, you are higher off reserving your ticket via the Capital One journey portal and making use of your miles at checkout or reserving via United’s web site and redeeming Capital One miles towards an announcement credit score. Include your MileagePlus quantity to earn miles and obtain any Premier standing advantages, if relevant.

Here’s an instance of a resort redemption. If you are trying to go to Park City, Utah, to go snowboarding this January, you might e book a two-bedroom suite on the Park Plaza Resort for the next costs:

  • Paid reservation: $796.69 per evening (79,669 Capital One miles)
  • Award reservation via Wyndham Rewards: 30,000 factors per evening

The clear winner right here is to transfer to Wyndham Rewards slightly than reserving immediately.

Again, fastidiously contemplate the choices so you do not redeem extra Capital One miles than wanted.

Related: 3 methods Avianca LifeMiles may enhance its program for vacationers

Bottom line

Capital One’s transfer companions can provide some implausible worth to prospects with playing cards just like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business. However, this additionally brings some complexity. You might marvel when to transfer miles and when to redeem them immediately for assertion credit.

By fastidiously contemplating each choices utilizing the above framework, you’ll be able to resolve which possibility is greatest.

Additional reporting by Chris Dong and Jason Steele.

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