Guide to Capital One Miles

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Please Note: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business is currently unavailable through our site.

Capital One has established a significant footprint within the travel rewards segment. In total, the issuer offers four different travel-specific reward cards: the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card for personal consumer use, and the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business users. With all four cards, the central reward system is structured around earning Capital One miles. Whether you already have a Capital One rewards card or are thinking about adding one to your arsenal, here’s everything you need to know about how these miles work and how to redeem them using the Capital One rewards center.

What are Capital One miles?

Capital One miles are the card issuer’s reward currency for the four cards we mentioned above. You spend money to earn the reward miles, which you can then turn around and use toward travel, gift cards, or cash back. For most Capital One credit cards, you’ll earn between one to two miles for every dollar you spend, though some do offer higher mile rewards in certain categories.Based on your redemption method, those miles carry varying degrees of value. In most cases, each mile holds a value of one cent for travel and less for other redemption options.

How to earn Capital One miles

There are three basic methods for building your Capital One miles reward balance.

  • Make purchases: All four Capital One miles cards let you earn miles through everyday purchases made with your card.
  • Book hotel and car rentals: Book hotel and car rental reservations through the online Capital One Travel portal, as this earns you five miles for every dollar. While the two Spark cards openly advertise this added purchase power, you gain the additional points using the two Venture cards as well.
  • Welcome bonus: Each of the four miles cards offers a generous bonus, which gives you a large number of points. The critical factor with every offer is to meet the spending target within three months of opening your account.
Card Rewards Rate Welcome Bonus Purchase APR Annual Fee
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel 17.24% – 24.49% (Variable) $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel 14.49% – 24.49% (Variable) $0
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening 18.49% (Variable) $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business Unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere 20,000 miles – equal to $200 in travel – once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening 14.49% – 22.49% (Variable) $0

Pros and cons of Capital One miles

As with all credit card reward programs, Capital One miles have a few advantages and drawbacks. Pros and cons of signing up with one of the miles cards include:

Pros

  • Generous intro offers for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Cards and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Less so with the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business, but those cards do come without an annual fee.
  • Excellent reward value for travel redemptions, and in particular, the program’s retro credit Purchase Eraser option.
  • All of the cards are excellent “in the field” travel cards. Each feature zero foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

Cons

  • The annual fee for the two biggest miles-earning cards might be a no-go for some, which leaves you the choice of a less lucrative travel reward card.
  • To make the most of your rewards, you’ll only have two options to choose from — travel or gift cards.
  • If you don’t spend your rewards on travel or gift cards, you’re looking at a low rate of half a cent per mile for redemption.

Redemption options with Capital One miles

Capital One miles provided five “fixed value” options, with each method assigning your miles a different value. There is an additional procedure for transferring your rewards. You can access all of these features in the Capital One rewards center, which is where you’ll need to go when you’re ready to redeem. Below we detail each redemption option, starting with the most valuable.

  • Use Purchase Eraser: Capital One’s Purchase Eraser feature allows you to apply your miles toward eligible travel expenses incurred within the previous 90 days. Simply use your Capital One card to make a travel purchase — airlines, car rentals, cruises, hotels, taxis, or additional travel services — then use your miles as a credit to cover the cost of the travel after your trip.
  • Book travel with the Capital One travel portal: The most basic way to use your miles is for booking travel through Capital One’s travel portal. As we detailed earlier, your miles carry a travel value of one cent each. However, value-wise, this a notch below the Purchase Eraser option. If you redeem your miles for actual travel through Capital One, you miss the opportunity to earn more rewards by using a credit card to book your travel.
  • Purchase gift cards: You can acquire gift cards with your rewards at the rate of one cent per mile.
  • Make purchases on Amazon: You have the option to link your Capital One miles with your Amazon account. When you checkout, you’ll have the opportunity to use your miles toward your purchase before applying your preferred payment method. While highly convenient, you’ll only get about 0.7 to 0.8 cents of value from a single mile. For this feature, it’s better to link a cash back card with a 1:1 ratio.
  • Get cash back: Unlike some reward cards, the cash back option on the Capital One miles cards offer minimal value — roughly a half a cent per mile. If you want cash back as a genuine reward, use a card specifically designed for it.
  • Rewards transfers: You can also transfer your miles to another account, either between specific Capital One accounts or to a third-party travel loyalty program. Eligible transfer partners include:
    • Accor Live Limitless
    • Aeromexico — Club Premier
    • Air France KLM — Flying Blue
    • Air Canada — Aeroplan
    • Alitalia — MilleMiglia Program
    • Asia Miles
    • Avianca LifeMiles
    • Emirates Skywards
    • Etihad Airways — Etihad Guest
    • EVA Air — Infinity MileageLands
    • Finnair — Finnair Plus
    • Hainan Airlines — Fortune Wings Club
    • JetBlue — TrueBlue
    • Qantas — Qantas Frequent Flyer
    • Qatar Airways — Privilege Club
    • Singapore Airlines — KrisFlyer

The value of Capital One miles varies between partner programs, with the majority at a 2:1.5 ratio. Unless you’re keyed in with a particular loyalty program, it’s better to stick to the more basic travel redemption options.

The bottom line

The most significant benefit of using the Capital One miles program is how straightforward it is. To generate the most value from your miles, you’ll want to take advantage of that simplicity. It may be tempting to boost airline loyalty points or add convenience to your Amazon shopping, but you sacrifice the true value of your rewards. Capital One miles are for individuals squarely focused on earning tangible travel rewards with little effort. You buy, you earn, you travel. Few things are easier or more rewarding than this.

Please Note: Information about the Capital One cards have been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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