Beginning in December 2018, certain Capital One credit card holders will have the option to transfer their rewards miles to 12 airline transfer partners.
The card issuer’s travel credit cards already have flexible redemption options.
Read on to learn more about the new program and who’s eligible to participate.
Capital One Miles Transfer Partners
Capital One’s travel credit cards offer a flat rewards rate on all purchases.
And because redemption rates are fixed, it’s difficult for cardholders to maximize their rewards.
With the new miles transfer program, cardholders can transfer their hard-earned miles to 12 frequent flyer programs.
The following programs are included:
Capital One Miles Transfer Partners and Ratios
|Airline Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||2 : 1.5|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||2 : 1.5|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||2 : 1.5|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia||2 : 1.5|
|Avianca LifeMiles||2 : 1.5|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2 : 1.5|
|Etihad Airways Guest||2 : 1.5|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||2 : 1.5|
|Finnair Plus||2 : 1.5|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||2 : 1.5|
|JetBlue||2 : 1 (Promotion until 5/31/19 - 2 : 1.5)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||2 : 1.5|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||2 : 1.5|
|Singapore Airlines||2 : 1|
The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 miles, after which you can transfer in 100-mile increments.
If you haven’t already noticed, a significant drawback to the new program is that all of the airlines listed are international.
Some of the airlines are members of airline alliances, allowing you to use your miles to book flights with domestic partners.
Here are a few examples:
- Star Alliance: Air Canada Aeroplan and EVA Air Infinity MileageLands are members, as is United Airlines.
- Oneworld Alliance: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Qantas Frequent Flyer are members, as is American Airlines AAdvantage.
- SkyTeam Alliance: Air France/KLM Flying Blue is a member, as is Delta SkyMiles.
Keep in mind, though, that just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s easy.
If you’re not savvy with frequent flyer programs, it may be more trouble than it’s worth to use alliances to get domestic flights.
Eligible Credit Cards
Capital One has four consumer and business credit cards that are eligible to participate in the miles transfer program. Here are some highlights of each card:
Capital One ® Venture ® Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One ® Venture ® Rewards Credit Card offers a very generous introductory bonus when requirements are met.
The card also offers 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and 10 miles per dollar on hotel stays booked through Hotels.com/venture.
Beyond the rewards program, you can receive up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. These are the federal government’s expedited airport security programs.
You’ll also pay no foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad. The card has a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first year.
Capital One ® VentureOne ® Rewards Credit Card
If you’d prefer a travel credit card with no annual fee, the Capital One ® VentureOne ® Rewards Credit Card is worth considering.
The card also offers a miles sign-up bonus when spending requirements are met (this bonus is lower than the one offered by the regular Venture card).
You’ll also receive 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases, plus 10 miles per dollar on hotel stays booked through Hotels.com/venture.
You’ll also pay no foreign transaction fees.
Capital One ® Spark ® Miles for Business
For small business owners looking for a massive sign-up bonus, the Capital One ® Spark ® Miles for Business does not disappoint.
The card offers a massive miles bonus, but it requires a large amount of card spend in the first 6 to 12 months.
Cardholders will also earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and pay no foreign transaction fees.
The card’s annual fee is $95, but it’s waived the first year.
Capital One ® Spark ® Miles Select for Business
With the Capital One ® Spark ® Miles Select for Business, you’ll earn also be able to earn a small bonus when the minimum spending.
On everyday purchases, you’ll earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent. Like all Capital One credit cards, you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees.
What’s more, the card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Is the Transfer Program a Good Value?
While the transfer ratio is 2 miles to 1.5 miles, it may feel like transferring gives you less value.
But depending on how to can redeem those airline miles, you may get more.
The key is to do your research before transferring your miles.
If you have a specific trip in mind, compare how many miles it would require through one of Capital One’s airline partners against how much it would cost if you were to pay for it out of pocket.
For example, let’s say a round-trip flight from Dallas to Paris requires 50,000 miles with Air France/KLM Flying Blue, but it would cost $950.
If you were to book the flight with your eligible Capital One credit card and used your miles to get a statement credit against the purchase, you’d need 95,000 miles to get a full credit.
If you were, however, to transfer some miles to an Air France/KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer account, you’d only need to move 66,667 miles.
This process can be very time-consuming and requires some background knowledge about how international airline loyalty programs work.
For the average Capital One cardholder, it may not turn out to be quite too worthwhile of a perk to transfer miles.
Other Ways to Redeem Capital One Miles
Depending on the situation, you may be leaving money on the table by ignoring Capital One’s airline transfer partners.
But even without them, miles earned with the travel cards are still valuable. Here’s what you can do with them.
Book a trip
Capital One allows you to use your miles to book a vacation directly through your rewards account.
The portal functions similarly to online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz, enabling you to compare prices.
But keep in mind that not all airlines and hotels participate, so you may not get the cheapest option available.
Miles are worth 1 cent apiece with this option.
Get a travel statement credit
The most flexible way to redeem your miles is by booking travel with your credit card, then using your miles to get a statement credit against the purchase at 1 cent per mile.
This way, you can book with individual airlines, hotels and car rental companies, or use your preferred online travel agency.
There’s no minimum redemption amount if you’re redeeming miles for a full statement credit.
But if you don’t have enough rewards to get a full credit, you can get a partial credit starting at 2,500 miles or $25.
If you don’t have any upcoming travel plans, you can opt instead to use your miles to get gift cards at your favorite retailers and restaurants.
You’ll get 1 cent per mile in value, and gift cards start at $10.
If you absolutely need some cash, you can get a statement credit or a check in the mail. The downside is that your miles are worth 0.5 cents apiece when redeemed this way.
For example, it would take 50,000 miles to get $500 in travel or gift cards, but you’d only receive $250 in cash back.
The Bottom Line
Capital One’s airline transfer partners make it more appealing to experienced travelers.
It may be worth it if you have experience taking advantage of international airline loyalty programs.
But for people who primarily travel domestically:
The program may not provide much value.
The same goes if you haven’t had much exposure to airline alliances or international airlines in general.
You don’t need to transfer your miles to make the cards worth it, though.
The high flat rewards rates make it easy to earn a lot of miles on everyday purchases without having to keep track of bonus rewards categories.
Also, the cards’ flexible redemption options make it easy to use your miles. That’s especially the case if you’re comparing them to airline or hotel credit cards, which restrict your choices.