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Capital One has become a force to be reckoned with in the points and miles world. What was once a large bank with mediocre offerings has become a popular choice for their awesome credit cards and great transfer partners. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with my Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card and for good reason! It’s helped me accrue literally hundreds of thousands of Capital One miles that I’ve redeemed for flights to Mexico, flights to Texas, and luxury hotels! With Capital One’s two main travel cards having generous sign up bonuses of 75,000 miles, you can go far and travel wide with Capital One miles. But how should you redeem them? In this post, I’m discussing how to use Capital One miles and how to earn them as well! So let’s dive in.
Using Points and Miles for Nearly Free Travel
If you’re new around here, I am passionate about traveling more with less money by using points and miles. I earn a TON of points through leveraging credit card sign up bonuses and putting all of my daily spend on credit cards. I have been able to take at least 2x the amount of trips I would normally be able to afford if I were paying cash for my flights and hotels!
Want to travel like me and book flights and hotels using points? I recommend starting with this complete beginner’s guide to travel hacking article. Once you feel comfortable with the steps outlined in that article, head over to this post to determine if a credit card is right for you.
If you have any credit card debt, this strategy is not for you. Focus on paying off that credit card debt and then consider hopping into the points and miles game. In addition, be sure that you can pay off your credit card bills in full every single month. If you can’t, you are paying a large amount of interest, and all this travel no longer becomes nearly free!
Once you’ve learned how to use credit cards to get points and miles and know you can responsibly use credit cards, fill out this survey so I can send you a free recommendation on what credit card is best to meet your travel goals!
How to Earn Capital One Miles
Capital One offers a few top notch travel cards that accrue miles.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The Venture X was recently released at the end of 2021 and has come out strong as a top premium travel card. For an annual fee of $395, you’ll receive a 75,000 mile sign up bonus, $300 annual travel credit (when travel is booked in the portal), lounge access to over 1,200 lounges around the world, travel protection benefits, 10,000 anniversary miles each year, and early access to big events like the Taylor Swift tour in 2023! I opened this card in March 2022 and it has become my FAVORITE card. I recommend this to everyone that needs a premium card to get top notch benefits like lounge access. The Venture X accrues 2x miles on EVERYTHING so you can easily rack up the miles. You’ll also get 10x on hotels and 5x on flights booked through the portal.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Venture Rewards card has been around for a little bit but hasn’t gotten much attention until recently when Capital One improved their travel benefits and transfer partners. For just $95 annual fee, you’ll get 75,000 bonus points after meeting the minimum spend and 2x points on EVERYTHING. This is a solid card to have in your wallet!
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
For the business owners out there, you can add to your Capital One miles with the Spark Miles for Business card. This card will get you 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months and your first year’s annual fee is waived! ($95 per year after that) You’ll get 2x on everything with this card as well.
Don’t think you qualify for a business card?! You just might. You can get a business card for things like babysitting, selling on Facebook Marketplace or Poshmark, or any side hustle you have.
How to Use Capital One Miles for Nearly Free Travel
Should you use the travel portal to book travel?
Capital One offers a travel portal in which you can book hotels and flights directly through them using your points (or cash which will earn you extra bonus points). There are some pros but quite a few cons to using the travel portal.
The portal essentially works by charging a rate similar to what Expedia would charge. Capital One then converts to a point value at a rate of 1 cent per dollar. So, most of the time you aren’t getting a good value from your points by redeeming in the portal. You can usually get a better redemption by transferring to another partner. Unless there’s a really good cash fare that makes the points value much less!
When you book through Capital One’s portal, you also have to deal with Capital One for any cancellations or changes. This can be easy or difficult depending on what representative you get that day. I usually try to book directly with the airline or hotel.
Alright, let’s talk about some specific redemptions you can get with Capital One miles.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada is one of my favorite places to use points. They have great redemptions and you can sometimes get premium economy for less than the price of economy! Air Canada has some good sweet spots on partner airlines like United as well. I flew Air Canada to Mexico in premium economy and back on United economy for 50k points! The way their award chart is structured makes it less points to fly on a partner airline but don’t let that sway you too far–there are still some really affordable redemptions and I was impressed by the Air Canada product.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Flying Blue is a great airline to redeem points if you are headed to Europe. Each month, Flying Blue publishes some AMAZING points-only deals for flights from Europe to/from the US and other various countries. I’ve seen flights to France for as little as 11,250 miles in economy! The deals change on the first of each month so keep an eye out for your desired destination!
LifeMiles is an often overlooked program for some of the other bigger airlines, but you can get some awesome value for some routes with Avianca Lifemiles. You can book the coveted Lufthansa first class from the US east coast to Frankfurt for as little as 87,000 miles. Or book a United flight through LifeMiles in Polaris from one US coast to the other for just 25,000 miles. If you’re diligent about checking the LifeMiles site, they occasionally have promo awards like LAX to Beijing for 120,000 miles round trip. These usually need to be booked just 2-3 weeks in advance though, so will require lots of flexibility.
Cathay Pacific First Class
Known as one of the best first class products in the sky, cash in your Capital One miles to fly on Cathay Pacific’s first class. You can fly from Hong Kong to the US in Cathay Pacific for 110,000 one way using Asia miles!
Emirates SkyRewards or Singapore Krisflyer First Class
Both Singapore and Emirates are partners with Capital One and each offers a top notch first class product. These are often bucket list flights that can cost well over $10,000 per person if paying for the cash fare. Transfer your Capital One miles to Krisflyer miles or Skywards miles to book this luxurious flight with points. The flights will cost you between 90k-120k (maybe more) points for a one way flight but if this is a goal of yours, it’s more than worth it! The awesome thing about both Emirates and Singapore is that most of the other major banks are also transfer partners so you can pool your points.
Turkish Airlines offers business class flights to Europe for just 45,000 miles and I just booked these exact flights to get to Rome in 2023. To get this deal, you need to plan with plenty of time in advance and flexibility with your dates. If you want to book a Star Alliance flight (like United), you’ll most likely have to call Turkish Airlines to book those flights as they don’t always show up online.
There are also several other airlines such as Swiss Airlines and Austrian airlines you can book for 45,000 miles one way. Turkish Airlines award chart is also a bit better than Avianca for flying United Polaris across the country for just 15,000 miles!
Advanced Strategies for Earning Capital One Miles
Want to level up your points and miles game to get even more Capital One Venture miles? Recruit a player 2. In the world of points and miles, this is usually a spouse, partner, or (very) close friend that will combine points with you for even more redemptions. Once you hit the minimum spend on your Capital One card, you can refer your partner to apply for the same card. They get the sign up bonus and you’ll get several thousand referral points as well!
You can also use shared transfer partners from other large banks to combine points and miles to one airline or hotel. This is useful for a big redemption, like a business class flight or a luxury hotel. The partners that overlap with Capital One are below:
Chase: Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, Emirates Skyrewards, Flying Blue, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic
Citi: Emirates SkyRewards, Flying Blue, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic
American Express: British Airways, Emirates Skyrewards, Flying Blue, Aviana Lifemiles, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Capital One has really upped their travel rewards game in the past several years and it’s certainly paying off. With the Capital One Venture and Venture X both offering 2x on everything with generous sign up bonuses of 75,000 miles you can easily rack up a large number of Capital One miles! Capital One has some excellent transfer partners from Virgin Atlantic to get you to and from Europe, Emirates to fly in style, and Air Canada for some awesome domestic redemptions that make Capital One miles extremely valuable.
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