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How you can use your Capital One miles for optimum worth

Editor’s notice: This can be a recurring submit, frequently up to date with new data. This submit makes reference to a number of flights that aren’t at the moment working due to the coronavirus pandemic. Discover ongoing COVID-19 updates on TPG’s coronavirus hub web page 

After a few years of constructing a stable portfolio of fixed-value and cash-back bank cards, Capital One took an enormous step ahead by including airline and resort switch companions to its standard lineup of playing cards beneath the Enterprise and Spark manufacturers. This was bi information on the time, nevertheless it really wasn’t all that revolutionary. The entire most respected airways Capital One partnered with had been already switch companions with different main applications similar to Chase Final Rewards and American Categorical Membership Rewards.

Capital One’s distinctive achievement was to mix transferable miles and fixed-value redemptions in a single low-cost card. As well as, Capital One just lately elevated the welcome bonus on the Capital One® Enterprise® Rewards Credit score Card to 100,000 bonus miles whenever you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening. You may nonetheless earn 50,000 miles for those who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

You may money out 100,000 miles for $1,000 in journey credit or stand up to 1.4 cents per mile in worth by transferring rewards to a journey associate. Right this moment we’ll undergo some methods for maximizing your return with Capital One miles.

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In This Publish

Incomes Capital One miles

There are at the moment 4 playing cards that earn Capital One miles fairly than simply money again. These embrace a major private and enterprise card in addition to no-annual-fee variations of every:

Capital One® Enterprise® Rewards Credit score Card

  • Present bonus: Earn as much as 100,000 bonus miles whenever you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening, or nonetheless earn 50,000 miles for those who spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Advantages: 2x miles on all purchases, World Entry/TSA PreCheck software charge credit score (as much as $100)
  • Annual charge: $95

Learn our overview of the Capital One Enterprise card.

(Picture by The Factors Man)

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit score Card

  • Present bonus: 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases throughout the first three months of account opening
  • Advantages: 1.25x miles on all purchases
  • Annual charge: $0

Learn our overview of the Capital One VentureOne Card.

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Picture by The Factors Man)

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Enterprise

  • Present bonus: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases throughout the first three months of account opening
  • Advantages: 5x miles on resort and rental automotive bookings with the cardboard by means of Capital One journey, 2x miles on all different purchases
  • Annual charge: $95 (waived the primary 12 months)

The data for the Capital One Spark Miles has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.          

Learn our overview of the Capital One Spark Miles for Enterprise Card.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Picture by Eric Helgas for The Factors Man)

Capital One® Spark® Miles Choose for Enterprise

  • Present bonus: 20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases throughout the first three months of account opening
  • Advantages: 5x miles on resort and rental automotive bookings with the cardboard by means of Capital One journey; 1.5x miles on all purchases; free worker playing cards
  • Annual charge: $0

The data for the Capital One Spark Miles Choose has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.          

Learn our overview of the Capital One Spark Miles card.

Redemption choices

You could have two broad choices for redeeming your Capital One miles: for a set worth or by transferring them to airline and resort companions. Transferring will often get you a greater worth. Nonetheless, it’s the flexibility to combine and match redemptions to fit your private journey wants that offers Capital One such a singular edge right here.

Let’s take a better take a look at these two redemption options.

Associated studying: Must you use money or miles to guide airline tickets?

Fastened-value rewards

Capital One gives a couple of choices for getting a fixed-value return whenever you redeem your miles. Nevertheless, not all of those are created equal:

  • Redeem for latest journey — You should use your miles to redeem for latest eligible journey purchases made within the final 90 days in your Enterprise or Spark card at a set price of 1 cent every. There’s no minimal redemption quantity. You may redeem for purchases made with airways, motels, rail strains, automotive rental companies, limousine companies, bus strains, cruise strains, taxi cabs, journey brokers and timeshares.
  • Guide new journey — You may guide new journey immediately by means of Capital One and redeem your miles on the similar worth of 1 cent apiece, however this is able to forestall you from double-dipping with any rewards program supplied by a web based journey company. Keep in mind that reserving motels by means of a third-party web site (together with Capital One) would possible forestall you from incomes factors/miles and having fun with relevant elite standing perks. Consequently, you’re possible higher off reserving journey immediately after which redeem miles for latest journey.
  • Redeem for reward playing cards — You should use your Capital One miles for reward playing cards on the similar price of 1 cent per mile, however since reward playing cards can typically be bought on sale, redeeming miles to cowl journey purchases is a greater choice.
  • Redeem for money again — You must do every little thing attainable to keep away from this feature, as it’s going to solely present a redemption worth of 0.5 cents per mile.

When you aren’t within the temper to seek for award availability otherwise you’ve discovered a screaming deal for money airfare, redeem your Capital One miles at a set worth. The method is comparatively straightforward and doesn’t require leaping by means of any hoops.

Right here’s a step-by-step information exhibiting the way to use your Capital One miles at a set worth.

How you can redeem Capital One miles at a set worth

First, register to your Capital One account, click on in your mileage steadiness (situated beneath the cardboard icon) and also you’ll be taken to the rewards web page. There you’ll be offered with 4 fixed-value redemption choices — you should use your miles for journey, reward playing cards, money or switch them to a different account.

On the subject of redeeming miles for journey, you possibly can both guide new journey or use the miles as a press release credit score towards earlier journey purchases. No matter which route you’re taking, the redemption price when utilizing Enterprise miles for journey is at all times 1 cent per mile.

Choice 1: Redeem a beforehand made journey buy 

Clicking “Redeem Journey Purchases” will convey you to a display with all of your eligible journey purchases made with the cardboard within the final 90 days. The time period “journey” is used fairly broadly and contains every little thing from flight and resort bookings to Uber and Airbnb purchases. From there, you’re simply two clicks away from primarily erasing journey bills out of your assertion.

After deciding on the acquisition, you possibly can both approve the redemption outright or edit the variety of miles used for a partial credit score of the cost. Observe that there isn’t a minimal redemption quantity, except you’re redeeming for partial credit score, by which case you’ll want to make use of at the very least 2,500 miles.

Choice 2: Guide new journey by means of Capital One

Alternatively, you should use your miles to guide new journey immediately by means of Capital One. The portal seems like another reserving web site, and because the miles have a set worth, you’ll by no means want to fret about blackout dates or award restrictions.

Nevertheless, you’ll most likely be higher off reserving your journey utilizing a web based journey company (OTA) similar to Orbitz or Motels.com after which offsetting the acquisition utilizing the tactic beforehand described. It’s because many OTAs have their very own rewards applications and seem on cash-back buying portals, so you possibly can double or triple dip and get much more money again.

Choice 3: Redeem miles for reward playing cards 

Miles keep the identical fastened worth of 1 cent every when redeeming for reward playing cards. Nevertheless, reward playing cards can typically be purchased at a reduction, so that you’re higher off utilizing your miles to offset journey bills first.

Choice 4: Redeem for money again

The least precious redemption choice is money within the type of an account credit score or a examine by mail. You’d most likely wish to keep away from this feature as a result of the miles’ worth is minimize in half when utilizing this technique.

Choice 5: Switch miles to a different account

The ultimate method you possibly can redeem your miles is by transferring your miles to a different account. There isn’t a value related to this and so long as the opposite particular person holds a miles-earning card, there aren’t any restrictions as to who you possibly can ship them to.

Switch to airline companions

When you’re trying to get larger worth to your miles, transferring to airline companions could also be your finest wager. Right here’s a high-level overview of this system’s airline switch companions.

Program Miles wanted for one-way home flight Capital One miles wanted
Switch ratio On-line reserving?
Aeromexico 40,000 – 44,000 / 80,000 – 88,000* 53,333 – 58,666 / 106,666 – 117,333 2:1.5 Sure
Air Canada Aeroplan 12,500 / 25,000 16,666 / 33,333 2:1.5 Sure
Air France-KLM Dynamic Dynamic 2:1.5 Sure
Alitalia 20,000 / 40,000 26,666 / 53,333 2:1.5 No
Avianca 7,500 – 12,500 / 25,000 10,000 – 16,666 / 33,333 2:1.5 Sure
Cathay Pacific 15,000 / 45,000 20,000 / 60,000 2:1.5 Sure
Emirates Skywards Varies primarily based on provider and route Varies primarily based on provider and route 2:1 No
Etihad 12,500 / 25,000 16,666 / 33,333 2:1.5 No
EVA 39,000 / 58,000 52,000 / 77,333 2:1.5 Sure
Finnair 27,000 / 51,000 36,000 / 68,000 2:1.5 No
JetBlue Based mostly on money worth of ticket Based mostly on money worth of ticket 2:1.5 Sure
Qantas 18,000 / 36,000 24,000 / 48,000 2:1.5 Sure
Singapore KrisFlyer (United) 25,000 / 40,000 50,000 / 80,000 2:1 Sure
Singapore KrisFlyer (Alaska) 7,500 – 12,500 / 17,500 – 47,000 15,000 – 25,000 / 35,000 – 94,000 2:1 No

*Makes use of dynamic pricing and is commonly larger than award charts.

Given the 2x incomes price on the Spark and Enterprise playing cards, you possibly can successfully consider them as incomes 1-1.5x associate airline miles per greenback spent on each buy. Simply remember that these companions have variable switch instances, so take a look at our information to Capital One switch instances so you understand how lengthy you’ll have to attend to your miles to submit.

Redeeming miles for journey vs. airline transfers

American Airlines, United, Alaska and JetBlue planes at LA, March 2019 (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
You could have your choose of airways for those who’re redeeming miles for latest journey with Capital One. (Picture by Alberto Riva/The Factors Man.)

Capital One’s Enterprise and Spark Miles playing cards have at all times allowed cardholders to redeem miles for journey, which helps you to redeem your miles for one cent every as assertion credit towards any journey buy that you simply’ve made throughout the final 90 days. So how do you determine when to switch miles and when to redeem for journey to guide a home flight, as an illustration?

Listed here are the elements you must think about:

1. Value. The best strategy to get began on the lookout for a home flight is to examine the value in your favourite airline and search a web based journey company for the bottom costs (or think about Google Flights for a fast snapshot). As famous above, the least costly home round-trip awards (on Avianca) would require you to switch 20,000 Capital One miles and most would require at the very least 33,000 miles. Consequently, for those who discover any highly-discounted fares for $300 round-trip or much less, it’s most likely finest to redeem miles for journey.

If the flights are dearer than $300, it’s nonetheless crucial to know the associated fee in {dollars}, since that worth will translate to the variety of Capital One miles required. Simply add two zeros to the tip; a $500 ticket, for instance, will value 50,000 Capital One miles for those who redeem miles for journey.

2. Award availability. Subsequent, search for award availability on the lowest mileage ranges utilizing the main home carriers’ web sites (American, Delta and United). While you discover saver-level award house, you should use the chart above to see what number of airline miles it’s going to require.

3. Consider mileage incomes and improve alternatives. While you redeem miles for journey, you possibly can guide tickets the way in which you usually do. Which means you possibly can earn miles from the flight and credit score towards elite standing. When you at the moment maintain elite standing, you must nonetheless take pleasure in your whole elite standing advantages, together with being eligible for upgrades. You could not obtain these advantages whenever you switch your Capital One miles to an airline that books a associate award. To estimate the worth of the miles you could possibly earn, seek the advice of TPG’s newest factors and miles valuations.

One further notice: If you wish to use your free-checked-bag advantages on United-operated flights by means of the United Explorer Card or United Membership Infinite Card, keep in mind that you must use your card to buy the ticket. Consequently, redeeming miles for flights on this state of affairs could be a poor alternative, as you would need to pay these checked bag charges.

4. Take into account taxes and charges. All frequent flyer applications will add TSA taxes at a minimal, which might be $5.60 every method on nonstop flights. Nevertheless, Flying Blue has began including further surcharges to Delta awards. That is price remembering earlier than transferring Capital One miles.

5. Take into consideration the dangers and problem issue. When you find yourself confronted with the selection of redeeming miles for latest journey or transferring miles to frequent flyer applications, think about the time it might value you, particularly if the airline doesn’t provide on-line reserving for associate award tickets. You’ll have to create a brand new account and spend time calling the airline.

There’s additionally the chance that the airline gained’t be capable of see the award you need or that the award might disappear earlier than you obtain your airline miles. For these causes, you must most likely redeem miles for journey for those who’re not going to save lots of quite a lot of miles by transferring them. That’s very true whenever you aren’t accustomed to the frequent flyer program or don’t wish to spend an excessive amount of time on the reserving course of.

Associated studying: Capital One Enterprise Rewards Card: When to redeem miles vs. transferring to airline companions

Maximizing airline switch companions

TPG values Capital One miles at 1.4 cents apiece. This quantity is basically pushed by only a handful of associate applications, so to maintain issues easy, I’m going to separate the listing of switch choices into three teams:

  • Those who you must keep away from
  • Those who must be used solely in particular circumstances
  • Those who constantly provide excessive worth

Due to the big variety of switch companions, you should use Capital One Miles to fly all three main alliances: SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and Oneworld.

Dangerous switch choices

EVA, Finnair, Hainan, Alitalia and Qatar don’t provide sufficient worth of their loyalty applications to contemplate transferring your Capital One miles to them. Though there is likely to be a particular route or a singular redemption that may internet you a good return, the general course of might be stricken by some mixture of excessive gas surcharges, troublesome web sites and customer support, and restricted award availability. It isn’t well worth the time.

Emirates and Singapore have way more compelling loyalty applications, however they earn a spot on the no-go listing in terms of Capital One miles because of the two:1 switch ratio. Emirates Skywards has excessive gas surcharges (and fairly excessive award charges), and Singapore KrisFlyer has devalued each its award chart and its Star Alliance associate chart just lately. When you determine to make use of a kind of applications, you must think about transferring your factors 1:1 from Chase Final Rewards, American Categorical Membership Rewards and/or Citi ThankYou Rewards as a substitute.

Lastly, Aeromexico seems on the “keep away from” listing regardless of a couple of respectable SkyTeam redemption choices (like round-the-world tickets). It’s because the provider makes use of kilometers as a substitute of miles, thus boosting award charges by roughly 60% over “customary” mileage charts. That, coupled with the two:1.5 ratio, pushes this system into the poor-value class. When you discover worth in Aeromexico’s Membership Premier program, you must switch factors from Amex Membership Rewards at a 1:1.6 ratio as a substitute to compensate for this inflated award pricing.

Even Delta
Underneath the suitable circumstances, you may get some stable worth from Flying Blue. (Picture by Emily McNutt/The Factors Man.)

Common switch choices

Air France-KLM Flying Blue: Flying Blue could be a good choice, particularly for those who’re capable of reap the benefits of one of many provider’s month-to-month promo awards that supply reductions of 25-50% on choose routes. Nevertheless, dynamic pricing makes it unimaginable to speak about Flying Blue redemptions generally phrases as a result of award charges can range considerably from someday to the subsequent.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: Asia Miles makes use of a distance-based award chart, so Cathay Pacific flights from the U.S. to Asia find yourself being costly. Nonetheless, it is likely to be price paying up for one of many world’s finest first-class merchandise or nonstop flights to Asia from cities like Boston or Washington, D.C. You can too discover good values on some shorter home American flights and on Oneworld awards from the East Coast to Europe. Nevertheless, you’ll additionally have to take care of the provider’s difficult award reserving engine.

Qantas Frequent Flyer: Qantas additionally makes use of a distance-based award chart for Oneworld flights and it typically isn’t essentially the most rewarding. One benefit of utilizing the Frequent Flyer program is that you simply might need entry to further premium-class Qantas award house that different companions can’t guide. Qantas additionally companions with Israeli flag provider El Al. You may get a great worth redeeming Qantas miles to Israel, particularly for business-class flights on El Al’s new 787 Dreamliner between Newark (EWR) and Tel Aviv (TLV).

Excessive-value choices

A lot of the worth of Capital One miles comes from three switch companions, all of that are additionally 1:1 switch companions of American Categorical Membership Rewards.

Air Canada Aeroplan: Air Canada’s independently run loyalty program, Aeroplan, has lengthy been some of the standard choices for reserving Star Alliance awards, particularly in premium cabins. With United’s swap to dynamic award pricing, it’s extra essential than ever to leverage overseas companions with fastened charts, and Aeroplan is a good choice.

Though it prices among the lowest award charges on the market, you must watch out about gas surcharges, which may add up rapidly. Take this Lufthansa first-class flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA). Whereas 70,000 miles for this ticket is an absolute steal, the $825+ in taxes actually hurts the worth.

You’d be higher off sticking to companions similar to EVA Air or Swiss, which supply cheap award charges to all its locations and don’t impose any gas surcharges.

Associated studying: How you can maximize Aeroplan miles

Avianca LifeMiles: Avianca LifeMiles was once a comparatively obscure program that solely the factors professionals knew about, however Capital One and Amex have helped convey it into the limelight. One in all its largest benefits is that it doesn’t cross on gas surcharges for any associate airways, so you possibly can guide nearly the identical Lufthansa first-class award for 87,000 miles and simply $5.60 in taxes.

LifeMiles additionally has the odd however consumer-friendly coverage of discounting mixed-cabin awards, such because the one-way first-class award on ANA beneath from Chicago (ORD) to Okinawa (OKA). The LifeMiles award chart says that this flight ought to value 90,000 miles, however as a result of your connection from Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Okinawa is in financial system, you find yourself saving ~6,800 miles.

One other nice use of LifeMiles is redeeming them for home flights on United. Quick flights, like this hop from Newark (EWR) to Washington DC (IAD), are a steal at simply 6,500 miles every method.

You’ll additionally discover barely longer flights pricing out within the 7,500- to 10,000-mile vary, nicely beneath the 12,500 miles Aeroplan would cost you for these similar tickets and sometimes lower than United would cost for those who booked immediately by means of its MileagePlus program.

Etihad Visitor: Regardless of not being a member of one of many three main alliances, Etihad has a partnership with American Airways that permits for reciprocal mileage redemptions. The most effective information is that Etihad’s pricing for American awards matches what AAdvantage used to cost earlier than its large-scale devaluation in 2016. Which means — if you will discover saver-level award house — you possibly can fly from the U.S. to Europe for less than 50,000 miles every method in enterprise class.

American can be the final of the U.S. airways to supply a real first-class cabin, which you will discover flying to pick out European, Asian and South American locations. Award house is extremely robust to come back by, however you possibly can fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to London-Heathrow (LHR) or Tokyo-Haneda (HND) for less than 62,500 Etihad Visitor miles every method.

Etihad has a number of different area of interest companions as nicely, and its forex continues to be some of the underrated on the market. One other nice redemption choice is utilizing 44,000 miles to fly enterprise class in Royal Air Maroc’s 787 from New York to Casablanca (CMN). Observe that Etihad just lately devalued Royal Air Maroc redemptions by pricing awards by section, however nonstop routes from the U.S. are nonetheless an unimaginable deal.

Transferring Miles to motels

Capital One has continued to develop its switch associate listing, including two motels to the combo again in February. Now you can switch Capital One miles to the next resort loyalty applications:

  • Wyndham Rewards — 2:1.5 (1,000 Capital One miles = 750 Wyndham Rewards factors)
  • Accor Stay Limitless (ALL) — 2:1 (1,000 Capital One miles = 500 ALL Rewards factors)

When you plan on staying at an Accor property, together with one in every of its higher-end Fairmont motels, this could be a respectable deal. ALL use a fixed-value redemption scheme, the place you possibly can redeem 2,000 factors for a 40-euro low cost in your resort keep (~$44). Because you’d have to switch 4,000 Capital One miles to get 2,000 ALL Rewards factors, transferring is assured to present you a greater worth than redeeming miles for journey.

Wyndham is a bit trickier. If 2 Capital One miles get you 1.5 Wyndham factors, you will need to get at the very least 2 cents of worth out of these 1.5 Wyndham factors (or 1.33 cents for each one Wyndham level you redeem). That is barely larger than our valuations right here at TPG, which peg Wyndham factors at 1.1 cents apiece — although it’s not unimaginable to get the next worth.

Backside line

Capital One is the newest program to morph right into a transferable miles forex. Nevertheless, lots of its precious companions are already acquainted switch choices because of present partnerships with Chase and/or American Categorical. The great thing about Capital One miles comes from the robust, fastened incomes price in addition to the flexibility to mix miles transfers with fixed-value redemptions to fit your journey wants.

Extra reporting by Joseph Hostetler/The Factors Man.

Featured photograph by Ethan Steinberg/The Factors Man.

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