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If you’d asked me five years ago about the value of Capital One miles, I would have dismissed the program. I would have recommended getting a 2% cash back card and focusing your mile-earning efforts elsewhere. After all, Capital One pulls your credit from all three credit bureaus when you apply for a card. Why do that when the miles are worth a lousy one cent each? It didn’t make sense at the time.

That has changed since the introduction of transfer partners, a premium credit card, and competitive benefits. Capital One’s loyalty program is now on par (and arguably better) than programs like Citi ThankYou, from our partner Citi, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Between its flexible redemptions and excellent sign-up bonuses, Capital One rewards are more valuable than they’ve ever been. 

This program doesn’t get nearly as much attention as its competitors, so you may not be as familiar with it. To get you up to speed, here is everything you need to know about Capital One miles:

Are Capital One Miles Worth It?

Capital One miles are worth one cent each toward travel purchases and statement credits. You can get more value from your miles by transferring them to one of 18 airline and hotel partners. That’s because some of these programs require fewer miles for award redemptions and provide access to business and first-class awards.

How much are Capital One miles worth when transferred to partner programs? Slickdeals values them at 1.8 cents each, which is roughly the value you can expect when transferring them to partner airlines and hotels. 

You’ll get the most value from high-end redemptions (i.e., luxury hotels, premium cabin flights), though low-category awards can also be valuable. 

How to Earn Capital One Miles

Credit cards are the primary ways to earn Capital One miles, but you can earn miles beyond the initial bonus. Capital One cards have generous category bonuses, which you can maximize by adding an authorized user. You can also share miles with other cardholders without paying a fee. Here’s a look at all the ways to earn Capital One rewards:

Capital One Credit Cards

Capital One has six mile-earning credit cards, two of which are business cards. While it’s not the most comprehensive line-up, Capital One offers something for everyone. Even the no-annual-fee cards offer accelerated rewards on everyday spending.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a standout with no foreign transaction fees, so you can use them to make purchases abroad.

Before applying for a Capital One credit card, be sure to review the issuer’s application rules, which restrict some bonuses to one-time only. You should also check the credit score requirements. In most cases, you’ll need good credit to qualify. You can monitor your credit score with CreditWise, which is free to everyone.

Capital One also pulls your credit from all three bureaus, which is unusual. So you want to make sure the sign-up bonus and long-term benefits of these Capital One cards are worth the short-term credit hit. 

Capital One Venture X

The Venture X has a $395 annual fee and offers valuable travel benefits like a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit every four years, access to Priority Pass and Capital One’s lounge network, and premium purchase and travel protections

Category bonus 

  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases

Annual fee: $395

*Information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was collected independently and not reviewed for accuracy or provided by the credit card issuer.

Authorized Users

Adding an authorized user to your Capital One credit card is a great way to earn extra miles. You can meet spending requirements and earn rewards based on their spending. When choosing an authorized user, you’ll obviously want to pick someone you trust. A household member is typically a safe bet, though you want to work out the financial responsibility ahead of time. Talk to this person about payment due dates, spending limits, and when you expect repayment. 

Because it is challenging to keep transactions separate, you might want to limit authorized users to someone you share your finances with. That way, you can pay the card from a joint checking account and not worry about who owes what on the total balance. 

Refer a Friend

If you love your Capital One card, you can get rewarded for promoting it. Capital One offers bonus rewards when you successfully refer friends and family to a card. The bonus varies by card, but the requirements are the same: 

  1. Visit the refer-a-friend page
  2. Sign into your Capital One account
  3. Copy your personal referral link and share it with your friends and family
  4. If they apply and get approved, you get a bonus

Capital One is pretty generous with referrals. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a 20,000-mile referral bonus. You can earn up to 50,000 miles per calendar year by referring people to this card. In other words, you’ll earn 20,000 miles for the first two referrals and 10,000 for the third.

If you’re a Venture X cardholder, you can earn 25,000 miles per successful referral. Venture X referrals are capped at 100,000 miles per year. If you have friends and family members interested in applying for a Capital One card, sharing your referral link is an easy way to earn some extra miles every year.

Combine Miles

Technically, you’re not “earning” miles when combining them, but you are increasing your balance. If you’re looking to stock up on miles for an award, combining them with someone else is a great option. There are no fees and you can transfer miles to anyone – friends and family alike. To request a transfer, you’ll need to call Capital One since this option isn’t currently online.

How to Use Capital One Rewards

Capital One miles are incredibly versatile, giving you lots of redemption options. You can use Capital One rewards for statement credits or transfer them to 18 transfer partners. Capital One’s transfer partner list is very competitive and offers access to several “sweet spot” redemptions. Let’s dive deeper into ways of redeeming Capital One miles:

Transfer Miles to Airlines and Hotels

Capital One’s expansion into transferable rewards has made their miles so much more valuable over the years. Up until 2018, the only way to redeem Capital One Venture miles was for statement credits. That changed with the introduction of transfer partners. Capital One has since added to its partner lists and you can now transfer your miles to 18 travel partners. 

For all but two partners, you get one mile for every mile transferred. Occasionally Capital One will even offer transfer bonuses to specific partners. 

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Accor Live Limitless (2:1)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Choice Privileges
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5)
  • Finnair Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore KrisFlyer
  • Tap Miles&Go
  • Turkish Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Red
  • Wyndham Rewards

Transferring miles to airlines is generally the most valuable redemption option. That’s because most airline miles are worth more than the one cent-per-mile you’ll receive from fixed travel redemptions. For example, you can book a round-trip business class ticket to Europe for 126,000 Avianca LifeMiles. That same ticket usually costs $4,000 or more. You’d need to redeem 400,000 Capital One miles for a fixed redemption. Clearly, the transfer works out better.

Note, mileage transfers are irreversible. So be sure to check award availability before transferring miles to an airline or hotel.

Travel Statement Credits

If researching transfer partners and figuring out award inventory sounds like a hassle, you can take the easy way and opt for fixed travel redemptions. Capital One lets you redeem miles for travel purchases at a rate of one cent per mile.

When redeeming miles for a travel purchase, simply charge qualifying bookings to your credit card. Once the transaction posts, you can scroll to the Rewards page, select “Cover travel purchases” and apply miles to your eligible transactions.

The great thing about using Capital One miles for fixed travel redemptions is that you have up to 90 days from the transaction date to redeem miles. This means that even if you don’t have enough miles for an award ticket, you could charge your airplane ticket or hotel to your Venture or Venture X card. You then have 90 days to earn enough miles to cover the charge. This flexibility is incredibly valuable if you want to limit your travel-related expenses.

Non-Travel Redemptions

At the height of the pandemic, when travel wasn’t possible and the economy tanked, some people cashed out their transferable points to cover bills. This might become even more prevalent as the economy continues on a downward trend and companies begin laying off employees. Capital One allows cardholders to redeem miles for cash, gift cards, Amazon, Paypal, and more. 

Redemption Rate

Cashback

0.5 cents per mile

Paypal

0.8 cents per mile

Gift cards

0.8 cents per mile

Experiences

0.8 cents per mile

Events

0.8 cents per mile

Amazon

0.8 cents per mile

The redemption rate for gift cards and other cash equivalents isn’t great at 0.5 - 0.8 cents per mile. In fact, it’s about half the value you can expect from airline transfers. However, if you can’t travel and need to pay bills, it’s good to know this option is available. 

Bottom Line

Capital One miles continue to become more valuable as the issuer expands and improves its loyalty offerings. With the introduction of branded airport lounges, Capital One is quickly expanding into premium rewards territory. If you don’t currently have any Capital One rewards, you should consider getting a card that earns them. Between the flexible redemption options and travel perks, this is a program worth investing in.

AA

Ariana Arghandewal

Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser, an online publication dedicated to rewards travel topics. She brings over a decade of experience writing about travel, points, miles and credit cards. Her expertise includes her roles as an editor for distinguished travel and finance publications such as NerdWallet, The Points Guy and FlyerTalk. She has also authored many articles featured in major financial news & travel channels like Forbes, U.S. News Weekly, Business Insider & Fodor’s Travel.