Last night the story broke on Milepoint about Capital One offering a 100,000 mile ‘matching’ bonus for signing up for the Venture Card — they’ll match up to 100,000 miles from one of your frequent flyer accounts as a signup bonus (after spending $1000 on the card within three months) in addition to the normal 10,000 point bonus.
I did describe the points as being worth $1100 in airfare, and their reps pinged me to point out that they’re redeemable towards travel generally and not just airfare. Fair enough.
But the question that everyone keeps asking is whether or not they have to have earned 100,000 miles from credit card spend in order to have their miles ‘matched’ by Capital One. I said pretty clearly from my read of the terms and conditions of the offer that the answer was no. Though folks kept quoting things back suggesting otherwise.
Capital One doesn’t do frequent flyer miles. They don’t do mileage earning from a whole bunch of sources that pool into a single account. They do their own proprietary ‘miles’ from credit card spend only. So they always refer to “credit card miles.” It’s their marketing lingo, their branding, what their experts tell them to talk about. Because the people who spend their money on credit cards and want flights or travel in return think about their ‘credit card miles’. That’s the language Capital One uses.
But it was pretty clear to me that they were saying you needed to have frequent flyer miles in your account, with a program they were listing that they’d match (Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, United, US Airways, Virgin, Airtran, and Southwest). But they weren’t going to get you to send credit card statements, and they weren’t going to have you parse your frequent flyer statements to demonstrate the amount that came from credit card spend.
Folks didn’t believe me, so I asked Capital One. Not their telephone customer service, who give conflicting answers. Not their online chat people (which is always useful for capturing screen shots, but may not give out the best info). But actually asking Capital One. And here’s the answer I got to the direct question.
[T]he customer needs to be a co-brand airline credit cardholder and needs to send us their airline card rewards statement. So it’s the total miles balance on the statement and we understand that in some cases it’s hard to separate the miles earned via a co brand airline credit card or the miles earned from flying. In this scenario, we will accept general airline rewards statements for those programs that accrue the card miles into the airline’s general rewards account.
You send them your frequent flyer statement. It is just supposed to be a statement that accrues miles earned from credit card spend, though it’s not clear to me that part will be enforced. And they’ll match the balance in your account, not the balance demonstrated to have come from credit card earning.
This just shouldn’t be the big concern. The only issue here is that though the promo will potentially run through mid-May, you do actually have to act fast because it’s possible that only 10,000 people would get the bonus. They’re ‘capping’ the offer at a billion miles which sounds like a big number but in reality if the first 10,000 people each had 100,000 miles in their account to match, the ‘pool’ of bonus miles would be depleted, and folks who hadn’t already been approved for the card and submitted their paperwork for the match would have this new card and just the 10,000 point signup bonus.
You have to imagine that this’ll last for a couple of weeks, but not through mid-May, so if you do want to get in on the offer it’s a good idea to act quickly.