Massive Devaluation at Capital One

I’m quoted in KARE-11 TV Minneapolis’ story on the devaluation of Capital One miles.

Readers of this blog already know to stay away from Capital One, which basically offers a rebate card where the rebate is limited to spending on travel, so it’s less appealing than a traditional cashback card.

And as I’ve mentioned before, with miles you can earn from a variety of sources but with a credit card’s proprietary program you only earn through credit card spend — which means it’s tougher to earn enough points for a free ticket.

Now the Capital One program has massively increased the number of points required for many awards, and it’s no longer ever possible to do better than 1% return on spending.

Since it’s mass market TV, the story doesn’t get into the reasons behind the changes (although it does make hay of Capital One’s refusal to comment for the story). The reporter relayed his conversation with Randy Petersen, however. It’s a secondhand discussion of Randy’s argument, so apologize if I’m not passing it along accurately, but if the average cardholder is spending about $4,000 to $6,000 a year then the Capital One program is just starting to get a substantial number of cardholders with enough points for redemption. Just as a cluster of customers are getting close to rewards the goal post is getting moved to stave off huge redemption costs. It’s like Charlie Brown and the football.

Don’t get duped again. Runaway from Capital One. Run fast. Run far.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Regarding CapitalOne credit cards, they do have a benefit for foreign currency transactions, i.e. no transaction fees which are usually, for other credit cards, 1% – 3%

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