Capital One is Adding Points to Airline Miles Transfers at a Great Rate, Venture Becomes Double Threat

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is offering 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel ($0 intro annual fee for first year; $95 after that). But they’ve just announced something that potentially makes the points worth even more. (Update: there’s an offer of 75,000 miles after $5000 within 3 months now, HT: IadisGr8)

Capital One miles will transfer to airline frequent flyer programs starting next month. I love when programs make their miles worth more, without taking anything away from customers at all.

Capital One’s Initial Airline Transfer Partners

Capital One is making their points more lucrative. You can still use points to buy travel — at the same rate as before. Starting next month you’ll also have the option to transfer points to airline miles if you’d like.

Initially they’ve launched with 12 airline partners:

  • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, Avianca, EVA Air
  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific, Finanir, Qantas, Qatar Airways
  • Non-alliance: Etihad, Hainan Airlines

This gives crossover with American Express Membership Rewards (Aeroplan, Air France KLM, Avianca, Aeromexico, Alitalia, Cathay Pacific, Etihad); Chase (Air France); Citibank (Avianca, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Air France KLM, Qantas, Qatar, Etihad). That means you can combine the points you have from other cards into the same airlines and earn rewards more quickly.

These transfer partners are just the start. Capital One says they plan to add additional transfer partners on an ongoing basis. In my experience getting not just the agreements done but getting the IT done to bring transfer partners online can take time, so it’s great to see they have a critical mass of a dozen to launch this new benefit with.

Open Questions

Since the launch of this new ability to transfer points earned with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is still several weeks away we do not yet know how quickly points will transfer.

  • It’s a new system, so hopefully they’ve invested in the technology to be ‘live’ with their airline partners (instant transfer)
  • Speed matters a great deal, especially with mileage programs that do not allow award holds. I find that the program I transfer Membership Rewards to the most is Aeroplan, even though their transfer partner ANA often has better award pricing at least with airlines where both programs add fuel surcharges. Aeroplan points transfer from Amex right away, ANA points don’t. (Having Aeroplan as a Capital One transfer partner is really quite huge in my view, especially if points transfer instantly.)

We don’t know what additional airline transfer partners Capital One may be adding. If I were guessing I’d be focused on programs that partner with American Express, Chase, or Citibank already and which don’t have exclusive arrangements through US co-brand credit cards. For instance JetBlue has a card issued by Barclays but points transfer from more than one bank currency. Singapore transfers from several bank currencies. So does Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways transfers from both Chase and American Express.

Finally we don’t know whether they will run transfer bonuses as American Express and Citibank sometimes do (while Chase generally does not). Of course Capital One transfers may be included in bonuses for points moved into an account offered by the airline programs themselves. Etihad, for instance, has been known to run these.

Double Threat: Earn 2% Travel Rebates or 1.5 Airline Miles Per Dollar Spent With the Same Card

Points transfer at 2-to-1.5. Since the card earns 2 points per dollar that means you earn 1.5 frequent flyer miles per dollar in the airline program of your choice (out of these 12). And you can still use the card for 2% rebates towards travel

This same transfer ratio will also apply to points from Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Points from Spark Miles Select transfer as at this rate as well.

In my view this could become the best single personal credit card solution for regular unbonused spend.

I love that the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card becomes a one card solution for strong value spending points for paid travel (2% rebate) as well as having the option to transfer to airline miles (1.5 miles per dollar spent). And I love that it’s bundled with a card that’s been adding benefits and that comes with a strong initial bonus offer.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

Comments

  1. 1.5 miles per dollar is pretty great.

    Do Capital One’s other cards (Spark for Business, etc.) get transferability. Or is it only the Venture card?

    Thanks.

  2. App page says “The bonus may not be available for existing or previous account holders.” Any DPs on what that means?

  3. Chase ink unlimited with CSR gets 1.5 cents x 1.5 points on travel credit. But the 1.5 points per mile unbonused for transfers is on par. Cap One has gift cards that get a penny a point, or .02 per dollar spent, so there is more flexibility. The 10 points on Hotels is all non refundable bookings so limited utility to me.

  4. I have a CapOne Professional card, which is apparently no longer offered, but which gets me 1.25 points per $1 of spend, and has no annual fee. It is my normal general spend card. Will it also be included in transfer? If not, I may have to consider a product change.

    This makes sense to me. The existing CapOne travel benefit, spending points at 1 cent each for travel, simply wasn’t competitive when CapOne’s booking partner (which I think was Expedia), wasn’t showing best available airfares.

    And, @GeoffStuart – I suspect the limitation is that someone like me, who already has a CapOne card, can’t get another one and pocket another 50K signup bonus. It’s probably a more restrictive version of Chase’s 5/24.

  5. @Retired Lawyer, I had a Cap One Venture card about five years back but currently no Cap One cards. The vague language really irritates me but I could not get them to answer the phone to clarify. WIll email instead.

  6. Ed How is the 1.5 less than Chase? The best Chase card for unbonused spend is Freedom Unlimited at 1.5x.
    Nice to see they’re back in the game. I wish they’d add American as a transfer partner.

  7. @CSue,

    Only a fool has “unbonused spend”. I have ZERO “unbonused spend. EVERYTHING I charge earns at least 2 points.

  8. @Ed, can you please explain what you mean by “Only a fool has ‘unbonused spend”’? I would like to move away from being a fool. I have some spend, such as my rent that I consider unbonused. I could theoretically earn 1.5 cents per point with a Chase Freedom card, which paired with a Chase Sapphire Reserve, would earn 2.25 cents per point spent on travel. However, this is unbonused spend. Is there a better way to make this bonus spend (without resorting to buying gift cards)?

  9. @Gary – I’m going to disagree with you about the “Transfers at a Great Rate” part of your headline. Worse than 1:1 is just not great. 1:2 really would be great, though, but is unlikely to happen.

  10. I see there are some folks here weak on math. 2 points per dollar spend. or $.02 per point value. .75 air mile per Cap1 point transfer ratio, means that $10,000 spend = $15,000 aeroplan points, everyday.

    These card have always been good for domestic redemptions and the airline tickets are treated as cash purchases. Now with transfer partners – outstanding chance to get beyond $.02 per point.

    My only challenge is getting them to raise my credit limit for my business.

  11. This is really exciting news. I already have a bunch of miles on my Venture card. Assuming I can use these for transfers at 2:1.5 (is this for existing cards too?), I’d transfer them for Aeroplan to use for star alliance flights and my short haul trips to Canada.

  12. Gary – The overall value proposition is good, basically the same as a Chase Freedom Unlimited card. My point is that the transfer rate is actually pretty bad. At 1:1, I’d be using the card a lot for my business. The main thing holding me back is that I’d like a more robust partner list.

  13. Nice! Another Etihad partner that I can clock more bonuses from. I must say there’s a really interesting mix of partners too – can see Aeroplan being popular for *A redemptions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *