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The biggest end of year miles and points news is definitely that Capital One has introduced the ability to transfer their miles to a variety of different airlines. That’s a game changer because the Capital One Venture is now a double threat. When you spend on the card you earn your choice of:
- 2% back towards paid travel, or
- Up to 1.5 airline frequent flyer miles per dollar spent
That’s on all of your purchases, every day, without requiring any special category bonuses at all. That’s why this is the new best personal card for everyday spending.
New Cardmember Offer
The card is currently offering 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. (Offer expired).
Now there have been several significant improvements to this card. That’s why I believe this is the best-ever time to consider the card.
Capital One Made a Strong Rewards Card Even Better
Venture has been well known for a long time as the card that earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, where you can use those points to purchase travel with any airline, stay at any hotel, car rentals, cruises, etc.
Earlier in the year Capital One added 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels when you pay with your Venture card at Hotels.com/Venture through January 2020. And they’ve recently added a statement credit of up to $100 when you use your Venture card to pay for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry enrollment.
Now they’ve done something game-changing: making their miles transferable to airline frequent flyer programs with a wide array of partners. That makes their already valuable points more lucrative. Venture customers can continue to redeem their miles with no blackout dates on all travel purchases — at the same rate as before. Now they also have the option to transfer points to airline miles.
Capital One miles transfer to most airline loyalty programs at a 2-to-1.5 ratio. These rates are current as of December 29 and may change, so if you’re consulting this article in the future check for current transfer rates.
|Airline Frequent Flyer Program||Transfer Ratio|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||2-to-1.5|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||2-to-1.5|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||2-to-1.5|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia Program||2-to-1.5|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2-to-1.5|
|Etihad Airways Etihad Guest||2-to-1.5|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||2-to-1.5|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||2-to-1.5|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||2-to-1.5|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||2-to-1.5|
|Singapore Airlines Krisflyer||2-to-1.0|
Qantas Airbus A380 First Class
The Hotels.com 10x partnership means that you can earn up to 7.5 airline miles per dollar spent via Hotels.com/venture as well.
- When you use your Venture card to book a hotel stay at Hotels.com/venture you’ll earn 10 Venture miles per dollar spent through January 2020.
- This means that you could earn up to 7.5 airline miles per dollar spent when you transfer those Venture miles to a participating airline loyalty program.
How Do You Transfer Capital One Miles to Airline Programs?
Once you have decided where to transfer miles (ideally you have identified availability for an award ticket) and you have opened a frequent flyer account with that airline (if you do not already have one) it’s time to transfer your Capital One miles over to an airline.
It’s a simple process to go online in your Capital One account to make the transfer. They’ve created a short video though that shows you the clicks, step-by-step, in order to move your miles.
Don’t Leave Miles Behind or Let Your Points Expire
Most transferable currencies allow you to move miles in 1000 mile increments with the majority of airline partners. I often feel like I’m ‘wasting miles’ that way. If I transfer points to top off an airline account, I may need 120,000 miles and already have, say, 109,900. I transfer bank points to 11,000 miles, redeem my miles, and I wind up orphaning 900 miles in my airline account.
One of the great features that seems ‘under the radar’ to me is that Capital One will let you transfer miles in 100 mile increments — far fewer orphaned miles, and more miles towards your next award redemption. While the minimum transfer is 1000 Capital One miles, you don’t need to go up in 1000 mile increments.
When you’re transferring points by the way many airlines will allow those points to extend the ‘life’ of your miles. For example, both Aeroplan and LifeMiles expire points after 12 months of inactivity in an account. In fact only mileage earning and not redemption keeps miles in a LifeMiles account active. Transferring points into, say, 750 miles will extend the life of the miles you have in those accounts.
Searching for Award Space
When this new miles transfer opportunity went live I outlined some of my favorite uses for the miles of the airline programs that Capital One is partnering with. It may be useful to share some tips about booking awards with some of these airlines, including where to go to find award seats that are available.
I find it’s always a good idea to do your own homework when booking an award trip. You can always call the airline whose miles you’re using to inquire about availability. I like to search for the space myself, even if I’m going to pick up the telephone to book the actual award.
My strategy is to search for the longest and most important part of the trip first. So if I’m going to Asia I want to find award availability for the long transpacific segment. Then I will work backwards (to my starting city in the U.S.) and forwards (to my ultimate destination).
Sure I may start with entering my home city and where I’m going to into the website, but not all websites support all possible flight combinations. And I don’t want to get discouraged on a big business class trip to Bangkok if Los Angeles – Hong Kong – Bangkok is available in business class but my flight from Austin to Los Angeles isn’t available.
Here are tips regarding the websites of some of the programs that Capital One now allows you to transfer your miles to.
- Aeroplan: They have an excellent website for booking award travel. They will offer award availability for airlines across the Star Alliance. So regardless of which Star Alliance frequent flyer program I’m using miles with I will often start with the Aeroplan website for my searches.
- Air France KLM: The AirFrance.us website supports searching for awards with all 22 SkyTeam member airlines, so is one of my go-to sources for information on award availability.
- Avianca LifeMiles: Their website supports award searches for not only their own flights but many Star Alliance flights as well. Their ‘cash and points’ awards, which you can book once you find the flights you want, can be an especially good value.
- Etihad: The Etihad website is useful for searching awards on their own flights. However if you want to book awards on a partner airline with their miles you’ll need to call. Awards on American Airlines in premium cabins are an especially good value if saver award space is available. They charge a number of miles similar to what American charged their own members prior to March 22, 2016.
- Hainan Airlines: If you aren’t already a member of their program, and if you’re searching for awards to or from the U.S., you can find award space using the Alaska Airlines website. They let you search award space without logging into an account, and they show availability for Hainan Airlines flights.
- Singapore Airlines: Some Star Alliance awards show up on the Singapore Airlines website but what I find their website most useful for is searching for award travel on Singapore Airlines. That’s because Singapore offers greater award availability to members using their own Krisflyer members than they do to partner airline frequent flyer programs. However their website doesn’t support all of their partners, so if you’re using Singapore Airlines miles to book travel on another airline, and you see award space on the Aeroplan website, call Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book your award.
- Qantas: The Qantas Frequent Flyer program website is my go-to for searching for award space across oneworld. It also shows award availability for Emirates and for Alaska Airlines.
Etihad Airbus A380 First Class
Where Some of the Award Seats Are With Capital One Airline Partners
While I’ve often had frustrations getting the award seats I’ve wanted from U.S. airlines at the saver level, international airlines — and their associated mileage programs — have frequently been the ticket to successful trips.
Air France offers more premium cabin seats to their own Flying Blue members than they do to partner frequent flyer programs. I’ve written about just how good that availability can be.
Air France Business Class Award Availability Calendar As Of 12/10/18
Singapore Airlines also offers more premium cabin award space to members with KrisFlyer miles than to people using miles in other frequent flyer programs. I’ve written about great first class award space on their Los Angeles – Tokyo route and I’ve had fantastic luck finding first class awards Europe – Singapore and Sydney – Singapore.
Arguably the best business class in the world is the Qatar Airways QSuite. I’ve written frequently over the past several months about just how good award availability is for that product across multiple U.S. gateways.
Meanwhile if you’re looking for a great first class experience award availability on Emirates can be excellent and their Airbus A380 aircraft features not just suites with doors (and a bar in business class) but onboard shower suites as well.
Emirates First Class Shower
I had a look at availability on one route, picking out one month at random, for Emirates first class availability. I searched for two award seats flying Dubai – Houston in June. And there were more dates availability than not available for the month:
Meanwhile one of the toughest awards in the world is business class between the US and Australia. However as I found over the summer because Qantas has so many flights it’s often possible to put together a business class award for two passengers. I even have roundtrip first class awards booked on Qantas myself.
Search Results from June 30, 2018
How Long Do Capital One Miles Take to Transfer?
Some airline frequent flyer programs let you put awards on ‘hold’ to lock in the seats you find, even if you don’t have enough miles in your account to book the ticket. For instance I regularly put seats on a 24 hour hold (by phone, this is not offered online) with Air France KLM Flying Blue. However for airlines where holds aren’t offered you want points to transfer as quickly as possible, so that the award space you’ve found doesn’t disappear by the time you’re able to book.
I asked Capital One about points transfer times. I’ve personally found in the past that points transfer from bank programs to airline frequent flyer programs faster than the maximum lengths that card issuers promise. However here’s what Capital One tells me about transfer times,
Miles will transfer to the following programs same day: Aeromexico (Club Premier), Air Canada (Aeroplan), Air France KLM (Flying Blue), Alitalia (MilleMiglia Program), Avianca (LifeMiles), Emirates (Emirates Skywards), Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest) and Finnair (Finnair Plus).
Miles will transfer within 5 business days to the following airlines: Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands), Hainan Airlines (Fortune Wings Club), Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer), Qatar Airways (Privilege Club) and Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer).
Same day for many partners is quite good. And for some of the airline loyalty programs that are less familiar to many in the U.S., like Hainan Airlines or EVA Air, I’m happy with a 5 day maximum. However Capital One also shared “Allow 5 days, but expect transfers to take place quicker — customers should expect industry standard transfer times.”
In fact, I’ve heard reports of instantaneous transfers to Aeromexico, Aeroplan, Air France KLM, Alitalia, Avianca, Emirates, and Finnair and also reports of 5 day transfers taking less than 48 hours.