Capital One miles review: Start traveling now with the simplest rewards program around
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If you’re tired of worrying about blackout dates, available hotel award nights, airline award zones, and other complicated aspects of the miles & points hobby, you might want to collect Capital One miles!
You can use Capital One miles for nearly any travel purchase, like airfare, Lyft, car rentals, room service, and much more. They are extremely easy to redeem and great for beginners.
I’ll give you step-by-step instructions for how to redeem Capital One miles.
How to use Capital One miles to erase travel purchases
At their core, Capital One miles aren’t “miles” at all. They are miles worth a flat 1 cent each that you can redeem towards any travel purchase, like airfare, hotels, tolls, and Uber. They’re handy because you don’t have to think about searching for available airline award seats or hotel award nights.
To redeem your miles for travel, just buy travel like you normally would with your card. Then, you have 90 days to sign into your online account, find the travel purchase, and “erase” it with your miles. I’ll show you how to use Capital One miles with the “Purchase Eraser.”
Log-in to your Capital One account and click “Rewards”
You’ll see the number of miles you have next to your card. Click that number to begin redeeming your miles.
Click “Redeem Travel Purchases”
There are a few different ways you can redeem Capital One miles, but you’ll get the best value by using them for travel. For example, you can redeem for gift cards or a statement credit at 0.5 cents per point (a terrible value!). But you’ll get a value of 1 cent per point towards travel.
You can book travel through the No Hassle Rewards portal using miles. Or you can just make travel purchases using your card, and then erase those purchases later. To do this, click “Redeem Travel Purchases.“
Note: Whether you choose to redeem your points through the No Hassle Rewards portal or by erasing your purchase later, you’ll still get a value of 1 cent per point. However, erasing your purchase later means you’ll EARN points for your purchase.
Choose the purchases you want to erase
As long as a transaction codes as a travel purchase, you can erase it with Capital One miles. For example, you can redeem Capital One miles towards purchases with travel companies like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and even tolls. But you can NOT erase purchases you make at the grocery store, for example.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know for sure if something will code as a travel purchase. I used Capital One miles for Afternoon tea at a restaurant in the Burj Al Arab hotel. The transaction coded as a hotel purchase because the restaurant was inside a hotel. So he was able to erase the purchase with Capital One miles.
But, he tried the same thing at a restaurant in the Drake Hotel in Chicago, and the transaction coded as a regular restaurant purchase. So he could NOT erase it with miles.
Capital One will give you a list of the travel purchases you can redeem Capital One miles for. Just click “Redeem” to begin the process.
Choose how many miles to redeem
You can choose whether you want to use miles to completely erase a purchase, or if you want to use a combination of cash and miles. Select “Edit Miles Using” before you confirm your redemption.
There is no minimum redemption amount when redeeming miles, unless you’re using miles to partially pay for a travel purchase. In that case, the minimum is 2,500 miles ($25).
Redeem your miles
After you’ve decided how many miles you want to use, click “Redeem.“
That’s it! You should then see a confirmation number and a message below the transaction telling you that you’ve successfully redeemed miles. You’ll also get an email confirmation.
You’ll usually receive the statement credit by the next day. And the redeemed miles will show up on your transaction history as “CREDIT-TRAVEL REWARD.“
Transfer to travel partners
If you so choose, you can transfer your miles to Capital One transfer partners and potentially squeeze more than the standard Capital One miles value of 1 cent per mile from your rewards. If you know what you’re doing, this could be the best way to use Capital One miles. Here are all of Capital One’s transfer partners:
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
- Cathay Pacific
- EVA Air
- Hainan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Accor Hotels
For example, you can transfer Capital One miles to Qantas at a ratio of 1.5:1. By transferring 22,000 Capital One miles to Qantas, you can book a round-trip short-haul flight on American Airlines (16,000 Qantas miles).
Capital One miles make it easy to avoid extra charges on award flights
Miles and points are great because they can get you as close as is realistically possible to free travel. But if you’ve ever booked an award flight, you know that you’re still paying something, even if it’s just $11.20 in fees for a round-trip domestic award flight. And if you’re flying internationally, those taxes and fees can be a deal killer. But there is a way to still get that “free” flight without having to shell out cash for extra taxes and fees.
If you pay for your flight with Capital One miles, you won’t have to pay these taxes out of pocket. This can be especially valuable for flights where the taxes and fees aren’t much less than what an economy flight would be. For example, I found award flights from Chicago to London for 40,000 British Airways Avios points and $578 round-trip.
There are certainly ways to get around these deal-killing fees. Using partner airline miles to book award flights on British Airways might help, if you have them available. The other tactic is to just pay for the flights outright using Capital One miles.
Remember, Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each towards travel charges. So the flight above would cost you 62,183 Capital One miles. That’s 22,000+ more miles, but is still a way better deal because you’re paying nothing out of pocket. Plus, if you use Capital One miles to erase the charges, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles, and elite status credit. In addition, if you have elite status with the airline you still have the ability to get upgraded. This typically isn’t the case with award flights.
And if you can find a good deal on airfare, paying with miles makes even more sense because you can often end up using fewer miles to pay for the flight compared to booking an award and save the out of pockets costs too.
A Capital One miles card is the best first hotel card
The best hotel credit cards can save you tons on hotel stays — and they come with some fantastic benefits.
For example, the World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with:
- Enough bonus points for a weekend stay at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun (worth $1,000+)
- 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary – your choice of hundreds of Hyatt hotels
- Hyatt Discoverist Status (bonus points per stay, upgrades to a preferred room based on availability at check-in, late check-out upon request, etc.)
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card comes with:
- Enough bonus points for 3 nights at the Hilton Barcelona (worth $1,800+)
- 12 Hilton points per dollar spent at a participating Hilton hotel or resort
- Gold Elite status (80% bonus on points you earn at Hilton hotels, free breakfast at Hilton hotels, room upgrades when available, etc.)
- Terms apply
But there’s a catch. When you open one of these cards, the points you earn are only valid at their respective hotel chain. So if you open the World of Hyatt Card, you’ll have to make sure your travels include areas with a Hyatt nearby or your points will be useless!
Chains like Hilton and Marriott have hotels just about everywhere, so collecting points from them is a pretty safe bet. But if you don’t yet know which hotel will serve your upcoming travels, the best hotel credit card for you might be a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which comes with 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
With this card, you can stay at any hotel you want — you can try out all the different chains! You don’t have to plan your cheap vacation around which hotel chain you’ve invested in. You can even use the welcome bonuses to stay at Airbnb and boutique hotels that don’t have a loyalty program at all.
Some of my best hotel experiences have come from using Capital One miles instead of hotel points.
Note: Most of us in the miles & points hobby eventually open multiple hotel cards and earn hundreds of thousands of hotel points with different chains. Then we’re guaranteed to have plenty of hotel choices just about everywhere we go. You can check out our top hotel credit card recommendations here.
Earn more Capital One miles
If you want to earn Capital One miles quickly, sign-up for Capital One credit cards.
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business comes with 50,000 bonus miles (worth up to $500 to spend on travel) after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
To be approved for either of these cards, Capital One says you’ll need excellent credit. They describe excellent credit to be anyone who has:
- Never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan
- Has not been more than 60 days late on a loan in the past year
- Has had a loan or credit card for 3+ years with a credit limit of $5,000+
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Should you apply?
If you’re a miles & points beginner, and plan to apply for lots of cards later, these aren’t good cards for you. There are other credit cards with much better sign-up bonuses that earn more valuable points and have better travel benefits. Capital One miles are usually not worth as much as airline miles or hotel points.
Opening these Capital One cards could decrease your chances of being approved for great Chase cards later on. That’s because if you’ve opened five or more cards in the past 24 months (not counting Chase business cards and other business cards), Chase won’t approve you for many of their cards. This is called the Chase 5/24 rule.
However, if you already have all the Chase cards you want or you’re happy with Capital One’s straightforward program, these cards are definitely worth a look.
You can use Capital One miles for a wide range of travel purchases, like Airbnb stays, hotels, flights, and more. And they’re super easy to redeem.
Capital One miles are usually not worth as much as airline miles or hotel points, but they’re also generally easier to use. If you don’t want to deal with available hotel award nights, airline blackout dates, and award charts, you might be interested in collecting Capital One miles.
Are Capital One miles worth the convenience — Or would you rather collect other miles & points to get a better value?
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)