Pinpointing the value of Capital One miles

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Capital One calls them miles. They’re not really.

They’re super-easy-to-use-points, and you’re sure to receive a value of at least 1 cent each as long as you adhere to this post. I’ll show you how to calculate Capital One miles value so you can decide if opening the best Capital One credit cards is worth it for you.

You can score a higher Capital One miles value by transferring them to airlines for fancy seats to Europe. (Photo by Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock)

Capital One Miles value

Let me repeat the short answer for anyone with an attention span as abject as my own — Capital One miles are worth at least 1 cent each or 1.2 cents on average. You can confidently collect them knowing you’ll get a return of 1 cent or more. They’re easy to earn with these cards:

Credit cardSign-up bonusAnnual feeEarning rateReview
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardEarn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.$952 miles per dollar on every purchaseCapital One Venture review
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card20,000 miles after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of account openingNo annual feeUnlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchaseCapital One VentureOne credit card review
Capital One Spark Miles for Business50,000 Capital One miles after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening$95, waived the first year2 miles per dollar on every purchaseCapital One Spark Miles review
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business20,000 Capital One miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account openingNo annual fee1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase

For example, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business comes with 50,000 Capital One miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. That bonus is worth at least $500 in travel (you can read our Capital One Spark miles review for the full details).

However, on average we value Capital One miles at 1.2 cents per mile since you can transfer them to airlines and get outsized value when redeeming for first or business class flights.

There are two methods to redeeming your miles for free travel. Let’s look at them both.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles and Capital One Spark Miles Select has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The EASY way – Use Capital One miles to redeem for recent travel

Capital One allows you to redeem your rewards at a flat rate of 1 cent each toward travel purchases.

Simply buy your travel (things like airfare, hotels, car rentals, Uber, Airbnb, etc.) with your Capital One card as you normally would. Then, once the purchase appears in your credit card transaction history, you can sign into your online account and redeem the charge within 90 days of the purchase date (up to the value of your miles), and it wipes the expense from your balance.

In other words, if you have 50,000 Capital One miles and you purchase a $350 hotel stay, you can completely redeem that transaction for 35,000 Capital One miles. Or, if you make a $600 hotel stay, you’ll have enough miles to wipe $500 off of your bill — you can just pay the rest with cash.

This is the ideal method for travelers who don’t want to worry about blackout dates. You reserve your travel with cash, and reimburse yourself later. And you’ll know exactly how much value you’ll receive from your miles at all times.

The LESS EASY way – Transfer miles to airline partners

It’s possible to squeeze a value greater than 1 cent from your Capital One miles, but it might take some grappling. You can transfer Capital One miles to airline partners like:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Accor
  • Wyndham

The transfer ratio is not 1:1 (it’s either 2:1.5 or 2:1, depending on the airline), so receiving a value greater than 1 cent per mile isn’t exactly child’s play — but it’s certainly possible. For example, Air Canada Aeroplan charges 60,000 miles for a one-way business class flight to Europe that’s under 4,000 miles in length (i.e. New York to London or Boston to Paris). Transferring 80,000 Capital One miles to Air Canada will get you enough miles for the trip. The same ticket could easily cost $1,500 or more, so spending 80,000 Capital One miles would give you a return of 1.9 cents per mile.

If you simply purchased that $1,500 ticket with your Capital One card and used your rewards to “erase” the purchase, you’d pay 150,000 Capital One miles. You’re basically getting a 70,000 mile discount by transferring your Capital One miles to Air Canada.

Jonesing for an Air Canada business class seat? Transfer your miles to Air Canada Aeroplan. (Photo by Zach Honig)

Just know it’s possible to receive a value much less than 1 cent per point when you transfer your miles to airlines, too. Examine the cash price of your desired flight before transferring your miles, as it might be cheaper to simply offset the purchase with your miles. If you’re not sure, you can use our Cash vs Points Calculator.

Also, when you transfer your miles to an airline or hotel program, you’ll be subject to blackout dates, available award seats or nights, and even fuel surcharges in some cases. It could be well worth the hassle, but it’s exponentially more time-consuming than simply redeeming your miles for recent travel. And time is money!

Bottom line

You can effortlessly receive a value of 1 cent per Capital One mile if you keep it simple and redeem them for travel expenses by redeeming them for your recent paid travel. This is how I recommend using your miles (and it’s how I use them myself), but you should still check out our guide for the best ways to use Capital One miles for more options.

You can receive a value greater (or far less!) than 1 cent if you transfer your miles to airline and hotel partners — on average you can expect 1.2 cents per mile. But it’s more complicated, and you’ll be subject to blackout dates and available award seats. In short, if you’re interested in booking business or first class flights, you’ll likely receive more value by transferring your points to airlines. If you’re flying coach, I’d stick to just redeeming your miles to offset paid travel.

Check out our post on the full Capital One miles review for step-by-step instruction on how to redeem Capital One miles. And let us know how you like to redeem Capital One miles. And subscribe to our newsletter for more travel news and reviews.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

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! :)

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