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Cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (which happens to be offering a huge welcome bonus right now) have a powerful benefit: 15 airline transfer partners.
Transferable miles give you flexibility when you travel. And of course, each airline program has its own sweet spots and best uses.
But not all the partners are worth your time. We’ll show you which partners you can get the most value with and which partners to avoid.
Transfer Capital One Venture and Spark miles to 15 airline partners
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
- Cathay Pacific
- EVA Air
- Hainan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
The transfer ratio will be 2:1.5 for most partners, so you’ll get 1.5 airline miles for every 2 miles you transfer. The exceptions are Emirates, JetBlue and Singapore Airlines, which have a 2:1 transfer ratio.
That’s not a 1:1 transfer ratio like other transferable points programs including Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points. It breaks down to .75 airline miles for each Capital One mile (and .5 airline miles for Emirates, JetBlue and Singapore Airlines).
Any time you transfer miles from Capital One to an airline, you can’t transfer them back again. So it’s important to know what you want to use them for before you initiate the transfer. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 miles, and from there you can transfer in increments of 100.
With that in mind, here are ways to get value from your Capital One miles — and which programs to avoid.
Aeromexico – Bad
This program is a bit disorganized and the quoted number of points on the award chart suddenly changes when you run a search. And there aren’t many great deals, anyway.
For example, flights within Mexico are 28,000 Aeromexico points for a round-trip coach award ticket.
To get that many points, you’d need to transfer ~38,000 Capital One miles (28,000 / .75). On their own, those miles are worth $380 toward flights. We ran a few searches, and domestic flights within Mexico are hardly over $200 round-trip. In the vast majority of cases, you’d be better off redeeming Capital One miles for paid flights.
Flights to the US are 56,000 Aeromexico points round-trip. You’d need to transfer a staggering ~75,000 Capital One miles for a round-trip coach award seat.
Between the high award prices and typically cheap paid tickets (even in business class), we wouldn’t recommend that you transfer miles to Aeromexico unless there was a transfer bonus or particularly good award sale going on.
Air Canada – Good
Aeroplan, the loyalty program for Air Canada, has a few stellar uses, including:
- 150,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles for round-trip business class flights to Africa (200,000 Capital One miles)
- 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles for round-trip business class flights to Western Europe (~147,000 Capital One miles)
- 25,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles for round-trip coach award flights within the mainland U.S. and Canada (~34,000 Capital One miles)
Long-haul business class flights, in particular, can easily cost $1,000s if you pay cash, so this can be an excellent use of your Capital One miles, depending on where you want to go.
Keep in mind, Air Canada adds fuel surcharges to certain partner award flights. So check the full cost before you transfer any miles out of your account. And be sure to read our ultimate guide to using Air Canada miles.
Air France & KLM (Flying Blue) – Good
While there’s no longer an official award chart, Flying Blue runs monthly Promo Rewards where you can save big on award flights.
For example, during a recent sale, you could fly in business class to Europe for 35,000 Flying Blue miles (~47,000 Capital One miles). That’s an incredible deal to visit Europe in style. And coach awards started at just 14,000 Flying Blue miles one-way (~19,000 Capital One miles).
It’s worth running a search to see what comes up. For example, I found coach awards to Mexico on Aeromexico (a SkyTeam alliance partner) for 14,500 Flying Blue miles (~20,000 Capital One miles) each way.
Depending on where you’re flying from and how much paid tickets cost, this can be a good use of your miles – especially if your airport has a big SkyTeam presence (Air France, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, etc.).
Alitalia – Bad
I took a quick look at Alitalia’s award chart and got out of there fast. In looking at prices for one-way award flights in coach and business class, you can fly all of these routes cheaper with other mileage programs.
They even want 20,000 Alitalia miles (~27,000 Capital One miles) to fly one-way in coach between North American destinations. Most airlines charge 12,500 miles each way for coach flights within the U.S. And 100,000 Alitalia miles (~134,000 Capital One miles) to fly one-way in business class to Europe? Forget this one.
Avianca – Good
Avianca has its fans. There are no fuel surcharges on flight awards, you can book most partner awards online and there are some great sweet spots, like:
- Within U.S. Zone 1 for 7,500 Avianca miles (10,000 Capital One miles) each way in United Airlines coach
- From U.S. Zone 1 to U.S. Zone 2 for 10,000 Avianca miles (14,000 Capital One miles) each way in United Airlines coach
- Business class to Europe for 63,000 Avianca miles (84,000 Capital One miles) on partner airlines
Keep in mind there’s a $25 booking fee for all award tickets.
If I wanted to fly on a Star Alliance airline, I’d run the search through Air Canada and Avianca and see which is better as far as miles required, surcharges and any other fees or conditions. Between these two partners, you can get to a lot of the world on Star Alliance airlines.
Cathay Pacific – OK
Cathay Pacific has a distance-based award chart, so the longer the flight, the more miles you’ll need. And it’s usually not worth it.
That said, flights within Asia start for as little as 7,500 Cathay Pacific miles (10,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach. And you can fly between New York – JFK and Vancouver in business class for only 25,000 Cathay Pacific miles (~34,000 Capital One miles).
Beyond that, each airline partner has its own separate award chart, which gets confusing really fast.
They have an award calculator where you can check award prices. But you have to check each route and airline individually. The best uses of Cathay Pacific miles are generally for shorter flights on Cathay Pacific.
Emirates – OK
It’s nice to have this option but watch out for fuel surcharges. To fly from New York – JFK to Dubai in coach, you’ll pay 62,500 Emirates miles (125,000 Capital One miles) and ~$285 in fuel surcharges. And for a one-way first class ticket, it costs 136,250 Emirates miles (~273,000 Capital One miles) and ~$842.
Despite the added fees, this is a partner you really need to run the numbers with. That’s because first class tickets in one of the world’s most luxurious cabins can cost $19,000+. So it depends on what your goals are, as well as your preferred travel style — because this could be the trip of a lifetime.
I’m marking this one as “Meh” because while there’s huge value to unlock, it’s certainly not for everyone.
Etihad – OK
This one’s a hard sell because in my experience, transfers can take several days to over a week. If your award disappears while you wait for the transfer to complete, you likely don’t want Etihad miles hanging around unused.
There are niche uses for Etihad miles, like short flights within Europe on Brussels Airlines for only 5,000 Etihad miles (~7,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach. That catch is you have to fly to or from Brussels. I loved Belgium, but this is admittedly a limited use.
Another excellent use is booking award flights on American Airlines flights for much cheaper than American Airlines charges. But this is where each airlines’ limitations work against each other. Transfers into Etihad are slow, and award seats on American Airlines are scarce and often go quickly. At best, you’d be speculatively transferring miles to Etihad.
You can still fly from the US to Japan or South Korea for only 50,000 Etihad miles (~67,000 Capital One miles) each way in business class. That’s a heck of a deal, if you can find it.
EVA Air – Bad
Eva Air’s award program is called “Infinity MileageLands,” which has always confounded me. Anyway, booking a partner award flight is confusing and costs way too many miles on nearly every route.
The only exception is on EVA Air flights within Asia, which are 35,000 EVA Air miles (~47,000 Capital One miles) round-trip in coach to fly the span of the continent. Even then, you might be able to get cheaper awards with other mileage programs. Always run the numbers — but this one is generally not a good deal.
Finnair – Bad
There is absolutely nothing “redeeming” about Finnair’s mileage program. The only exception, maybe, is that one-way coach awards within Northern Europe (Scandinavia, Poland, and Russia) are 10,000 Finnair miles (~14,000 Capital One miles) each way.
You’ll pay similar prices booking through Qantas, so there aren’t any standout gems here.
Hainan Airlines – Bad
The only good use is for flights on Hainan Airlines within China. You’ll pay 8,000 Hainan miles (~11,000 Capital One miles) for short flights within China and you’ll get a moderate discount for booking round-trip award flights.
Beyond this, the partner award charts for Alaska Airlines and Etihad are dismal. You’d do better transferring miles to another partner or to Etihad directly for flights on Etihad.
Qantas – Good
You can use 16,000 Qantas miles (~22,000 Capital One Miles) to book round-trip short-haul flights 600 miles or less on American Airlines. These are sometimes the most expensive paid flights. In fact, this award chart applies for many award flights, including on Qantas, Emirates, and Fiji Airways.
If you want to fly around Australia, you can also score great deals with Qantas miles. Even longer flights between 601 and 1,200 miles on Qantas, American Airlines, and other partners are only 12,000 Qantas miles (16,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach.
These are excellent deals you shouldn’t overlook just because the loyalty program isn’t domestic.
Qatar Airways – Bad
Bad values all around. Don’t even check prices. Skip it.
Singapore Airlines – Good
While I’m disappointed with the decreased 2:1 ratio with Capital One transfers to Singapore Airlines, you can do well with this partner.
We’ve written a lot about how to get flights on United Airlines (especially to Hawaii) at cheaper rates than United Airlines charges for its own flights.
You can fly round-trip in coach from the U.S. to Hawaii for 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles (70,000 Capital One miles). Depending on how much flights cost, that can be a bargain.
And of course, you can book flights on Singapore Airlines, which is consistently ranked one of the world’s best airlines. It’s also easy to collect Singapore Airlines miles. With this addition, they’re officially a transfer partner of every transferable points program, so when you’re ready to travel, you’ll have plenty of ways to get where you’re going.
JetBlue – Bad
JetBlue doesn’t have an award chart, instead the points price is tied to the cash price. And JetBlue points are usually worth ~1.4 cents each. Because the transfer ratio to JetBlue is 2:1 that means you’re getting only ~.7 cents per point toward JetBlue flights if you transfer. So for JetBlue flights you’re almost always better purchasing the flight and then using your Capital One miles to erase the charge at a rate of 1 cent each. On top of that, you’ll also earn JetBlue points and elite credit for the free flight, and you won’t be paying the taxes out of pocket.
How to earn Capital One miles
There are numerous cards that earn Capital One miles, including:
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Limited-time up to 200,000-mile offer after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
- Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
- Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business: 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
For example, for a limited time with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card, you can earn up to 200,000 Spark miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. You’ll earn 50,000 miles after $5,000 spent on purchases in the first three months and 150,000 miles after $50,000 spent on purchases in the first six months. Here’s my full review of the card.
200,000 Capital One miles will equal 150,000 airline miles with the 2:1.5 transfer ratio (and 100,000 airline miles with Emirates, JetBlue and Singapore Airlines), but not all the partners are worth your time. Here’s my ranking of good, bad, or okay:
- Aeromexico – Bad
- Air Canada (Aeroplan) – Good
- Air France & KLM (Flying Blue) – Good
- Alitalia – Bad
- Avianca – Good
- Cathay Pacific – Okay
- Emirates – Okay
- Etihad – Okay
- EVA Airlines – Bad
- Finnair – Bad
- Hainan Airlines – Bad
- Qantas – Good
- Qatar Airways – Bad
- Singapore Airlines – Good
- JetBlue – Bad
I rank five of the partners as Good, seven as flat-out Bad, and three as Okay.
Here’s hoping Capital One will continue to add new partners because as it stands, none of the good ones are domestic airlines. And it’s hard to mine the good deals and sweet spots buried within the current list.
That said, if you have a use for your miles in mind, they can be worth much more than if you redeem them for 1 cent each toward travel, especially for the programs marked as Good.
What’s your favorite Capital One airline partner? Which airlines are you hoping they’ll add? And do you agree with my rankings?
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