Capital One cardholders will have a few new options when it comes time to cash their points in for travel.
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Capital One has long had a really strong rewards program, with miles that are worth a solid one cent apiece toward travel redemptions. In the past few years, it has improved the program by adding the ability to transfer its miles to various airline and hotel partners. There are now two new advantages for cardholders who want to use their miles this way. First, Capital One is adding four partners to its transfer roster: three airlines and one hotel group. Second, the conversion rates at which Capital One miles transfer to certain partners is getting a substantial boost. Here are the details on the changes at Capital One and what they mean for cardholders.
New partners and better transfer rates
Capital One miles already transferred to 13 airlines and two hotel points programs. Now, the issuer is adding three new airlines and one hotel chain to the list:
- British Airways Executive Club
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Choice Hotels Choice Privileges
TAP and Turkish Airlines transfers will come online April 20, but you’ll have to wait until later in 2021 to move your miles to British Airways and Choice Hotels.
Until now, one of the major drawbacks to Capital One miles has been the fact that they did not transfer at a 1:1 rate to any of the program’s various airline and hotel partners. At best, you could hope to convert 2 Capital One miles to 1.5 miles or points with a partner, with some conversions taking place at a bleak 2:1 ratio. That’s beginning to change.
Starting April 20, Capital One miles will transfer at a one-to-one exchange with seven airline frequent-flier programs and two hotel loyalty partners. Here is a full list of the conversion ratios.
- Aeromexico Club Premier (1:1)
- Air Canada Aeroplan (2:1.5)
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (2:1.5)
- Alitalia MilleMiglia (2:1.5)
- Avianca Lifemiles (1:1)
- British Airways Executive Club (2:1.5)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (1:1)
- Emirates Skywards (2:1)
- Etihad Guest (1:1)
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (2:1.5)
- Finnair Plus (1:1)
- JetBlue TrueBlue (2:1.5)
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (1:1)
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2:1)
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go (1:1)
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles (2:1.5)
- ALL Accor Live Limitless (2:1)
- Choice Hotels (1:1)
- Wyndham Rewards (1:1)
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While it would be great to see Capital One transition more of its partners to a 1:1 conversion rate, this starting stable is already significant. It begins to put Capital One miles on a more equal footing with other types of transferable points, such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, which transfer to their own partners at 1:1 rates in most cases.
Hopefully, Capital One will add more 1:1 partners to the list, including some that U.S.-based travelers, in particular, would find useful, such as JetBlue True Blue and Air Canada Aeroplan. That said, there are still interesting ways to redeem miles from some of these other partners for high-value rewards.
For instance, Avianca Lifemiles offers attractive mileage pricing on business- and first-class awards with its Star Alliance partners like ANA, Lufthansa, and United. Likewise, you might be able to find good deals redeeming Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Etihad Guest miles on their U.S. partner, American Airlines.
These new transfer partners and rates mean cardholders can find added value from the miles they accrue on a day-to-day basis. If you have the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Spark Miles for Business Credit Card, specifically, you are potentially earning the equivalent of two airline miles or hotel points per dollar on every single purchase.
Following in the footsteps of American Express with its trendy Centurion Lounges, Capital One also announced its intentions to open two new branded airport lounges. The first will open at Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport in late summer 2021, and the second will debut at Washington Dulles International Airport in 2022.
Details are still scant, but Capital One promises a variety of amenities at each facility to promote relaxation and exploration. Guests should expect grab-and-go food sections with sustainably packaged takeaway items, as well as restaurant-style in-lounge dining venues serving locally sourced produce and on-tap craft cocktails, regional beers, and artisanal wines.
There will also be wellness areas, including cycling and yoga rooms, relaxation areas, family spaces, and shower suites with bespoke bath products. As this is the era of COVID, the lounges will also incorporate digital entry passes and stringent cleaning protocols.
While Capital One isn’t releasing details yet on which cardholders will have access, it is expected that paid entry rates will be based on which specific card you carry.
Hop aboard with Hopper
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Finally, Capital One announced a new partnership with travel booking startup Hopper in March. The issuer will integrate Hopper’s predictive pricing technology into Capital One Travel later this year, including timing recommendations for making reservations, and other features aimed at insulating customers against pricing volatility on flights, hotels, and car rentals. Hopefully, that will help cardholders choose the best options for their needs, while enjoying better rates than they would find booking through other channels.
Best credit cards for earning Capital One miles
Not all Capital One cards earn miles that you can transfer to the program’s airline and hotel partners. Here are the four to keep your eye on.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
If you don’t already have this card, now might be the time to apply since you can earn up to 100,000 miles: 50,000 after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and an additional 50,000 after spending $20,000 total in the first 12 months. The card earns two miles per dollar on all purchases; its annual fee is $95.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
This more basic version charges no annual fee and earns 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase. It’s currently offering 20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months.
Capital One Spark Miles for Business
If you’re in the market for a business card instead, this one is a great option. It’s currently offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months. It earns two miles per dollar on every purchase, and its annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business Credit Card
Another card with no annual fee, this one racks up 1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase and is currently offering 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
Overall, this is some exciting news for Capital One cardholders. Not only will they have more ways to redeem their miles than ever before thanks to the addition of airline and hotel transfer partners, but better conversion rates also will put even more rewards within reach. The opening of Capital One–branded lounges at two of the nation’s busiest airports should make the flight experience more enjoyable for cardholders who do put their miles to use for travel, too.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.