While some sites seem to think the exciting part about credit cards is the simple act of earning points, we think the fun part is figuring out the best ways to get tons of value from these points. With that in mind, we’re going to dive into some of the best ways to use Capital One miles to see how you can leverage the newest transferrable points program for some great travel.
How To Earn Capital One Miles
Capital One cards might not have the sex appeal of bonus categories but what they do have is a simple, rock solid earn rate. Rather than earnings 3X on some purchases and 1X on most others, you’ll earn 2X miles per dollar on all purchases with these two cards:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (Learn More)
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business (Learn More)
Both of these cards come with an annual fee of $95 but it’s waived your first year with either card. Additionally, the Capital One Venture also earns 10X at Hotels.com if you go through Capital One’s dedicated page. This is especially useful when booking boutique hotels or you don’t care about elite status perks and hotel perks you get from booking directly with a chain hotel.
If you’re looking for a card with no annual fee, you have two options that each earn 1.5X on all purchases:
- Capital One VentureOne Reward Credit Card (Learn More)
- Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business (Learn More)
Capital One Transfer Partners and Transfer Rates
Speaking of transfer partners, here’s a complete list of Capital One’s 14 transfer partners plus the transfer rates:
|Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia Program||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Avianca LifeMiles||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Emirates Skywards||2:1 (1,000:500)|
|Etihad Guest||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Finnair Plus||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|JetBlue True Blue||2:1 (1,000:500)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Qatar Privilege Club||2:1.5 (1,000:750)|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||2:1 (1,000:500)|
As you can see, there are a ton of great transfer options with a 2:1.5 transfer rate. Additionally, many of these partners overlap with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points. If you don’t have quite enough Capital One miles, you can top off with a transfer from one of these programs.
When you factor in the earn rates of the cards, the Capital One Venture and Capital One Spark Miles are definitely the best way to earn points. The 2X you earn on each purchase is equivalent to 1.5X airline miles with most partners and Capital One occasionally runs transfer bonuses making them worth even more.
10 Brilliant Ways To Use Capital One Miles For Max Value
Now that you know how to earn Capital One miles and your airline transfer partner options, let’s dig into the best ways to use the miles you earn.
Fly Around The World With 15 Stopovers (Aeromexico Club Premier)
If you’ve read our complete guide to booking an Aeromexico SkyTeam Go Round The World Pass, you had to know I was going to lead with this option. You can transfer 299,000 Capital One miles to Aeromexico to get the necessary 224,000 Club Premier kilometers for an economy class award that will take you around the world. I know, I know, business class is more fun but not everyone is shooting for luxury and this matches up perfectly.
I know that’s a lot of time in economy class but, if you’re trying to see a ton of countries, this can help you a ton of places along the way.
Book A Mini Round The World Business Class Adventure (Air Canada Aeroplan)
One of the best parts about the Aeroplan program is that you can include two stopovers on a round-trip award which can allow you to easily see three cities with one itinerary. Of course, if you are in Europe, it’s super easy to train to a number of other cities. Similarly, it’s easy to get cheap flights to hop around Southeast Asia.
With this in mind, you can use 155,000 Aeroplan miles (207,000 Capital One miles) to book a round-trip business class adventure that includes a visit to Southeast Asia and Europe.
Here’s an example of what this could look like:
- Chicago (ORD) to Taipei (TPE) on EVA Air – stopover
- TPE to Bangkok (BKK) on EVA or Thai – destination
- BKK to Zurich (ZRH) on SWISS – stopover
- ZRH to ORD on SWISS
Two important things to keep in mind when booking one of these. First, Aeroplan will pass on surcharges on some partners. Second, you’ll need to call Aeroplan to include two stopovers.
Air France Or KLM Business Class To Israel
At one point, Flying Blue used a standard region-based award chart but that all changed in 2018 when they removed the award chart and moved to what amounts to a point-to-point chart. Now, you’ll find different award rates between two regions depending on the origin and destination cities.
While the removal of the award chart was frustrating, there are some great business class award opportunities. Specifically, you can book a one-way business class ticket from the U.S. to Israel for only 53,000 Flying Blue miles (71,000 Capital One miles).
To top things off, Flying Blue runs monthly Promo Awards — 25-50% award discounts — to/from Europe and considers Israel to be part of Europe. While there’s no way to predict if a city near you will be included from one month to the next or if Flying Blue will discount business class awards, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for these opportunities.
For some more great ways to use Flying Blue miles, check out our favorites!
Business Class To Europe (Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles)
If you want to make sure you get some rest on a flight from the USA to Europe, there’s nothing like a lie-flat business class seat. Of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted a business class seat so you can stretch out enjoy some bubbly on a flight to the US. Fortunately, with Capital One miles, you have two great options for booking business class to Europe.
First up, we have Aeroplan. You only need 55,000 Aeroplan miles (74,000 Capital One miles) for a business class award ticket to western Europe. Now, Aeroplan does pass on surcharges so you’ll want to avoid flying Star Alliance partners such as Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa. However, you can fly SWISS to avoid surcharges. It doesn’t hurt that connecting in Zurich means you can enjoy some amazing views from the SWISS business class lounge.
If, however, you want to book a business class flight on Austrian or Lufthansa, Capital One provides a great option. With LifeMiles, you can book a one-way business class ticket for 63,000 miles (84,000 Capital One miles). While you might need 10,000 more Capital One miles than if you booked with Aeroplan, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. Totally worth it.
Fly Lufthansa First Class Without Surcharges (Avianca LifeMiles)
If you’re flexible with your travel dates and able to book within two weeks of departure, Avianca LifeMiles also provides a great way to book Lufthansa first class. Don’t forget that you’ll also get to experience the amazing Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) if flying out of Frankfurt (FRA) which includes a ride across the tarmac to your flight. You might even get a ride in a Porsche.
Now, that tough part with booking Lufthansa first class is the carrier-imposed surcharges. Aeroplan requires a very reasonable 70,000 miles for a one-way award but tacks on these steep surcharges. To avoid the surcharges, you could book with United MileagePlus but you’d need an exorbitant 110,000 miles.
That’s where Avianca LifeMiles comes into play. It takes the best of both and allows you to book a one-way Lufthansa first class ticket for 87,000 LifeMiles (116,000 Capital One miles) and no surcharges — just the standard taxes/fees.
Sign. Me. Up.
Check out some of the other awesome ways you can use Avianca LifeMiles!
Cathay Pacific Business Class To South Africa With A Stopover (Asia Miles)
I know most people think about using American AAdvantage miles or Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book awards on Cathay Pacific, but don’t sleep on Cathay’s own Asia Miles program. While Asia Miles will require more miles for a business class award to South Africa than Alaska Airlines, you can include a stopover in Hong Kong and book up to 360 days from departure.
Asia Miles uses a distance-based award chart broken into six tiers. Flying from the U.S. to Australia on Cathay Pacific easily puts the award in the Ultra-Long tier — flights of at least 7,501 miles. This means you’ll need 85,000 miles (114,000 Capital One miles) for a one-way business class award to Australia or New Zealand.
I don’t know about you, but I’m quite fond of Cathay Pacific business class and its lounges in Hong Kong. The chance to take advantage of a stopover in Hong Kong and enjoy some amazing food just takes this booking to the next level.
Check out the other ways to get max value from Asia Miles!
Fly Royal Air Maroc Business Class To Africa, Europe Or The Middle East (Etihad Guest)
If there’s an underrated award that I think deserves more attention, it’s using 44,000 Etihad Guest miles (59,000 Capital One miles) to fly Royal Air Maroc business class one-way from New York (JFK), Washington Dulles (IAD) and soon to be Miami (MIA).
The best part is that you can connect in Casablanca (CMN) to other destinations in Africa, Europe or the Middle East. Seriously, let’s think about this. Business class award space to/from Europe can be tough for two people. That’s where this option really comes into play. You might not realize it, but the flight to Casablanca from New York or Washington Dulles is only about 7 hours. Tack on a connection to a city such as Rome (FCO) and you’re only looking at an additional 3 hours.
When you think about it, that’s pretty much the same travel time when connecting in Europe.
Check out our guide to using Etihad Guest + a few other sweet spots you might want to book.
EVA Air Business Class When Partner Airlines Can’t Book It (EVA Infinity MileageLands)
Now, here’s a program you rarely see discussed — EVA Air Infinity MileageLands.
While Aeroplan and United MileagePlus get more chatter as great ways to book Star Alliance awards, EVA’s Infinity MileageLands program can come through in a pinch if you want a business class flight to Taipei (or even other parts of Asia). This is because EVA Air often provides an additional business class seat to its own members.
If you book a one-way award flight from LAX to Taipei, you’ll need 75,000 miles (100,000 Capital One miles) which is the same as what Aeroplan charges. Even if you were to continue to other parts of Asia on EVA Air, you’d only need 80,000 miles (112,000 Capital One miles).
I know Qatar Airways Qsuites is the gold standard when it comes to business class, but you really can’t go wrong with EVA Air. Having flown EVA business class, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The service was fantastic and you can’t help but love the Rimowa amenity kit you get when flying out of Taipei.
EL Al Business Class On The Dreamliner (Qantas Frequent Flyer)
Let’s talk about using Qantas Frequent Flyer miles. While it’s a Oneworld partner, the redemption rates often aren’t competitive and they make you pay surcharges on awards. However, they just might be the best way to try El Al’s Dreamliner in business class. The cabin is very similar to United’s new Polaris business class cabin so every seat is lie-flat and has direct aisle access.
You can book this for only 78,000 Qantas points (104,000 Capital One miles) and you won’t even have to pay surcharges. While booking a Flying Blue award to Israel might save you some miles, aren’t these fun individual partnerships? I certainly think so which is why I recently booked this flight.
Hotel Stays (And Enjoy Your Elite Status Perks)
If you have other miles to use for flights, you might just need to book hotel stays. With the purchase eraser feature of the Capital One Venture (Learn More) and Capital One Spark Miles (Learn More), you can simply pay for your stay with the card and retroactively apply points to the purchase.
While you’ll only get 1 cent per point when doing this, it’s a great way to book cash rates at boutique hotels if you’d like to save your cash for other things on your trip. You can also book cash rates at a hotel where you have elite status so you can enjoy the perks, earn hotel points and earn elite night credits.
Know Before You Apply
There are two main things you should know before you apply for the Capital One Venture (Learn More)or Capital One Spark Miles Card (Learn More). First, while the Spark Miles is a business card, the account will show on your personal credit report. As a result, if you’re still under 5/24 and eligible for Chase cards, this will take up one of your slots so you’ll want to consider that.
Second, Capital One pulls your credit report from all three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Credit pulls can be blown out of proportion but it’s still good to be aware of that before applying.
While the transfer ratios aren’t 1:1 as you’ll find with Amex, Chase and Citi, Capital One injected some life into the miles and points world by adding transfer partners. Not only did it partner with some great airline programs, but many of these transfer partners also overlap with other transferable points programs. This makes it even easier to earn the necessary miles for an award ticket as you can often transfer points from another program if you don’t have quite enough Capital One miles.
If you like simplicity in your credit cards, you’ll definitely appreciate that the Venture and Spark Miles cards both earn 2X on purchases so you won’t have to think about which card to use when.
I’m trying to understand how the points/miles transfer works. Say I wanted to go to Italy from LAX, I see Alitalia on your chart. Would I need to create/log in to account Alitalia to check their miles needed chart then transfer those miles form my Capital One account over? Or can I book the flight through Capital One?
Also, Are there limits as to how many Capital One cards you can have at one time? Can you ‘churn’ any of them?
Hey TonyM – I believe you’re limited to 2 Cap One cards at a time. Not 100% sure if that includes biz cards.
As to booking an award ticket with miles, you would need to transfer from Capital One to the airline program with which you plan to use. You’ll need to create an account with that airline first so you can link it to your Cap One account before making the transfer. The airline’s award chart will dicate how many miles you need. Just remember transfers from Cap One aren’t 1:1.
That’s for an award ticket. If you want to book a cash ticket and use Cap One miles to erase the purchase after paying for the cash ticket, you just need to pay with your Venture or Spark Miles card.
Thanks! I’ve not put in any effort to learn more about Cap One until your post. I’ll have to do some thinking and further research on how it might work best for me.
You bet! It’s definitely an untapped program for many. After years with a fixed-value points program, I think people are only starting to realize the new opportunities with airline partners.
Thank you for this very helpful article. As a small business owner, I have been using Captial One (personal and business cards) for years now. This article was insightful on how to put these cards to best use. While it seems that GSP is geared to business class, would you consider writing a similar article geared to those flying economy class? My guess is that there is still a larger audience here (versus exclusively business class flyers). Any consideration would be appreciated.
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