8 Best Uses Of Capital One Miles

aerial view of an italian beach with sunchairs and people in the water

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Capital One miles are a flexible travel rewards currency that can help you to tear through your bucket list items for crazy cheap. With these miles, you’ll often spend more money on airport parking than on airfare to reach your dream destination.

Capital One miles have two things going for them:

  1. They’re easy to collect. There are over a dozen Capital One cards that can help you earn Capital One miles in a hurry — and almost all of them have sizable welcome bonuses and strong return rates for everyday spending.
  2. The value you can get from them is sky-high. You can get literally thousands of dollars in value just from a single card welcome bonus, depending on how you use your rewards.

Let’s take a look at some astounding trips you can book with your Capital One miles that will make your Instagram followers convulse with jealousy — from traveling in a flatbed seat to Paris, to booking a weekend in a ski chalet, to taking your family on a tropical getaway.

Which credit cards earn Capital One miles?

Capital One miles aren’t difficult to earn thanks to a number of credit cards that earn them. 

With the cards below, you’ve got the potential to earn well over a 150,000 Capital One miles from the welcome bonuses alone:

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

Annual Fee: $95  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Capital One airline and hotel transfer partners

Capital One miles can be redeemed in a variety of ways — though most are of poor value. For example:

  • You can cash out your rewards for 0.5 cents per point.
  • You can buy gift cards for 1 cent per point.
  • You can buy travel for 1 cent per point.

That last bullet is an especially popular option — but not the wisest. If you plan to redeem your miles in any of these ways, you’re probably better off collecting cash back instead of travel rewards.

The undisputed best way to get the most value from Capital One miles is by converting them into airline miles and hotel points. Below are the 18 transfer partners you can choose from:

Aeromexico (1:1)

Choice (1:1)

Qantas (1:1)

Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1)

Emirates (1:1)

Singapore Airlines (1:1)

Accor (2:1)

Etihad (1:1)

TAP Air Portugal (1:1)

Avianca (1:1)

EVA Air (2:1.5)

Turkish Airlines (1:1)

British Airways (1:1)

Finnair (1:1)

Virgin Points (1:1)

Cathay Pacific (1:1)

Flying Blue (Air France and KLM) (1:1)

Wyndham (1:1)

You may not even be familiar with some of these carriers. But don’t discount them just because you don’t think you’ll ever fly with them! Some of the best deals in travel live inside the loyalty programs of seemingly obscure airlines. By transferring Capital One miles to them, you can book cheap flights on airlines you actually do fly.

Visit Paris for the price of a domestic flight

Alright, you can usually get where you want to go domestically for around 12,500 miles one-way — but prices can certainly be higher (I just paid 18,000 Delta miles for a domestic flight and I’m furious).

Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM, lets you travel to Europe — and even all the way to Israel — for as little as 15,000 miles each way in economy. You’ll be on the hook for a couple hundred dollars in taxes and fees, but that’s a reasonable price to pay for flights that would otherwise cost $1,100+.

Here’s a sample flight to Paris from the Midwest that you can book by transferring 30,000 Capital One miles to Flying Blue. You’ll consistently receive around 3 cents per mile when using your rewards in this way with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Read more for how you can earn a 75,000-mile welcome bonus with the Capital One Venture Rewards card  –>

Paris France
Transfer 30,000 Capital One miles to Flying Blue to receive around 3 cents per mile when using your rewards.

Fly to Japan in ultimate luxury

There is quite literally no better way to get to Japan than by transferring Capital One miles to Virgin Atlantic — unless you’re an oil tycoon with your own private A380.

Virgin Atlantic partners with ANA, a major Japanese airline, and one of the most luxurious in the world. Its economy class puts many other airlines to shame — and its business and first class cabins are on another level. Take a look at the round-trip price for a fancy lie-flat seat between the U.S. and Japan:

  • Business class
    • East Coast — 47,500 Virgin Points
    • West Coast — 45,000 Virgin Points
  • First class
    • East Coast — 60,000 Virgin Points
    • West Coast — 55,000 Virgin Points

Business class flights routinely cost over $11,000 round-trip, and first class flights cost over $22,000 round-trip. In other words, this is a screaming deal. There are a couple caveats, however.

First class flights can be difficult to find because they’re such an incredible product. ANA has debuted a first class seat dubbed “The Suite,” with fully enclosing doors and a 43-inch TV — and everybody wants to sit in it.

Also, you’ll pay fuel surcharges when booking ANA flights with Virgin Points. We’re talking circa $350 each way in first class. That’s enough to put many travelers off the idea, but the fact that the flights otherwise cost around $22,000 puts those fuel surcharges into perspective. Many of us think it’s well worth the fees.

You cannot book these flights online. You’ll have to find availability on another site (such as ANA.com) and then call Virgin Atlantic to make your reservation.

first class seat on plane
You can transfer Capital One miles to Virgin Atlantic and book a round-trip flight from U.S. to Japan in business class on ANA. Image courtesy of ANA.

Fly across the Atlantic in a lie-flat seat

Avianca is part of Star Alliance, meaning its list of partners is large enough that you can use Avianca miles to travel just about anywhere in the world. Star Alliance airlines include United, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Scandinavian Airlines, LOT Polish, Brussels Airlines, TAP Portugal, and Turkish — and those are just the ones that fly between the U.S. and Europe.

Avianca has some of the cheapest prices for its many partner airlines — and it never passes along fuel surcharges, so the taxes and fees you’ll pay are minimal, as well.

For example, you can fly one-way in a United Airlines lie-flat business class seat between New York and Europe by transferring just 63,000 Capital One miles to Avianca. That’s a value of around $2,300 — giving you a value per mile of more than 3.5 cents.

Fly in United Airlines Polaris business class between US and Europe for just 63,000 Avianca miles. (Courtesy of United)

Book amazing vacation rentals

Wyndham is a hotel program that is known for its ubiquity of low-rent properties around the U.S. Under its umbrella are brands such as La Quinta, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, and many more.

Wyndham isn’t known for luxury resorts — but you can still use its rewards for a luxurious getaway. That’s because it partners with Vacasa, a vacation rental management company that lets you rent thousands of villas, cabins, chalets, etc. around the U.S., Mexico and Central America.

Here’s how it works: Each bedroom you reserve with Vacasa costs 15,000 Wyndham points. For example, you’ll pay 15,000 points to rent a one-bedroom cabin — and 30,000 points to rent a two-bedroom cabin.

Just because a listing has one bedroom doesn’t mean it’s small. There are enormous one-bedroom properties with descriptions that state six or more people can comfortably stay there. These properties can easily cost more than $300 per night, giving you a solid 2 cents per point in value.

vacasa california wyndham
A one-bedroom Vacasa rental on the California coast, which can be booked with just 15,000 Wyndham points. (Image courtesy of Vacasa)

Cheap flights to Hawaii

With 75,000 Capital One miles in your hands, Hawaii is in your future. If you can find availability, flying on United Airlines with Turkish Airlines miles is almost always the cheapest way to travel domestically (including to Hawaii). For a one-way flight, you’ll pay:

  • 7,500 miles in economy 
  • 12,500 miles in business class

To be clear, these prices are from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in the U.S., as long as United Airlines flies there.

Here’s the rub: It can be difficult to find award availability on popular routes, particularly to Hawaii. It’s completely doable — but you’ll probably have to plan your PTO around whenever you can find availability. You’re not likely to score flights during Spring Break or the holiday season.

If your main goal is Hawaii, you’ll have the best luck by searching exclusively from United hubs like Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), Washington Dulles (IAD), Denver, (DEN), and San Francisco (SFO). You may even find a lie-flat business class seat if you’re lucky.

hawaii image
You can fly to Hawaii on United Airlines by transfering just 7,500 Capital One miles to Turkish Airlines. (Image courtesy of Roberto Nickson / Unsplash)

Book first class to Europe at a steep discount

Etihad Airways is an airline based in the UAE. It’s not part of an alliance, but it does partner with American Airlines and provides a way to consistently save thousands of miles on AA flights.

American Airlines charges 85,000 miles for a first class seat to Europe. But you can book that exact same seat for 62,500 Etihad miles. And Capital One miles are transferrable to Etihad

These fares otherwise cost $5,500 each way — giving you an incredible value of 8.8 cents per mile.

You cannot book these flights online — you’ll have to call Etihad to make your reservation. But as long as you can find Saver availability on an AA flight (the cheapest award level) via another website, such as British Airways or American Airlines, the Etihad phone representative shouldn’t have much trouble finding your desired seat.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Etihad and book a first-class flight on its partner American Airlines at a great rate. (Image courtesy of Lukas Souza / Unsplash)

Short hops to a tropical island

British Airways is an excellent Capital One transfer partner if you want to book a short-haul flight that would otherwise be expensive. You’ll pay:

    • 7,500 points for nonstop domestic flights under 650 miles (6,000 points when international)
    • 9,000 points for flights between 651 and 1,151 miles
    • 11,000 points for flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles
    • 13,000 points for flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles

You can use Great Circle Mapper to help you estimate what you’ll be paying. There are loads of things you can do with this award structure. British Airways partners with American Airlines, meaning you could fly on AA for the following prices:

    • Miami to Grand Cayman for 7,500 points each way
    • Philadelphia to Nassau for 9,000 points each way
    • New York to Bermuda for 9,000 points each way
    • Charlotte to Cancun for 9,000 points each way
    • Los Angeles to Honolulu for 13,000 points each way

Note: British Airways prices its awards based on each leg of your trip. For example, even if your domestic one-way trip is less than 651 miles in total, you’ll pay more points if you’re forced to connect somewhere.

dominican republic
Transfer your Capital One miles to British Airways which could get you flights on American Airlines to the Dominican Republic for as little as 9,000 points.

Book flights through Capital One Travel

As previously mentioned, an incredibly popular way to redeem Capital One miles is by simply “purchasing” travel at a rate of 1 cent each. For example, a $200 flight would cost 20,000 miles.

There are two ways to use Capital One miles to purchase travel:

  1. Buy your travel directly with the airline, hotel, etc. or via an online travel agency like Expedia. Then find the transaction in your credit card account and “erase” it with your miles.
  2. Buy your travel through the Capital One Travel portal and use miles as your payment method.

We don’t recommend making a habit of using your points this way — but the Capital One Travel portal is so unique that this redemption method is worth throwing in the conversation as one of the best uses of Capital One miles. When you book airfare through Capital One Travel, you’ll get benefits such as:

  • Price drop protection — You’ll be automatically refunded if your exact ticket drops in price. Data points suggest that Capital One will monitor your ticket for up to 10 days, and you can be refunded up to $50.
  • Price freeze protection — For a small fee, you can lock-in a fare for up to 14 days while you decide whether you want to book it or not. This is handy when you see an impossibly good deal but aren’t certain you can make the dates work.
  • Cancel for any reason coverage — For a small fee, you can add protection that will reimburse you up to 90% of your airfare if you decide you want to cancel your trip.

These tools make Capital One Travel one of the best places to book airfare — and a reasonable use for your miles.

Bottom Line

Capital One miles are one of the most useful tools for traveling on the cheap. With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card You can book luxury five-star experiences like international first-class seats (which can cost many thousands of dollars), or you can stretch your points by reserving short economy flights to fun nearby destinations.

While the above options give you some of the highest possible value for your rewards, the truth is that the best way to use Capital One miles is for whatever makes you the happiest. Don’t get too caught up in how many cents per mile you’re receiving!

Read more for our review of the Capital One Venture X card  –>
Here’s how you can earn a 75,000-mile welcome bonus with the Capital One Venture Rewards card  –>

*For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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