Capital One Miles Are Now Transferable: What This Means for You

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Capital One made a major change to its travel cards by adding transfer partners as a redemption option. Here are the details on what you can do with your miles now and what those miles are worth.

Capital One made a major change to its travel cards by adding transfer partners as a redemption option. Here are the details on what you can do with your miles now and what those miles are worth.

Here's one I didn't see coming -- Capital One now lets consumers with one of its travel rewards cards transfer miles to a dozen different airlines.

That's a big shift in the popular card issuer's approach, especially considering how much of its marketing over the years emphasized the simplicity of its fixed-rate redemptions.

There's suddenly a lot you can do with your Capital One miles. Let's dive in to what your options are and whether transfers are all they're cracked up to be.

Capital One transfer partners

You can transfer Capital One miles to the following airlines and other travel partners at the following rates.

1 VentureOne mile to 1 loyalty point:

  • Aeromexico (Club Premier)
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Avianca (LifeMiles)
  • British Airways (Avios)
  • Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
  • Choice Hotels (Choice Privileges)
  • Emirates Airlines (Emirates Skywards)
  • Etihad (Etihad Guest)
  • Finnair (Finnair Plus)
  • Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
  • Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles)
  • Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer)
  • TAP Air Portugal (TAP Miles&Go)
  • Virgin (Virgin Red)
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (Wyndham Rewards)

2 VentureOne miles to 1.5 loyalty points:

  • EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)

2 VentureOne miles to 1 loyalty point:

  • ALL - Accor Live Limitless

You'll need to transfer a minimum of 1,000 VentureOne miles to these loyalty programs, in 100-mile increments.

Which Capital One cards offer transfers?

You can transfer miles with any Capital One travel rewards card. The following Capital One cards offer transfers:

Should you transfer your miles?

When you're booking airfare with your miles, the first thing to do is compare the cash price of the ticket to the price in miles with an award booking.

You can always redeem your miles at a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile. It only makes sense to transfer your miles if you're going to get more value from them than the fixed rate. For example, if a hotel stay costs either $300 or 30,000 miles, there's no reason to go to the trouble of transferring your miles. You're getting the same value, and redeeming the same amount of miles, either way.

On the other hand, if an airline ticket costs either $1,000 or 60,000 miles, then transferring your miles would be the way to go. You'd need to pay 100,000 miles if you redeemed them at a fixed rate for that ticket.

Fixed-rate redemptions do have some extra advantages over transfers. You can book any seat since you don't need to worry about award availability, which makes purchasing your airfare easier. Your card's purchase and travel protections will apply to the ticket, and you can earn airline miles on your purchase.

The best transfer opportunities

Booking high-value award airfare comes down to knowing how to find it. Here are a few tips that can help with this:

  • Look for Saver award tickets, which typically cost half as many miles or fewer as a standard award ticket.
  • Tickets with higher cash prices, especially those in business class and first class, tend to offer a better value when you book in points.
  • Start shopping as early as you can, because the best award tickets don't stick around long.

That last point is key. The award tickets that offer the highest value are Saver tickets in business class or first class. Most airlines release a limited number of award seats per flight and an even more limited number of Saver tickets. With the business and first-class cabins already being much smaller, there are typically a select few high-value award tickets per flight.

Now let's look at highlights from Capital One's list of travel partners. Some of the best options include:

  • Avianca -- One-way flights from North America to Europe in business class are available for 63,000 miles.
  • Etihad -- Partner award bookings with American Airlines are a great use of Etihad miles, including transcontinental first-class tickets within the United States starting at 25,000 miles and business-class tickets from North America to Europe starting at 50,000 miles.
  • Air France/KLM -- The Flying Blue program runs promos every month where award tickets on select routes are discounted up to 50%.

Because Capital One's roster of travel partners includes airlines flying to many different parts of the world, it helps to decide where you want to go first. Then, you can see which partners have flights to that area and check if they have any good award ticket deals available.

Final thoughts

After years as the card issuer that kept it simple, Capital One has done a pivot to become more like the other giants of the credit card world. It's an interesting change when you consider how much of Capital One's identity was wrapped up in fixed-rate redemptions that never required you to shop for award space.

Fixed-rate redemptions that you get as statement credits will probably remain the most popular way to use Capital One miles. Capital One's transfer partners are also valuable, though, especially when you're looking at airfare that has a high cash price. It takes a little longer, but it's well worth comparing the cash price and the miles price of flights before booking to see which is the better way to use your travel rewards.

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