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Capital One has become a significant player in the loyalty program space. Four years ago, the issuer had a limited credit card lineup with an even more limited loyalty program. Capital One miles could only be redeemed towards travel purchases at a fixed rate and its credit cards were often overlooked for no-annual-fee and cash-back cards.

All of that changed in 2018 when Capital One introduced a slew of airline and hotel transfer partners. Capital One has continued to expand the program, offering an impressive roster of transfer partners and credit cards that are gaining popularity over those issued by the likes of long-term players in the space American Express and Chase.

Capital One miles have become an incredibly valuable addition to a well-rounded travel rewards strategy. If you’re ready to learn how to earn and redeem Capital One miles for incredible travel experiences, here’s everything you need to know to get started.

How to earn Capital One miles

There are two primary methods for earning Capital One miles. The most straightforward way is through credit card sign-up bonuses and by making purchases with Capital One credit cards. At the moment, you can’t earn extra miles through a Capital One shopping portal, dining rewards program or shopping app like you can with some other programs.

However, the issuer delivers an impressive lineup of rewards credit cards that offer substantial welcome bonuses, category bonuses and rewards for referring friends. If you’re in the market for more Capital One miles, here are all the ways you can earn them.

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Earn Capital One miles from Capital One credit cards

Capital One has significantly improved its credit card offerings over the past few years. Currently, it offers four personal and two business credit cards in the travel rewards space. The unique thing about these cards is that they all earn more than one mile per dollar spent on non-bonus category spending, putting them ahead of competitive cards.

One thing to note before applying is that Capital One will pull your credit from all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Most other banks only pull your credit from one issuer.

Let’s look at the current welcome bonus offers on the personal credit cards that earn Capital One miles.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card for Good Credit
Sign-up bonus

75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening

60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening

20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening

N/A

Bonus category earning

10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2x miles on all other purchases

5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 2x miles on all other purchases

5x miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 1.25x miles per dollar on every purchase

5x miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 1.25x miles per dollar on every purchase

Annual fee

$395

$95

$0

$0

Capital One also offers business credit cards. Here’s the information on two of those options.

Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles Select
Sign-up bonus

50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months of account opening

20,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months of account opening

Bonus category earning

2x miles on every purchase

1.5x miles on every purchase

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, $95 after that

$0

Earn Capital One miles by adding an authorized user

Adding an authorized user to your card is a great way to earn more Capital One miles. And best of all, Capital One doesn’t impose any fees to add authorized users to the primary cardholder’s account.

Adding an authorized user is a great way to meet spending requirements, unlock a big welcome bonus and earn more miles on everyday purchases. It can also save you money on annual fees if you add a spouse or family member. Just be sure to recruit someone you can trust to pay their share of the bill at the end of the month.

Earn Capital One miles by referring a friend

If you’re a fan of your Capital One card, you can earn bonus miles by spreading the word to your friends and family. Capital One’s referral program issues thousands of bonus miles for each approved referral. The exact number depends on the card you have, but you can log in to your account to determine what you’re eligible for.

Referral offers range depending on a number of factors. For example, you could be offered 20,000 miles per approved referral for the Venture card (up to 50,000 per year) and 25,000 miles per approval (up to 100,000 miles per year) for the Venture X card. Capital One will even give you a personal referral link that you can share via text, email or social media.

If your friends are in the market for a Capital One card and you’ve been raving about your own, this is a great way to get rewarded for it.

Get rewarded for referring your friends.

How to redeem Capital One miles

Whether you’re saving up for your dream trip or looking to take a dent out of your monthly bills, there are plenty of ways to redeem Capital One miles. You can use Capital One miles for some high-value options like redeeming miles towards travel purchases, transferring miles to Capital One’s 18 airline and hotel partners or for non-travel rewards such as cash back or gift cards.

You’ll get the most value out of your Capital One miles by transferring to one of Capital One’s travel transfer partners. Regardless of what you decide, here’s a look at all the ways you can redeem Capital One miles.

Redeem Capital One miles by transferring to travel partners

In the past four years, Capital One has gone from having zero transfer partners to a whopping 18 airline and hotel transfer partners. Some of these partners overlap with other major programs like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Popular hotel and airline loyalty programs are among them, giving you tons of options for redeeming Capital One miles.

If you’re looking to possibly transfer your Capital One miles to one of the travel transfer partners, here are your 18 options as well as their respective transfer rate.

Transfer rate
Aeromexico Club Premier

1:1

Air Canada Aeroplan

1:1

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

1:1

Avianca LifeMiles

1:1

British Airways Executive Club

1:1

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

1:1

Emirates Skywards

1:1

Etihad Airways Guest

1:1

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

2:1.5

Finnair Plus

1:1

Qantas Frequent Flyer

1:1

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

1:1

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go

1:1

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

1:1

Virgin Red

1:1

Accor Live Limitless

2:1

Choice Privileges

1:1

Wyndham Rewards

1:1

If you’re saving up Capital One miles without a specific goal in mind, here are some sweet spot awards worth considering.

  • United economy award between the continental US and Hawaii: 7,500 Turkish Miles & Smiles one way
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue economy award between the US and the Caribbean: 15,000 miles one way
  • United business class between the US and Africa: 78,000 LifeMiles one way
  • American Airlines business-class award between the US and Europe: 50,000 Etihad Guest miles one way
Travel to Hawaii using your Capital One miles.

Redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value

Before introducing transfer partners, Capital One distinguished itself with a straightforward travel redemption option. You could charge any travel purchase to your card and redeem miles to erase the charge at a rate of 1 cent apiece. This simple method of redeeming miles for travel continues to be a great use of Capital One miles, especially when travel costs are low.

For example, a round-trip economy class ticket to Europe costs between 40,000 and 60,000 Etihad Guest miles. But sometimes you can find tickets as cheap as $350 to cities like Barcelona, London and Lisbon. In that scenario, it makes sense to pay for the $350 ticket with your Capital One card and redeem 35,000 Capital One miles to offset the purchase. It’s not only cheaper than transferring miles to an airline partner (in this case, Etihad Guest), but you’ll also earn miles through your credit card and the airline loyalty program.

Generally speaking, if you favor a simple approach to redeeming Capital One miles, redeeming at 1 cent apiece toward any travel purchase you’ve made within the last 90 days is a valuable strategy.

Redeem for other fixed redemptions

Outside of travel redemptions, Capital One miles can be redeemed between 0.5 cents and 0.8 cents apiece. You can use miles for cash back, Amazon purchases, gift cards, event tickets or PayPal purchases. The exact value of your miles will depend on which of these redemptions you choose, but even the highest return will be lower than what your miles are worth for travel redemptions.

These are the rates when redeeming Capital One miles for non-travel items.

  • Amazon: 0.8 cents per mile
  • Events: 0.8 cents per mile
  • Experiences: 0.8 cents per mile
  • Gift cards: 0.8 cents per mile
  • PayPal: 0.8 cents per mile
  • Cash back: 0.5 cents per mile (check or credit)
While you can redeem Capital One miles for Amazon purchases, you won't be getting the best value.

How much are Capital One miles worth?

When transferred to hotel and airline partners, Capital One miles are worth about 1.85 cents each, according to frequent flyer website The Points Guy. The exact amount depends on how you choose to redeem your miles. The highest value typically comes from high-end travel redemptions like business-class seats and luxury hotels.

If figuring out the best way to maximize Capital One miles sounds tedious, there is a simpler option: You can redeem Capital One miles for travel purchases made with your credit card at 1 cent apiece. This can be a great option if award space is limited or you don’t want to research award rules for different airline programs.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.