Capital One has become a serious player in the travel rewards industry just within the last few years.
When Capital One's miles-earning cards were introduced, the miles you earned could only be redeemed as statement credits to erase travel purchases with a value of 1.0 cent each.
That all changed in late 2018 when Capital One added a number of transfer partners.
One of the biggest changes Capital One has introduced in the last decade is the ability to transfer Capital One miles to a number of airline transfer partners — often at better ratios than you get when you transfer other points like Marriott Bonvoy.
With a bit of strategy, transferring Capital One miles to points is the best way to maximize the value of Capital One miles.
Here's an in-depth look at the Capital One transfer partners, which offer the best value, and how to make the best use of your miles.
To take advantage of Capital One's airline transfer partners, you need to have a Capital One card that earns miles.
The good news is, there are several great options for personal and business cards to choose from.
The welcome offers can be an easy and lucrative way to earn 20,000 to 50,000 bonus miles or more.
Pro Tip: Keep your eye out for the 200,000 Capital One miles offer that is periodically avaialable on the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business.
Keep in mind as a reference, 50,000 Capital One miles is equal to 37,500 airline miles with most airline partners
That can be enough for one or even two transatlantic flights, depending on how you use your miles!
Here is a list of Capital One credit cards that earn miles that can be trasferred to airline and hote programs:
Capital One has 15 transfer partners with partners in all three major airline alliances: Oneworld, Star Alliance, and Sky Team.
This is ideal since points or miles with one loyalty program can be shared across different carriers within the same alliance to open up even more possibilities.
With all airline partners except 3, Capital One miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio. That means 1,000 Capital One miles become 750 airline miles. With JetBlue, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines, miles transfer at a 2:1 ratio.
This transfer ratio looks low at first as many other programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards offer a 1:1 transfer ratio.
That translates to 1.5x airline miles across the board on everyday spending which is better than even most co-branded airline cards!
Capital One transfer partners include:
Fortunately, Capital One makes it painless and easy to transfer Capital One miles to airline miles.
You'll need to change the default number of miles to transfer because Capital One prefills all of your available miles to transfer to your airline partner. You must transfer at least 1,000 Capital One miles in increments of 100.
Note: Transfers are instant with most partners but not all of them. This can be a perk over transferring points from a different program like Marriott to Marriott Bonvoy transfer partners, many of which are also partnered with Capital One. However, some Capital One mile transfers take up to a few days such as Etihad, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific.
Don't get too excited by the list of Capital One airline partners: a large number of them are really just fillers or don't offer much value for your miles.
With that said, several transfer partners can give you a great value when you convert Capital One miles to airline miles that exceeds the 1 cent value when you use Travel Eraser.
Here are the best ways to maximize the value of Capital One miles with transfer partners.
Transferring Capital One miles to Aeroplan can sometimes yield a great value.
Just keep in mind Air Canada recently bought back the Aeroplan program and a new program will be launched in 2020. That means it may or may not remain a valuable partner.
One of the best ways to use Aeroplan miles? Booking domestic United flights.
You can grab economy flights within the U.S. for 25,000 miles roundtrip. You can also book partner award flights without fuel surcharges passed on.
Another good value is booking a long-haul business class flight on a partner airline.
With Aeroplan miles you can book a partner flight from the U.S. to Europe or Southern South America for 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class.
Along with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Flying Blue is one of the very few programs that lets you transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Marriott Bonvoy, and Capital One miles to pool points from many sources.
One of the perks of the Flying Blue program is its interesting region definitions.
For example, Hawaii is included in the Central America region, while Israel is in the Europe 3 region along with Morocco.
You can often get a good deal using Flying Blue to Israel, Morocco and other countries that most carriers put in an Africa or Middle East region.
From the U.S., flying to the Europe 3 region is usually 43,000 to 58,000 round-trip — but a Promo Award can offer even more significant savings.
For the best deals, look for the monthly promotions that can give you up to half off certain award routes.
You can sometimes snag one-way economy award flights from the U.S. to Europe for as little as 10,750 to 14,000 miles!
Promo Awards are bookable within 3 months and require paying surcharges and fees, but they're typically a steal. Some awards specify airlines, routes, or dates, and some are just between two cities or just a city and a region.
There are drawbacks to Air France/KLM: the Flying Blue program passes on surcharges on partner awards and they have no award chart.
LifeMiles generally have a high value of around 1.7 cents each.
With the 2:1.5 transfer ratio, your Capital One miles are generally worth 1.275 cents each when transferred to Avianca with the potential to get an even better value.
One of the biggest perks of the LifeMiles program is you won't pay surcharges on award flights, although there is a $25 award booking fee. Most partners can also be booked online.
You can book economy domestic United flights in Zone 1 for 7,500 miles or fly from Zone 1 to Zone 2 in the U.S. for just 10,000 miles.
You can also fly from the U.S. to Europe in business class for 63,000 miles.
While the Asia Miles program was devalued in 2018, it still offers competitive award rates compared to other Oneworld alliance members.
Cathay Pacific also partners with Citi ThankYou and Amex Membership Rewards to make it easier to pool points for award flights.
Cathay Pacific's distance-based award chart has plenty of sweet spots and allows stopovers on one-way awards.
You can book economy award flights within Asia for just 7,500 miles or 10,000 Capital One miles, for example, or fly from New York to London with a layover in Hong Kong to explore for just 125,000 miles one-way in first class — the same cost of flying from the U.S. to Hong Kong.
One of the most ambitious redemption options that delivers an amazing value is the Round the World award which lets you fly up to 50,000 miles with up to 5 stopovers, 2 layovers or transfers, and 2 open jaws on up to 3 Oneworld airlines (or 2 if Cathay Pacific isn't one of them). One rule of booking a Round the World award is that you will need to depart and return to the same city.
To demonstrate what a great value this is let's take a look at this example. You can start you trip from Los Angeles and explore Madrid, Johannesburg, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Dubai for 210,000 miles, about half off the cost to book the segments separately.
So, what is a major drawback to the Asia Miles program?
Every partner has its own award chart which can get confusing and many partner awards can't be booked online.
You'll also face hefty fees and fuel surcharges for flights departing Hong Kong.
With its distance-based award chart, you can snag short-haul flights for only 8,000 miles for flights within Australia or the U.S. with partner American Airlines.
The Round the World tickets can also offer a good value (but not as good as other carriers) but they come with high fees and surcharges.
There aren't many other redemption options that have a good value, unfortunately, due to the Australia-based carrier's high fuel surcharges on most partners and high redemption rates.
Singapore Airlines definitely shouldn't be overlooked.
Despite some major drawbacks to the program — including fuel surcharges on partner award flights and a $25 (or 2,500-mile) fee for booking over the phone —- you can find great deals on Singapore and Star Alliance partners.
Another perk is Singapore Airlines is one of just two programs that accepts transfers from all five major rewards programs:
Singapore Airlines has some great routes to explore including nonstop from Los Angeles to Tokyo or Singapore, nonstop between Hong Kong and Singapore, and from New York to Frankfurt.
Want to make the most of KrisFlyer miles?
Get the Singapore Suites Class experience on the A380 with 86,000 miles from New York to Frankfurt, fly first class from L.A. to Seoul or Tokyo for 107,000 miles, or get a better value on United flights.
You can book a partner award on United and fly from the continental U.S. to Hawaii for 17,500 in economy (22,500 through United) or from the U.S. to Europe for 27,500 miles (30,000+ on United) without the surcharges.
Not all transfer partners are worth your Capital One miles.
With some partners, the transfer ratio just doesn't offer much opportunity for value, but others have subpar loyalty programs with high fuel surcharges, high redemption rates, or other issues that can set you back.
As a general rule, you'll want to consider the value proposition before transferring Capital One miles to airline miles in these programs. That said, they may make sense in limited circumstances, like topping off your account.
While some Capital One transfer partners aren't worth using, several offer a great opportunity to get more than 1.0 cent per mile.
When award seats aren't available or you won't get more than 1.0 cent per mile by transferring, you can just purchase your flight with your Capital One card and use the Travel Eraser perk for a statement credit instead.
With a Capital One miles credit card that earns 2x miles per dollar such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you're essentially earning 1.5x airline miles — better than most co-branded airline cards offer!