Capital One shook things up late last year by introducing the ability to transfer Capital One points to 14 airline partners. And it’s not done yet.
The bank announced Wednesday that it added JetBlue as its 15th transfer partner. And while transferring points to JetBlue isn’t always the best option, it’s an important addition to the fold. This is Capital One’s first transfer partner that’s a U.S. airline.
And while normally Capital One points will transfer to JetBlue on a 2:1 ratio – so 1,000 points would become just 500 TrueBlue miles – Capital One is kicking things off with a bonus. From May 1 through May 31, Capital One points will transfer on a 2:1.5 basis, just like most of the bank’s other airline partners. That means the 50,000-point welcome bonus earned after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months on a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card would net you 37,500 TrueBlue miles.
A Capital One spokeswoman said more change is on the way. The bank plans to continue offering transfer bonuses – a feature it rolled out this winter – throughout the year. And Capital One also says it will continue adding transfer partners as time goes on.
The more transfer partners, the better.
The ability to transfer points or book a cash fare and then cover it with points using Capital One’s “purchase eraser” function gives Capital One a big boost. That flexibility is what has made other credit card points like Chase and American Express so valuable.
And even though the transferability is new to Capital One, the bank keeps upping the ante with transfer bonuses and new partners. JetBlue is an important addition.
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Airline||2:1.5||Same day|
|Air France/KLM||Airline||2:1.5||Same day|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|EVA Air||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|Qantas||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|Singapore||Airline||2:1||Up to five business days|
That said, transferring points to JetBlue won’t always be a slam dunk. Especially after the transfer bonus lapses at the end of May.
JetBlue’s TrueBlue can be tricky to work out. In the past, the amount of TrueBlue miles you needed to book a fare was tied directly to the cash price of the fare. A $200 fare would typically cost 20,000 TrueBlue points, no questions asked.
That’s gotten better in recent months, so it can be worth considering. But you’ll need to do the math to figure out whether you’re better off transferring your Capital One points to JetBlue or just buying the fare and using points to cover the purchase afterward.
Breaking Down Capital One Transfers to JetBlue
Let’s look at an example.
Flights for a long weekend trip from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Boston (BOS) in May are currently selling for $148 round-trip. That means you could put the flight on your Capital One Venture card, then use roughly 14,800 Capital One points to cover the entire purchase using the Capital One Purchase Eraser.
But if booking using TrueBlue miles, the airline wants just 9,200 miles for the exact same flights.
If you transfer points from Capital One with the current transfer bonus, you’d need to transfer 12,300 Capital One points to book that flight. Transferring 12,300 Capital One points would leave you with 9,200 TrueBlue miles after the 2:1.5 bonus transfer ratio.
But when the transfer bonus ends come June 1, that jumps to 18,400 miles. And that’s not a good deal.
Keep in mind that you won’t earn miles when booking a flight with TrueBlue miles – but you will if you use Capital One’s Purchase eraser function. That’s another factor that could sway your decision.
Either way, you’ll have to do some legwork to figure out whether it’s worth transferring your Capital One points to JetBlue.
Capital One keeps beefing up its transfer partners with more airlines and bonuses, and that’s good news for travelers who have cards like the Capital One Venture card.
But with JetBlue in particular, you’ll need to work out whether you’re getting a good deal by transferring those points or might be better off booking direct.
Lead photo courtesy of Tomas del Coro via Flickr