4 Best Ways to Spend the 75K Capital One Venture Card Bonus
[Update] The 75,000-point welcome bonus offer expired on 12/12/18. Click Here to learn more about the current best offers on the Capital One Venture card.
The Capital One Venture has long been one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards, as well as for our readers.
Thanks to a big, 75,000-point welcome bonus after spending $5,000 in three months now available for consumers who apply directly through the CaptialOne.com website, and the new ability to transfer points to 14 airline partners, it’s getting even more valuable.
Here are four of the best ways to spend that big bonus.
Cheaper Travel within the U.S.
There are some gems and some duds among the list of 14 airlines to which you can transfer Capital One points. Avianca LifeMiles might be its crown jewel.
LifeMiles is the quirky frequent flyer program of South American airline Avianca. Use it right, and you can unlock some seriously cheap travel. Namely, you can book flights on United Airlines – a Star Alliance partner – for fewer miles than United Airlines itself would charge you.
Transfer all of your 75,000-plus Capital One points, and you’d have at least 56,000 miles. That’s enough for three shorter round-trip flights – or at least two longer trips. Read our guide to transferring Capital One points.
LifeMiles’ award chart spells it all out, but it allows you to fly domestic flights for just 7,500 miles each way within each of three regions of the U.S. Here’s how that breaks out.
In every case, United would charge between 10,000 and 12,500 miles for those exact same flights.
In some cases, you might be better off booking directly with the airline and erasing the cost of the flight. But if prices are high, Avianca LifeMiles are one of the best ways to book travel within the U.S.
Just make sure the flights you want are available before transferring points to LifeMiles, as you won’t be able to claw those points back to your Capital One account. Read our guide to understanding and using LifeMiles.
Cheap Flights to Europe with Air France/KLM
Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue frequent flyer mile program can be tricky after it followed Delta’s lead and implemented an ever-changing award pricing system. But its monthly promotions for discounted travel are a bright spot. And now that you can transfer Capital One points to FlyingBlue, you can take advantage of them.
These two airlines put out a list of “Promo Rewards” every month, featuring routes on sale when using miles. And there have been some stellar sales.
In November, you could book round-trip flights from New York City-JFK (JFK) to almost anywhere in Europe for just 28,000 miles. With a 2:1.5 transfer ratio, you’d need to transfer 37,400 Capital One points. Most airlines charge at least 30,000 miles for a one-way trip to Europe.
It was even sweeter in October, when you could fly from Seattle (SEA) to anywhere in Europe in business class for 13,500 miles or less in business class each way. Those are $4,000 flights that will normally run you at least 70,000 miles on any airline, so it was a steal. If another promo like this comes around, you’d need to transfer just 18,000 Capital One points to book it.
The catch with Air France/KLM flights is that even when you’re booking with miles, there are often some sizable fees. These typically hover between $200 to $300 per ticket. But given some of the savings with these monthly sales, that’s a small price to pay.
Make the Flight Deals We Find Free!
The ability to transfer points to airline partners might make Capital One more flashy. And it puts the bank in line with other titans of the travel rewards world like Chase and American Express.
But there’s still nothing easier than using Capital One’s “purchase eraser” feature to make a flight free. Using points to book flight deals is one of our favorite ways to use them.
When you see a good fare deal, odds are that you’ll get more out of your points by skipping the new transfer feature and booking direct. And if you follow us, read our site or subscribe to international flight deal alerts through Thrifty Traveler Premium, you’ve seen plenty of good deals.
With that 75,000-point welcome bonus, up to $750 in flights could be completely free. There’s nothing thriftier than that.
Just make the purchase directly with the airline or through an online travel agency, then use Capital One’s purchase eraser to cover the cost with your points. Done.
Business Class to Europe or Japan
This one is digging deep into the weeds of the miles and points world, but it could be worth the effort.
Etihad’s frequent flyer program – called Etihad Guest – isn’t great, but it has a serious sweet spot. You can use it to fly to Europe or Japan in business class for just 50,000 miles.
Thanks to a partnership with American Airlines, you can use Etihad miles to book American Airlines flights. And after American increased its own pricing a few years back, these flights are now cheaper booking with Etihad.
With a one-way flight in American’s sterling business class pricing at just 50,000 miles one way to either Japan or Europe, you’d need to transfer 66,700 Capital One points to have the miles to book them.
The trick is that it’s not as simple as booking through Etihad’s website. You need to call Etihad to book – the number is (877) 690-0767.
As always, scope out award availability to make sure the seat you want is available before transferring your points. You’ll want to find a ticket in American’s lowest price level, sAAver awards, to be able to book it through Etihad. Feed the flight information to an Etihad agent over the phone, and you should be able to get your ticket.
It’s a great way to save some miles while flying in style and getting the most juice out of your Capital One points.
The Venture Card and Other Ways to Earn Capital One Points
The Capital One Venture Card is a mainstay in travelers’ wallets for a reason. It keeps getting better.
In August, Capital One added a credit to receive free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years. And in January, the bank added the ability to earn 10x points on hotel bookings at Hotels.com in January. And yet the annual fee remains just $95 – and that’s waived in the first year.
The 75,000-point welcome bonus won’t be around forever – it’s tied to the launch of these new transfer partners. And it’s only available for customers who apply directly through the CaptialOne.com website. New Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
If the $5,000 spending requirement is too much, you can still apply for the card with a 50,000 point bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account.
Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture card.
But there are more options to earn and transfer Capital One points. You can also get the no-annual-fee Capital One VentureOne Rewards card and the Capital One Spark Miles Select for business cards. The VentureOne card earns 1.25x miles per dollar spent on all purchases and the Spark Miles Select card earns 1.5x miles per dollar on all purchases.
Click Here to learn more about the no-annual-fee Capital One VentureOne card.
Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card.
This 75,000 welcome bonus for Capital One is a great opportunity to pile up some points. Add in the new options now available through transferring to partner airlines, and it’s the perfect time to unlock some serious travel.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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