Want to travel for free (or nearly free)? You need to be earning flexible points and miles.
The points you earn from travel rewards credit cards give you much more flexibility for booking travel – especially cheap travel – than any miles you earn flying with an airline or swiping a co-branded airline credit card. You can book flights or hotels with almost any airline or hotel chain with your points, or you can transfer them to an airline or hotel partner to get even better value for them.
With the overwhelming variety of transferrable points you can earn from banks like American Express, Capital One, Chase, and more, two stand out as some of the most valuable in the world of points and miles: Capital One miles vs Chase points.
While there is no clear-cut answer for which is best, there are several factors to consider that could lead you to focus more on earning Capital One Venture Miles over Chase Ultimate Rewards – or vice versa.
Transfer Partners: Capital One vs Chase?
The ability to transfer points to airline or hotel partners to book flights or accommodations for free (or nearly free) book flights is the best way to get the most value for your credit card points.
At first glance, Capital One appears superior to Chase based on its sheer number of transfer partners. With Capital One, you're able to transfer your Venture Miles to 15 airlines and three hotel programs, while Chase has just 11 airline and three hotel transfer partners.
But quantity isn't how we measure which points win for transfer partners. Looking through these lists, you'll see some of the best frequent flyer programs for booking award flights. That opens up different ways to book flights on the three global airline alliances (Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance) as well as other independent airlines.
Capital One Venture Miles Airline Transfer Partners
|Air Canada Aeroplan
|Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles
|Up to 5 business days
|Up to 1 day
|Up to 5 business days
|TAP Air Portugal
Capital One Venture Miles Hotel Transfer Partners
|Up to 2 business days
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Airline Transfer Partners
|Air Canada Aeroplan
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Hotel Transfer Partners
|World of Hyatt
Let's break it down a bit. Capital One and Chase share a handful of transfer partners, including Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic, but Capital One has the edge in that Venture Miles simply transfer to more airlines.
But airline alliances matter, too, and while Chase has fewer airline transfer partners than Capital One, both allow you to transfer your points to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air Canada to book flights on Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance partner airlines, respectively.
With the Oneworld Alliance, Capital One vs Chase largely comes to a draw. Both banks have British Airways at their disposal, which I consider the strongest in the alliance. British Airways should be on your radar if you want to get to Hawaii for cheap. Using British Airways Avios, you can fly from several West Coast cities to all four major Hawaiian airports for only 26,000 miles roundtrip. That's a win, seeing as American charges 45,000 AAdvantage miles or more for the exact same flights.
Meanwhile, Capital One can also transfer points to Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles program, which, despite a recent devaluation, is still a great option for short-haul travel within Asia and some other valuable (albeit niche) uses.
Chase, on the other hand, has Iberia as a transfer partner, which Capital One does not. Using Iberia, you can book a round-trip flight to Spain in business class for just 68,000 miles – less than a typical economy award ticket.
For SkyTeam, both Capital One and Chase transfer to Virgin Atlantic, which has a partnership with Delta. Charging a fraction of the amount of Delta SkyMiles necessary to book domestic and international travel, a short flight from Seattle to another state could just run you 8,500 Virgin points or even less, with roundtrip flights to Hawaii costing 30,000 Virgin points. Or, if you want to travel to Europe in style, we've found Delta One suites for just 50,000 Virgin points one-way.
When it comes to the Star Alliance, Capital One and Chase points both transfer to Air Canada's Aeroplan program. And even after a major overhaul in late 2020, there are some great sweet spots to book Star Alliance award travel with Aeroplan miles. You can even book flights on Etihad (including the Apartments) with Aeroplan miles now, too.
Capital One also has Avianca. Avianca LifeMiles is a quirky program from the Colombian airline with some great options for booking Star Alliance flights. You can book domestic flights on United Airlines for fewer miles than United itself – a Chase transfer partner. It's also one of the best ways to book flights in business or first class to Europe or Asia. But on the whole, LifeMiles mixes good rates on award flights with very low fees. That can make it well worth a buggy website and shoddy customer service.
Chase has United as well, which is another solid airline program, but that's it. Capital One has a leg up on Chase regarding Star Alliance flights with their partnership with Avianca LifeMiles.
If there's one weakness in Capital One's roster of transfer partners, it's hotels. And one transfer partner that could tip this battle in Chase's favor is World of Hyatt.
In the world of hotel points, World of Hyatt reigns supreme. Despite a recent devaluation that raised award rates at hundreds of properties worldwide, it remains far and away the most valuable hotel points program, blowing the likes of Marriott and Hilton out of the water.
Transferring to any of Capital One hotel chain partners won't be a great choice. For Chase, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt is one of the best uses of Chase points, period.
That alone can be reason enough for some travelers to give the Capital One miles vs Chase points battle straight to Chase.
Banks like Chase and Capital One will sometimes offer bonuses when transferring points to an airline or hotel partner, meaning you won't have to transfer as many points as you would normally need to book an award flight. From 10% extra to 30% or more, think of these bonuses as a way to get free airline miles.
When it comes to comparing Capital One vs Chase transfer bonuses, Chase's frequency and broad array of strong transfer partners give it a lead over Capital One. Banks like American Express, Chase, and Citi regularly have transfer bonuses to some of the best frequent flyer programs while Capital One seems to offer transfer bonuses only a few times a year.
Capital One Transfer Bonuses
If you're looking to get ahead with Venture Miles by utilizing transfer bonuses, forget it. Capital One's transfer bonuses are too infrequent compared to what's offered through American Express, Citi, and Chase.
This year, the only worthwhile Capital One transfer bonuses were for Virgin Atlantic in March, Avianca LifeMiles in April and September, and Air France/KLM Flying Blue in July. But we've seen American Express, Citi, and Chase offer transfer bonuses to some of these same programs several times this year – and often for more bonus miles than Capital One. For example, right now you can get 25% more miles when transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Flying Blue, compared to the 20% transfer bonus Capital One was offering earlier this year.
Chase Transfer Bonuses
Chase is quite competitive with the likes of American Express and Citi when it comes to transfer bonuses.
The bank offered its first-ever transfer bonus back in April 2019. Ever since it's been hit or miss. We sometimes see transfer bonuses from Chase to Virgin Atlantic, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways, and a few others. An ongoing 50% transfer bonus to Marriott sounds promising … but really, it's a dud.
There's no question other banks like American Express still have more frequent and reliable transfer bonuses. However, both banks offer much more than what is available through Capital One.
For example, the frequent transfer bonuses of 30% to Virgin Atlantic mean you could score a seat to Europe in Delta's fancy and private Delta One Suites for cheap – like, really cheap. Delta frequently charges 200,000-plus SkyMiles for one of these business-class suites. But with Virgin Atlantic, the exact same flights are often bookable for just 50,000 miles!
Factor in a 30% transfer bonus, and you'd need just 39,000 Ultimate Rewards points to make it happen.
Until Capital One matches the frequency and size of its competitors' transfer bonuses, Chase continue to shine here.
Points Redemption Options
When it comes to putting Capital One Venture Miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards head-to-head, it's important to consider how you'll actually redeem those points for travel. Let's check out some of the best bookings made possible with Capital One miles and Chase points.
The Best Capital One Redemptions
Capital One certainly has more airline transfer partners than Chase but does not have a valuable hotel partner like Chase does with Hyatt. Still, you can get a great deal booking flights using your Venture Miles.
- Book flights (or hotels and other travel experiences) directly through the Capital One Travel portal and save even more with features like price matching and freezing, price alerts, and automatic refunds if the price of your ticket price drops.
- Transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan and book an EVA Air or ANA business class flight from the U.S. to Asia for just 75,000 points each way.
- Remove travel purchases such as flights, hotels, Airbnbs, Ubers, or even a bucket list golf trip from your statement with your Venture Miles after the fact.
Read our full guide to earning & burning Capital One Venture miles!
The Best Chase Redemptions
Capital One may have Chase beat on transfer partners but Chase definitely has more transfer bonuses popping up all the time to make your Chase points go even further. There are some stellar ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points.
- Book flights (or hotels and other travel expenses) directly through the Chase travel portal to make your Chase points go even further. It's one of the easiest ways to redeem points for travel – and one of the only ways to travel completely free.
- Transfer your points to Virgin Atlantic and book a Delta One business class flight to Europe for just 50,000 points each way – a fraction of what Delta usually charges.
- Hyatt is far and away one of the strongest Chase transfer partners. That’s largely because the hotel chain's low award rates make it easy to get an outsized value on amazing hotels worldwide. Check one of our favorite ways to use Hyatt points for all-inclusive resorts!
Read our full guide to earning & burning Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Of course, we know life is not all about points and miles. For frequent fliers, lounge access is perhaps one of the major factors to take into consideration when weighing whether or not to open a travel card.
The top-tier cards at both banks – *venture x* and *chase sapphire reserve* – are both outstanding for frequent travelers. Both cards come with a free Priority Pass membership to a global network of more than 1,000 airport lounges as well as access to branded lounges, although these aren't as widespread yet as say, American Express' Centurion Lounges.
Capital One Lounges
Currently, there are only two Capital One Lounges located in Dallas-Forth Worth (DFW) and Washington D.C.-Dulles (IAD). Additional lounges in Denver (DEN) and Las Vegas (LAS) are in the works, but no opening dates have been announced.
Read our guide to Capital One Lounges!
What sets these lounges apart from other airport lounges is the convenient grab-and-go selection of food and drinks you can take with you to your gate, all of which are complimentary.
The Dallas lounge features shower suites, a workout studio with Peloton bikes, wellness rooms, and prayer spaces. The D.C. lounge has a full-service cafe right at the entrance. Love that latte art!
You can add up to four authorized users on your Venture X card for free, and they'll all get their own lounge access, too. It's an easy way to get lounge access for the whole family with just one credit card.
Unlike American Express and Chase, travelers with lower-tier cards like the *capital one venture card* and *CapOne Spark Miles* get two free lounge visits a year, and a discounted price of $45 for additional visits after that.
There are some restrictions, though. Only flyers presenting a valid boarding pass no more than three hours before their scheduled departure time will be admitted. That also means you won't be able to get into the lounge upon arrival unless you have a connection that departs within that three-hour window – a much stricter policy than lounges like the Amex Centurion Lounges.
Capital One Priority Pass and Other Lounges
With the Priority Pass membership through Capital One, you'll also be able to bring in unlimited guests. This incredibly generous access to Priority Pass lounges is perfect for groups and families traveling together.
The deal sours with the elimination of the dining perk you get at Priority Pass restaurants. The Platinum Card also fell victim to losing this perk. This makes having a Priority Pass membership through Chase more valuable since the Sapphire Reserve still retains this benefit.
Chase Sapphire Lounges
Although Chase plans on opening several more U.S. lounges including ones in Las Vegas (LAS), New York City (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), and San Diego (SAN), Capital One currently beats Chase with having two domestic lounges over Chase's one.
Fit with an upscale vibe and amenities like showers and wellness areas, the emerging lounge network is certainly expected to be competing against the likes of American Express and Capital One for years to come.
With great hot meals, a full-service bar, cozier seating, and more, there is a lot to look forward to when considering the expansion of Chase's lounge network.
Sapphire Reserve authorized users all have complimentary access to the Sapphire Lounge if they activate their Priority Pass. The primary cardholder and each authorized user are allowed to bring in two guests. Just don't expect to be admitted with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The only workaround with not having a Sapphire Reserve card is using your Priority Pass membership from a non-Chase card to redeem your one annual visit to a Sapphire Lounge.
Want to pay your way in? That will run you $100 per person, per visit.
Much in line with American Express and Capital One, you will only be admitted no more than three hours prior to departure. Although, like American Express, longer layovers are acceptable.
Chase Priority Pass and Other Lounges
What sets Chase's top-tier travel rewards card apart from others in the market is the dining credits you get at Priority Pass restaurants.
On top of getting access to Priority Pass lounges with the Sapphire Reserve, you treat yourself to a free meal with a $28 credit at participating airport restaurants – or $56 off a meal for you and a dining partner. The Venture X Priority Pass membership no longer comes with this option.
Capital One vs Chase Annual Fee: Are the Points Worth It?
With an annual fee of $550, Chase's top-tier premium travel rewards card the Sapphire Reserve, isn't going to be for everyone. Neither is the Capital One Venture X, which comes in at a slightly cheaper but still hefty $395 a year.
Before you write off expensive cards like these, hear me out. Do the math to determine whether the benefits you get with each card outweigh those annual fees.
The Capital One Venture X and the Chase Sapphire Reserve both offer an annual $300 travel credit, which greatly offsets the annual fee of each card.
On its face, you're getting better value with the Venture X because of the card's lower annual fee. However, the Venture X travel credit can only be used on purchases through the Capital One Travel portal. And after some recent changes, the travel credit is now applied as a discount at booking rather than as a statement credit, devaluing it somewhat.
The Venture X $300 travel credit, which used to be redeemable as a statement credit after making a purchase through the Capital One Travel portal, is now only redeemable as a discount code at checkout.
The Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit is more versatile. You'll get a statement credit on any travel purchases you make with your card from flights and hotels to public transportation or rideshares like Uber or Lyft. It's one of the most lucrative benefits on any travel card, period.
That's not all you'll get with these cards, though. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Capital One Venture X come with a credit that covers the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, plus a number of other travel perks that could make the annual fee on either card worth it.
Where Chase Reigns Supreme
While we spelled it out while comparing transfer partners, it's worth repeating: Capital One Venture miles are definitely weaker when it comes to hotels. The ability to transfer Chase points to Hyatt alone is a huge plus for Chase. Capital One simply doesn't have a hotel transfer partner that can compete.
The biggest weakness Capital One has is one of Chase's greatest strengths. If you plan on making a booking on Capital One's travel portal, every Venture Mile will get you 1 cent toward a flight or other travel expenses. That means a stash of 60,000 Venture Miles can get you $600 in flights.
When it comes to the battle between Capital One miles vs Chase points, you get more from your points by booking airfare, hotels, and other travel directly through Chase.
With the Sapphire Reserve card, each Chase point is worth 1.5 cents when booking through the Chase Travel portal. So 60,000 Ultimate Rewards would get you $900 in flights or hotels. Even with the Sapphire Preferred card, your points are worth 1.25x more, meaning 60,000 points would be worth $750 towards travel.
Read our ultimate walkthrough to using the Chase travel portal
This makes Chase one of the best ways to take a cheap flight and make it completely free. And booking flight deals with points is one of our absolute favorite ways to redeem points, as it's easy and you can still earn miles and elite status on these bookings.
Although there are good features to take advantage of with the Capital One Travel portal like price prediction, price watch, and freezing the price of a flight, the value of Capital One Venture Miles when booking through the travel portal (or even when covering your travel purchases after the fact) doesn't come close to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
How to Earn Capital One miles
Now you just need some Capital One miles. You’re in luck. Capital One has a handful of credit cards that earn Venture Miles.
Even with a bigger annual fee, we still love the Venture X card. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you can currently earn a huge bonus on the card.
You could earn 75,000 Venture miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months from account opening. But you may be able to get an even bigger 90,000 Venture miles welcome bonus via a personal referral link.
Read our full review of the Capital One Venture X card!
Learn more about the *venture x*.
There’s also the *capital one venture card*, which is currently offering 75,000 Venture miles after spending $4,000 within six months. With a $95 annual fee, it's easier to stomach than the $395 you would have to pay for the Venture X. And, would earn the same exact welcome bonus offer. You would just not get to enjoy the many perks of the Venture X card.
Similar to the Venture X, the Venture card earns 2x miles for everyday purchases, making this a wonderful choice as a beginner travel credit card.
Learn more about the *capital one venture card*
How To Earn Chase Points
No matter which side you come down on, it's uncontested that Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable.
And there's one place to start if you want to earn Chase points: It's the *chase sapphire preferred*.
With a big bonus and an annual fee of $95 (which isn’t waived in the first year), it’s tough to beat. There are a handful of other perks, too. That includes 2x points on travel and 3x points per dollar spent on restaurant purchases and no foreign transaction fees.
Learn more about the *csp*.
Then there's the *chase sapphire reserve*, the ultra-premium sibling of the Preferred card with tons of travel benefits. But you can’t stack welcome offers by opening both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve – Chase requires you to wait a whopping 48 months after receiving one Sapphire card bonus to be eligible for the other.
Learn more about the *chase sapphire reserve*.
That said, there’s another card that is a perfect complement to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Actually, there are a few.
Enter the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and *freedom unlimited*. These two Chase credit cards have no annual fee and typically earn cash back. But pair one with a Chase Sapphire card, and it forms a powerful tandem that can help you earn even more Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
There are upsides and downsides to each of the two biggest banks in the world of points and miles. Either way, you can't really go wrong … and who says you need to choose just one?
Who wins for you in the points battle between Capital One vs. Chase?