Capital One has been on a tear the past few years making huge improvements to its Venture Miles program, adding additional ways to use those miles – and, more importantly, more lucrative redemptions.
That means if you've got Venture Miles from cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, they're far more valuable now than they were even a year or two ago. That's due in large part to the addition of excellent Capital One transfer partners and a brand new Capital One Travel Portal.
But then you throw in the longtime favorite option of using Capital One Purchase Eraser – pay for travel with your Capital One card, then go back and cover the cost with miles – and there are three different ways to put your Capital One Venture miles to use. Deciding which avenue is best to make the most of your miles can be difficult.
In this post, I'll walk through the three options for using your Venture miles and when it makes sense to use each of them.
Use the Capital One Purchase Eraser
Let's start with the easiest route for using Capital One Venture miles. This is what Capital One is really known for – and a big reason why many travelers love Capital One.
No airline or credit card company makes it easier to redeem points and miles toward travel than Capital One Purchase Eraser. Just charge your flight, hotel, Airbnb, or almost any other travel expense to your Capital One card. A few days later, you can go in and erase that charge from your statement using miles. No confusing award charts, rules, blackout dates, or hoops to jump through.
Read our step-by-step guide to using Purchase Eraser to see how it's done!
Using Purchase Eraser, every Capital One Venture Mile is worth 1 cent. That means you can book a $500 flight using 50,000 Capital One miles. That's not exactly earth-shattering value, but it's easy as can be – and it goes far when you find a cheap flight, hotel, or most other travel expenses.
Here's a real-world example. Let's say you're a Thrifty Traveler Premium member and just received an alert for $208 flights from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Cozumel (CZM).
Just pay for that flight directly on the American Airlines website with your Capital One card, go to your account a few days later, and erase it from your statement for 20,800 Venture miles. That's all it takes.
Purchase eraser is tailor-made for travelers who want a quick-and-easy way to use their miles. Don't want to deal with booking through third-party portals, and don't want to decode the mystifying world of how airlines set award prices when using their miles? Purchase Eraser is for you.
There are a few advantages to using Purchase Eraser beyond convenience. For starters, it's one of the few ways to make a flight completely free, as your Venture Miles will cover the taxes and fees that booking with traditional airline miles will not. And you'll still earn miles with the airline you're flying.
But the real beauty of Purchase Eraser is that it can go, far, far beyond booking flights. Think of any travel expense, and you can cover it using your Venture Miles … including expenses that other credit card points can't cover. For example…
- You could cover a $500 Airbnb or VRBO reservation for 50,000 Venture Miles
- Charge your $40 train ticket anywhere in the world to your Capital One Card, then erase it using 4,000 Venture Miles
- Book a tour or excursion through Viator or Airbnb Experiences, then use Venture Miles to cover the cost
- Ubers, Lyft rides … you name it, you can cover it with miles using Purchase Eraser
The list goes on and on. Needless to say, there's a ton of flexibility and ease when using Purchase Eraser.
When To Use the Capital One Purchase Eraser
The Capital One Purchase Eraser is a great option for travel expenses where you wouldn't otherwise be able to use points – think boutique hotels that are not affiliated with a points program, train tickets throughout Europe, a transfer plane in the Maldives, foreign airlines in which you don't have any points built up, and the list goes on.
Plus, using the Capital One Purchase Eraser allows you to book directly with the hotel, airline, or any other travel company. It removes the complication of a third party should things with your reservation go wrong. That means, assuming the price is the same through the Capital One Travel portal and directly with the airline, it may make sense to book direct and redeem miles with the purchase eraser.
Above all, Capital One Purchase Eraser is your best option when flights (or other travel expenses) are cheap and you want to make them free. And if you just can't be bothered with learning the ins and outs of mileage program sweet spots and loopholes, Purchase Eraser is a solid way to put your miles to use.
The Capital One Travel Portal
Just like the Chase Travel Portal, Capital One has its own travel portal where you can directly search for flights, hotels, and car rentals, then book using points. And the Capital One Travel Portal is new and improved, with some great features you won't get elsewhere.
The new flight-booking engine is powered by the popular travel app Hopper. That means you should generally find the same prices you see directly through the airline or via Google Flights – but not always. Just tap in the details of the flight or hotel you're hoping to book with Venture Miles and start searching.
You won't get a bonus when using miles through the Capital One Travel portal as you do with Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Just like using Purchase Eraser, every Venture Mile is worth 1 cent toward travel through the portal.
That means you can once again book that same $208 flight to Cozumel for less than 20,800 Venture Miles. And whether you don't have enough miles in your account or want to save some, you can apply as many (or as few) miles to the purchase to reduce the cost.
While you may not be getting more bang for your buck by using Venture Miles through the travel portal, Capital One has given travelers a few compelling reasons to consider it:
- Capital One will automatically refund you if the price of your flight drops after booking. Those Price Drop Protection refunds are only available on flights where Capital One and Hopper predict that prices won’t fall, and they're capped on up to $50 – or 5,000 Venture Miles – in refunds total. Still, that's a nice feature.
- You can freeze a fare through the portal for up to 14 days, then decide and come back to buy it later at that price. Capital One charges a small fee to freeze a fare.
- Much like Google Flights, Capital One allows you to set price alerts for the flights you want to book. That means you'll get an email if the flights you're looking at drop or increase in price.
- Capital One offers an add-on “cancel for any reason” travel insurance policy, which is quite reasonably priced.
- If you're paying with cash rather than using miles, you'll earn 5x miles per dollar spent on flights booked through the portal and a whopping 10x points per dollar on hotels and rental cars if you have the Venture X card, and 5x miles on hotels and rental cars if you have the regular Venture Card.
When To Use the Capital One Travel Portal
There are a few scenarios in which using the Capital One Travel portal – as opposed to the other options for using your miles – can make sense.
First and foremost, if you have a Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you get an annual $300 travel credit to use for bookings in the Capital One Travel portal. Unlike the $300 travel credit that comes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you must make your booking within the Capital One Travel portal to receive this annual credit. It's far and away the #1 scenario in which you should turn to the Capital One Travel Portal – especially if you're booking boutique hotels or a rental car.
Beyond that, you'll receive 5x points per dollar on flights if you hold the Venture X card, and 10x miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars. With the regular Venture card you can earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars. So if you are not using miles in the portal, this can be a compelling reason to book through Capital One – assuming the pricing is similar to what you can find directly with an airline or hotel.
And here's a little secret: Any cash balance you charge within the portal can be erased with the Purchase eraser feature once that charge posts to your account. So you could book a flight through the portal with your Venture X card, earn 5x miles on that transaction (as opposed to 2x miles if booked directly with the airline), and then use the purchase eraser to erase that charge with miles.
Beyond that, taking advantage of the price protection, and the ability to freeze pricing can be good reasons to book through the Capital One portal.
Using Capital One Transfer Partners
If if you want to get more value from your Venture miles, you'll want to look into Capital One transfer partners.
Admittedly, this method of using your Venture Miles is a little more advanced and will require some extra work. But for those ready to do their homework, the value can be significant.
Capital One added the ability to transfer miles straight to airline programs back in late 2018. After steadily adding more and more partners and making significant improvements, it's now a bonafide option with some killer value. With few exceptions, every 1,000 Capital One miles you transfer gets you 1,000 airline miles or hotel points.
Here's the full list of Capital One transfer partners.
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Airline||1:1||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles||Airline||1:1||Up to five business days|
|Etihad||Airline||1:1||Up to 1 day|
|EVA Air||Airline||2:1.5||Up to five business days|
|TAP Air Portugal||Airline||1:1||Same day|
|Turkish Airlines||Airline||1:1||Same day|
|Virgin Red||Other||1:1||Same day|
|Accor||Hotel||2:1||Up to two business days|
|Choice Hotels||Hotel||1:1||Same day|
Read our guide to Capital One transfer partners and learn how you can transfer your miles!
It gets even better, as Capital One regularly offers transfer bonuses, giving you a 15% to 40% bonus when sending your Venture Miles to select partners on this list. That's a great way to squeeze even more out of your Venture Miles, as these bonuses are practically free airline miles.
But not just any transfer will do. Knowing where to transfer your miles is a key to maximizing this redemption option. And remember, these transfers are a one-way street. Once you send miles to an airline or hotel, you can't get them back into your Capital One account. That means you'll want to make sure transferring your miles is the best option – and that the flights or hotels are actually available to book.
Make sure to read our post on the best ways to use Capital One Venture Miles for some ideas on how to maximize Capital One transfer partners.
When To Use the Capital One Transfer Partners
Looking to book a flight? Check the price directly with the airline and through the Capital One travel portal. Remember, since your miles will be worth one cent each through these methods, a $500 flight could be booked for 50,000 Venture Miles. There is a chance that this would require fewer miles than what you could find using the transfer partners.
But there are no doubt sweet spots available when using Capital One transfer partners. For example, using Air France/KLM's flying Blue program, you can book Delta flights to Hawaii for just 35,000 miles roundtrip whether you're flying Delta from Los Angeles (LAX) to the islands, all the way from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Honolulu (HNL), or a one- or even two-stop trip from elsewhere in the Midwest or East Coast.
Venture Miles also transfer 1:1 to Air France/KLM Flying Blue, so 35,000 miles means you're set. Just beware that finding the Delta flights you want can be a bit of a challenge, so be sure to read our guide on how to book these flights to Hawaii for 35,000 miles. And never transfer miles before you've confirmed the flights you want are available.
But when you do find them, it's a deal that's tough to beat.
Whether you book through the travel portal or using Purchase Eraser, these exact same flights would cost you more than 57,000 miles. And in many cases, the savings can be even more substantial by leveraging transfer partners.
When you learn and use sweet spots like this one, transferring points will almost always be a better deal than taking another route.
With Capital One Venture Miles, you'll have three different ways to redeem points: The Capital One Purchase Eraser, The Capital One travel portal, and using Capital One transfer partners.
Each of these methods to book travel have pros and cons. But having all of the options at your disposal and using which one works best for you is ultimately what makes Venture miles so valuable.