Capital One Miles: How the Program Works

To get the most out of Capital One Miles, you'll want to use them for travel.

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If you have a Capital One travel credit card, then you can earn Capital One Miles. Here’s what you need to know about those miles and how to get the most out of them:

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Depending on which of Capital One's travel cards you’re using, you'll earn 1.25 to 2 miles for every dollar of spending. Those miles can be redeemed for up to 1 cent apiece, with travel redemptions offering the most value.

Capital One Miles also give you added flexibility because they don’t expire as long as your account remains open.

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The best way to redeem Capital One Miles is for travel. You can either use them to book travel through Capital One, or you can redeem them for credit on your statement against travel purchases. With either option, miles are worth 1 cent apiece.

The big draw here is that you can book travel however you want — through Capital One or elsewhere, flying on any airline, staying at any hotel — and use your miles to pay for it. That's why the ubiquitous ads for the stress that there are no blackout dates or restrictions on how you use your miles.

There is also no minimum redemption amount when using your miles for travel expenses.

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Capital One lets you transfer your miles to the loyalty programs of more than a dozen airline and hotel partners. In most cases, though, the transfer ratio is less than 1:1.

When you transfer your miles, the value you ultimately get per mile depends on how you redeem them with the program you moved them to.

This redemption method will get you a value of around 1 cent per mile, too, so if a getaway isn’t achievable, there’s still a way to decent value from your rewards. You'll need a minimum of 2,500 miles to redeem for a gift card, though.

You can also use your Capital One miles for cash back in the form of a check or statement credit for a non-travel purchase. But cash-back redemptions cut the value of mile in half, meaning that miles are worth 0.5 cent each. You'll need a minimum of 5,000 miles for a cash-back redemption.

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There isn't a lot of fine print in the Capital One rewards program that could trip you up. There’s no limit to the miles you can earn, and miles never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. If you close your account, however, you’ll lose any unused miles.

Also, if you pay your credit card bill late and are charged a late fee, you won't earn miles during the billing cycle that the late fee was charged. But carrying a balance won’t affect your ability to earn rewards, as long as you make your minimum payment on time.

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