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Capital One's Purchase Eraser feature does exactly what its name suggests: It allows you to use your accumulated rewards (miles, in this case) to "erase," or offset, eligible travel purchases that you make with your card.
In effect, you get a statement credit for that specific travel expense, at a value of a penny per mile, as long as you make the redemption within 90 days of purchase. Several Capital One products offer this feature, including its two most prominent travel credit cards:
The ability to redeem rewards for statement credit at 1 cent per mile is not unique among credit cards. But the Capital One Purchase Eraser aims to simplify the process by zeroing in on travel redemptions specifically.
How Purchase Eraser and other travel redemptions work
Miles earned on the Venture cards can be redeemed in several ways, but travel is the ideal use. The two most valuable ways to redeem miles for travel are by:
Using the Purchase Eraser to offset a previous travel purchase you made with your card. You start by logging in to the Capital One website or calling the issuer's Rewards Center and requesting an account credit for a specific travel expense. That credit is typically applied to your card balance within two or three business days. Miles are worth 1 cent each this way, so if you have 10,000 Venture miles, that's $100 you could apply toward an eligible travel purchase. (Partial redemptions are also an option if you don't have enough miles to cover the entire travel expense.)
Booking new reservations through the Capital One website. This allows you to use your miles to pay for travel expenses directly, rather than as an account credit after the fact. This, too, requires either logging in to Capital One's website or calling its Rewards Center. You can book flights, car rentals and hotels this way, also at a value of a penny per mile.
You can also transfer your Venture miles to other travel loyalty programs. Capital One has multiple airline transfer partners, including JetBlue, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and more. Note, however, that JetBlue is the only domestic carrier, and the transfer ratio to any of these partners is relatively poor. (Exchange rates vary, but in all cases, one Venture mile is worth less than a penny.)
Nerd tip: Other redemption options for Venture miles include: • Cash back, either as a general statement credit toward your balance or as a mailed check. Miles are worth only half a cent each when redeemed this way. A deposit into a bank account is not an option. • Gift cards from major retailers. These are available via the Capital One website. Reward values vary depending on the specific redemption.
What kinds of travel purchases can be 'erased'?
Capital One is fairly generous in its definition of "travel." Expenses that qualify for the Purchase Eraser include:
Car rental agencies.
What to keep in mind
Capital One notes that travel expenses eligible for Purchase Eraser redemptions will be based on how merchant category codes are assigned.
Also be aware that in order to receive the full penny-per-mile value, you must make a Purchase Eraser redemption within 90 days of when the eligible travel expense posts to your account. Otherwise, redeeming miles toward a purchase made more than 90 days ago would be like redeeming for a statement credit, at the half-a-cent-per-mile rate.