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Historically, Capital One miles have only been redeemable as “cash” points, typically for 1 cent per point. So points earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card card or Capital One Spark cards would be redeemable to offset cash purchases made for travel. A 50,000-point welcome offer meant that you could use those points to offset $500 in travel. There was no way to make those points be worth less, but also no way to get any more value from them, either.
But in November 2018, Capital One began adding transfer partners to its loyalty program, Capital One Miles. Over the years, the list has changed, and you can currently transfer to several partner airlines, typically in 1,000-mile increments.
Not all transfers are created equal, so it behooves Capital One cardholders to know which are the program's best transfer partners — and which ones should be skipped.
New points transfer ratios announced in October 2021
Capital One updated its roster of partners in a surprising way, migrating several partners to a more favorable points transfer ratio.
Capital One added the following travel loyalty programs to its 1:1 tier:
Air Canada (Aeroplan)
Air France-KLM (Flying Blue).
British Airways (Avios).
Choice Hotels. (Choice Privileges. The 1:1 ratio will start later in 2021).
Emirates Airlines (Emirates Skywards).
Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer).
Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles).
Existing partners for the 1:1 transfer ratio include:
Aeromexico (Club Premier).
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles).
Etihad (Etihad Guest)
Finnair (Finnair Plus).
Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer).
TAP Air Portugal (TAP Miles&Go).
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (Wyndham Rewards).
The 4 best Capital One transfer partners
Here are the top four Capital One transfer partners for any travel hacker who wants to optimize their points redemptions:
1. Singapore Airlines
One reason Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are useful because they are easy to get; in addition to Capital One, they transfer from Chase, American Express, Citi and Marriott points. Check out our Singapore Airlines sweet spots.
2. Air France/KLM Flying Blue:
Flying Blue has monthly promo awards that discount certain routes by up to 50%. That means you can sometimes find one-way travel from the U.S. to Europe as low as 16,500 Flying Blue miles.
3. Air Canada Aeroplan
My favorite use of Air Canada miles is to book United flights within the United States, especially last-minute flights.
4. Avianca Lifemiles
Other solid Capital One transfer options
There are several other smart ways to leverage your Capital One points for redemptions via partners.
Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles: Cathay Pacific has an odd award chart that depends in part on whether you’re flying only Cathay or including additional Oneworld partners. The AsiaMiles award chart is distance-based, so your best redemption will be 7,500 miles for intra-Asia flights under 750 flown miles.
Emirates Skywards: Ever since Alaska devalued its award chart for flying Emirates first class, using Emirates’ own miles is one of the best ways to fly premium cabins on Emirates. Check out some of our other Emirates Skywards sweet spots.
Etihad Guest: Etihad is another program with a quirky award chart that has some amazing redemptions.
Qantas: Qantas also has a distance-based award chart, and flights under 600 miles cost only 8,000 miles to book. This can be a great option for last-minute short-hops within the U.S. (flying on American Airlines) or in Australia itself.
Capital One transfer partners to avoid
The remaining Capital One transfer partners are not a good use of your time or miles, as the points transfer ratios are less advantageous. These include:
Accor Live Limitless.
EVA Infinity MileageLands.
Note that JetBlue TrueBlue is no longer a transfer partner of Capital One as of October 24, 2021.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card