Redeeming rewards for travel is a common benefit that some reward credit card programs offer. Earned rewards are usually applied toward future travel purchases to help you lower the cost of an upcoming trip.
The Capital One Purchase Eraser, however, lets cardholders retroactively apply their rewards toward past travel purchases. Here’s how this useful feature works.
How the Capital One Purchase Eraser works
One of the benefits of this tool is that you’re not restricted to purchasing travel through Capital One’s Rewards Center to have it erased. Travel-related purchases can be made through a third-party travel site, directly with the carrier or hotel, and even through your local travel agent as long as you use your Capital One Rewards Card.
Transactions that are eligible for the Purchase Eraser are restricted to travel purchases that use a qualifying merchant category code. Generally, purchases from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines and travel agents are eligible. The eraser is also limited to eligible purchases that posted to your account within the last 90 days.
» Learn more: NerdWallet's best Capital One cards
Using the Purchase Eraser feature
To redeem your rewards for past travel, you can access the Purchase Eraser tool through your online Capital One account or by contacting the Capital One Rewards Center. From there, click on “Redeem Rewards” and select the “Cover Your Travel Purchases” option.
Click on “Redeem a Purchase,” which then shows you a list of eligible past travel purchases that can be erased. You’ll also see how many rewards are required to erase the entire purchase amount before making your selection. Select which transactions you’d like to apply your rewards toward.
Before finalizing your redemption, you can choose to cover the entire purchase amount of the transaction using rewards or use the slider to select how many miles to apply to that purchase.
Upon finalizing your redemption, you’ll receive a statement credit on your Capital One account for the amount that you erased. This is typically reflected in your balance within a few business days.
Other redemption options
Aside from using the Purchase Eraser to redeem your rewards, Capital One allows you to redeem miles toward new travel through your Capital One online account or by calling the Rewards Center.
You can also transfer your miles to another loyalty program that partners with Capital One or redeem rewards for non-travel purchases, like account credit or gift cards.
Purchase Eraser FAQs
Being able to remove past travel purchases with just a few clicks is convenient and straightforward. Before using the Purchase Eraser tool, here are a few frequently asked questions to better acquaint yourself with this feature and Capital One’s rewards program
Do I have to use Capital One’s marketplace to use the Purchase Eraser?
No, the Purchase Eraser can be used on any travel-related charges on your eligible Capital One credit card, regardless of how you booked or made the purchase. This means you have the freedom to compare deals from discount travel sites, like Skyscanner or Hotwire.
Is there a minimum amount of miles required before I can use the Purchase Eraser?
No, you have the flexibility to use as many — or as few — miles using the Purchase Eraser as you want. There’s no minimum number of miles needed before you can use this feature. If you have as little as five miles, for example, you may apply it through the Purchase Eraser, if it’s an eligible travel item.
Do Capital One miles expire?
Capital One miles never expire as long as the account remains in good standing. Also, there’s no cap to the number of miles you can earn, so you can redeem miles whenever you want.
If I didn’t have enough miles when I purchased a travel expense, can I still erase it?
Yes. If you don’t have a reserve of miles when you make an eligible purchase, you can charge your travel purchase as you normally would using your Capital One rewards card, earn the miles you need and redeem them within the 90-day window.
How much are Capital One miles worth when redeemed for travel?
A mile redeemed for travel is worth 1 cent. If your travel expense is $350, for example, you’ll need 35,000 miles to cover the entire expense. If you choose to redeem your miles in other ways, like for merchandise, the value of your miles may be different.
Frequent travelers who want a straightforward way to redeem miles on travel might find Capital One’s Purchase Eraser worth looking into.
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