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How Capital One’s Purchase Eraser Can Rub Out Travel Bills

Dec. 30, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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This article is being updated.

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.

» Learn more: The 4 best Capital One transfer partners (and 7 to avoid)

Why the Purchase Eraser is helpful

Being able to remove past travel purchases with just a few clicks is convenient and straightforward. But there are other underlying benefits to using the Purchase Eraser tool.

1. You can take advantage of travel deals

Since you’re not restricted to booking your travel through Capital One’s travel marketplace, you have a wider selection of possible deals to shop through and compare. This advantage helps you save money upfront, in case better travel offers exist on websites like Skyscanner or Hotwire.

2. You control how much to redeem

Unlike some other rewards programs, there isn’t a minimum amount of miles you need to redeem the full value of an eligible travel purchase. This feature can help you use every mile you’ve earned so none of your rewards go to waste. You can also use your miles toward a partial redemption using the Purchase Eraser.

3. You don’t need all miles ahead of time

Since miles are applied after you’ve paid for a travel expense upfront, you don’t need to have a reserve of miles from the start. Instead, you can make your travel purchase as you normally would using your Capital One rewards card, and earn your miles within the 90-day window.

If your goal is to use the Purchase Eraser to have your miles cover the cost of the entire purchase, you have a runway of time to get your rewards balance there.

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal
Travel Loyalty Program Reviews

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