Transferring Rewards Points into Frequent Flyer Miles...

Transferring Rewards Points into Frequent Flyer Miles...
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#1

Hello,

I am new to all this. For some context: I have a Capital One Venture Rewards card, which accrues what I will refer to as Points. I also have a JetBlue TrueBlue account, which accrues what I will refer to as Miles.

I’ve just received an offer from Capital One, allowing me to transfer my Venture Rewards Points into TrueBlue Miles at a rate of 1000 Points for 750 Miles. I am confused about the “exchange rate” here, and wondering if anyone could clarify how to most efficiently use these Points (and Miles).

I was under the impression that with this card, Capital One would reimburse me (using my points) for any travel expenses like flights purchased after the fact. Going that route, I would assume every 1000 Points would get me $10 back on, say, a flight purchase. Having purchased the flight through JetBlue in this example, I would still accrue whatever TrueBlue Miles accord with their rewards program.

I guess the questions are simple: why is transferring these points at a decreased rate (again, 750 Miles for every 1000 Points) beneficial for me? Why not just proceed in the manner described above?

Any other advice on how best to utilize this card, that rewards program, those miles, etc. would be appreciated…nothing is too basic to mention.

Best,
Tyler


#2

Hi @td.rioff (Tyler)!

Your question is a good one, and a common one.

According to NerdWallet research, JetBlue miles are worth an average of 1.5 cents apiece when used to book domestic flights. Do a little math: 750 miles at 1.5 cents per mile is $11.25. With this option, then, you could turn 1,000 CapOne points into $11.25, compared with the $10 worth of value you cited earlier.

Of course, the 1.5-cent-per-mile value is just an average. The value you actually get for 750 miles could be more or less depending on the cash price of the flight you redeem those points for. But on the whole, you would expect to get slightly better value by transferring those points to JetBlue than by redeeming them through Capital One.

BUT! But, but, but …

Once you transfer your CapOne points to JetBlue, you lose the ability to use them to cover anything except JetBlue flights. It’s up to you to decide whether the potential for increased overall value is worth the loss of flexibility.

When making that decision, consider:

  • How often do you fly JetBlue? If you are a regular with the airline, are always racking up miles and are used to scoping out the best deals on the JetBlue booking tool, then you probably could get better value from 750 JetBlue miles than from 1,000 CapOne points. If you rarely or never fly the airline, then transferring your points will probably be more hassle than it’s worth.
  • What’s your appetite for “hacking”? Many people get a charge out of trying to squeeze maximum value out of every point or mile they earn on their credit cards. To them, the difference between 1 cent and 1.125 cents per point is a massive difference in value. And if they could get even more value by transferring and strategically redeeming for high value, all the better. Other people (me — I’m talking about me) aren’t wired that way.

Hope this helps you understand the choice you’re presented with and gives you a framework for evaluating similar offers in the future!

Paul


#3

That is very helpful Paul, thanks.

I guess I missed the part about TrueBlue Miles being worth more, per unit, than Venture Rewards Points. I would assume that different airlines’ Miles program convert at different rates, and that these rates tend change over time even within a given airline, a further complication.

But on the whole, the way forward is clear, since I fly with JetBlue with some regularity. Thanks!


#4

Yes, you’re correct – every airline’s miles differ in average consumer value. And within a single airline, a mile can have a range of values depending on whether you book domestic or internationally, economy or business/first.


#5

Hi td.rioff!

Welcome to the group! I 100% agree that figuring out how to compare points vs miles etc can be super confusing.

When it comes to transferring those Venture Rewards Points into airline miles, it may very well NOT be the most “efficient” way to use those rewards. As @paul mentioned, it just depends on how hard you’re willing to work to squeeze every last bit of value out of every point.

One thing to consider is that sometimes it makes sense to transfer those points to another loyalty program is if you’re just a few points short of a free flight on that airline, or you don’t have any other use for them other than booking that flight.

Keep in mind that with any rewards program, the rewards you accrue only have value if you use them. For those who travel infrequently or are only saving up for one big trip for example, those folks may get more utility out of booking a free flight today, then holding onto those points and hoping to get more value later on some future unplanned trip. Does that make sense?

Robin


#6

@td.rioff Thanks for posting this! I got the same email today and immediately felt overwhelmed and like I was leaving money on the table. We have at least two trips that we are planning for fall long weekends, and part of me thought, “I should investigate this” and the rest of me felt like it was a lot of work. @paul, your insight is a big help. Thanks!