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Best Ways to Use of Capital One Miles
Capital One has been making major moves in the credit card game ever since it unveiled its transferrable points program. Last year was especially positive with the addition of new program partners and becoming mostly 1:1 ( 16 or 18 partners). We’ve seen some truly incredible offers come out of the Cap1 pipeline as well, most recently being what I’d consider the best ultra premium credit card for most people, The Capital One Venture X. In March of 2022, Capital One added Virgin Red to their list of partners making the program even more robust.
Whether you’re sitting on a fat stack of Cap1 Miles or you’re considering picking up a Capital One credit card and want to know if their program suits you…this will give you a good idea.
Best uses of Capital One Miles, Transfer Partners:
In our opinion, the best use of Capital One Miles comes when you redeem them for high value travel via a transfer partner.
- The following partners are now 1:1
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Air France Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Choice Privileges
- Etihad Guest
- Finnair Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles
- Virgin Red
- Wyndham Rewards
- Accor transfer 2:1
- EVA transfers 2:1.5
Best ways to use Capital One Miles #1 : Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada is a part of Star Alliance which opens up a lot of really great redemption opportunities around the world in some of the best business and first class cabins in existence. They’re also partnered with Etihad which is super cool. Let’s take a look at what I believe are some of the best ways you could take advantage of Air Canada’s system by transferring your Capital One Miles into them. Remember that you can bake in a stopover with Air Canada for an additional 5k miles.
Air Canada’s award chart is distance based on region and whether you’re flying on Air Canada vs a partner.
North America to Europe:
- Business Class for 70k Miles
- First Class for 100k Miles
Within North America
- Under 500 mile flights – 6k miles in econ
- Under 1500 miles –
- 10k in economy
- 20k in business class
- 12.5k in economy
- 25k in business class
North America to Asia/SouthPacific
- USA to Japan/Taipei/Korea
- Business Class 75k
- First Class 110k
- USA to most of Asia
- 87.5k in Business Class
- 140k in First Class
- USA to New Zealand
- Business Class 90k
- USA to Australia via Abu Dhabi
- Business Class 115k
- First Class 150k
USA to Tokyo in ANA’s new the room for 75k
You could fly EVA Airways to Asia for 85k in business class
Best ways to use Capital One Miles #2: Avianca LifeMiles
Avianca Lifemiles is a Star Alliance airline that can offer some of the best redemptions options for aspirational business and first class wherever you’re looking to travel. Not only have I used them to fly in some great international cabins, but I’ve also used them to fly economy within the US when prices are really high. The downside is their website doesn’t always populate all the award space available, but you can email them ( email@example.com ) to book as well. I suggest you search first on United.com or Air Canada’s website to find partner award availability and then on the LifeMiles website.
- Economy 8750
- Business transcon 25k
USA to Europe
- Business Class 63k
- First Class 87k
USA to Africa
- Business Class 78k
USA to Asia
- Business Class 78k
- First Class 90k
You could redeem for the new ANA THE SUITE for just 90k Lifemiles to Japan
Best Ways to Use Capital One Miles #3 Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Air France is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and their miles can be used to fly on Air France/KLM or their partners. Transferring your Capital One Miles into Air France can be very advantageous or a terrible redemption depending on the pricing. The Flying Blue program is what we call dynamic, meaning that there isn’t a fixed award chart and the award rates float alongside the price in cash. For that reason, it’s imperative you search multiple city pairings to find the two that price cheapest. For instance, if you’re going to Europe, try multiple airports. I’ve found Florence, Italy often prices much cheaper than Rome, and odds are, you’d be visiting both cities anyways. Tricks like that will get you a great deal.
FlyingBlue often has Promo awards… these are phenomenal deals if you can make them work. This Is an example of Miami to Paris in Business Class under 40k miles.
Capital One has also offered transfer bonuses to Air France, so keep an eye out for those.
US to Europe for 55k Miles
Without any transfer bonuses or promos you can find business class from the US to Europe quite often for around 55k. One thing to keep in mind is taxes and fees on FlyingBlue are passed on and can add up quick. Avoid the A380 on Air France and look for A350s with KLM.
Using Air France to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London for 61k Miles
Virgin Atlantic may not be a transfer partner of Capital One, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative. This is another great use of Capital One miles that takes advantage of the partnership between Air France and Virgin Atlantic. Air France doesn’t throw as many taxes and fees on bookings vs what Virgin puts on their own award flights. You should be able to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class starting at 61k + $200 give or take.
Don’t forget there is the classic herringbone styled Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seen below on the A330.
But also the new Upper Class featured on the A350
Best Ways to use Capital One Miles #4: British Airways Avios
British Airways was added to the Capital One partner list earlier this year and there are some great ways to employ Avios. The biggest downside to using British Airways Avios are the taxes and fees. So how do we get around them? Using them for flights on British Airways partners and upgrading a British Airways cash ticket. Let’s take a look
A few best uses:
- Domestic on AA or Alaska under 1150 miles 9,000 Avios
- US To Hawaii in Economy for 13k Avios
- Book on American or Alaska
- LA/SFO to Tokyo in Economy for 25,750
- NYC to London Upgrades
- 18k Biz to First
- 24k Premium Econ to Biz
Upgrading with British Airways Avios
BA makes it pretty simple to figure out whether or not you can use points to upgrade. If an award seat is available in the next cabin up, odds are, you can upgrade.
There are exceptions to these rules:
- Your ticket was issued by a partner airline American, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, etc
- You booked a fare coded as Q, O or G.
How many points will you need? Whatever the difference in award price between the cabin you booked and the next cabin up. The easiest tool I’ve found is the avios calculator here.
I have done this many times – the best…using 25k points to upgrade from a cheap business class ticket into BA first class from LA to London. You can read the review here
Using British Airways Avios for short haul flights on partners
As mentioned a few at the top, but this is another great use of British Airways Avios. Since their program is distance based, and they don’t tack on fees for flights on AA or Alaska, this presents some good redemptions opportunities. Personally, I’ve done this multiple times when looking for a last minute trip, or flights are just crazy expensive.
For instance, AA charges, at its cheapest 22.5k miles from LA to Honolulu in economy. That same flight, if you used Capital One to transfer to British Airways, it would cost you just 13k points. Finding little deals like this is how I’m able to stretch my miles so much further than the average person.
Best ways to use Capital One Miles #5: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
This is a similar situation to British Airways when it comes to using Asia Miles to slide into partner flights. There are some really great redemptions if you’re mixing and matching partners, but if you’re looking to head to Asia – make sure you check Cathay Pacific out when you’re pricing out options. One of the very best ways to fly from the US to Asia, or Europe to Asia, is on Cathay Pacific business or first class. As luck would have it, Cathay Pacific rations extra inventory to their own loyalty members compared to what they release to partners. Let’s take a look:
US to Asia
- West Coast
- Business Class 70k
- First Class 110k
- East Coast
- Business Class 85k
- First Class 125k
US to Middle East ( Qatar Airways QSuites to Doha or Maldives )
- Business Class 85k
US to Europe
- MidWest/East Coast
- Econ – 25k
- Biz – 61k
- First – 87k
- West Coast
US to Australia
- Business Class between 75k and 90k ( if you can find it )
Fly from Chicago to Europe for 61k Asia Miles on AA’s Business Class
Here is the Cathay Pacific chart for flights on their own aircraft
An absolute steal from the west coast at 110k to Hong Kong
Another cool thing to do is take advantage of the mileage and fly from Europe through Hong Kong to North America. That’s a long time in First Class 🙂
Best Ways to Use Capital One Miles #6: Choice Privileges
Choice is a partner that has been announced but not folded into the program at the time of publishing. Soon, it’ll become a redemption partner, and I doubt you’ll find a lot of use of the program, but here’s a few options that are most interesting. Choice is partners with a luxury hotel group called Preferred hotels. You can actually redeem Choice points for some really swanky places around the globe, but they don’t make it easy. With that said…here is how you’d go about doing it, and some solid options. If you’d like more… read this article.
Ojai Valley Inn is a Hollywood fave located in Santa Barbara Wine Country. Rates regularly fetch $500+
Easily one of the most Iconic hotels in all of America and around the corner from BoardingArea’s HQ!
The Jefferson has one of the best locations in the city and rates regularly push upwards of $500 a night
A drop dead gorgeous hotel located in Hana ( formerly the Hotel Hana) where rates normally crack $400 +
The Best Ways to Use Capital One Miles #7: Emirates
Emirates is one of the most fun ways to fly. Whether you’re taking that once in a lifetime shower in the first class A380 cabin, or popping over to Italy or Athens in business class…memories are made. It’s gold, blinged out, and makes you feel like you’re royalty. Emirates did all of us enthusiasts a big favor by stripping most of the hefty fees they attached to their award flights. Let’s take a look at few awesome redemption options:
US to Europe
- Roundtrip Business Class to New York to Athens or Milan
- starting at 90k
- One Way Business Class NYC to Athens or Milan
- staring at 62.5k
- Roundtrip First Class to New York to Athens or Milan
- starting at 135k
- One Way First Class NYC to Athens or Milan
- starting at 85k
US to Dubai
- Business Class – from 145k
- First Class – 217k
Within the US on Jet Blue
- Mint ranging from 52k to 64k
Best ways to use Capital One Miles #8: Singapore Airlines
Did you know that when you fly in Singapore Airlines First Class you can use a service called “Book the Cook” where a chef pre-prepares your meal. The menu is extensive and includes lobster, chicken satay, fresh fish, etc. If this doesn’t qualify as an incredible use of Capital One Miles…then I don’t know what does! Like we mentioned with Emirates…Singapore eliminated taxes and fees on their own metal a year or two ago which makes redemptions even better.
- US to Europe
- Business Class 72k
- First Class 107k
- JFK to FRA on Singapore Airlines
- Business Class 72k
- First Class 86k
- Houston to Manchester on SQ
- Business Class 72k
- From North Asia to South Asia
- First Class 53k
I will note…Singapore is retrofitting their 12 A380s with the new first class and they aren’t currently bookable at the time of publishing. But, I would guess sometimes in 2022 they will be up and running and you and your partner can look forward to redeeming just 53k Singapore miles to fly within Asia on this bad boy.
If Singapore puts the A380 back on the JFK to FRA route, you could nab this insane experience for just 86k
Another great route, which is 5th freedom, is between Houston to Manchester. This is a fun way to start off your trip to Europe. Make sure you snag one of the bulkhead seats where your feet can rest atop an entire bench!
Best ways to Use Capital One Miles #9 – Turkish Miles and Smiles
Turkish is one of the most underrated programs when it comes to booking low mileage trips from the US to Europe in business. How low? Great question…it’s like you’re in my mind or something.
US to Europe in Business Class
- 45k each way + taxes and fees
US to Hawaii
- Econ for 10k
- Business for 15k
If you plan on booking partner airlines, you’ll need to search for Star Alliance availability…it looks like this under miles transactions
Best Ways to use Capital One Miles #10 : Virgin Red
Capital One added Virgin Red in March of 2022. If your’e unfamiliar, Virgin Red which offers more ways to redeem points than just Virgin Atlantic. However, I truly feel the best value is still on premium cabin flights. Virgin offers amazingly cool ways to fly, but did you know that some of the very best ways to use their points aren’t even on their own airline?!
Use Virgin Atlantic for ANA redemptions.
- Business Class from the US to Japan ranges 90k to 95k ROUNDTRIP
- These are also bookable at 50% that price for a one way flight
- First Class from US to Japan ranges 110k to 120k
- This is bookable at 50% off one way as well
ANA stunned the world with their new 777-3ooER “The Room” Business Class and The Suite.
Virgin Atlantic can be a great way to fly on Air France
The Virgin Atlantic redemption rates for flights on Air France are broken into zones that are priced at off-peak and peak rates, which you can read about here. There are a lot of great redemptions, but a couple that I’d like to feature.
- East Coast to Europe, off-peak, is just 48,500 miles.
- Personal faves: JFK, BOS, or IAD.
- The second is into Israel.
- East Coast US to Israel for just 66,500
There are many Air France products but I’ve reviewed:
- Air France business class CDG to IAD on the 77W
- Air France business class ATL to CDG on A350
Redeem on Delta for 50k each way to/from Europe
- taxes and fees to London are quite low, but coming back would be a few hundred
Use Virgin Red to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
Want the best Virgin Atlantic has to offer? Fly out of London longhaul and make use of their wonderful club at London Heathrow. You’ll experience expedited checkin, security, and a throwback 60s style lounge complete with a waitstaff to tend to your dining desires.
You can often find rates from the East coast of the USA for under 50k each way.
- Redeem on Virgin Atlantic roundtrip US to Europe starting at 47.5k
- Keep an eye on taxes and fees – will run you $500+ each way
Best Uses of Capital One Miles #11: redemptions without transferring points
Capital One designed their program around travel redemptions. My favorite use is transferring to partners, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. In fact, there are two:
Redeem via Capital One Travel Portal for a penny a mile
The Capital One Travel portal will even tell you when a good time is to buy. As you can see in the example…instead of using $315 you could redeem 31,500 Capital One Miles. You’ll see down below the other ways you could redeem Capital One Miles for a much higher valuation.
Offset your travel purchases with travel eraser
Let’s say you go to the Maldives and have a seaplane transfer that wasn’t bookable via the travel portal. That could be offset by using the travel eraser feature. Just click the button and eligible purchases will populate.
Hopefully this whets your appetite to the wonderful world of Capital One Miles and gives you a good idea of the many redemption options you have when it comes time to book. The biggest key is flexibility and patience. Your dream trip is out there, you just have to find when and where to 🙂
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