How to maximize Capital One rewards

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These offers are no longer available on our site: Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One rewards cardholders every time they make a purchase on a Capital One card. Points never expire and you can use them for cash back and travel.

Let’s explore some of the best ways to earn and redeem Capital One rewards so you can get the most out of them.


How to earn Capital One rewards

The best way to earn Capital One rewards is with travel rewards credit cards.

  • Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card: Best for budget travelers

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is an entry-level travel card for people who want to earn rewards without breaking the bank.

You’ll earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $500 on purchases during the first three months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll get …

  • 5 miles for every $1 spent on hotel reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 miles per $1 on rental car reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 1.25 miles per $1 on all other purchases

While there aren’t many luxury travel benefits to speak of, if you’re looking for a card with no annual fee, that might be a tradeoff you’re willing to make.

Check out our review of the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card to learn more.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for frequent travelers

From our partner

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

4.1 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card may be better suited for more frequent travelers.

You’ll earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll get …

  • 5 miles per $1 spent on hotel reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 miles per $1 on rental car reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases

Beyond the rewards, you’ll also receive a couple of travel perks that could make your trip more comfortable: two complimentary visits each year to Capital One Lounges and up to a $100 statement credit every four years to cover the cost of applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.

If you travel often enough, the enhanced rewards and benefit structure of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can more than make up for the reasonable $95 annual fee.

Take a look at our review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to learn more.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for big spenders

From our partner

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

4.6 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is geared toward big spenders who want more bang for their buck.

It all starts with a large sign-up bonus: You’ll earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll get …

  • 10 miles per $1 spent on hotel reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 10 miles per $1 on rental car reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 miles per $1 on flight reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases

The $395 annual fee might scare away some would-be cardholders, but frequent travelers who use the card might easily make up that cost.

You’ll receive a $300 travel credit each year for reservations made through Capital One Travel. On top of that, you’ll get 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100) each year after your account anniversary. Combined, those two perks alone cover the cost of the annual fee. But you’ll also score up to $100 in statement credits to apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.

The card also gives you access to Priority Pass and Capital One Lounges at various airports.

If you’re willing to spend more to get more, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card could be a good choice.

Find out more in our review of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for foodies

The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best restaurant rewards cards for going out to eat.

You’ll earn …

  • 4% cash back on dining
  • 4% back on entertainment
  • 4% back on streaming services
  • 3% back at grocery stores

You’ll also get 1% back on all other purchases. Plus, you’ll get a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases during the first three months from account opening.

If you pair this card with a Venture or Spark Miles card, you’ll have the opportunity to convert your rewards into miles. So whether you enjoy going out for dinner and a movie, or cooking at home and watching Netflix, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a good way to build up your Capital One rewards balance.

Keep in mind that there’s a $95 annual fee.

Learn more in our review of the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business: Best for business travelers

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is the best way for business travelers to earn Capital One rewards.

You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll get …

  • 5 miles per $1 spent on hotel reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 miles per $1 on rental car reservations booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 miles per $1 on all other purchases

On top of that, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business could make your business trips a little smoother with two complimentary visits each year to Capital One Lounges, and up to $100 in statement credits every four years to cover the cost of applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

How to redeem Capital One rewards

Capital One rewards are worth an estimated 1.73 cents each, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations.

But the precise value you get depends on how you redeem your miles.

The simplest way to use your miles is to “erase” the cost of recent travel purchases. But if you’re willing to put in a little more energy searching for a good deal, you might get a better value by transferring to one of Capital One’s hotel or airline transfer partners.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few flexible redemption options, which may offer the best way to use your Capital One rewards.

1. Book a stopover

A stopover is a layover you can look forward to. Instead of waiting at the airport for your connecting flight, you may be able to stretch out your trip and schedule enough time between flights to get out and explore. Whether you have just a few extra hours or even days, it can be a great way to squeeze in another destination on your trip.

If you’re looking to take advantage of a stopover, check which Capital One partner airlines offer this option. You can transfer your miles to a partner airline and use them to book a flight with a stopover.

2. Become a globetrotter

You can transfer Capital One rewards to Aeromexico and book a round-the-world ticket that could help you check off up to 15 destinations from your bucket list.

You’ll have one year to complete your trip. Just keep in mind that you’ll be required to travel in the same direction the whole way around, so you can’t backtrack to visit places you missed.

3. Relax at a fancy hotel

You could also transfer your Capital One rewards to Accor.

The Accor Live Limitless rewards program gives you access to a number of luxury hotel brands, including the following:

  • Banyan Tree
  • Delano
  • Emblems
  • Fairmont
  • Mondrian
  • Morgans Originals
  • Onefinestay
  • Orient Express
  • Raffles
  • Rixos
  • SLS
  • SO/
  • Sofitel

4. Turn cash back into miles

Only Capital One’s travel cards, like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, are eligible to transfer points. Unfortunately, that means if you have a cash back card from Capital One, you won’t have direct access to these hotel partners and airline partners.

But if you have multiple Capital One credit cards, you can link your accounts and convert cash back into miles by transferring to a travel card. From there, you can transfer the miles to one of Capital One’s loyalty partners.

5. Spread the wealth

If you’re feeling generous, you could also share your Capital One rewards with friends and family.

Whether you’re helping to pay for their trip or pooling your rewards together for a shared vacation, Capital One makes it easy to lend a helping hand.

What else you need to know about Capital One rewards

Capital One treats all of the miles you accrue from its travel cards the same — whether you have a personal credit card or business credit card. So as long as you have a travel card from Capital One, you can move cash back from another Capital One card to your travel account and convert it into miles.

This might not be the right move for everyone, particularly those who only want one credit card. But if you already have multiple Capital One cards, or you’re thinking about applying for another one, it’s worth keeping in mind.

 


About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.