The Good, the Bad, the Meh: Capital One Transfer Partners and the Smartest Uses of Your Miles

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The Good, the Bad, the Meh: Capital One Transfer Partners and the Smartest Uses of Your Miles

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our fullAdvertising Policy.

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our fullAdvertising Policy.

StartingDecember 2018, Capital One® Venture® and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business cards gain apowerfulnew benefit –12 airline transfer partners!

Transferable miles give you flexibility when you travel.  And of course, each airline program has its ownsweet spots and best uses.

Here’s how tounlock hidden valuefrom your transferable Capital One miles.  I’ll share the best deals you can start using in a couple weeks!

But heads up –not all the partners are worth your time.

Wherever You Are and Want to Go, There’s a Way to Use Capital One’s New Transferable Miles. I’ll Share Which Partners Are Worthwhile – and Which to Skip!

I’ll show you which partners will get you the most Big Travel.  And which partners to avoid!

Transfer Capital One Venture and Spark Miles to 12 Airline Partners

BeginningDecember 2018, you can transfer Capital One Venture andCapital One Sparkmiles to12airline programs:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways

The transfer ratio will be2:1.5, so you’ll get 1.5 airline miles for every 2 miles you transfer.

That’s NOT a 1:1 transfer ratiolike other transferable points programs feature includingChase Ultimate Rewards,AMEX Membership Rewards, andCiti ThankYou points.  It breaks down to.75 airline milesfor each Capital One mile.  So you need to run the numbers before you make this transfer.

And as of now,we don’t know how long transfers will take.  But when we find out, we’ll let you know!

Any time you transfer miles from Capital One to an airline, you canNOTtransfer them back again.  So it’s important to know what you want to use them for before you initiate the transfer.  And we’re assuming you must transfer your miles in increments of 1,000, which is typical for most points programs.

With that in mind, here are ways to get value from your Capital One miles – and which programs to avoid!

1.   Aeromexico – Bad

I wouldn’t mess with this program.  It’s disorganized, and the quoted number of points on the award chart suddenly changes when you run a search.  And there aren’t many great deals, anyway.

Round-Trip Prices Are Inflated, and You Can Do Better With Other Partners

For example, flights within Mexico are28,000 Aeromexico pointsfor a round-trip coach award ticket.

To get that many points, you’d need to transfer ~38,000 Capital One miles(28,000 / .75).  On their own, those miles are worth$380toward flights.  I ran a few searches, and domestic flights within Mexico are hardly over $200 round-trip.  In the vast majority of cases, you’d be better off redeeming Capital One miles for paid flights.

Plus, flights to the US are56,000 Aeromexico pointsround-trip.  You’d need to transfer a staggering~75,000 Capital One milesfor a round-trip coach award seat.  No thank you!

Between the high award prices and typically cheap paid tickets (even in Business Class), I wouldn’t transfer miles to Aeromexico unless there was a transfer bonus or particularly good award sale going on.

2.   Air Canada – Good

Aeroplan, the loyalty program for Air Canada, has a few stellar uses, including:

  • 150,000 Air Canada Aeroplan milesfor round-trip Business Class flights toAfrica(200,000 Capital One miles)
  • 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan milesfor round-trip Business Class flights toWestern Europe(~147,000 Capital One miles)
  • 25,000 Air Canada Aeroplan milesfor round-trip coach award flights within themainland US and Canada(~34,000 Capital One miles)
Use Air Canada Miles to Fly to France to See the Stunning Palace of Versailles for Yourself!

Long-haul Business Class flights in particular can easily cost $1,000s if you pay cash, so this can be an excellent use of your Capital One miles, depending where you want to go.

Keep in mind,Air Canada adds fuel surcharges to certain partner award flights.  So check the full cost before you transfer any miles out of your account.

And be sure to read our ultimate guide to using Air Canada miles!

3.   Air France & KLM (Flying Blue) – Good

While there’s no longer an official award chart, Flying Blue runs monthly Promo Rewards where you can save big on award flights.

This month (November 2018), for example, you can fly in Business Class to Europe for35,000 Flying Blue miles(~47,000 Capital One miles).  That’s an incredible deal to visit Europe in style!

And coach awards start at just14,000 Flying Blue milesone-way (~19,000 Capital One miles).

I Found Coach Awards From Dallas to Mexico for 29,000 Flying Blue Miles Round-Trip

It’s worth running a search to see what comes up.  For example, I found coach awards to Mexico on Aeromexico (a SkyTeam alliance partner) for14,500 Flying Blue miles(~20,000 Capital One miles) each way.

Depending where you’re flying from and how much paid tickets cost, this can be a good use of your miles – especially if your airport has a big SkyTeam presence (Air France, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, etc.).

4.   Alitalia – Bad

I took a quick look at Alitalia’s award chart, and got out of there fast.

I Don’t See Great Deals on the Alitalia Award Chart

The prices shown above are forone-way award flightsin coach and Business Class.  You can fly all of these routes cheaper with other mileage programs.

They even want20,000 Alitalia miles(~27,000 Capital One miles) to fly one-way in coach between North American destinations.  Most airlines charge12,500 mileseach way for coach flights within the US.  And 100,000 Alitalia miles (~134,000 Capital One miles) to fly one-way in Business Class to Europe?  Forget this one.

5.   Avianca – Good

Avianca has its fans.  There are no fuel surcharges on flight awards, you can book most partner awards online, and there are some great sweet spots, like:

  • Within US Zone 1 for 7,500 Avianca miles (10,000 Capital One miles) each way in United Airlines coach
  • From US Zone 1 to US Zone 2 for 10,000 Avianca miles (14,000 Capital One miles) each way in United Airlines coach
  • Business Class to Europe for 63,000 Avianca miles(84,000 Capital One miles) on partner airlines
Fly Within Zone 1, Like Between Michigan and Pennsylvania, for Only 7,500 Avianca Miles Each Way in Coach on United Airlines

Keep in mind there’s a $25 booking fee forallaward tickets.

If I wanted to fly on a Star Alliance airline, I’d run the search through Air Canada and Avianca and see which is better as far as miles required, surcharges, and any other fees or conditions.  Between these 2 partners, you can get to a lot of the world on Star Alliance airlines!

6.   Cathay Pacific – Meh

Cathay Pacific has a distance-based award chart.  So the longer the flight, the more miles you’ll need.  And it’s usually NOT worth it.

That said, flights within Asia start for as little as7,500 Cathay Pacific miles (10,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach.  And you can fly between New York – JFK and Vancouver in Business Class for only25,000 Cathay Pacific miles(~34,000 Capital One miles).

Fly Between New York and Vancouver for Only 25,000 Cathay Pacific Miles Each Way in Business Class!

Beyond that, each airline partner has its own separate award chart, which gets confusing really fast.

They havean award calculator where you can check award prices.  But you have to check each route and airline individually.  The best uses of Cathay Pacific miles are generally forshorter flights on Cathay Pacific.

7.   Etihad – Meh

This one’s a hard sell because in my experience, transfers can take several days to over a week.  And if your award disappears while you wait for the transfer to complete, you likely don’t want Etihad miles hanging around unused.

There are niche uses for Etihad miles, like short flights within Europe on Brussels Airlines for only5,000 Etihad miles(~7,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach.  That catch is you have to fly to or from Brussels.  I loved Belgium, but this is admittedly a limited use.

You Can Book American Airlines Award Flights for Cheap, but the Trick Is Finding an Award Seat! I Lucked out on My Award Flight to Tokyo

Another excellent use is booking award flights on American Airlines flights for much cheaper than American Airlines charges.  But this is where each airlines’ limitations work against each other.

Transfers into Etihad are slow, and award seats on American Airlines are scarce and often go quickly.  At best, you’d be speculatively transferring miles to Etihad.

But you can still fly from the US to Japan or South Korea for only50,000 Etihad miles(~67,000 Capital One miles) each way in Business Class.  That’s a heck of a deal – if you can find it.

8.   EVA Air – Bad

Eva Air’s award program is called “Infinity MileageLands,” which has always confounded me.  Anyway, booking a partner award flight is confusing and costs wayyyy too many miles on nearly every route.

The only exception is on EVA Air flights within Asia, which are35,000 EVA Air miles(~47,000 Capital One miles) round-trip in coach to fly the span of the continent.  But even then, you might be able to get cheaper awards with other mileage programs.  Always run the numbers – but this one is generally not a good deal.

9.   Finnair – Bad

There isabsolutely nothing “redeeming”about Finnair’s mileage program.  The only exception, maybe, is that one-way coach awards within Northern Europe (Scandinavia, Poland, and Russia) are10,000 Finnair miles(~14,000 Capital One miles) each way.

You’ll pay similar prices booking through Qantas, so there aren’t any standout gems here.

10.   Hainan Airlines – Bad

The only good use is for flights on Hainan Airlines within China.

Award Flights Within China Start at 8,000 Hainan Airlines Miles Each Way in Coach

You’ll get a moderate discount for booking round-trip award flights.

Beyond this, the partner award charts for Alaska Airlines and Etihad are dismal.  You’d do better transferring miles to another partner, or to Etihad directly for flights on Etihad.

Very limited uses, but some might find it useful to pay8,000 Hainan miles(~11,000 Capital One miles) for short flights within China (which you’ll note are in kilometers, not miles).

11.   Qantas – Good

You can use 16,000 Qantas miles (~22,000 Capital One Miles) to book round-trip short-haul flights 600 miles or less on American Airlines.  These are sometimes the most expensive paid flights!

I’d Definitely Use Qantas Miles to Fly From Dallas to Memphis to Hang With My Family, Especially Because This Flight Can Get Expensive!

In fact, this award chart applies for many award flights, including onQantas, Emirates, and Fiji Airways.

The Qantas Award Chart Sure Is Interesting, Especially for Coach Flights

If you want to fly around Australia, you can also score great deals with Qantas miles.  And even longer flights between 601 and 1,200 miles on Qantas, American Airlines, and other partners are only12,000 Qantas miles(16,000 Capital One miles) each way in coach.

These are excellent deals you shouldn’t overlook just because the loyalty program isn’t domestic!

12.   Qatar Airways – Bad

Bad values all around.  You can do better.  Don’t even check prices.  Skip it.

Bottom Line

Capital One announced the miles earned on certain cards, including Capital One Venture and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, willtransfer to12airline loyalty programsstartingDecember 2018.  With the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business card, you can earnup to 200,000 Spark miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. You’ll earn 50,000 miles after $5,000 spent in the first three months and 150,000 miles after $50,000 spent in the first six months.   Here’smy full review of the card.

200,000 Capital One miles will equal150,000 airline mileswith the 2:1.5 transfer ratio, butnot all the partners are worth your time.  Here’s my ranking of good, bad, or meh:

  • Aeromexico – Bad
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan) –Good
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue) –Good
  • Alitalia – Bad
  • Avianca –Good
  • Cathay Pacific – Meh
  • Etihad – Meh
  • EVA Airlines – Bad
  • Finnair – Bad
  • Hainan Airlines – Bad
  • Qantas –Good
  • Qatar Airways – Bad

I rank4of the partners asGood,6as flat-outBad, and2asMeh.

Here’s hoping Capital One will continue to add new partners.  Because as it stands, none of them are domestic airlines.  And it’s hard to mine the good deals and sweet spots buried within the current list.

That said, if you have a use for your miles in mind, they can be worth much more than if you redeem them for 1 cent each toward travel.  Especially for the programs I marked asGood!

What’s your favorite Capital One airline partner?  Which airlines are you hoping they’ll add?  And do you agree with my rankings?

Editorial Note: We’re the Million Mile Secrets team. And we’re proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader’s comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! 🙂

I hereby give credit where credit is due to the author