How to Use Capital One Rewards to Save Money and Travel for Free

A photo to accompany a story about Capital One credit card rewards Hunter Newton/NextAdvisor
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Capital One has a variety of rewards credit cards that can suit different types of spenders. Many Capital One cards earn cash back — whether a flat rate on every purchase or boosted rewards in bonus categories. But the issuer also has its own rewards currency unique to its travel rewards credit cards. 

Capital One miles you earn with these cards — like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card —  can be a helpful tool in your financial toolkit to save money on any upcoming travel purchases. Like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can redeem them in a handful of ways, though you’ll get the most value redeeming them for flights and hotels.

With each Capital One rewards credit card, there is no limit to the amount of miles or cash back you can earn, and rewards don’t expire as long as your account is in good standing.

Here’s a closer look at how the program works, which cards earn Capital One rewards, and how to find the best one for you.

Capital One Rewards Overview

Capital One offers a few different types of rewards cards. 

You can earn standard cash back rewards with cards like the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can redeem for cash at any amount or choose from a few different redemption options, including shopping with rewards on Amazon.com or purchases on PayPal.

To earn Capital One miles, you’ll need to use an eligible travel rewards Capital One credit card. These include:

Each of these cards earns a flat rate on every purchase you make, without specific bonus categories. The exact amount of miles you’ll earn can vary depending on which card you have. Typically, the higher annual fee, the more miles per dollar you’ll earn on your spending — and the more added benefits and perks you’ll get. Ultimately, though, it’s important to find a card that matches both your spending habits and your budget if you’re looking to maximize value.

After you earn Capital One miles, you’ll have a few more redemption options than Capital One’s cash back cards offer. While you can redeem the miles you earn with a Venture or Spark Miles card for Amazon or PayPal purchases, you’ll often get the best value when you redeem for travel. You can do this by transferring to partners, redeeming through Capital One’s travel portal, or using the “Purchase Eraser” tool for travel-related purchases made with your card.

Which Capital One Cards Earn the Most Miles?

The Capital One Venture card earns a flat rate of 2 miles per dollar on everything you spend. It’s a straightforward, beginner-friendly travel rewards card for people looking to earn rewards without having to remember bonus spending categories. It has a $95 annual fee.

By contrast, the Capital One VentureOne credit card earns 1.25 miles per dollar on all purchases. This card has no annual fee, so if you want to earn flexible miles but don’t think you’ll spend enough to outweigh the cost of the regular Venture card, this could be a good option.

You can use Capital One’s rewards calculator to help determine which card might be the best fit for you. Just plug in the approximate amount of money you spend on purchases every month, and compare how much you can earn in travel rewards with the Venture compared to VentureOne. According to Capital One, if you spend at least $1,056 on your card each month, you’ll get more rewards value from the $95 Venture, after accounting for the annual fee cost. 

In terms of business credit cards, the Capital One Spark Miles card earns 2 miles per dollar on everything you spend. It has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, and is $95 thereafter. The Capital One Spark Miles Select earns 1.5 miles per dollar on all purchases and has no annual fee.

How Much Are Capital One Rewards Worth?

Capital One rewards are a valuable currency since you can redeem them in multiple ways. If your card earns miles, you can redeem them through the issuer’s portal, use the Purchase Eraser tool toward travel purchases you make with your card, or transfer them to airline and hotel partners. Capital One has 15+ transfer partners in total, including Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards and Air Canada Aeroplan.

Pro Tip

If you have a miles-earning Capital One card, you’ll typically get the most value by transferring them to airline and hotel partners.

While you can redeem Capital One miles for gift cards or shop with your rewards at retailers like Amazon, you’ll get the most out of them by using them for travel.

According to Capital One, your miles are worth 1 cent each. However, by transferring your rewards to partners, you can get even more value out of your miles. While the exact amount will fluctuate from program to program and even by award redemption, it will typically be greater than 1 cent per mile.

As with all transferable points and miles currencies (such as Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards), compare rates between the issuer’s portal and transfer partners before you book. Most of the time, you’ll get the most value out of your miles by transferring to partners, but since it’s not always guaranteed, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence first to find the best rate.

Which Capital One Card Should You Get?

Capital One has a suite of cards to fit your budget and spending goals, no matter whether you’d rather earn travel rewards or cash back. Here are some of our favorite Capital One cards you can apply for today.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    60,000 miles
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.2/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 24.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.1/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $300
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture card is a travel rewards credit card that earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. It has a $95 annual fee and offers up to a $100 fee credit toward TSA PreCheck/Global Entry. It comes with additional benefits like 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, travel insurance and assistance services, access to Capital One Experiences, and no foreign transaction fees.

Right now, you can earn 60,000 bonus miles — worth $600 in travel — if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Savor credit card is geared toward those who spend a good chunk of their budget on dining and entertainment. It earns 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, 3% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.

You can also earn a $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Capital One Savor card has a $95 annual fee.

We also like the Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card, which earns slightly less in the same categories — though it has no annual fee. You’ll get 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else. This card has a welcome bonus of $200 after you spend $500 within the first three months.

Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver card earns a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on every purchase, and there’s an introductory 0% APR offer for 15 months (14.99%-24.99% variable APR thereafter) on new purchases and balance transfers you make with the card. You can also earn a $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within your first three months of card membership. It has a $0 annual fee.

Capital One Spark Miles

The Capital One Spark Miles credit card is geared towards small business owners. With it, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. Like the Venture card, it comes with up to a $100 application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

The card is also offering a 50,000-mile bonus after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. It has a $0 annual fee for the first year, and then $95 after that.