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Nov. 16, 2018, 9:03 a.m. EST

Capital One Venture card now has a new airline miles transfer option — is it worth it?

For a limited time, the card comes with a sign-up bonus worth $750

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By Jacob Passy


Bloomberg News
Capital One Venture customers will soon be able to convert the miles they earn with their credit card into airline miles for 12 travel loyalty programs.

Capital One Venture Rewards /zigman2/quotes/204480509/composite COF +2.71%  cardholders will soon have another way to cash in the miles they earn with the card. The program could appeal to people who do a lot of overseas travel, but others may want to think twice.

Starting in December, Venture customers will be able to convert the miles they earn with their credit card into airline miles for 12 travel loyalty programs. They can then use those miles to book airline award tickets, get special deals, top off their mileage account and upgrade existing bookings. The miles transfer benefit will also be available for VentureOne, Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select cardholders.

The program comprises foreign airlines currently, though Capital One said there are plans to add more loyalty programs on an ongoing basis. Here are the participating programs and airlines:

  • Aeromexico /zigman2/quotes/208393634/delayed MX:AEROMEX +8.41%  

  • Aeroplan (Air Canada) /zigman2/quotes/207443554/delayed ACDVF -1.34%  

  • Alitalia

  • Avianca  

  • Cathay Pacific /zigman2/quotes/201931159/delayed TW:2618 +0.90%   

  • Etihad Airways

  • EVA Air /zigman2/quotes/201931159/delayed TW:2618 +0.90%  

  • Finnair /zigman2/quotes/200297452/delayed FI:FIA1S -1.73%  

  • Flying Blue (Air France and KLM) /zigman2/quotes/200915926/delayed AFLYY -5.68%  

  • Hainan Airlines /zigman2/quotes/203177958/delayed CN:600221 +1.19%  

  • Qantas /zigman2/quotes/200387630/delayed QUBSF +5.47%  

  • Qatar Airways

Currently, Venture cardholders earn 2 miles for every purchase. When transferred to these loyalty partners though, those 2 Venture miles will only be worth 1.5 airline miles.

Don’t miss: Citi prepares to relaunch its top credit card with focus on dining and travel rewards

Venture customers will still have access to their other rewards options, including using their miles as cash to pay for previous travel expenses such as taxi fares or cruises or to put toward new bookings. There is no cap to the number of miles Venture cardholders can earn.

The card also comes without foreign transaction fees — which can make trips abroad unexpectedly expensive — and includes benefits such as travel accident insurance and rental car insurance. The card has no annual fee in the first year, and an annual fee of $95 after that. The card carries a variable annual percentage rate (APR) of between 14.74% and 24.74%. The average APR for airline cards is currently 17.12%, according to CreditCards.com .

Some argue that the new program may be of limited value to the average Venture customer. “There’s no doubt that expert travel hackers will find lucrative sweet spots on international carriers and transferring to their U.S.-based partners, but the typical consumer wants a much simpler approach,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

Additionally, Capital One is running a limited-time offer in partnership with travel website The Points Guy through which new Venture customers can get 75,000 miles (the equivalent of $750) after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card’s typical sign-up bonus is just 50,000 miles after $3,000 in spending.

Rossman called the sign-up bonus offer “astounding for a credit card with no annual fee in year one.” Still, frequent travelers might be better off opting for a card such as Chase Sapphire Reserve /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM +0.04% , he said, because of the other perks it comes with and the higher earn rate on travel and dining purchases.

“The average cardholder will get the most value from this card by using miles the traditional way – to cancel out travel purchases,” Rossman said. “That will yield an effective 2% return, which is in line with the best cash back credit cards. For most people, the Capital One Venture is a cash back card with a travel twist.”

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CN : China: Shanghai
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Jacob Passy is a personal-finance reporter for MarketWatch and is based in New York.

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