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Have you ever found a great travel deal but didn’t have the points or miles you needed to book? Today’s post covers a strategy you can use to book a flight now and redeem miles to cover the purchase up to four months later.
Even better, you can earn up to $1,000 worth of miles between the time you book your trip and redeem your rewards.
- Earn 100,000 Miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months; worth $1000 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
- 2 Miles on every purchase, plus earn 5 Miles on hotel bookings and car rentals through Capital One Travel
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee
- 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
- 5 Miles on hotels and car rentals through Capital One Travel
The Unique Way You Redeem Venture Miles
The traditional way to plan a trip with miles is to decide your goals far in advance, apply for the right rewards cards, and use your everyday spending to accumulate the points you need. This is still the only way to secure high-value business and first-class tickets without paying an arm and a leg.
But, for those who don’t mind economy or premium economy travel, there is an alternative approach that requires far less patience and knowledge to execute.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is currently offering a limited-time signup bonus of up to 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Thanks to some unique rules for redeeming Venture miles, it’s possible to buy a flight before you have the miles. Then you can retroactively apply the 100,000 bonus miles to knock up to $1,000 off the cost of travel.
The Capital One Venture Lets You Redeem Miles You Don't Have (Yet!)
Traditional frequent-flyer programs require you to have all the points and miles in your account before you can book an award. However, Venture Miles are fixed-value rewards that allow you to ‘erase’ travel purchases as a statement credit.
How does it work in practice?
You pay for a flight, hotel, or other qualifying travel purchase with your Capital One Venture card, then redeem Venture miles as a statement credit towards that purchase after the fact. Each mile is worth 1¢ towards the cost of travel. That means 20,000 Venture Miles will erase $200 from the cost of your flight or hotel stay.
That means you don’t need to have all the miles you plan to redeem in your account at the time you make a purchase. When you make a qualifying travel purchase with the Capital One Venture, Capital One gives you up to 90 days to redeem Venture miles towards that transaction as a statement credit.
Buy Flights to Help Meet Minimum Spend and ‘Erase’ the Purchase Later
With a 90-days window to erase a purchase, you can:
- Apply for the Capital One Venture card
- Purchase your flight when the card arrives
- Make other purchases to meet the minimum spending requirement, and
- Redeem the miles earned for a statement credit after the welcome bonus posts to your account
The cost of your flight (or other travel purchase) count towards the minimum spend needed to earn your bonus. So, opening your account right before you need to confirm a trip can give you a nice boost to your normal spending.
To be clear, you shouldn’t use this strategy if you can’t afford to cover the cost of your flight upfront. You’ll need to pay your credit card bill in full when your statement is due to avoid interest. Charging the flight to a credit card can delay when that money comes out of your checking account. But, you'll want to have that cash available within a month of making your initial purchase.
The advantage of this strategy is that you can purchase a revenue ticket with rewards before you actually have those rewards in your account. Once you earn your welcome bonus, you can redeem for a statement credit before the 90-day window is up.
Using the Sign-Up Bonus to Erase Purchases
The first question that typically pops up when we mention this strategy is, “will the signup bonus post to my account in time to apply the statement credit within the 90-day window?”
Fortunately, Capital One awards Venture miles as soon as the transaction posts to your account. So, you don’t typically need to wait for your statement to close to receive miles earned from regular spending. The same applies to the signup bonus. In our experience, the welcome bonus should post to your account as soon as you meet the minimum spend.
Also, there's ample time to apply the bonus miles to qualifying travel purchases made during the minimum-spend period. That's because the window to meet the first tier of the minimum spend is 90 days, and the window to redeem miles as a statement credit is also 90 days.
Even if you only meet the first spending tier and receive 50,000 bonus miles, that's $500 back in your pocket when redeemed against the cost of your flights.
Things to keep in mind when redeeming Venture Miles
- You don’t need to cover the cost of the entire purchase with Venture Miles. Let's say you pay $1,000 for a flight, but you only have 70,000 miles in your account. You can still knock $700 off the cost of the ticket, slashing the out-of-pocket cost to $300.
- There is no minimum redemption amount when redeeming miles, provided you cover the entire travel purchase. However, there's a 2,500-mile minimum ($25) if you only cover part of a travel purchase with your Capital One miles.
- You can only get a statement credit for travel purchases made within the last 90 days.
- The merchant must code as travel for the purchase to qualify for a statement credit. If the purchase doesn’t code as travel from the merchant, it won’t qualify. Here's how Capital One states that restriction:
“Every time you buy something, the merchant assigns a category code to your purchase. We use these codes to determine if it’s eligible for miles redemption. Please note, Capital One isn’t responsible for codes used by merchants.”
The ideal rewards strategy is to have a mix of options that includes fixed-value rewards, transferrable points, and airline miles. Each type of points comes with unique advantages and disadvantages. If you’re well-diversified, you can use the type of points that fits your situation.
In the case of fixed-value rewards—like those earned with the Capital One Venture card—you’ll do best in situations where paid airfare is relatively cheap or when the itinerary you want isn’t available as an award ticket.
Most frequent flyer programs require you to have enough miles to cover the entire award price at the time of booking. With up to 90 days to redeem Venture miles retroactively, you can use the power of your future spending to earn the miles needed cover trips you want to confirm right away.
Although fixed-value rewards can't deliver the same kind of jaw-dropping deals you can get with a well-planned award ticket, their simplicity and flexibility are great reasons to add them to your points and miles arsenal.
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