Home Personal Finance Capital One Adds Airline Transfer Partners, Opens Airport Lounges

Capital One Adds Airline Transfer Partners, Opens Airport Lounges

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Capital One might trail behind other big banks, like American Express and Chase, in the eyes of savvy travelers optimizing for credit card perks that level up their status, like airline lounges, trip flexibility and copious rewards points.

But the bank behind the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is emerging as a dark horse in the travel credit card space, especially with news that more loyalty programs will join its mileage transfer programs. Couple that with its new Capital One airport lounges set to open later this year, and Capital One is shaping up to be a more competitive player.

Here’s an overview of several of the changes in the works for Capital One that will perk the ears of travelers.

More hotel and airline loyalty programs join Capital One’s program

One of the best ways to spend miles earned through Capital One is by transferring them to the loyalty programs of other airlines or hotels.

There were already over a dozen airlines and hotel partners you could transfer to, but in April, Capital One announced four more. They are:

Cardholders can begin transferring miles to TAP Air Portugal and Turkish Airlines as of April 20, though customers won’t be able to transfer their Capital One miles to British Airways and Choice Hotels until later this year.

Capital One improves redemptions with new 1:1 transfer ratio

Transferring miles can get confusing. For example, 2,000 Capital One Venture miles won’t get you 2,000 Avianca LifeMiles (they’ll get you 1,500 Avianca LifeMiles, actually).

That’s because most programs transfer at a rate of 2 Venture miles to 1.5 airline miles. Capital One is simplifying things — at least for some mileage programs — by launching a new, 1:1 transfer tier.

The newly added Choice Hotels and TAP Air Portugal will both transfer at a 1:1 ratio. And some existing Capital One partners will see an improved redemption rate as they move from a 2:1.5 to a 1:1 ratio:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

Here are all of the Capital One partners and transfer ratios:

Changes to the program as of April 2021

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

To join Capital One as a transfer partner later this year

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

Choice Hotels Choice Privileges

To join Capital One as a transfer partner later this year

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go

Joined Capital One as a transfer partner

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

Joined Capital One as a transfer partner

Transfer ratio adjusted to 1:1

New details on the upcoming Capital One airport lounges

Image courtesy of Capital One

Capital One previously announced that it would launch a couple new airport lounges, and the company just revealed new details as to what they’ll be like.

The lounges will be located at Dallas-Fort Worth, opening in late summer 2021, and Washington-Dulles, opening in 2022. Dulles is not far from Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and the company also has corporate offices in Plano, Texas, which is not far from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Don’t expect these airport lounges to be overcrowded, serving nothing but a sad tray of cheese cubes. The lounges could compete with the esteemed Centurion Lounges run by American Express. There are more than a dozen Centurion Lounges around the world, all offering high-quality food, top-shelf cocktails and a classy place to wait for your flight. Some offer extra amenities including showers, spas, play areas for kids and wine-tasting areas.

It sounds like the Capital One lounges will be similar — and in some ways, potentially better.

Image courtesy of Capital One

What to expect from the Capital One airport lounge refreshments

Capital One said its lounges will open with a grab-and-go food section featuring curated menus by local, up-and-coming chefs. Travelers should expect healthy selections made with regionally sourced ingredients, plus cold brew on tap.

There will also be a restaurant-quality, in-lounge dining experience that serves craft cocktails on tap, local beers and regional wines.

What to expect from the Capital One airport lounge amenities

Of course, there’s going to be more to do than eat. Capital One said its lounges will include a cycling and yoga room. You’ll probably need a shower after that — and luckily there are shower suites with luxury bath amenities. There will also be relaxation rooms, nursing rooms and a multi-faith room for prayer or meditation.

Additionally, luggage lockers will be available to help clear up space — and avoid you tripping on the handles of someone else’s bag.

How to get into a Capital One airport lounge

It’s not entirely clear how Capital One will allow access quite yet, but a spokesperson told WealthyUpdates that Capital One customers will be eligible for special cardholder pricing depending on their card. It sounds like the higher the annual fee is on your Capital One card, the lower pricing will be available to you.

That’s a different model than The Centurion Lounge from American Express, which is only accessible to cardholders of its highest-end cards (though entrance is complimentary). Unless you’re visiting as a guest of an eligible cardholder, you can’t buy your way into a Centurion Lounge.

Capital One partners with Hopper

Earlier this year, Capital One announced a partnership with online booking site Hopper to power its own booking site, Capital One Travel. That new site will launch later this year, allowing Capital One customers to set up alerts and use price prediction models to get recommendations on when to book trips. The service is also set to help customers more easily change or cancel their reservations, and to serve as a shop to earn and redeem rewards.

Earn more miles with Capital One’s big-time welcome offer

To get in on the improved transfer ratios — and to set yourself up for entrance into the new airport lounges — consider applying for a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Now is the time to apply given its increased welcome offer: Earn 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 $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

That means that after the required spend within 12 months — which earns 40,000 Venture miles — plus the 100,000 miles sign-up bonus, you’re looking at a chance to earn 140,000 miles. Not bad for a $95-annual-fee card that will earn an unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase.

And while the rewards are referred to as miles, that’s a bit of a misnomer; your miles can be redeemed for any recent travel purchase, such as vacation rentals, flights, car rentals and more.

The bottom line

Capital One typically isn’t the first credit card issuer people think of when it comes to premium travel. But as Capital One improves redemption rates and adds new transfer partners — while also adding a couple very fancy airport lounges to its offerings — it looks like that could change. And to go with that, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card might end up being one of the top cards in a traveler’s wallet, with greater flexibility and an increased sign-up bonus.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

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