Capital One has been on a steady path to improving its offerings for its travel-loving cardholders. From airport lounge access, increasing the number of travel partners, launching the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and expanding travel portal access to more Capital One credit card holders, the issuer is certainly making good on its plans.
One thing that stands out is the revamp of the travel portal, which officially launched in the fall of 2021. This new travel portal gives Capital One cardholders the ability to search for and book travel accommodations with rewards. There are also new bells and whistles, like price prediction, price watch, price drop protection, price match guarantee and the ability to cancel bookings for any reason.
Here’s a guide to Capital One Travel to help you make the most of your hard-earned rewards.
What is Capital One Travel?
Capital One Travel is the travel rewards portal that allows Capital One cardholders to book travel accommodations with their credit card rewards (and cash if needed.) Like similar credit card issuers, this branded travel portal acts as a travel search engine to help cardholders redeem travel rewards and find better deals in the process.
Unlike some card issuers, Capital One no longer requires you to have a premium travel card to redeem rewards and access its travel portal. If you have one or more of the following Capital One credit cards, you’re now eligible to use the Capital One travel portal (and can earn rewards on hotels and rental cars booked through it):
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||5X miles|
|Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business*||5X miles|
|Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||5X miles|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||5X miles|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||10X miles|
|Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®||N/A|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||5% cash back|
|Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card||5% cash back|
|Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card||5% cash back|
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||5% cash back|
|Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card||5% cash back|
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||5% cash back|
|Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus||5% cash back|
|Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months||5% cash back|
|Journey Student Rewards from Capital One||5% cash back|
Previously, only Venture and Spark Miles credit card holders had access to Capital One Travel, but it’s now available through most of Capital One’s cash back cards, including the Quicksilver, Savor, Spark Cash and Student cards.
In addition to expanded portal access, Capital One recently partnered with travel tech partner Hopper to create a “smarter” travel experience. Some portal capabilities include features you’d find with top travel search engines, plus a few extras:
Price prediction technology
This feature helps Capital One cardholders get the best pricing possible for airfare by guiding them on when to book their flights. Because the issuer collects billions of data points on flight prices daily, the issuer claims that this technology can price flight prices with 95 percent accuracy.
You can use the travel portal’s booking feature to place a reservation for a flight now or wait for a better price. The price prediction tool will recommend the best time to book your flight, which could help you save up to 15 percent on your flight.
Price alerts on flights
You can set up price alerts on flights you’d like to watch. Capital One Travel monitors the flight and emails you when it’s the best time to book.
Price drop prediction
If the price prediction tool recommends that it’s the best time to book your flight, but the price drops after you buy it, you’ll get a refund for all or part of the price difference. How much you get back depends on the terms of your booking, however.
Best price match guarantee
Capital One will refund the difference for the price of a flight, hotel or rental car if you find a better price on another site within 24 hours of booking with Capital One Travel. You can submit a price match claim by calling Capital One Travel at 844-422-6922.
If you aren’t quite ready to book your flight, you can pay a small fee to “freeze” the flight price until you are ready to confirm your booking. Capital One will hold that price for you until the expiration date of your frozen price. The expiration date is noted before you complete your purchase.
Cancel for any reason coverage
This feature can provide some flexibility to your travel bookings as needed. For a small fee, this option allows you to cancel your flight — with no penalties — up to a set time within 24 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Depending on the terms of your booking, you will have the option to receive a refund ranging from 70 percent to 100 percent of your flight’s costs.
How to book with Capital One Travel
When you log in to your Capital One account, your main screen display different options including:
- Book a Trip
- Convert Rewards
- Cover travel Purchases
- Get Gift Cards
- Redeem for Cash
- Redeem with PayPal
- Shop with Amazon
- Move Rewards
Transfer miles to travel partners
If you choose to convert your rewards, you’ll be presented with a screen full of Capital One Transfer partners (loyalty programs) you can move your miles to. This option may save money if your miles pick up more value upon transfer.
To complete the transfer, you’ll have to have your loyalty program number handy. If you haven’t yet created a free account with the program you’ll transfer miles to, you can do so quickly and easily in another browser tab.
Once you have your member number, you can plug it into the miles transfer screen, and Capital One will move your miles to the loyalty program of your choice. The transfer process may be immediate or take up to a few hours. When the miles appear in your loyalty membership account, you can then book your travel directly through the travel brand where you transferred your points.
Cover past travel purchases
You can use your Capital One miles to cover travel purchases up to 90 days old. Although there’s no guarantee exactly how your travel purchases will be coded, generally, Capital One miles will cover travel-related expenses such as airfare, hotel stays, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and timeshares.
To choose this option, select “Cover Purchases” and choose the transaction you’d like to cover with your miles, the number of miles you’ll use and confirm the deduction of miles from your balance.
Book flights in the Capital One Travel portal
From your main account screen, select “Book a Trip.” This takes you to the travel portal.
At the airfare booking screen, you’ll find a UX very similar to many third-party booking sites — with options to search for flights, hotels or car rentals. In the portal, you can pay for your trip with miles, cash or a combination of both.
You can book flights in the Capital One Travel portal by entering your travel dates and arriving and departing airports. The calendar will display a color-coded chart based on how prices are trending. If you’ve got some flexibility, you can choose from different pricing categories to get lower fares:
You can also filter your results by airline, price, number of stops, time, flight number and other preferences.
Once you arrive at a route you’d like to book, you can follow the prompts to choose the fare options you want. Right before checking out, you’ll see the option to freeze your fare until you are ready to book, which you can pay for in miles or cash. If you don’t want to freeze your fare, you can continue to the checkout (where you’ll choose your seat and how you’ll pay).
Book hotels in the Capital One Travel portal
The process of booking hotel accommodations is very similar to booking airfare; simply search for hotels by location and date. You can then filter properties with specific amenities, like a bar or parking. The search results page will show you a map with hotel locations, price per night, total price as well as the TripAdvisor rating of that particular property.
Book car rentals in the Capital One Travel portal
You can also book a rental car through the Capital One portal. After entering your pickup and drop-off information, you can review the results and filter them by car rental company, price and other preferences.
Should I book travel through the Capital One Travel portal?
Whether or not you should book travel via the Capital One Travel portal depends on your goals. If you’d like to earn rewards on travel booked through the portal, or if you’ve accrued miles in your account and want to use them instead of cash, using the portal would certainly be beneficial. Another reason to use the Capital One Travel portal is to take advantage of the boosted rewards value you can get when transferring to a travel partner.
The main missing features of Capital One Travel include the lack of travel packages, though you can group different types of travel accommodations in one itinerary and pay for them at the same time. Another downside to using Capital One Travel is that you won’t be able to take advantage of any hotel elite status you might have earned. Generally, hotels require you to book directly with them to unlock elite perks like free breakfast or room upgrades.
Lastly, we always suggest that you do some research on prices before booking with any travel portal. Even if Capital One Travel becomes your go-to for booking travel, don’t forget to check other booking options to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
The bottom line
Many credit card issuers and today’s best travel credit cards are now offering robust, feature-rich travel portals that can improve how you book travel — and Capital One Travel, in particular, is designed for cardholders to use their rewards efficiently while securing accommodations. If you’re a Capital One cardholder, this travel portal is sure to be a great option for your future booking needs.
The information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.