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If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent more time at home than ever before in 2020.
You’ve likely postponed trips and flights. And, for travelers who are getting out, road trips, staycations and crowd-free destinations have probably taken center stage. As a result, you may be looking for new ways to use your points and miles. Or, maybe, you’ve realized you need to shift the type of rewards you’re earning.
With travel prices across the spectrum lower than we’ve seen in years, now may be the perfect time to simplify your miles and reward travel strategy. That’s why the Capital One Venture Rewards program, with its uncapped earning potential and flexible redemption opportunities, makes more sense than ever.
Through Dec. 14, 2020, new Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card members can earn a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening. On top of the generous welcome offer, the card earns a straightforward and unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase with no bonus categories to memorize and great ongoing benefits. It’s no wonder it’s considered one of the most popular fixed-value rewards credit cards on the market.
If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee travel card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card still earns an unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase.
But what makes Venture miles so valuable is their flexibility. You can use them to purchase merchandise, buy gift cards or redeem them for a statement credit — but you’ll get even more value from travel redemptions.
Venture miles transfer to 15 travel partners and can be redeemed for travel expenses not usually covered by other airline, hotel and bank programs.
Luckily, Capital One has a broad definition of what purchases are considered travel expenses. In addition to obvious inclusions such as charges from airlines, hotels, trains and car rental agencies, you can also redeem your miles for vacation home rentals, rideshares, limousine services, bus tickets, cruises, taxis, trips booked through your travel agent, timeshares and more. Redemption availability depends on the merchant category code assigned to them by the credit card network (Visa or Mastercard, for example).
And, through April 30, 2021, these miles can also be redeemed for restaurant delivery and streaming services.
Given the array of possibilities, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite, unexpected ways to redeem Venture miles.
Vacation rentals and alternate accommodations
During the pandemic, short-term home rentals have become even more popular with travelers as an alternative to hotels. You don’t have to worry about sharing public spaces with other people, and you might even have a kitchen or private pool, which can limit the need for going out.
Vacation home rental sites rarely have loyalty programs of their own, but you can often redeem Venture miles as long as the charge codes as travel.
Ride-hailing apps and public transportation
Your rideshare or cab ride may not always be considered a travel purchase. But Capital One allows you to use your Venture miles on ride-hailing apps and taxis without a fuss.
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If you ride the train, subway or bus, those tickets will qualify for redemptions as well — though eligibility depends on how the merchant category codes. If you live in a city and rely on these methods of public transportation, your Capital One Venture miles can help you erase the stress (financial stress, at least) of getting from point A to point B.
Theme park tickets
If you’re planning a future trip to a theme park, you might want to use miles to cover the cost of your admission tickets.
When purchased by themselves, theme park tickets probably won’t code as a travel expense. Fortunately, there are a few ways to use Venture miles to offset the cost of a trip to some of the most fun and exciting places on Earth.
Whether you make your theme park booking through a travel agent, or you purchase a theme park travel package that includes both park tickets and a hotel stay directly from the theme park company, there are ways to book this sort of magical trip as a travel expense.
Online travel agencies (OTA)
TPG usually recommends booking travel directly with the hotel or airline when possible to keep things simple if your plans change. But, if you find an unbeatable deal through a third-party travel booking site, you can use your Venture miles to book that exact flight or hotel room. Just be sure to redeem your miles within 90 days of the travel transaction.
You can also redeem Venture miles for car rentals and virtually anything else that can be purchased through an OTA, since they’re classified as travel merchants. This flexibility provides endless redemption opportunities with your Venture miles.
Booking tours and experiences
Whether you want a big city hop-on, hop-off bus tour, a helicopter flight over Hawaii or a horseback adventure, if you can book it via a travel site (or it codes as travel on its own), you can redeem Venture miles for the experience.
Food delivery and streaming services
Capital One knows that, while travel will eventually return to normal, the pandemic has many of us staying close to home and waiting it out.
While you may be dreaming of flashy, high-value redemptions involving first-class flights and five-star hotels, Capital One is allowing cardholders to redeem Venture miles on restaurant delivery (DoorDash®, Uber Eats® and Postmates®) and streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, until April 30, 2021.
It might not be a lie-flat seat, but it will certainly help keep you and your family sane — and cash in your wallet.
There’s no shortage of ways to get amazing value out of your Capital One Venture rewards miles in ways most other points and miles can’t reach. Beyond transferring Venture miles to travel partners, you can book travel with your Capital One Venture card and redeem your miles for everything from vacation rentals, to rental cars and even your next takeout order.
What makes these sought-after miles so popular is the ability to redeem them for unique purchases not covered by other points and miles programs. And this kind of flexibility has never been more valuable.
Featured photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel/Getty Images.
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And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free.
These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.