Big (positive) Capital One changes coming

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Capital One is currently offering a pretty strong 100K offer for the Capital One Venture. With thew new offer you can earn:

  • 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Another 50,000 miles when you spend $20,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening
  • Learn how to apply

This 100K offer was already pretty interesting but it just got wayyy more appealing with the announcement of the new Capital One changes.

1:1 Transfer partner tier

Beginning on April 20th, Capital One miles can be transferred to select travel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. (This is an improvement from the prior ratio of 2:1.5.)

These programs include:

  • Avianca (LifeMiles)
  • Etihad (Etihad Guest)
  • Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
  • AeroMexico (Club Premier)
  • Finnair (Finnair Plus)
  • Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer)
  • Wyndham Rewards

These 1:1 partners like Avianca, Etihad, and Asia Miles have real value.

Avianca is already a partner of Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points so this makes it even easier to build up that balance which can be used on Star Alliance flights with super low taxes/fees. Etihad and Asia Miles are also great programs with the multiple transfer routes as well.

So the new 1:1 transfers make your Capital One miles more valuable and therefore make the Capital One Venture a much more attractive option. You are basically earning 2X for those programs on everyday spend which is very good. In fact, we will now be updating the WalletFlo point valuation for some Capital One cards.

Etihad First Class Lounge

New travel partners

Capital One is also adding four new loyalty programs:

  • British Airways (Avios)
  • Choice Hotels (Choice Privileges)
  • TAP Air Portugal (Miles&Go)
  • Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles).

British Airways (Avios) and Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles) are two very solid programs but the drawback is that they will be will be in the 2:1.5 tier. That’s not terrible but if these two partners had been part of the 1 to 1 tier this would’ve been an even more next level change.

Still, I would highly recommend looking into Turkish Airlines. They have some very good sweet spots and some pretty customer friendly change and cancellation policies.

The other new partners will be in the 1:1 tier. I don’t have experience with those partners so I’m not sure about their value proposition.

New airport lounges

Capital One is also stepping into the airport lounge space. They will be setting up two lounges: Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW), opening in late summer 2021, and Dulles Airport (IAD), coming in 2022.

Based on the renderings these lounges look to be close to Centurion Lounges in terms of quality. It also looks like they are going to be very equipped with:

  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • Restaurant-quality in-lounge dining
  • Grab-and-go food (local chef menus)
  • Coffee bars
  • Quiet work zones
  • Individual power outlets at every seat
  • Soundproof relaxation rooms stocked with blankets, eye covers and earplugs
  • Soundproof multi-faith room
  • Family area an private nursing rooms
  • Luggage lockers
  • Cycling and yoga rooms
  • Private shower suites with luxury bath amenities

You don’t see many lounges with wellness-focused amenities (cycling and yoga rooms) so Capital One is getting a little innovative with their lounges which is really cool to see.

These lounges could be a great way to mix it up and perhaps avoid the larger crowds that sometimes plague Centurion Lounges.

In terms of food and beverages, it sounds like they are making some serious efforts to uphold a high-quality standard and to make “sad salads” a thing of the past. They are said to be offering a restaurant-quality in-lounge dining experience with unique touches like craft cocktails on tap, local beers, and regional wines.

Capital One cardholders will be eligible for special entry rates depending on the card they have. So that will be the other question: How much will it cost cardmembers to get in? Could a Venture /Spark Card get you in for $25? Can you bring guests?

It also makes you wonder if Capital One is eventually planning on rolling out with a more premium product that grants lounge access when they have a few more lounges.

New travel portal

The new travel portal for Capital One will be launching later this year in partnership with Hopper.

I’m not super excited for what looks like another online travel agency portal but there may be some additional features that stick out like special assistance for Capital One members and the ability to earn and use rewards. I doubt that the redemptions will be super compelling especially in light of the new travel partners but we will see. It’s possible this portal may have something special to offer.

Final word

This is really exciting for people who can get on board with Capital One. Having the ability to transfer 1:1 with Avianca (LifeMiles), Etihad (Etihad Guest), and Asia Miles is very exciting to me. Because you can also transfer points from other programs to these partners it’s going to make it that much easier to build up big balances.

The new lounges are also very exciting and I would assume that they already have plans to open up new ones in 2022 and beyond. The lounges look like they will be competitive with Centurion Lounges and even offer additional amenities but I am also curious about the admission policy and prices.

If you were on the fence about the Capital One Venture these new changes might mean it’s time to finally jump on the card.

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