Capital One Purchase Eraser: What It Is and How to Use It

Looking to save money on travel expenses? You could benefit from learning how to use the Capital One Purchase Eraser.
Last updated Sep 24, 2020 | By Ben Walker
Capital One Purchase Eraser: What It Is and How to Use It

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If you love to travel, you may already know how useful travel credit cards can be. They can help you earn valuable points and miles that can be redeemed for nearly free airfare, hotel stays, and more. Many of these rewards cards even come with useful perks and benefits to further enhance your travel experience.

With certain Capital One credit cards, cardholders have access to the Capital One Purchase Eraser. This tool allows you to easily receive statement credits toward any eligible travel expense on your applicable Capital One card. Here’s how the Purchase Eraser works and which cards come with this benefit.

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What is the Capital One Purchase Eraser?

As the name suggests, the Capital One Purchase Eraser is a tool for erasing purchases. Basically you use it to redeem the rewards you’ve earned on your Capital One credit card to receive a statement credit toward purchases you’ve made in the past 90 days.

Only specific Capital One credit cards have access to the Purchase Eraser feature, and you can’t use this tool on every purchase. Capital One cards that earn miles are the only cards that can use the Purchase Eraser, and miles can only be redeemed to receive credit toward travel purchases.

Because this tool works only with travel purchases, it’s best suited for individuals who want to earn travel rewards and use them to decrease their travel expenses.

How does the Capital One Purchase Eraser work?

  1. Earn miles by making purchases
  2. Make travel purchases (hotel stays, airfare, etc.)
  3. Erase those expenses with the Purchase Eraser

The process of using the Capital One Purchase Eraser is fairly straightforward. If you follow these steps, you can be on your way to redeeming miles toward travel purchases in no time.

Step 1: Earn miles

Before you can redeem your miles, you’ll need to earn some first. Most Capital One credit cards come with an early spend bonus when you’re first approved for the card. If you spend a certain amount of money on the card, typically within the first three months of card opening, you’ll receive additional bonus points.

The size of these offers can range, but you’ll often see an early spend bonus worth up to tens of thousands of miles, or the equivalent of hundreds of dollars in award redemptions. For example, with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card you can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months (or earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months) after account opening. That’s worth hundreds of dollars when translated to actual travel expenses.

You can also use your card to make purchases and earn miles on your everyday spending. With the same Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. This type of earning rate makes it really easy to use your card to earn valuable travel rewards.

Step 2: Make travel purchases

You have 90 days from when a travel purchase has been posted onto your account to use the Purchase Eraser for a statement credit toward that purchase. One of the advantages of the Capital One Purchase Eraser compared to other rewards programs is that you don’t necessarily need to wait until you have miles available to start making travel purchases. You can make travel purchases, take some time to earn more rewards miles, and then redeem those miles with the Purchase Eraser to make the expense of your travel purchase go away.

As long as you go through this whole process within the 90-day period, this strategy will work fine. To be safe, you can always wait to make your travel purchases until you already have enough miles in your account. That way you can immediately redeem your miles once your travel purchases post to your card without having to worry about the 90-day threshold.

Step 3: Erase travel purchases

To erase your travel purchases, it’s as easy as logging into your Capital One online account and clicking a few buttons. Note: These are steps for the mobile app, but they are similar to the steps you’d take through your online account via a web browser.

  1. Once you’re in your account, click on the “Redeem Rewards” button

Capital One Purchase Eraser

  1. Then choose the “Cover Your Purchases” option

Capital One Purchase Eraser

  1. Select which recent travel purchase you would like to erase (unless there aren’t any eligible travel purchases, as is the case here, in which case Capital One will tell you that)

Capital One Purchase Eraser

  1. Choose how many miles you would like to redeem (more on this below)
  1. Click to redeem your miles

When you make Purchase Eraser redemptions, the credits are typically applied to your balance within two to three business days.

It should be noted that you can make partial redemptions toward any eligible travel purchase, but any partial redemption must use at least 2,500 miles. Let’s say you recently made a travel purchase of $100 and want to use the Purchase Eraser to erase the expense. You have 5,000 miles available (worth $50), which isn’t enough to fully erase the $100 expense. Fortunately, you can still use your 5,000 miles to erase $50 from the total. This ability may come in handy if you don’t have enough miles for a full redemption or you want to save some miles for something else.

What kinds of travel purchases can be erased?

Capital One defines travel expenses as purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents, and timeshares. This list doesn’t show you every single merchant that will count as a travel purchase, but it does give you an idea of what should be counted. There is no specific mention of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, or other travel-related services, but it’s well understood that they count as travel.

You should be aware that Capital One doesn’t have control over how individual merchants assign purchase codes to your spending. This means there may be instances you make what you feel is a travel-related purchase that doesn't code as travel in your Capital One account. That means you wouldn't be able to erase this purchase. This shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence, but it could happen.

There’s no limit on how many travel purchases you can erase or even how big of a travel purchase you can erase. And you can erase travel purchases as often as you’d like. The only limitations are the number of miles you have in your account and the 90-day time period from when a travel purchase posts to your credit card account.

Which Capital One cards offer the Purchase Eraser?

Card name Early spend bonus Rewards rate Annual fee
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 in the first 12 months (or earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months) 2X miles on every purchase, every day $95
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card Earn 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day $0
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Earn 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 in the first 3 months 5X miles on rental cars and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, and 2X miles on every purchase, every day $95 (waived first year)
Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business Earn 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel, and an unlimited 1.5X miles on all other purchases made with all cards associated with the account $0

It’s no surprise that the Capital One cards with the Purchase Eraser tool are all travel rewards cards, and each one of them is designed to reward cardholders with valuable miles. They’re all similar in this regard, but their differences may make one a better fit for you than another.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great choice for someone who wants a low-annual-fee credit card with a terrific earnings rate and additional travel perks and benefits. You can transfer your Venture miles to more than 10 Capital One transfer partners such as Emirates, JetBlue, and Singapore Airlines. Even better, there are no foreign transaction fees and you can enjoy up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when you pay with your Venture card.

If you want to skip the annual fee, you might consider the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. This card still has great earning potential and you can transfer your miles to the same transfer partners as the Venture. And with no foreign transaction fees, you don’t have to worry about paying extra for purchases abroad.

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business offer valuable benefits for small business owners. Both cards offer great earning potential, especially if you book business travel (hotels and rental cars) through Capital One Travel. For Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, the Spark Miles would be the better option. If you want to avoid an annual fee, you might consider the Spark Miles Select. There are no foreign transaction fees with either card.

Other redemption options with Capital One

There are also other redemption options you can use with your Capital One credit card Instead of using the Capital One Purchase Eraser. You can transfer your miles to partner loyalty programs (like participating hotel or airline partners), redeem miles for gift cards, or cash out your miles for a statement credit.

Redeeming Capital One miles for travel vs. cash back

Generally, Capital One miles have a redemption rate of 1 cent per mile, which makes it easy to calculate their total value. If you have 50,000 miles, that would be worth $500 in awards redemptions. This valuation is true when you use the Purchase Eraser, book using miles through Capital One Travel, or when you redeem miles for gift cards.

This valuation does not include redeeming miles for cash back. If you redeem your miles for cash back, each mile is only worth 0.5 cents instead of 1 cent. So 50,000 miles would only be worth $250 if you cash out your miles for a statement credit.

Using your miles for travel would typically be the best redemption option because you’ll get the most value, whether you’re doing it through the Purchase Eraser or transferring to an airline or hotel loyalty program.

Pro tip: Pay with your card not with miles to earn more

The value of your rewards doesn’t necessarily change if you book your travel using miles, but you’ll miss out on earning miles from making those travel purchases with your Capital One card. If you instead use your card to book travel and then later use the Purchase Eraser to redeem miles to erase those travel purchases, it’s more efficient.

So if you redeem 50,000 miles for a $500 flight, you just got a free flight, which is great. The same is true if you transfer 50,000 miles to an airline partner for a free flight. However, you could also pay for the same flight with your Capital One credit card, earn rewards for the purchase, and then use the Purchase Eraser with your existing miles to erase the travel expense.

The end result is the same, which is a free flight. But, you also earn bonus miles in the process if you purchase the flight and then use the Purchase Eraser. In this way, the Purchase Eraser gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to using your rewards miles.

Bottom line

The Capital One Purchase Eraser is a unique tool that can be beneficial for individuals interested in credit card rewards that can be used toward travel. It’s easy to use and offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to redeeming your miles.

If you want to access this great feature, you’ll have to qualify for one of the best travel credit cards from Capital One that has it. Fortunately, there are multiple to choose from depending on your spending habits and needs.

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • 80,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on select streaming services (up to $1,500) until September 30, 2020
  • 3X points with Instacart (up to $3,000), and at gas stations (up to $1,500) until September 30, 2020
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits