How to Cover Your Purchases With Capital One

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
Looking to save money on travel or everyday expenses? You could benefit from learning how to use Capital One rewards to cover purchases.
Updated April 9, 2024
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How to Cover Your Purchases With Capital One

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If you love saving money, you may already know how useful credit cards can be. They can help you earn valuable rewards that can be redeemed for nearly free travel, cash back, and more. Many rewards cards also come with useful perks and benefits to help further enhance your travel experience.

For example, certain Capital One credit cards can use rewards to cover purchases. This was a benefit formerly known as the Capital One Purchase Eraser.

This redemption option allows you to easily redeem rewards toward any eligible purchase on your applicable Capital One card. Here’s how it works and which cards come with this benefit.

In this article

What does cover your purchases mean with Capital One?

Using rewards to cover your purchases is a redemption option available on many Capital One credit cards. You basically redeem the rewards you’ve earned on your Capital One card to receive an account credit toward eligible recent purchases.

Only specific Capital One credit cards have access to this redemption option and you can't always use this feature on every purchase — as it depends on the card.

For example, some Capital One cards that earn miles could use miles to cover recent travel purchases. But certain Capital One cards that earn cash back could use their rewards to cover any eligible recent purchases.

Because this tool only works with rewards cards, it’s best suited for individuals who want to earn cash back, miles, or points and use them to decrease their travel or everyday expenses.

How does covering your purchases with Capital One work?

  1. Earn rewards
  2. Make specific purchases you want to cover
  3. Cover those expenses with your rewards

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

Step 1: Earn rewards

Before you can redeem your rewards, you 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 the equivalent of hundreds of dollars in award redemptions.

For example, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from 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 rewards on your everyday spending.

With the same Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25. This type of earning rate makes it easy to use your card to earn valuable rewards on everyday expenses.

Step 2: Make specific purchases

Now that you’ve earned some rewards, it’s time for the next step in the process — making specific purchases that you want to later cover with your rewards. The process should be similar between Capital One travel cards and cashback cards.

For Capital One travel cards, you have 90 days from when a travel purchase has been posted onto your account to use this redemption option for a statement credit toward that purchase. One of the advantages of this redemption option 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 to make your travel purchases 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: Cover your purchases

To cover your 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 cover (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 use Capital One to cover purchases, 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 purchase, but you might have to use a minimum number of rewards. For example, any partial travel redemption must use at least 2,500 miles.

Let’s say you recently made a travel purchase of $100 and want to use Capital One rewards to cover your purchases. You have 5,000 miles available (worth $50), which isn’t enough to fully cover the $100 expense.

Fortunately, you can still use your 5,000 miles to cover $50 from the total. This feature 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 purchases can you cover?

For travel cards, Capital One defines travel expenses as purchases made on or from airfare, hotel stays, 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 cover this purchase with miles. This shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence, but it could happen.

There’s no limit on how many travel purchases you can cover or even how big of a travel purchase you can cover. And you can cover 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.

Keep in mind that Capital One cashback cards that offer a redemption option to cover purchases aren’t limited to travel-related purchases. 

Which Capital One cards offer to cover purchases?

Card name Early spend bonus Rewards rate Annual fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25 $95
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $0
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25 $395
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply) $0
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Unlimited access to CreditWise: a free monitoring tool that won't damage your score Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase; plus 5% unlimited cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel $39
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 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 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 that can cover purchases with rewards are some of Capital One’s most popular credit cards.

Each one of them is designed to reward cardholders with valuable miles or cash back. They’re all similar in this regard, but their differences may make one a better fit for you than another.

Capital One Venture credit cards

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great choice for someone who wants a low-annual-fee ($95) credit card with a terrific earnings rate and additional travel perks and benefits. You can transfer your Capital One miles to over a dozen Capital One transfer partners such as Emirates 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 Capital One Venture card.

If you want a $0 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 Rewards. And with no foreign transaction fees, you don’t have to worry about paying extra for purchases abroad.

The Capital One Venture X might make more sense if you prefer premium travel benefits such as airport lounge access and annual travel credit. It has a $395 annual fee, but you get access to Capital One Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and more. You also receive $300 in annual travel credit and 10,000 anniversary miles each year.

Capital One Quicksilver credit cards

If you prefer earning cash back over miles, consider the Capital One Quicksilver Credit Card or its counterpart, the Capital One QuicksilverOne.

Both cards offer similar earning rates, but the Quicksilver typically offers an early spend bonus while the QuicksilverOne doesn’t. The Quicksilver also has a $0 annual fee while the QuicksilverOne has a $39 annual fee.

These differences exist because it’s often harder to qualify for the Quicksilver compared to the QuicksilverOne. This means you’d likely need a higher credit score to qualify for the Quicksilver compared to the QuicksilverOne.

Capital One Spark Miles business credit cards

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 cards rather than using rewards to cover purchases.

Depending on the card, you can transfer your miles to partner loyalty programs (like participating hotel partners 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 miles to cover your purchases, 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 using miles to cover purchases or transferring them 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 your miles to cover 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 travel rewards for the purchase, and then cover your purchase with your existing miles.

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 miles to cover the purchase. Using this strategy gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to using your rewards miles.

Bottom line

Using Capital One rewards to cover purchases is a unique feature that can be beneficial for individuals interested in earning credit card rewards. It’s easy to use and offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to redeeming your miles or cash back.

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.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
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  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 18.24% - 28.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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