Redeeming Capital One Miles for Food

EDITED: Capital One has extended this option through April 30, 2021.

Earlier in April, Capital One announced that Capital One Venture and Capital One Spark Miles cardholders could redeem their miles for takeout and delivery. In addition to food, the Venture allows redemptions for streaming services and Spark Miles for telephone service. These new features are available through September 30, 2020. With takeout and delivery on the rise during this time of social distancing, I attempted to try all available options.

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The Cards

The Venture card and the Spark Business Miles cards earn 2x miles on all spend with no annual caps. They have a $95 annual fee (Spark Miles is waived the first year). Typically, you can redeem your miles for 1 cent per point to offset travel costs or you can request a statement credit or gift cards for 0.5 cents per point. A new feature introduced in 2019 allows you to transfer your miles (typically at a 2 to 1.5 ratio) to a host of airline and hotel partners. While earning 2x miles on everything, it is possible to redeem these miles for 0.5 to 2.0+ cents per point. Obviously, redeeming for 1.0+ cents per point is optimal.

The New Redemption Option

For the period April 16, 2020 through April 30, 2021, Capital One allows Venture and Spark Miles card holders to redeem miles, at 1.0 cent per point, to offset food carryout and delivery services.

Our Research

For research purposes only (just go with it, okay?), I decided to test the ease of redeeming miles at all theoretical options on my Venture card: carryout, delivery, DoorDash & Grubhub. For purposes of this research, I did the following:

  • Carryout: Chick-Fil-A (ordered via the mobile app)
  • Delivery: Domino's (ordered via the mobile app)
  • DoorDash: pickup from Chipotle (ordered via computer)
  • Grubhub: pickup from an Indian restuarant (ordered via mobile app)

Each of these charges showed as available to “erase” with points while still pending, although that wasn't actually feasible. Once the charges posted, however, each charge was erased at 1.0 cents per point and the credit arrived in 48 hours.

Our Thoughts

It is great how easy it is to use your Capital One miles to redeem for food. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly and efficiently this new redemption option was available online and in the Capital One app. Lastly, it was refreshing that there were no issues in redeeming charges made in mobile apps, directly with restaurants, and with 3rd party providers.

Is redeeming your Venture or Spark Miles at 1.0 cents per point the optimal or maximum point value? Absolutely not. To obtain maximum value, you should transfer your miles to a hotel or airline partner, Emirates perhaps, and fly in premium cabins. However, money is tight for many folks right now and we're all tired of cooking and eating 3 meals per day, so there's really nothing wrong with getting free food. Plus, this correlates to a 2% cash back option on all spend, with the option to transfer to partners for additional value, if you so choose. Personally, I have shifted some spend to my Venture card to continue to eat for free whenever we feel like going out.

Have you redeemed any Capital One miles for food? Let us know your thoughts in our Facebook group.