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Don’t Forget about Your Capital One Venture Points

About 11 months ago, Capital One ran that ridiculous promo where you could earn up to 110,000 Capital One Venture points by showing them (kind of) that you had 100,000 miles accumulated in another frequent flyer program. My wife and I both did it, and we had 220,000 of those Venture points.

Many of you did the same thing. I’m hoping many of you did not do what I did: I promptly forgot to add those accounts to Award Wallet, then I promptly forgot that I had those points (well, I used a few of them for a trip a little while back, and I’m not sitting on about 80,000 of those points).

I wouldn’t really care about it, except the way I found out was that I was going to cancel those cards, as it’s been 11 months, and I’m not going to be paying the annual fee for year 2. When I went into my account (which I haven’t done in about 10 months), I saw that balance sitting there. Good thing – I would’ve lost those points had I closed the account.

I then freaked out a bit, because they give you a horrible redemption rate (about half a penny per point) if you just take the points and convert them to cash. I thought about using them for an upcoming trip to Miami, but you cannot redeem for a partial award (ie, if your room costs $800, you cannot apply 78,000 points and put the balance on a credit card).

What can you do to get those points out if you find yourself in a similar situation? (which isn’t a crazy thought, as most people are now approaching the point where they need to decide whether to keep the card…in just about all cases, you’re better off getting rid of the card):

2 words: gift cards. They’ve got a really broad selection of gift cards where you get 1 penny in value for 1 point, which is in-line with (or better than) Membership Rewards. You’re much better off redeeming the points for a Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz Carlton or other hotel gift card to use as you see fit than to book through their restrictive Travelocity-powered booking engine.

We took out our points in the form of Target gift cards, which never expire. I felt like I just tripped across $780 (primarily because I’m such a moron that I forgot about these points in the first place).

In short, if you’ve forgotten about those Venture points, and you’re coming up on your 1 year anniversary, just take the points out in the form of gift cards, and consider it a Valentine’s Gift to yourself.

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  1. If you applied for 2, or, ahem, 4 cards, you can transfer the points down to 1 card if you want to keep just one card. which is what i’m doing, or I should say, the wife is keeping 1.

  2. Are the hotel gift cards good outside of the US? 1 year expiration date on them? Anyone knows?

    • I believe the gift cards are the same as the gift cards you would buy from the hotel itself. The rules will be the same.

  3. Thanks for reminding me of this. I have 110k point sitting in my capital One acct …it’s like waking up in the morning and discovering you have an additional grand in the bank!!!
    two questions:
    1. Can u downgrade to a no annual fee venture card and keep the point active ?
    2. Do you have any info on how long it takes the gift cards to arrive. I remember reading somewhere that it can take a while. So if you order GCs and then cancel card before it arrives, does the GC order get cancelled?

    • @Vinoy: I believe you can downgrade, but definitely call them first.

      It says it takes about 2 weeks to get the card. I had the same question as you: to be on the safe side, I’m keeping the card open until I see that the gift cards ship.

  4. Rapid Travel Chai

    You can move points between existing CapOne cards but be careful as different cards have different rewards rules and rates. I have an old no-fee Platinum card with much less attractive redemption options than Venture, but was able to move them to Venture 1:1 and redeem them for previously booked travel. I have not tried downgrading to a new card and moving but I have heard reports of others doing that with success, again, just make sure the rewards redemptions are same or better in the new account. And that CapOne Cash Rewards card is no preset credit limit so that adds a wrinkle if downgrading to that from a potentially large Venture credit limit.

  5. That worked for the Capital card but how about the Airline cards, do any allow such a use? I would guess that the bank cards such as Chase and AmEx do allow it but that it would be a poor use of points. David

  6. I’ve got a lot of cards and have not close any other then my Capital One card which I never used and was 10 yrs old, closed it to await a possible 110k promo this year. But I have to much excess credit available and to many renewal fees coming up soon(24 cards). I know the airline miles will stay in my frequent flyer account if I cancel the card but what are the other cards like Capital One where you will lose your points if you cancel the card?

  7. I just turned all mine in for Amazon GCs. I use Amazon all the time, so I’ll just appply the GCs to my Amazon account and I’m all set.