What Do You Actually Have to Do to Get Capital One to Give You the 100,000 Point Matching Bonus?

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Last night the story broke on Milepoint about Capital One offering a 100,000 mile ‘matching’ bonus for signing up for the Venture Card — they’ll match up to 100,000 miles from one of your frequent flyer accounts as a signup bonus (after spending $1000 on the card within three months) in addition to the normal 10,000 point bonus.

I did describe the points as being worth $1100 in airfare, and their reps pinged me to point out that they’re redeemable towards travel generally and not just airfare. Fair enough.

But the question that everyone keeps asking is whether or not they have to have earned 100,000 miles from credit card spend in order to have their miles ‘matched’ by Capital One. I said pretty clearly from my read of the terms and conditions of the offer that the answer was no. Though folks kept quoting things back suggesting otherwise.

Capital One doesn’t do frequent flyer miles. They don’t do mileage earning from a whole bunch of sources that pool into a single account. They do their own proprietary ‘miles’ from credit card spend only. So they always refer to “credit card miles.” It’s their marketing lingo, their branding, what their experts tell them to talk about. Because the people who spend their money on credit cards and want flights or travel in return think about their ‘credit card miles’. That’s the language Capital One uses.

But it was pretty clear to me that they were saying you needed to have frequent flyer miles in your account, with a program they were listing that they’d match (Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, United, US Airways, Virgin, Airtran, and Southwest). But they weren’t going to get you to send credit card statements, and they weren’t going to have you parse your frequent flyer statements to demonstrate the amount that came from credit card spend.

Folks didn’t believe me, so I asked Capital One. Not their telephone customer service, who give conflicting answers. Not their online chat people (which is always useful for capturing screen shots, but may not give out the best info). But actually asking Capital One. And here’s the answer I got to the direct question.

[T]he customer needs to be a co-brand airline credit cardholder and needs to send us their airline card rewards statement. So it’s the total miles balance on the statement and we understand that in some cases it’s hard to separate the miles earned via a co brand airline credit card or the miles earned from flying. In this scenario, we will accept general airline rewards statements for those programs that accrue the card miles into the airline’s general rewards account.

You send them your frequent flyer statement. It is just supposed to be a statement that accrues miles earned from credit card spend, though it’s not clear to me that part will be enforced. And they’ll match the balance in your account, not the balance demonstrated to have come from credit card earning.

This just shouldn’t be the big concern. The only issue here is that though the promo will potentially run through mid-May, you do actually have to act fast because it’s possible that only 10,000 people would get the bonus. They’re ‘capping’ the offer at a billion miles which sounds like a big number but in reality if the first 10,000 people each had 100,000 miles in their account to match, the ‘pool’ of bonus miles would be depleted, and folks who hadn’t already been approved for the card and submitted their paperwork for the match would have this new card and just the 10,000 point signup bonus.

You have to imagine that this’ll last for a couple of weeks, but not through mid-May, so if you do want to get in on the offer it’s a good idea to act quickly.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “You send them your frequent flyer statement”.

    So if I’m understanding this correctly, the short answer is you don’t need to have 100k credit card spend, but just able to show 100k in your account.

  2. Gary, Thanks for the updated information. This begs several questions:

    1) Will they accept a screen shot of your airline award balance or do you need to provide an actual statement? Do all of the airlines even still send actual mailed statements of account balance/activity?

    2) If you use credit card statements, do all statements reflect a cumulative balance?

    3) When do you lock in your potential miles? Is it when you furnish them the information regarding the number of miles you have or when all aspects (including the spend) are completed?

  3. @Chris From what I saw (and I did apply and was approved) it looks like approved folks will be notified how to submit documentation showing accumulated mile (I’m sure they’ll have more details on how to do so). Once you’ve submitted documentation they reserve your miles. Then lastly you must charge your $1,000 in 90 days to get the big bonus.

  4. Thanks for doing the legwork. If a FF program statement showing a 100K+ balance is sufficient, that’s great news.

    My guess is maybe 15K people will be able to take advantage of this; lots of folks may have 50K balances and still find the match offer attractive. We mile obsessors may all have 6 or 7 figure mileage balances, but may fat wallet-ers probably don’t.

  5. Hi Gary,
    In case we have problems getting the 100K ‘points’ will you reveal the name of the person at Cap1 that gave you the helpful answer?

    Thanks for your efforts.

  6. It’s on fatwallet, slickdeals & creditboards. I would guess that many people into those forums don’t have large balances like Flyertalk, Milepoint & readers of this blog.

    My wife got approved & I got turned down with 760-800 FICO’s & decent income.

    Bottom line: Will submit wife’s AA statement (275K miles) as soon as she get the e-mail from Cap One.

  7. Your analysis makes perfect sense. Thank you for confirming.

    This reminds me of the TIB promotion where something you wrote helped me overcome my hesitation and prodded me to buy thousands of dollars of plastic tags worth over a million USAirways miles. Thank you!

  8. Good info but this is still not that great an offer and just an attempt to pull people to CapOne. I’m amazed that they think this will retain customers, though.

  9. Both my wife and I applied and were approved. Very excited about bonus.
    Now I am concerned about miles running out. Is anyone scanning or faxing in ff account info right away, or are we at least waiting until the actual cards arrive?

  10. Thanks for all the legwork, Gary! I have a follow-up question, of course. Do you know if an applicant is eligible for matching if NONE of his (my) miles are from an airline credit card? They’re all from miles flown, dining, and other purchases. I’d love to get the match, but I’m not keen on getting the card if I’m not eligible.

    Thanks again!

  11. Whether or not they will accept total airline or only accumulated cc reward miles still seems extremely ambiguous to me which is probably what they intended to do. Doesn’t give me a good impression of CapitalOne.

  12. If we look at the enforcement end of things from Cap One’s perspective, they don’t have a lot of incentive to nit-pick.

    They’ve capped the size of the total incentive and they *will* run through all billion miles. What’s it to them if they are stingy about where the miles came from and they extend the pool by a week or a thousand more cardholders.

  13. Except that the offer states it will only match miles gained in the expressly listed airline credit card programs.

    And in one statement! ohy!

  14. I give you a great big THANK YOU for all the great info you put out there for all of us! I upgraded my current cap one card and also applied for the business card(approved!). I was told if my miles were from a business card, then it would have to go to a business card-names have to match exactly! Not sure how that will really work because my aa miles are all under one acct-combined. I will have to wait and see, hope I can get all 165000 miles doubled using both my business and personal accts.

  15. I just became a Venture cardholder in the last couple weeks or so – does anyone know if I can be eligible for this program? And if so, how do I sign up for it?

  16. Does anyone know if CapOne really sends 1099 forms for the value of the redeemed points (1 cent/point, or $1100 for 110,000 points)? If so, that devalues the deal by 35-40% or more for many of us.

  17. i got the credit card but do not know exactly where to submit my statement. does anyone have the link?

  18. How long it gets to get the email with instructions from them? I applied & was approved on Thursday but no messages so far (friday)? Thanks.

  19. Has anyone received their card number yet? Seems like you can’t submit miles until the card number is established.

  20. Has anyone received email instruction of submitting miles from capital one? I applied and was approved on Thursday but as of Sunday I still have not received any email from the bank. Thanks!

  21. got a notice saying my card was on the way — no info on how to submit evidence of mileage yet though….

  22. So — a lame question perhaps. But I’ve got 100K+ miles on Alaska and American — I want the match using American, right?

  23. @Shelley they will match either one and you get Capital One points not 100k more American or Alaska points. Whichever account has at least 100k in it and to be safe, whichever one also shows some miles earned via co-branded credit card..

  24. Many of us who applied for the card the first day, 3/9, received an email today that the card shipped yesterday, 3/17. No instructions yet on emailing airline statement. I’m sure that email will follow in a day or three. Patience, y’all. 🙂 Looks like it will be a total of 13-14 days to receive your card.

  25. What, exactly, do they mean by an “airline card rewards statement”? I do everything online and do not get a paper “rewards statement” mailed to me. I could use either Delta or American miles. Can someone please tell me exactly what I need to submit?

  26. well — I’m an idiot, thanks for the clarification Gary! But I turned in evidence of my mileage balance on Saturday, so hopefully I’m close to getting this sorted!

  27. @Carol – I saved my Delta online statement page as PDF (printed it from Delta, scanned and emailed it to myself, saved the emailed attachement as PDF, and uploaded it at CapitalOnes page that asks for your Code and Zip. Went back to the page the next day and there was a message stating that they had received and accepted my statement and all I had to do now was to spend the $1k within 3 months.

  28. Good news, good news! I got the email link with the special code to put in, and used that to sign into my exclusive page for the Venture card match. I attached a pdf (the only kind they will accept) of my most recent miles update on AA. Two days later I went back to the same page, using the same code, and it was updated to let me know that my miles have been RESERVED, and that as long as I spent the $1000 in the first three months, that the bonus Venture miles were mine!
    This card has to be the best match I have ever seen!

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