Thursday, March 8, 2012

100,000 Bonus Miles Capital One Venture Card Returns!

...with a couple of major caveats, mind you.

Last year, Capital One ran one of the most lucrative credit card promotions ever. They essentially matched the miles you had in any major airline loyalty program, up to 100,000 miles. All you had to do was get approved for the Venture Card, submit proof of the existing miles you had in another program, spend $1,000 on your card within 90 days, and Capital One would match your miles. It was simple, straightforward, and best of all, they were lenient in terms of the documentation needed to show your airline loyalty program account balance.

Not only that, Capital One also honored their usual promotion of 10,000 bonus miles after completing the spend requirement (or 15,000 bonus miles for the business card). So at the end of the day, people were receiving up to 110,000 miles for their new account. Since the promotion ran for both the personal as well as the business Venture Card, up to 225,000 miles were handed out just for two credit cards! It was, quite honestly, a little mind-boggling. Since you could redeem your miles for travel purchases at one cent per mile, that translated to $2,250 in free money. Initially, some people found an even better redemption opportunity for Hyatt gift certificates, but that offer was pulled as Capital One quickly realized the loss potential.

Many people took advantage of the 2011 Match My Miles Challenge, and those who missed out wondered if it would return again for 2012. Well, yes, the Capital One Venture Card 100,000 miles promotion has indeed returned - in the form of the Double Miles Challenge. But unfortunately, for most people, it's not going to be nearly as exciting or lucrative as last year.

Instead of matching the total miles you have in an airline loyalty program, Capital One has wisely decided to award your bonus miles based on the total annual spend amount from a competing travel rewards credit card. And as proof, you must submit a 2011 year-end summary. Then, after completing the required spend of $1,000 within 90 days on your Venture Card, Capital One will award you two miles per dollar that was spent on your competing travel rewards credit card last year, up to a maximum of 100,000 miles.

Capital One has stated that this promotion will run until they've given away one billion miles, or until May 1, 2012 - whichever comes first. Last year, the billion miles lasted less than a month as people realized how incredibly generous it was. I have a feeling this year's offer, however, might last all the way through to the end. Here are a few more points regarding the Double Miles Challenge:

  • Within 7-14 days after you are approved for the Venture Card, you will receive an email with registration instructions. You must reserve your miles by registering online within 7 days of the date the email was sent. Submit your 2011 year-end summary as proof of how much you spent on the other card in 2011 within 30 days of the date the email was sent. Once you complete the required spend of $1,000 within 90 days of approval on your Venture Card, you will receive your double miles within two billing cycles.
  • This offer is only open to new Venture account holders who meet the eligibility criteria and whose applications are received before the promotion ends. Existing Venture customers and 2011 Match My Miles Challenge participants are not eligible.
  • All major U.S. consumer travel rewards credit cards are eligible (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover). Travel rewards cards include all credit cards that earn rewards that can be redeemed for travel purchases (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.). Purchases on small business cards, debit cards, fleet cards, private label credit cards, corporate cards, prepaid cards, and Capital One credit cards are not eligible.
  • You will need to submit your 2011 year-end summary from your eligible credit card account on which you are listed as an account holder. A year-end summary is a summary of your annual transactions provided by your credit card issuer. Your summary must include your name and the total amount you spent in 2011. They can be submitted online or by fax. Individual monthly statements will not be accepted.
  • If you cannot obtain a year-end summary or do not want to participate in the Double Miles Challenge, but would like to get a Venture Card, you are still eligible to earn 10,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of approval. You will not receive the 10,000 bonus miles if you participate in the Double Miles Challenge.

Clearly, Capital One is targeting high credit card spenders with the Double Miles Challenge, and it certainly makes a lot more business sense compared to last year's Match My Miles Challenge. However, for most of us who do not put tens of thousands of dollars each year on one card, this promotion becomes a lot less attractive. I maxed out at around $15,000 on my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card last year, so that would net me only 30,000 bonus miles if I were to get the Venture Card. Definitely not worth it, especially when Capital One is known to pull from all three bureaus when checking your credit history. If you've managed to spend more than $30,000 last year on one card, however, you might want to think about taking advantage on this offer.

Also, word from Flyertalk suggests that Capital One is now taking a hard-line approach towards account approvals. Many people with higher number of credit inquiries (and who on Flyertalk doesn't have that these days) within the last few months or even years are getting instant rejections. Carefully consider your credit risk before applying! 

For the FAQs about the Double Miles Challenge, click here. For the full terms and conditions, click here. To apply for the card, click below:

EDIT: This offer has already expired!

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