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How does the Capital One Purchase Eraser work?

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The Capital One Purchase Eraser lets cardholders use rewards to wipe eligible purchases off their credit card bill. Not surprisingly, this program is part of the reason travel credit cards from Capital One are so popular.

When you sign up for a select travel credit card from this issuer, you have the option to transfer your miles to a handful of airline and hotel programs or redeem them for any travel purchase charged to your credit card.

Erasing purchases is an attractive option for people who don’t want to deal with complicated loyalty programs or find themselves “stuck” booking their travel based on award availability. Fortunately, the Capital One Purchase Eraser program solves that problem by making redemptions easy to understand.

If you’re wondering how this program works and which travel credit cards it applies to, read on to learn more.

What is the Capital One Purchase Eraser?

The Capital One Purchase Eraser is a feature offered by the following travel credit cards from Capital One:

This feature actively “erases” travel purchases charged to your card, although you can only use it for travel purchases made within the previous 90 days. When you compare this redemption option to other travel programs offered by competing credit cards, it’s easy to see just how convenient this is. Instead of searching for award availability with an airline or hotel program, you simply use your credit card to pay for any travel you want. After the fact, you’ll “erase” all or part of your purchases using your Capital One miles.

This feature also makes it possible for you to book travel with miles you haven’t earned yet. Imagine for a moment you’re trying to earn the welcome bonus on the Venture card, which is 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. In that case, you could charge $4,000 in purchases to your card within three months (including at least $750 in travel expenses), earn the welcome bonus, then let Capital One erase purchases of travel made within the last 90 days using your miles.

Also, be aware that you can redeem your miles this way in any increments you want, meaning you can use your Capital One miles to cover a $3,000 vacation package or a $12 taxi ride. Because the Capital One Purchase Eraser rules are so flexible, you can use your miles in small increments or save them up to cover a large travel purchase all at once.

Capital One Purchase Eraser: How to use it

To redeem your Capital One miles for travel using the Purchase Eraser, you’ll start by logging in to your Capital One account via a desktop, mobile app or by calling the Capital One Rewards Center. You’ll also want to make sure you have a travel purchase to cover with your rewards, keeping in mind that the Purchase Eraser feature only works for travel purchases made in the last 90 days.

Step 1: Find the purchases you want to cover with your miles. You can do this through the online account management page or Capital One’s mobile app.

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Step 2: Click on the travel purchase you plan to redeem miles for and select how many miles you want to redeem. Remember that you don’t have to use all your miles if you don’t want to.

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Step 3: Redeem your miles to cover a chosen travel purchase. Click on the travel purchase you want to cover, then make sure you are willing to part with the number of miles required.

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Step 4: Wait for the credit to show up on your account. Once you’ve successfully redeemed miles for a travel purchase, all you have to do is wait for the purchase to be “erased” from your account.

What are the different types of purchases that qualify for the Capital One Purchase Eraser?

Generally speaking, most travel purchases charged to your card qualify for the Capital One Purchase Eraser. According to Capital One, you can redeem your miles for “purchases like vacation rentals, car rentals, airlines, hotels and more.”

To redeem miles for travel purchases charged to your card, Capital One notes you should use the “Cover Your Purchases” redemption option.

Also, note that Capital One says you can also redeem your miles for options like gift cards or cash back, although redemption values will vary.

Since cards that offer this feature are geared toward people who travel, most consumers focus on using Capital One miles for travel purchases that are traditionally difficult to cover with airline miles and hotel points. For example:

  • Disney vacations. Consumers often use Capital One miles to pay for rental condos or timeshare rentals near Disney resorts. You can also use Capital One miles to pay for airfare or a rental car to get there.
  • Condo rentals. Rentals from Airbnb or VRBO are another category where it’s common to use miles from a Capital One travel credit card. You can cover your condo rental with miles, whereas other travel credit cards don’t offer this option.
  • Cruises. Covering a cruise with rewards is notoriously difficult, yet the Capital One Purchase Eraser makes it easy to cover all or part of your cruise with miles.
  • Vacation packages. If you want to book a vacation package through a third party like a travel agent or a discount site like Expedia.com, the Purchase Eraser feature makes this option a breeze.

What are points worth when redeemed through the Purchase Eraser?

Miles are worth one cent each when you redeem them through the Capital One Purchase Eraser, making a sign-up bonus of 75,000 miles (after spending $4,000 in the first three months) worth $750 right off the bat. Achieving one cent per mile in value is pretty typical among travel credit cards, although you might struggle to earn enough miles to pay for premium airfare or luxury travel at this rate.

Still, you should keep in mind that both the Venture Card and Spark Miles for Business let you earn 2 miles for each dollar you spend, which can help you rack up rewards faster than you could with other travel credit cards. The new Capital One Venture X lets you earn the same rate on regular purchases, yet you can also earn 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.

Purchase Eraser vs. statement credits: Is there a difference?

Generally speaking, “erasing your purchase” means the same thing as getting a statement credit to cover a purchase made to your credit card account. With that being said, the Purchase Eraser can truly be helpful if you’re someone who wants to book any travel you want without limitations or blackout dates.

The main difference between this program and other rewards is the fact that Capital One lets you redeem miles using the Purchase Eraser after the fact, whereas you might use other rewards (like airline miles) to book your travel ahead of time.

Either option can help you secure free or drastically discounted travel, so make sure to research all the top travel credit cards before deciding which one is right for you.

The bottom line

If you want to use the Capital One Purchase Eraser to pay for your next getaway, your first step is to sign up for an eligible credit card from Capital One. From there, you can start earning miles on every purchase you make. Once you’re ready, you can sit back and watch Capital One erase purchases from your credit card bill.

Also, note that Capital One travel credit cards let you transfer your miles to eligible airline and hotel partners. Some also let you redeem your rewards for purchases made through Amazon.com or PayPal.

With all these options to choose from, including the Capital One Purchase Eraser, this rewards program will never leave you “stuck” with miles you can’t use.

The information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson writes expert content on personal finance, credit cards, loyalty and insurance topics. In addition to writing for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, Johnson does ongoing work for clients that include CNN, Forbes Advisor, LendingTree, Time Magazine and more.
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