Few credit cards boast the flexibility and convenience of a rewards redemption feature like the Capital One Purchase Eraser. There’s no need to calculate miles or transfer them to partner airlines to get a great deal on travel. You simply use your card to earn miles and then use the miles to “erase” travel-related purchases within the 90 days after your purchase was made.

If you’re looking for a rewards program that offers a ton of flexibility, you may want to consider cards that offer the Capital One Purchase Eraser. You can learn more about the Capital One Purchase Eraser and how you can take full advantage of it below.

What is the Capital One Purchase Eraser?

The Capital One Purchase Eraser is the ability to redeem your rewards miles for statement credit for travel expenses at a value of $0.01 per mile. Once you have accumulated enough miles, you can redeem them as payment for any travel-related purchases, such as a flight to visit your best friend, taxi fare to work or car rental for a night out on the town.

The “travel” category is quite broad, so you can use it on various travel-related services, no matter how often or rarely you travel. Even if you don’t have enough miles to erase the entire purchase, you can use what you have to reduce the cost. Let’s say you have $200 in miles, but your hotel room is going to cost $300. After using the Purchase Eraser, you’ll only spend $100 out of pocket.

Cardholders with the following credit cards have access to the Purchase Eraser:

How does the Capital One Purchase Eraser work?

With the Capital One Purchase Eraser, you simply book your travel, use your favorite rideshare app or stay at the hotels of your choice, making sure to pay with your card. When you’re ready to erase these purchases, simply log in to your account and select the button that allows you to cover your travel purchases.

You will see all of the purchases eligible to be erased, along with your miles balance, the amount of the purchase and how many miles are needed to pay for it in full. Select the ones you want to use your miles on, choose how many miles you will apply to the purchase and then click the “redeem” button. It may take a few days to reflect on your statement, but you will receive statement credits for the purchases you erased.

Types of purchases that can be “erased” with the Capital One Purchase Eraser

Capital One’s Purchase Eraser can be used on numerous travel-related expenses, including:

  • Air travel
  • Hotel stays
  • Train travel
  • Car rental
  • Taxi and ridesharing
  • Limousine services
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies

The main caveat is that purchases must be categorized under specific travel merchant categories when they are processed through the merchant.

Still, that one caveat is a small price to pay for the Purchase Eraser, which allows you to not only shop travel through direct airline and hotel sites, but also book tickets and hotel stays through sites like Expedia and Travelocity and still have your purchase erased in part or in full with your miles. No credit card travel portals required.

Pros of the Capital One Purchase Eraser

A unique feature of this program is that you can erase purchases at any time within 90 days. Maybe you don’t have enough points to erase a purchase in full right now, but you will have more miles in two months. Well, you can wait until you’ve accumulated enough miles and redeem them at that time, provided you’re still within the 90-day window for redemption.

Another pro of the Capital One Purchase Eraser is that you are free to find and book travel on your own through any website. Some travel rewards programs only work with specific airline carriers, which makes it difficult or more costly to redeem all of the miles you’ve accumulated. With the Purchase Eraser, there are no special rules regarding where you must book your travel.

You can also redeem as many or as few miles as you’d like. Did you overspend while traveling this month? No worries — you can use this feature to erase your Uber rides and hotel stay. Or, you can save up miles and use them to pay for a whole trip.

Cons of the Capital One Purchase Eraser

Unlike redeeming miles for travel directly with the airline or through a partner program, you have to book the travel with your Capital One credit card and then redeem the miles. This can be a problem if you’re trying to limit your credit utilization ratio. It would also be a problem if you want an immediate refund. You have to pay for it when your monthly bill is due and then will be credited with the amount in the future.

While most travel should be processed correctly by the merchant, there’s always the chance that a mistake happens and it’s processed incorrectly. You could also make a purchase you think is travel-related, but isn’t. In those cases, you won’t be able to erase the purchase, but you can redeem the points for cash back, albeit at only half a cent per mile.

Important tips and things to keep in mind about the Capital One Purchase Eraser

Because the Purchase Eraser can only work on items classified as travel, it’s best for people who will redeem the miles for flights, hotels and public transportation rather than opting to redeem miles for a regular statement credit. Purchases that are erased are valued at $0.01 per mile, whereas statement credits only get $0.005, or half a cent, per mile. The cards that offer this reward may not be the best rewards card option for you.

Conclusion

For frequent travelers, the Capital One Purchase Eraser program offers flexibility and convenience. Not only can you take advantage of the best travel deals when you see them, but you can also decide whether or not you want to pay for them all or in part with money or miles. Plus, as an added bonus, you have 90 days to choose. Together, those two factors make a great rewards program.

*Information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business was prepared by NextAdvisor.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the writer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented on this page is accurate as of the date of the post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.