A couple of weeks ago Capital One made some exciting announcements. Not only did they reveal that they’d introduce a transferable points currency, but they rolled out massive welcome bonuses on two of their business credit cards.
The increased Spark Business welcome bonuses
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and offers a tiered welcome bonus of up to 200,000 miles, as follows:
- Earn 50,000 Spark miles when you spend $5,000 within the first three months
- Earn an additional 150,000 Spark miles when you spend $50,000 within the first six months
Meanwhile the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year, and offers a tiered welcome bonus of up to $2,000, as follows:
- Earn $500 when you spend $5,000 within the first three months
- Earn an additional $1,500 when you spend $50,000 within the first six months
How good are these bonuses really?
These really are fantastic bonuses.
With the Capital One Spark Cash for Business you’re earning $3,000 after spending $50,000 within the eligible period ($1,000 + $2,000), meaning you’re earning the equivalent of 6% back on that spend.
Meanwhile with the Capital One Spark Miles for Business you’re earning 300,000 Spark miles after spending $50,000 within the eligible period (100,000 + 200,000), which gets you either $3,000 towards travel or up to 225,000 airline miles. That’s the equivalent of earning six cents per dollar towards travel, or 4.5 airline miles per dollar spent.
The airline miles math there is based on the transfer ratio Capital One will offer for airline programs, which is up to 2:1.5.
|Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Aeromexico (Club Premier)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Air Canada (Aeroplan)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Air France KLM (Flying Blue)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Alitalia (MilleMiglia Program)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Avianca (LifeMiles)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Emirates (Emirates Skywards)||2 : 1 | 1000 : 500|
|Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Finnair (Finnair Plus)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Hainan Airlines (Fortune Wings Club)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Qatar Airways (Privilege Club)||2 : 1.5 | 1000 : 750|
|Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)||2 : 1 | 1000 : 500|
Personally I have a slight preference for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business because I value airline miles, while someone who is looking for cash back can’t go wrong with the Capital One Spark Cash for Business.
Capital One card eligibility rules
For those into miles and points, Capital One is generally not an issuer that’s talked about much (that’s going to change now, given their transferable points currency). Therefore we don’t have nearly as many data points when it comes to restrictions on being approved and earning welcome bonuses as we have with other issuers.
The terms for both applications state the following, which is rather vague:
The bonuses may not be available for existing or previous Spark cardholders.
So as you can see, that’s not terribly revealing. So while I can’t guarantee all of the below is true 100% of the time, my general understanding with Capital One card applications is as follows:
- Capital One pulls from three credit bureaus; personally I don’t find that to be a huge deal one way or another, but it’s worth being aware of
- Many report that Capital One business cards are easier to be approved for than Capital One personal cards (which seems odd, but…)
- Anecdotally it seems like you can get the Spark Cash and earn the welcome bonus if you have the Spark Miles (or have had it in the past), and vice versa, and in some cases you can even get a card you’ve had in the past
- You typically can’t apply for two cards the same day; the second card (even if different) will automatically be marked as a duplicate
- You can typically be approved for at most one Capital One card every six months, regardless of whether they’re personal or business cards
That last point is the biggest restriction here. Expect that you can be approved for at most one Capital One card every six months, which means you should put a lot of thought into which Capital One card you apply for.
Realistically you should only expect to be approved for one Capital One card every six months, whether personal or business. So while you can get both the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Capital One Spark Cash for Business over time, you’ll likely have to do so several months apart.
We don’t know how long the current offers will last, so I’d only expect to get the huge increased bonus on one card. Which card makes more sense depends on whether you prefer cash or miles.
If you have any data points to share regarding Capital One card approvals, please do!