There’s a lot of value to be had in getting the right business credit cards, as these cards can offer perks and rewards that you can leverage to get huge value, especially for travel. In most cases the perks will more than justify the annual fee.
In this post I wanted to take a close look at what I consider to be one of the most well rounded business credit cards out there.
Capital One Spark Miles Business Card Basics
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is one of my favorite business credit cards, and it’s a card I personally have. It offers flexible travel rewards that can either be redeemed as cash towards the cost of a travel purchase, or can be transferred to an airline partner.
Not only does it offer flexible rewards, but it offers them at a good rate, as you’re looking at earning two cents towards travel per dollar spent, or up to 1.5 airline miles (or in some cases even more).
The Spark Miles offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 Spark miles after spending $4,500 within three months. Those 50,000 Spark miles can either be redeemed for $500 towards travel purchases, or can be transferred to Capital One partner loyalty programs.
The terms of the Spark Miles Business Card application state the following:
This one-time bonus is available by clicking the “Apply Now” button on this page, and may not be available if you navigate away from or close this page. You may earn one or both spend bonuses. The bonuses may not be available for existing or previous Spark cardholders.
Anecdotally it seems that you can have both the Spark Miles and Spark Cash, though the terms aren’t explicit about that.
Then there are a few general Capital One restrictions to be aware of:
- 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
- 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
- While I can’t personally vouch for this, I’ve heard that anecdotally Capital One business cards are often easier to be approved for than Capital One personal cards
The Spark Miles Business Card has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. This is a great way to try the card before you have to “buy it,” so to speak, since you can take advantage of all the perks for 12 months before having to pay your first annual fee.
There is no cost to add additional users to the card.
Spark Miles Business Card 2x Miles
The card offers unlimited 2x Spark miles per dollar spent. In general you can expect that this card will offer you the equivalent of a return of two cents on the dollar towards travel, or up to 1.5 airline miles per dollar spent.
You have two major options for redeeming your Spark miles.
Redeeming Spark Miles Towards Travel Costs
One way to redeem Spark miles is at the rate of one cent per mile towards the cost of a travel purchase. This means you’re earning two cents per dollar spent towards travel, since the card offers unlimited 2x Spark miles.
If you want to redeem your miles towards the cost of a travel purchase, there are two primary ways you can do so:
- You can redeem them for past travel purchases using Purchase Eraser, where you can simply make an eligible travel booking using your card, and then you can go online after the fact and use your miles to pay for it within 90 days of the date of purchase; your credit will be applied to your account within 2-3 days
- You can book a travel reservation through capitalone.com or book by phone, and each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase
Eligible travel purchases include purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents, and time shares.
Redeem Spark miles towards just about any travel purchase
Transfer Spark Miles To Loyalty Partners
This is an exciting new way that you can redeem Spark miles. As of late 2018 it’s possible to convert Spark miles into airline miles in a variety of programs, at a ratio of up to 2:1.5.
Here are the transfer partners and transfer ratios:
|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|
|JetBlue (JetBlue TrueBlue)||2 : 1 | 1000 : 500|
|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|
It’s worth noting that Capital One also often offers further transfer bonuses, so that you can sometimes get an even better transfer ratio.
Transfer Spark miles to Air France-KLM for redemptions in KLM business class
How Should You Redeem Spark Miles?
Every dollar spent on the Spark Business Card earns you two miles, and those two miles get you either two cents worth of travel, or up to 1.5 airline miles.
Which redemption option makes more sense depends on your redemption patterns. If you value one of the partner miles at more than 1.33 cents each (2/1.5), then generally I’d say that’s the better redemption value.
To simplify things even further, I’d generally say that:
- If you want to redeem your Spark miles for anything other than flights, your best option is redeeming them at one cent each towards a travel purchase
- If you want to redeem your Spark miles towards airfare, you’ll get more value for international first and business class tickets when transferring miles to an airline partner
- If you want to redeem your Spark miles towards economy airfare (especially if it’s reasonably priced), your best option is redeeming them at one cent each to erase the cost of that purchase
Those are very general guidelines, and the best solution very much depends on the specific circumstances.
For economy redemptions you’re often better off redeeming miles for a cent each
Combining Spark Miles & Venture Miles
Both the Capital One Spark Miles and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (review) earn miles that can be redeemed for one cent each towards a travel purchase, or can be transferred to an airline partner.
While these cards are marketed differently — “Venture” miles and “Spark” miles — they’re more or less the same for all practical purposes.
What’s cool is that you can actually combine the miles on both cards, so you can rack up a lot of miles this way between your personal and business spend.
You can even share your Spark and Venture miles with others, making these points really flexible.
Spark Miles Business Card Perks
The Spark Miles Business Card offers a variety of valuable perks that can help to offset the annual fee, ranging from no foreign transaction fees, to a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, to primary car rental coverage.
Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit
The Spark Miles Business Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. Just charge the $85-100 membership fee to your Capital One Spark Miles Card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.
Why You Should Register For Global Entry Over TSA Pre-Check
If you are going to take advantage of this perk, I’d highly recommend registering for Global Entry over TSA Pre-Check. For those of you not familiar, TSA Pre-Check gets you expedited US security screening, while Global Entry gets you expedited US immigration clearance.
So why should you register for Global Entry and not Pre-Check? Because Global Entry also comes with TSA Pre-Check, while the inverse isn’t true (signing up for TSA Pre-Check doesn’t get you Global Entry).
No foreign transaction fees
The Spark Miles has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to use for purchases abroad, as you can earn rewards all while not paying additional fees. This is a common benefit nowadays across many cards, but still very valuable.
Primary car rental coverage
The Spark Miles offers primary car rental coverage, assuming you’re renting for business reasons. Just charge the entire rental to your card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver coverage, and you’ll be covered for damage due to collision or theft.
Make sure you check out your cardmember agreement for full details, because there are some exclusions.
Other purchase and travel protection
The Spark Miles offers all kinds of other protection, including purchase security and extended protection (coverage on items lost or stolen within 90 days), travel and emergency assistance services, and more. The full details of this can be found in the cardmember agreement.
Is The Spark Miles Business Card Right For You?
There are lots of great business credit cards out there, so is the Spark Miles Business Card right for you? Let’s look at a few other options out there, including the Spark Cash Card, which is a similar card that often causes confusion.
Quick Comparison: Spark Miles Vs. Spark Cash
The cards have the same annual fees, and on the surface the two cards seem fairly similar. So what are the differences?
- The Spark Cash offers 2% cash back; that’s cash that you can spend towards anything, and that’s a solid return
- The Spark Miles offers the equivalent of 2% back towards travel, or up to 1.5 airline miles per dollar spent
- The Spark Miles offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, which the Spark Cash doesn’t (that’s because the Spark Miles is intended to be more of a travel rewards card)
So which cards is better depends on whether you want to earn cash for your business spend that you can put towards anything, or if you want to earn travel rewards, with the flexibility to redeem miles as cash towards travel, or to transfer them to airline partners.
Personally I have the Spark Miles and prefer it since it offers more flexibility in terms of travel rewards.
Similar Alternatives To The Spark Miles Business Card
If you’re looking for an extremely lucrative business card, there are a few other options that are worth considering:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) has no annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year; this is the single most lucrative card for the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend annually, in my opinion
- The American Express® Business Gold Card has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 4x Membership Rewards points on the two categories of the below where your business spends the most each month (the limit applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases for those two categories every calendar year, and you can find more info here):
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases at gas stations
- U.S. purchases at restaurants
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (review) has a $95 annual fee, has an amazing cell phone protection plan, and offers triple points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases per anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- If you’re willing to get more than one card, there’s huge value in pairing the Ink Preferred with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (review) and/or Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card (review), as the cards offer 1.5-5x points per dollar spent
Capital One Spark Miles Business Summary
The Capital One Spark Miles is more lucrative than ever before. The card offers unlimited 2x Spark miles, and those miles can be redeemed for one cent each towards a travel purchase, or can be transferred to an airline partner at a ratio of up to 2:1.5.
If you have a business where you spend a lot in categories that otherwise don’t quality for bonus points on other cards, I’d say this is an excellent option, as it’s extremely well rounded.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).