Review: Capital One Spark Miles For Business Card

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Update: These offers for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business and the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


Yesterday I wrote a review of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, which I consider to be one of the best cash back business credit cards out there. Today I wanted to review the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, which is similar, though has one important distinction.

Let’s take a closer look at the card:

Capital One Spark Miles for Business welcome bonus

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That welcome bonus is worth up to $500 worth of travel, which is quite compelling.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business annual fee

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. The welcome bonus gets you $500 worth of travel, so if you want to look at it differently, the welcome bonus will cover your annual fee for the first six years, not factoring in the rewards you earn for spend on the card.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business rewards structure

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers unlimited 2x miles. In reality each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, so I view this as almost being the equivalent of a 2% cash back card.

How does redeeming miles on the Spark Miles for Business work?

As I said above, each mile earned on the card can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, but how does that work in practice? There are two ways you can redeem your miles:

  • 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.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business perks

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers some other potentially valuable perks, including:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • The ability to add employee cards at no additional cost
  • Primary car rental coverage (assuming you’re renting for business reasons), 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 2x miles back a good return on spend?

I’d consider earning the equivalent of a 2% return on spend to be quite compelling. While there are ways to get a bit more value at times if you properly use bonus categories and if you’re really good at using miles, for most consumers that’s not worth the effort, and a return equivalent to 2% is excellent.

What’s the difference between the Spark Miles & Spark Cash card?

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business are very similar. The annual fees are the same, the welcome bonuses are worth the same, and for the most part the benefits overlap.

The major distinction is that the Spark Cash offers 2% cash back while the Spark Miles offers the equivalent of 2% back that you can only apply towards travel.

If you’re going to be completely practical, then there’s no reason to get the Spark Miles over the Spark Cash, in my opinion. The Spark Cash gives you more flexibility (since you can use the 2% cash back for anything, including travel).

So why does Capital One bother with the Spark Miles? My guess is because many business owners would be likely to put any cash back they earn back into their business, and would be less likely to actually reward themselves with a vacation. Getting something like the Spark Miles is a good way to reward yourself with “guilt free” travel.

What are other business credit cards worth considering?

If you’re looking for an extremely lucrative business card, there are a few other options that are worth considering:

Bottom line

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers a generous welcome bonus, has the annual fee waived for the first year, and offers the equivalent of 2% back towards travel, in the form of 2x miles. It’s a compelling card, though personally I think the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is more compelling.

The card offers a reward that’s also the equivalent of 2% back, except you can use the 2% towards anything, and not just travel. The one advantage to the Spark Miles version of the card is if you’re someone who wouldn’t reward yourself in the same way if you had cash you could apply towards anything, rather than cash you could only apply towards travel.

Does anyone prefer the Spark Miles to the Spark Cash Card?

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Comments

  1. I’ve heard anecdotally that Capital One can be a tough approval for those of us well over 5/24. Can you speak to that?

  2. Finally. FINALLY. Some sanity. For most people, who have families and travel mostly domestically, it’s almost impossible to beat 2% redemption value in FF programs, especially with 1st Class fares coming down to generate actual revenue and push out upgraders. I am a small business owner and I don’t see how you CAN’T have this in the portfolio. You can buy cash fares anywhere you can find them – or hotels, or other travel expenses – and redeem them after the fact at “$.02 per point” equivalent to other programs. Non-travel can be purchased-erased at the rate of .01 per point, same as AMEX Pay with Points, but who would ever do that …

    Recent real example: Buy 3 nights of a $300+/night hip urban hotel on Hotwire for $515. It codes as travel, so you can erase for 51500 points. To earn those points you have to spend $25,750. What would you get for that spend on other cards, particularly hotel cards? In this exact case, in a Kimpton hotel, not even one night. To me its a no-brainer. Even if I paid the posted rate and “erased” on Cap1, I’d still be better off than any other conceivable scenario.

    With airlines, in some ways I value Cap1 at better than 2% – or maybe I value airline miles even less than they appear. Using numbers from above – if I buy a first class leg for $515, it “costs” $25k of spend, and on another card you’d get 25k points to transfer into a FF program. But – are you ever going to find those Saver seats? If you do – and the return is 2% or greater, I certainly use the points, to get rid of them and keep my Cap 1 points in reserve because they are totally flexible. But when the return on FF points drops BELOW 2%, I still find myself using the points, because its a rare occasion to find the inventory – again just to be rid of them before they devalue, and keep my Cap 1 powder dry.

    Overseas front cabin is the exception, and Chase and even Membership Rewards (Aeroplan) have been useful, as United and Star Alliance are the only places I can find reasonable awards, particularly to Australia NZ and Europe. So as Lucky and others emphasize you do need a portfolio.

    I am doing some substantial card shifting these days and unlike the bloggers I don’t like to keep unneeded accounts around – I have plenty of credit and closing accounts has never materially affected my credit score. Historically our spend has been equally divided between Amex Plat Biz, Chase Ink, Cap 1 Spark and Citi AA Exec World Elite. Now I am moving to approx 50% Cap1, 25% Starwood Amex (I believe its a better currency overall than Membership Rewards) keeping Aeroplan and adding Alaska MP), and 25% Chase Ink.

    I’m dropping Citi completely; I’m a lifetime Gold on AA but I can’t take much more of Dougie’s insults, and I’m over the Admirals Clubs, too much of a zoo. I’ll buy my own liquor, drink less but drink better 🙂 And as buying cash tickets liberates you from FF programs, I only fly nonstop, greatly reducing my need for lounges.

    And – I’m completely fading all our spend on Plat AMEX; when they reduced the 50% bonus return on 1st class and one’s selected airline, that was it for me. We’ll probably keep paying the fee, as its effectively a cheap ($300 or so) membership pass to Sky Club and Centurion lounges for my wife, but we won’t spend on it. AMEX Plat takes us for granted, and I couldn’t be happier we’re taking our $70k+ spend with them to zero. Not to mention, Delta SkyPesos are a waste of time.

    The future is in the cash/bank cards and hotel programs like Starwood where you don’t have to be tethered to any one airline or alliance. And Lucky makes an observation that is exactly correct: I don’t want cash back, I want a travel budget that is off the books.

    I lay all this out in part to share, and in part to sharpen my game, so I’m always interested in other ideas and strategies.

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