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
Historically I’ve thought the Spark Cash is better
The two cards offer the following rewards structures:
- The Capital One Spark Miles for Business offers unlimited 2x miles per dollar spent
- The Capital One Spark Cash for Business offers unlimited 2% cash back
Historically each Spark mile has been redeemable for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, meaning that each dollar spent on the card earned you two miles, which can be redeemed for two cents towards travel.
So in the past I’ve said that the Spark Cash is a better option than the Spark Miles, given that I’d rather have two cents of cash that I can spend on anything than two cents that I can only spend on travel.
How the Spark Miles has taken the lead
That has finally changed, and at this point the Spark Miles is a better option than the Spark Cash, in my opinion. That’s because starting in December, miles earned on the Capital One Spark Miles for Business will be transferable to airline programs at a ratio of up to 2:1.5. You’ll be able to transfer miles to the following programs:
|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|
So going forward this means that for every dollar spent on the card you’ll be earning either two cents towards travel or 1.5 airline miles, which is some excellent flexibility to have.
To look at the two welcome bonuses in more detail:
- 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
- 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 225,000 airline miles; that’s the equivalent of earning six cents per dollar towards travel, or 4.5 airline miles per dollar spent
So while I’d rather have two cents cash per dollar spent than two cents towards travel, I’ll take two cents towards travel OR up to 1.5 airline miles over just two cents cash.
Calculating the breakeven point
With the new Spark transfer feature, the breakeven point here is if you value airline miles at more than 1.33 cents each (that’s simply 2/1.5). And personally I’d probably be happy acquiring most of those mileage currencies at the rate of 1.33 cents each.
While I’ve historically preferred the Spark Cash to the Spark Miles, with the new feature of being able to convert Spark miles into airline miles come December, I now prefer the Spark Miles Card.
I’m curious how you guys feel.
Do you prefer the solid cash back of the Spark Cash, or do you now prefer the Spark Miles?