Which Spark Business Card Offer Is Better: 200K Miles Or $2,000?

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Last week Capital One rolled out some fantastic new welcome bonuses on two of their best business credit cards, which was accompanied by some great news.

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:

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 PartnerTransfer 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.

Bottom line

For businesses that spend a fair amount, the new welcome bonuses on the Capital One Spark Cash for Business and Capital One Spark Miles for Business are phenomenal.

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?

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Comments

  1. The big question for me as whether or not these transfers are instant. Only two of the transfer partners offer holds and both of those are quite short, so the risk of marooning your points in an unfamiliar program is a real thing to consider.

  2. Funny how at the drop of some click referral money from Capital One, Lucky suddenly acts like he’s been a huge fan of this card for years?

  3. I think one major issue that Capital One pulls ALL THREE credit bureaus during the app. And your business credit line sits on your personal one.

  4. 50K a year spend is a lot though. i suspect people will be spending on things they don’t really want to meet that target, defeating the purpose.

    A friend of mine put her property taxes on a credit card “fr the points”. it cost her 3% extra!

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