Capital One Spark Miles for Business review

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Garrett Yarbrough  in  Business How we rate our cards  | 

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Best for business travel rewards

Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
20.99% (Variable)
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Best for unlimited flat-rate business miles

  • Rewards rate: Unlimited 2X miles per dollar on all purchases
  • Welcome offer: 50,000 miles after spending $4,500 within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $95 ($0 the first year)
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 20.99 percent variable

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business credit card brings the streamlined appeal of other flat-rate Capital One rewards cards to small business owners on the hunt for travel rewards. Whether you’re looking for a card that rewards spending in nontraditional bonus categories, a card without quarterly or yearly bonus category spending limits or a second business card to fill in the reward gaps in your budget, the Spark Miles card has you covered.

Unfortunately, this card’s straightforward structure is undermined by a lack of benefits and rewards value. So, is the Capital One Spark Miles the best fit to manage your business expenses? Keep reading to see how it stacks up against the best credit cards for business travel.

Current sign-up bonus

By spending $4,500 in combined purchases within your first three months, you can earn 50,000 miles. This bonus is worth $500 at a 1:1 rate when booking travel through Capital One, but finding a great deal through a Capital One transfer partner could bump your bonus even higher.  The Points Guy’s latest valuation gives Capital One miles a value of 1.4 cents apiece, which would make this bonus worth up to $700.

Granted, even $700 isn’t close to the highest sign-up bonus we’ve seen for business travel cards. For example, the competing Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase offers a sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in purchases within the first three months, worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. However, flat-rate rewards spending is the Spark Miles card’s main appeal, so this solid welcome offer could be much more accessible to a wider range of cardholders.

Rewards

The Capital One Spark Miles card earns flat-rate rewards, which means you’ll earn unlimited miles on all purchases, not just on bonus category spending like travel. Although flat-rate cards typically don’t offer the highest reward rates out there, small business owners can rely on the Spark Miles card to consistently rake in miles on purchases that wouldn’t normally earn rewards without worrying about category spending limits. Plus, Capital One doesn’t impose blackout dates, seat restrictions or minimum redemptions.

Earning rewards

Earning rewards on your business expenses with the Capital One Spark Miles card couldn’t be easier. You’ll collect unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

Redeeming rewards

Capital One miles are best redeemed for travel. You can use them to book new travel or cover travel expenses you made in the past 90 days, including airline, hotel, car rental, ride-share, transit and other purchases. Until April 30, 2021, you can also use miles to cover eligible dining and streaming service purchases made in the last 90 days.

One of the most valuable options could also be to transfer your miles to one of Capital One’s travel partner programs, which include popular airline programs like JetBlue and even the Wyndham Rewards hotel loyalty program.

You can also put your miles toward gift cards, purchases at Amazon.com’s online checkout or cold, hard cash back. However, your mileage may vary with these choices since most non-travel redemption options water down your miles’ value.

How much are miles worth?

Through Capital One, your miles are always worth a flat 1 cent toward most gift cards and travel, as well as the limited-time dining and streaming statement credits. We’d recommend steering clear of non-travel rewards since cash back only nets you 0.5 cents per mile and a slightly better 0.8 cents per mile toward Amazon.com purchases.

With a little work, you can get the best bang for your buck by transferring your miles to partner airlines, which could boost your miles up to a 1.4 cent value, according to The Points Guy.

Benefits

The Capital One Spark Miles card offers a decent array of business management features and a few layers of account and purchase security, but depending on which Visa or Mastercard tier you qualify for, the travel perks may be on the slim side for the $95 annual fee.

Business features

Free employee cards make it easy to rack up miles on any purchase while designated spending limits, account management and itemized reports make it easy to manage and track your business’ expenses. Your transactions can also be imported into accounting programs like Excel and Quicken.

Make sure also to take advantage of Capital One’s Paribus, Spring and Capital One Shopping programs to collect discounts and rebates for additional savings.

Travel perks

Considering the annual fee, the travel benefits Capital One provides with the base Spark Miles card are a little light. The travel assistance services and up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees can be handy occasionally, but you’ll have to lean on the Visa or Mastercard benefits you qualify for to enjoy beefier perks.

For example, Visa Signature Business cards offer special privileges at over 900 properties in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, the Visa Signature Concierge service, lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000) and more.

Purchase and account protections

By paying with your credit card, you can receive rental collision coverage with eligible cars, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection. Obtaining a higher level of Visa or Mastercard benefits can also grant you valuable card features like price protection, cellphone protection, and prized travel perks like trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

You and your employees’ cards will also be safeguarded with Capital One security measures such as card lock control, $0 fraud liability and virtual credit card numbers—the latter being harder to find with issuers nowadays (Capital One and Citi are the only big issuers currently offering this feature). Capital One also offers the outstandingly comprehensive (and free) CreditWise credit monitoring service, which reports TransUnion credit report changes or social security number leaks on the dark web.

Rates and fees

The Capital One Spark Miles card doesn’t offer the lowest rates and fees, but it’s pretty easy to offset any ongoing costs. There are no foreign transaction fees or employee card fees, which can quickly add up depending on your business needs. The balance transfer fee is $0 at the transfer APR.

In case you decide the Spark Miles isn’t the best card for your company, the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. Even after that, however, you’d only need to spend $413 per month across all of your employees’ cards to recoup the yearly fee completely.

Just be sure to avoid carrying a balance since there are no zero-interest APR periods to shield you from the card’s 20.99 percent variable APR. That’s higher than the current average interest rate, and the card’s 29.4 percent penalty variable APR and up to $39 late payment fee will sting, too.

How the Capital One Spark Miles card compares to other business cards

Perhaps the biggest factors for you to weigh when choosing a travel card are how much you travel and how you prefer to travel, but finding a business travel card also requires considering how big and varied your expenses are.

If you spend around $150,000 per year on your business and you’re looking for richer travel perks, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card may be a good choice. The card provides sought-after benefits like trip cancellation and interruption insurance and cellphone protection (up to $600 per claim, up to three claims per 12 months with a $100 deductible per claim) on top of the basic protections Spark Miles card offers for the same price.

Although the Ink Business Preferred isn’t a flat-rate card, its categories cover a wide range of business costs and Chase Ultimate Rewards points carry a higher 2-cent-per-point value, according to The Points Guy. American Express Membership Rewards points carry the same 2 cent valuation, and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is another flat-rate option with a 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR (13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR after that) for no annual fee.

If you decide that you don’t travel enough to warrant the Spark Miles card’s $95 yearly cost, the no annual fee Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business or its cash back sibling, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business (This card is no longer available), could be good alternatives.

Card name Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • 2X points on all purchases (on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points)
$0 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • 3X points on travel, shipping, internet service, phone services, cable service and eligible advertising purchases (up to $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year, then 1X points)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
$95 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in purchases within the first three months
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business
  • 1.5X miles on all purchases
$0 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months

Best cards to pair the Capital One Spark Miles card with

One of the easiest ways to maximize your flat-rate rewards card is to pair it with another rewards card that offers a higher earning rate on your specialized expenses.

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card provides ample bonus category coverage with 3 percent cash back on choice categories including office supply stores, computer services and gas stations (on up to $50,000 in combined choice and dining category purchases per calendar year, then 1 percent). Plus, you can swap for another of the six 3 percent categories once per month to maximize your rewards.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Capital One Spark Miles card worth it?

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is a solid travel rewards business card focused on delivering a streamlined bonus miles experience over a deep benefit roster.

The opportunity to earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases could be fantastic for small business owners with expenses that surpass or fall outside the scope of traditional bonus categories, but there are certainly competing cards that offer higher rewards rates and more features to justify a $95 annual fee.

Pros

  • Unlimited 2X miles on all purchases without blackouts, seat restrictions or minimum redemptions
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck

Cons

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • No 0 percent intro APR periods (20.99 percent variable APR ongoing)
  • Possibly fewer perks than other cards with similar fees

The information about the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business and the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.