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Capital One Spark Miles Select review: Earn transferable miles with no annual fee

May 01, 2021
8 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business overview

The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business is a no-annual-fee business credit card that earns 1.5x miles on every purchase. You can transfer Spark miles to 19 airline and hotel partners or use your miles to erase travel charges at a rate of 1 cent per mile. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card is a solid option for small-business owners who want a card that has no annual fee. This is not only a great card for the budget-conscious, but it's simple to use because it earns an unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere. Capital One miles are worth at least 1 cent each when you use them to erase a travel purchase, but can be worth 1.7 cents (according to TPG valuations) if you transfer them to the right partner.

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This card is the little sibling of the Capital One Spark Miles for Business, which earns 2x miles on all purchases and has a $95 annual fee. It's worth noting though that the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card's annual fee is waived for the first year and comes with a much bigger welcome offer.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Who is this card for?

(Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

The Spark Miles Select is a good no-annual-fee card for any business owner who doesn't want to put much time into credit card rewards yet still wants to maximize the return on spending.

When considering whether or not this card or the Spark Miles $95-annual-fee card is the right fit for you long term, it's easy to crunch the numbers. The deciding factor comes down to whether you will earn more than $95 by taking advantage of the Capital One Spark Miles card's unlimited 2x miles. That's an extra half-mile per dollar, which is worth at least half a cent in travel rewards.

The break-even point for both cards is $19,000 in yearly spending. So if you're going to spend less than that annually, then the Spark Miles Select card is better to hold long term.

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Related: Step by step: How to complete a Capital One business credit card application

Sign-up bonus

The Spark Miles Select card has a sign-up bonus of 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Miles can now be transferred to new airline partner TAP Air Portugal. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

If you redeem your miles for travel purchases at a fixed value (1 cent each), then this bonus is worth $200. But the option to transfer Capital One miles to travel partners bumps up TPG's valuation of the miles up to 1.7 cents each, increasing the bonus value to $340.

Main benefits and perks

The Spark Miles Select card is light on benefits compared to other travel rewards cards, but it does come with the essential travel coverages and purchase protections. You can expect to have some form of purchase security, extended warranty and rental car insurance.

This card has no foreign transaction fees, which isn't common for a no-annual-fee card.

How to earn miles

The Spark Miles Select card earns an unlimited 1.5x miles on every purchase. Considering TPG's Capital One miles valuation of 1.7 cents per mile, you're getting a 2.55% return on your everyday purchases.

It's great to earn transferable miles for business expenses that fall outside of the common bonus categories, like advertising, shipping, travel and office supplies. But if a large chunk of your business spending does fall into one of those categories, then you'll want to look into one of the other best business credit cards.

How to redeem miles

The easiest way to redeem Capital One miles is to use them to erase an eligible travel purchase at a rate of 1 cent per mile. According to Capital One, eligible travel purchases include purchases from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxis, travel agents and timeshares.

Capital One's recent addition of four new loyalty programs allows you to also transfer your Capital One miles to 19 airline and hotel partners. The issuer has also improved transfer ratios for select partners, allowing you to transfer your miles at a 1:1 rate to squeeze even more value from your rewards. For a no-annual-fee travel card, this ability to earn and redeem transferable points is incredibly valuable.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy.)
You can book Swiss International Air Lines' business class with Capital One miles. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

These improvements make Capital One's travel partners much more competitive with Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards than ever before. Some crucial partners include the Avianca LifeMiles program, great for booking Star Alliance awards without paying additional fuel surcharges. You could book a transcontinental award with United for 33,000 Capital One miles or a business-class award from the U.S. to Europe for 84,000 Capital One miles. Or you could use Etihad's favorable award chart for American Airlines to book first-class awards from the U.S. to Hong Kong for 90,000 Capital One miles.

We also have guides on how to use Capital One miles to book awards with Star Alliance airlines, Oneworld airlines and SkyTeam airlines.

Related: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value

Which cards compete with the Spark Miles Select?

Both Chase and American Express issue no-annual-fee business credit cards that compete well with the Spark Miles Select card.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee (see rates and fees) and earns 2x Amex Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in spending each calendar year, then 1x. Even though the card doesn't earn unlimited 2x miles, TPG values Amex points at 2 cents apiece, which means you'd have to spend roughly $59,000 annually on the Spark Miles Select card (at a value of 1.7 cents per mile) to match the value of the return you'd get from spending $50,000 on the Amex Blue Business Plus.

If you're under the Chase 5/24 rule, the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is another great choice. It earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but if you pair the card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can convert your cash-back earnings to Ultimate Rewards points. That doubles the return you get with the card since TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each.

Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta: Sapphire Reserve, Ink Preferred and Freedom Unlimited

Bottom line

The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business is a unique card with the ability to earn transferable rewards without paying an annual fee. That alone makes this card worthwhile for business owners who don't have enough expenses to justify paying the annual fee on a card that has a slightly better earning rate.

But you can get a better rate of return with other cards, like the Capital One Spark Miles card, which has a waived annual fee ($95) the first year. Or, you could even earn more with the no-annual-fee Blue Business Plus card. Again, it depends on your business expenditures and if it makes sense to pay more for a better rewards rate.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.