Improved bonus on a solid business card: Capital One Spark Cash Plus review
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus card overview
With a $150 annual fee, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, with no cap on how many cash-back rewards you earn. In essence, the more you spend, the more you’ll earn, as you’ll be sure to maximize your purchase, no matter if you’re buying office supplies or business dinners. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
* Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Last year, Capital One introduced the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card to its business card lineup, bidding farewell to the beloved Capital One Spark Cash for Business.
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Fortunately, the Spark Cash Plus is largely an improved version of the Spark Cash for Business, although there’s a higher $150 annual fee. To compensate, the Spark Cash Plus features a much higher sign-up bonus and the opportunity to earn an annual cash bonus.
Let’s dive in to see if this card is for you.
Who is this card for?
Cash-back rewards offer much more utility for those who don’t plan on embarking on trips anytime soon.
Therefore, this card is best for those who want the ability to get a 2% cash-back return on all purchases. In other words, that means more money in your pocket to offset your business expenses in the long run. Alternatively, this is the ideal card for business owners who don’t want to keep up with confusing earning rates with multiple bonus categories, or if the mere thought of learning about the complex world of points and miles is a turnoff.
Plus, the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card, which is slightly different from a traditional credit card. The main difference is that there’s no preset spending limit, so this is actually a good thing for business owners with lots of expenses who need to go above their credit limit.
To recoup the $150 annual fee, you’d have to spend at least $7,500 on the card each year (or just $625 per month). Watch the cash-back rewards multiply if your business spends thousands (or hundreds of thousands) each year.
The new Spark Cash Plus comes with an enhanced sign-up bonus of up to $1,000; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months of account opening.
With this tiered bonus, the first half of the sign-up bonus should be easy enough to attain, though business owners with smaller budgets may find the second half unachievable.
Main benefits and perks
Again, the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card that comes with no preset spending limit, so it’s a flexible card that can adapt to your needs based on your spending behavior as well as your payment and credit history. Another aspect to note about charge cards is that there’s no annual percentage rate since your balance is due in full every month.
If your business has many operating expenses, the Spark Cash Plus rewards you with an annual $200 cash bonus after spending $200,000 in a year. This alone can more than cover the $150 annual fee, not to mention the additional opportunities to earn cash-back rewards with the sign-up bonus and the 2% rewards rate.
As with all Capital One credit cards, you’ll enjoy no foreign transaction fees when you make purchases abroad. Finally, you can request employee cards at no additional cost that funnel into your account as the primary cardholder.
How to earn
As mentioned earlier, the biggest draw of the Capital One Spark Cash Plus is its flat earning rate: Earn an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase, everywhere — with no limits or category restrictions.
Depending on the type of card user you are, you may see this as a positive or a negative. But this is definitely a positive for those who want to maximize their business expenses without worrying if a purchase falls under a bonus category, as seen with many other business credit cards.
How to redeem
As long as you keep your account open, your rewards will never expire.
You can redeem your rewards at any amount, even if you’ve accrued just $10 in cash back. You can choose to redeem for a statement credit (to reduce your account balance) or a check.
Which cards compete with the Capital One Spark Cash Plus?
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus sunsets the previous Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which came with a $95 annual fee that was waived the first year. While the annual fee on the new Spark Cash Plus clocks in at $150, that’s a $55 increase for a greater sign-up bonus and the potential to earn an annual cash-back bonus. It’ll take just $2,750 in additional spending per year to offset the difference with the $150 annual fee on the Spark Cash Plus.
That being said, which cards closely compete with the Spark Cash Plus?
The first major competitor is the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card. For starters, it has no annual fee but it still has a great sign-up bonus of $750 after spending $7,500 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The earning rates force you to be a bit savvier, as you’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services. You’ll also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary at gas stations and restaurants, with 1% back on all other purchases.
If you maximize the 5% category, that’s an additional $1,250 in cash back each year (and an additional $500 for the 2% category). This could yield potentially more significant cash-back earnings if your business expenses fall under this umbrella. Otherwise, opt for the Capital One Spark Plus for simplicity’s sake — though there’s a $150 annual fee.
Related: Full review of the Ink Business Cash
The other card worth considering is American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, a no-annual-fee card (see rates and fees) that offers a similar 2% rewards rate on up to the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1% cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement. If your business is small and doesn’t spend enough to justify the $150 annual fee on the Capital One Spark Plus, the Amex Blue Business Cash is a strong contender.
Right now, you’ll earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership. While this is a much smaller welcome offer, remember there’s no annual fee (see rates and fees) to worry about.
It’s hard to argue that the most flexible rewards currency is — wait for it — cash back. The new Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a great new option for business owners who have a ton of expenses that can help justify the $150 annual fee.
Official application: The Capital One Spark Cash Plus with a sign-up bonus of up to $1,000
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Cash, click here.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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