Double miles on everything: Capital One Spark Miles for Business credit card review

May 3, 2021

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Capital One Spark Miles for Business overview

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business has long been a solid business credit card, but it has became even more competitive recently with Capital One’s expansion of loyalty partners and improved transfer ratios for select partners. Card Rating*:⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

My mom has owned and operated a small business doing accounting work and tax preparation since I was a child. Until recently, however, her small business — now grown to five employees — didn’t earn any points or miles on their business credit card. They wanted one card for all their spending, and opted for the Capital One Spark Cash for Business — which earns cash back instead of miles — because they prefer the ease of earning cash.

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But if your small business requires travel — or you want to provide travel perks to yourself or your employees by using the miles earned on business spending — the Spark Cash has a sister card, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business, that should provide even more value. Here, we’ll cover what you need to know about the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and how it can help your business, earning a flat rate of 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

Related: The best Capital One credit cards of 2021

In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Spark Miles for Business was created for — you guessed it — business owners looking to earn flexible rewards for their business expenses. Not everyone will be able to apply for a business card, but you may be more eligible for a business card than you think. If you sell items on the side online or freelance or drive for Uber, those count. And there are many reasons to get a business card.

People are often scared away from business cards because they aren’t quite sure how to apply, but if you apply as a sole proprietor using your name as the business name, you shouldn’t need to fill out any extra paperwork. The good news is you become a sole proprietor simply by doing business, which is great news for anyone who wants a business credit card for their side hustle.

This card is best for everyday purchases since it earns 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual limits to keep track of. It’s a good fit for businesses that only want one card, don’t want to have to keep up with different spending categories and want a way to fill in the gaps on non-bonus spending. The Spark Miles is also a great starter business credit card because you can add one or more cards later that offer bonus categories such as travel, dining or office supplies, depending on the spending your business does most.

Related: How to choose the right credit card for your business expenses

Sign-up bonus: As much as $850 in value

The Spark Miles for Business Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

You can easily redeem your miles for a fixed value of 1 cent each, in which case the 50,000-mile bonus would be worth $500 towards travel. But TPG’s valuations peg the value of Capital One miles at 1.7 cents because you can transfer your miles to 19 airline and hotel partners. So, TPG values the 50,000-mile bonus at $850, but you might be able to get even more value depending on which transfer partners you use (bonus value based on TPG valuation and not provided by issuer).

To determine how much the sign-up bonus will be worth to you, you’ll need to consider how you’ll use your miles and whether you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn the bonus. But if you can spend $4,500 in your first three months and then redeem your miles at one cent each, you’ll still get $500 in value from the bonus — which is a solid haul considering the $95 annual fee is waived for your first year.

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

Main benefits and perks

The Spark Miles doesn’t offer as many perks and benefits as some pricier business cards, but it offers a surprising amount for a card with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year).

Earn 5x miles on hotels such as the St. Regis Langkawi when you book through Capital One Travel. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)
Earn 5x miles on hotels such as the St. Regis Langkawi when you book through Capital One Travel. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Another useful perk is a statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years (up to $100). Both programs can make travel easier, and all you need to do is pay for the application fee with your Spark Miles card. You can even use it for an employee if you want.

The Spark Miles card also offers primary car rental collision coverage when you’re renting for business purposes and pay with your card, as well as secondary coverage when you rent for personal reasons. And, when you purchase eligible items with your card, you’ll get purchase protection against damage or theft that occurs shortly after you purchase an item as well as extended warranty protection that can extend the original manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items.

Woman in cafe shopping online with laptop. Photo by filadendron/Getty Images
You can get extra protections for your electronics and other items when you purchase them with your Spark Miles card. (Photo by filadendron/Getty Images.)

The Spark Miles card also offers the following benefits that may be particularly useful for small businesses:

  • No foreign transaction fees — Make purchases overseas without accumulating extra charges just because you’re out of the country.
  • Free employee cards — Add employees as authorized users and set spending limits for their cards.
  • Easy accounting — Download your purchase records quickly and securely to multiple formats including Quicken, Quickbooks and Excel.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services — A wide range of emergency services including legal or medical referrals, ticket replacement and more
  • Account and business management tools — Pick your own monthly due date, set up AutoPay and download year-end itemized reports of spending.
  • Assign an employee as account manager — This employee can then make purchases and payments, review transactions and resolve any problems.

Related: 5 lesser-known perks of the Capital One Spark Miles for Business

How to earn miles

hertz clear parking lot car rental
Earn 5x miles per dollar spent for car rentals on the Spark Miles card. (Photo courtesy of Hertz)

The beauty of the Spark Miles is its straightforward earning structure. You’ll earn 2x miles for every dollar spent with no annual cap. Factoring in our valuation of 1.7 cents per mile, this means you’ll get a 3.4% return, which is great for everyday purchases.

Although it keeps things simple, not having any bonus categories means that there may be more rewarding options for some purchases. If a large chunk of your credit card spending is focused in a category such as gas or office supplies, other cards offer a significantly higher return. Consider having a few business cards and using them for different types of expenses.

Related: These are the Capital One credit cards that earn transferable miles

How to redeem miles

Capital One has added four new transfer partners to its portfolio, rounding out with 19 airline and hotel programs to choose from. The issuer has also stepped up its game by introducing a new 1:1 transfer tier for select programs (in addition to existing 2:1.5 and 2:1 rates). In simpler terms, since this card earns 2 miles per dollar spent, that basically equates to 1-2 miles or points with an airline or hotel transfer partner for every dollar spent with the card.

You could leverage Capital One’s transfer partners for redemptions such as Lufthansa first-class award seats between the U.S. and Europe for 116,000 Capital One miles when booking through Avianca LifeMiles, or American Airlines business-class seats between the U.S. and Europe for about 67,000 Capital One miles when booking through Etihad Guest. Among the new transfer partners, the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program offers a surprising number of sweet spots that enhances the value of your Capital One miles.

Lufthansa First Class (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)
You can transfer your miles to LifeMiles and then use them to book Lufthansa first class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

If you’re not sure how to transfer your Capital One miles and redeem for award flights or hotel nights, check out the following guides:

Although transferring your miles will get you the most bang for your buck, if it’s simplicity you’re after, you could redeem your miles at a fixed value of 1 cent apiece toward travel purchases. You can use your miles when booking new travel through Capital One or you can use your miles to erase any eligible travel purchase you’ve made with the card in the last 90 days. Eligible travel purchases aren’t just limited to flight and hotel bookings, but also include things such as Uber rides and Airbnb stays. And there’s no minimum redemption amount as long as you’re erasing an entire purchase.

However, if you’re going to redeem your miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent apiece, you might be better off with the Spark Miles’ sibling, the Spark Cash. The Spark Cash provides more flexibility since it earns 2% cash back on all spending instead of earning miles — and doesn’t carry an annual fee.

Related: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value

Which cards compete with the Spark Miles?

Since Capital One miles can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, the Spark Miles is comparable to other cards that earn transferable currencies. There are many business cards that earn transferable points or miles, so in this section we’ll focus on the best everyday spending cards for businesses that earn transferable points.

The most direct competitor of the Spark Miles is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card From American Express. The Blue Business Plus doesn’t have an annual fee (see rates and fees) and earns 2x points Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on purchases, but the two points per dollar spent earning is only on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year (you’ll earn one point per dollar spent thereafter) and the card charges a 2.7% fee on foreign transactions (see rates and fees).

We value Membership Rewards points slightly higher than Capital One miles (2 cents each vs. 1.7), but the value you get from each currency depends on your personal travel habits and redemption goals.

From Chase, the closest competitor would be the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. The card earns 1.5% cash back on purchases, but you can convert these earnings to Ultimate Rewards points if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. However, the Ink Business Unlimited charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

If you like the idea of the Spark Miles but aren’t sold on the $95 annual fee after the first year, you might also want to consider the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business. This light version of the card earns 1.5x miles on all spend, comes with a smaller sign-up bonus (20,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months) and carries similar benefits, including no foreign transaction fees but doesn’t charge an annual fee.

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

Related: Best business credit cards

Bottom line

The value provided by the Capital One Spark Miles for Business has significantly improved with the addition of four loyalty programs and better transfer ratios for select partners. We also love that this card comes with up to a $100 statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application.

If you’re looking for simplicity, the Spark Miles card may be a good card for all your business spending since it earns two miles per dollar spent on all purchases. But even if you already have one or more cards that earn bonus miles in certain categories, the Spark Miles card may be able to boost your earnings on purchases that don’t fall into your current bonus categories.

Application link: Capital One Spark Miles for Business — Available with up to 50,000 bonus miles

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

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

Featured image by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.