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

Oct 25, 2019

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The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has long been a solid business credit card. And, it became even more competitive in December 2018 when it added the ability to transfer miles to more than a dozen airline partners and in February 2020 when it improved the JetBlue transfer ratio and added two hotel transfer 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.

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, which should provide more value. In this post I’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 two miles per dollar spent on all purchases.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Capital One Spark Cash 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.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
The Spark Miles provides straightforward earning and flexible redemptions for businesses. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

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.

This card is best for everyday purchases since it earns two miles per dollar spent on all purchases. So 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.

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

Sign-up bonus: As much as $700 in value

The Spark Miles is currently offering a sign-up bonus of up to 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 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. But TPG’s valuations peg the value of Capital One miles at 1.4 cents because you can transfer your miles to select airline and hotel partners. So TPG values the 50,000-mile bonus at $700 (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 how much you’ll be able to spend within your first three months with the card. 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 great considering the $95 annual fee is waived for your first year.

Further reading: 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). For many cardholders, the biggest perk might be earning five miles per dollar spent on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel. Based on TPG’s valuations, this is a 7% return.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Earn 5x miles on hotels such as the Conrad New York Midtown when you book through Capital One Travel. (Photo by Summer Hull/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.

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

How to earn miles

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
Earning is straightforward with the Spark Miles. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

The beauty of the Spark Miles is its straightforward earning structure. Outside of the five miles per dollar spent that you’ll earn on hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel, you’ll earn two miles for every dollar spent with no annual cap. Factoring in our valuation of 1.4 cents per mile, this means you’ll get a 2.8% return, which is great for everyday purchases.

Although it keeps things simple, not having any bonus categories besides hotel and rental car bookings made through Capital One Travel 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.

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

How to redeem miles

You can transfer your Capital One miles to 14 airline and hotel partners at a 2:1.5 rate, and to three more at a 2:1 rate. Since the card earns two miles per dollar spent, that basically equates to 1-1.5 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 like 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.

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 like 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.

Further reading: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value

Which cards compete with the Spark Miles?

Now that 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 per dollar on purchases, but the two points per dollar spent earning is only on the first $50,000 spent annually (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 1.4), but the value you get from each currency depends on your personal travel habits and redemption goals.

The Blue Business Plus is the closest competitor for the Spark Miles. (Photo by TPG staff.)

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. Assuming you also have one of these cards that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get an effective 3% return on all purchases with the Ink Business Unlimited as opposed to an effective 2.8% with the Spark Miles. Again, the return you get ultimately depends on your personal habits. And 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 1.5 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.

Further reading: The best business credit cards of 2019

Bottom line

The value provided by the Capital One Spark Miles for Business was significantly improved when Capital One added airline transfer partners over a year ago. And, Capital One has continued to improve the Spark Miles card with the addition of a statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee that you can get every four years as well as the addition of two hotel transfer partners.

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.

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

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg.

Featured image by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.

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