Credit card showdown: Capital One Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business
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The Spark line of business credit cards from Capital One is built for small-business owners craving rewards for everyday, non-bonus spending. The two cards in the family with annual fees — the Capital One Spark Cash Plus and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business – are solid cards. If you’re debating which one to apply for, ask yourself these two questions:
- Would I rather have cash to put back into my business or save up for a future travel redemption?
- How much effort am I willing to put into learning about advanced redemption schemes?
The answers to these questions will help determine which Spark card is best for you. But regardless, both of these cards are on TPG’s current list of best business credit cards and have a lot in common. Let’s take a look.
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||Capital One Spark Miles for Business|
|Annual fee||$150.||$95 (waived for the first year).|
|Earning rates||2% cash back on all purchases.||2 miles per dollar on all purchases.|
|Sign-up bonus||Up to $3,000: $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and $2,500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months.||Earn 50,000 miles (worth $925 based on TPG’s valuations; not provided by the issuer) after you spend $4,500 in the first three months after account opening.|
|Value of rewards||N/A.||1.85 cents per mile (according to TPG; valuations not provided by the issuer),|
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus currently comes with a whopper of a sign-up bonus: Up to $3,000, broken down into $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months and $2,500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months.
That’s a full $2,000 more than the previous sign-up offer on this card. 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. The cash back can be redeemed in the form of a statement credit or a check.
The Spark Miles card earns 50,000 miles after you meet the same $4,500 spending requirement in the first three months. The miles can be used to book travel directly through Capital One or to cover a previous travel purchase made within the last 90 days at a value of one cent per mile. Another option is to transfer those miles to one of Capital One’s travel partners.
Depending on how you redeem your miles, you could get significantly greater value from them by leveraging transfer partners. That’s why TPG values Capital One miles (an estimate calculated by TPG and not the card issuer) at 1.85 cents apiece, which makes the welcome bonus on the Spark Miles card worth $925.
The icing on the cake is that with both of these cards, you’ll also earn rewards while spending your way to the welcome bonus, since you’re getting at least 2% cash back (on the Spark Cash Plus) or 2 miles per dollar (on the Spark Miles) for all your purchases.
For the Spark Cash Plus, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases. That’s a pretty standard return, so you can use this card to maximize non-bonus spending and make out OK.
If your business has many operating expenses, the Spark Cash Plus rewards you with an annual $200 cash bonus after you spend $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.
The Spark Miles, on the other hand, earns 2 miles per dollar on everyday business purchases. Since we value Capital One miles at 1.85 cents apiece, the Spark Miles effectively offers a 3.7% return on all spending.
Here’s the big difference between the two cards.
As mentioned earlier, rewards from the Spark Cash Plus can be redeemed for a statement credit or a check. You can set up automatic redemptions at a set time each calendar year or when you hit a specific dollar figure in earned cash back — which is very straightforward. You can also redeem these dollars to cover previous purchases or for gift cards.
With the Spark Miles, you can redeem your miles at a fixed value of one cent apiece by booking travel directly through Capital One or covering a previous travel purchase made within the last 90 days.
As with cash back, this redemption method is very simple. However, if you enjoy the thrill of finding and booking high-value premium-cabin awards, you could squeeze much more value from your points by transferring them to Capital One’s airline or hotel partners.
Neither of these cards charge foreign transaction fees, which comes in handy if you plan to travel internationally. Both cards also come with identical Visa Business benefits, including auto damage and collision protection, purchase protection, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.
With both cards, you can receive customized, itemized quarterly and year-end summary reports to help you plan your budget.
Both the Spark Cash Plus and Spark Miles cards could be great options for your small business. If you lean toward travel spending and are willing to put time into figuring out how to redeem miles for maximum value, your answer is the Spark Miles, a transferable points-earning credit card. Otherwise, the Spark Cash Plus is a cash-back credit card that’s solid for everyday business expenses but won’t get you outsized value when it comes to travel.
Either of these cards could make sense for your business needs. You’ll just need to judge how you want to collect — and then redeem — your rewards.
Apply for the Capital One Spark Miles for Business here.
Apply for the Capital One Spark Cash Plus here.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong, Mike Cetera, Madison Blancaflor and Jason Stauffer.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
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