Capital One Spark Miles Select review: Earn transferable miles with no annual fee
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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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Which cards compete with the Spark Miles Select?
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.
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 photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
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 and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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