Capital One Spark Miles Select review: Earn transferrable miles with no annual fee
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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 more than a dozen airline and hotel partners or use your miles to erase travel charges at a rate of one 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 and 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Capital One miles are worth at least one cent each when you use them to erase a travel purchase, but can be worth even more 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 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked with the card through Capital One Travel and has a $95 annual fee. However, the Capital One Spark Miles card’s annual fee is waived for the first year and it has a much bigger welcome offer.
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Who is this card for?
The Capital One Spark Miles Select is a good card for any business owner who doesn’t want to put much time into credit card rewards and still wants to maximize the return on spending.
When considering whether or not this card or the Spark Miles annual-fee card is the right fit for you long term, it’s easy to crunch the numbers. Both cards earn the same 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked with the card through Capital One Travel. 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, 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 (one cent each), then the bonus is worth $200. But the option to transfer Capital One miles to travel partners bumps up TPGs valuation of the miles up to 1.4 cents each. That increases the bonus value to $280 (based on TPG valuation and not provided by issuer).
Main benefits and perks
The Spark Miles Select card is light on benefits, but it does have travel coverages and purchase protections, which can vary depending on which version of Mastercard you’re issued. You can expect to have some form of purchase security, extended warranty, rental car insurance.
This card has no foreign transaction fees, which isn’t common for a no-annual-fee card.
How to earn miles
In addition to earning 5x miles on rental cars and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, the Spark Miles Select card earns an unlimited 1.5x miles on every other purchase. Considering TPG’s Capital One miles valuation of 1.4 cents per mile, you’re getting 2.1% in return on your everyday purchases and 7% in value for rental cars and hotels (booked through Capital One Travel).
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 one cent per mile. According to Capital One, eligible travel purchases would include purchases from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxis, travel agents and timeshares.
You can also transfer your Capital One miles to 17 airline and hotel partners, and all but three of them transfer at a 2:1.5 rate. The other three transfer at a 2:1 rate. At a 1.5x miles earning rate you’re getting .75-1.13 miles/points with a travel partner per dollar spent.
While the Capital One travel partners (and transfer ratios) aren’t as strong as those Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards offers, you’ve still got several solid options. The Avianca LifeMiles program is 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.
Related reading: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value
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 two cents apiece, which means you’d have to spend over $95,000 annually on the Spark Miles Select card (at a value of 1.4 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 a great choice. It earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but if you pair the card with either 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 the return you get with the card because TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at two cents each.
When Capital One added the ability to transfer miles to travel partners it vaulted the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business into a rare category – a card with the ability to earn transferrable rewards without paying an annual fee. That 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 as a waived annual fee ($95) the first year. Or you could even earn more with the no-annual-fee Blue Business Plus card.
Apply here for the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business card.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
Featured image by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.
- Earn unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
- Earn a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles – equal to $200 in travel – once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles Select card
- Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.49% - 22.49% variable APR after that
- No annual fee
- Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
- Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
- Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 1.5X miles from their purchases