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Capital One Spark Miles for Business review

Published: November 15, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Business Rating:
4.4 rating
4.4 rating
4.4 / 5
Rewards Value 4.6
Annual Percentage Rate 0.3
Rewards Flexibility 4.4
Features 4.0

In a nutshell:

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card offers a big bonus and valuable travel rewards, but little else distinguishes it from the more-flexible cash back version of the card.

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Rewards Rate
2:1 all purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50,000 miles if you spend $4,500 in first 3 months

Annual Fee
$95, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
$1,063

APR
17.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No expiration dates
  • No limits on miles
  • Redeem any airline or hotel purchase for a statement credit
  • No minimum miles required to redeem for travel

Cons

  • No ability to transfer miles

Other Notable Features: Free employee cards, quarterly and year-end summaries, downloadable purchase records, mobile app to manage purchases, discounts on business purchases with Visa SavingsEdge, no foreign transaction fees, car rental insurance, purchase protection, roadside dispatch, lost luggage reimbursement

For business owners seeking to earn miles with every purchase, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card may seem like a sweet deal. It comes with a hefty 50,000-mile sign-up bonus and a high general rewards rate of two miles per dollar spent. Plus, you can redeem your miles for purchases from virtually any travel service at a flat rate of 1 cent per mile, so there’s no mystery of how much your rewards miles are worth

Unfortunately, the simplicity of the Spark Miles for Business card’s rewards program is also its biggest drawback. Every mile you redeem for travel is worth a penny – no more, no less.  Capital One just happens to offer a cash back card – the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card – which is nearly identical to the Spark Miles for Business card: it provides 2 percent cash back on every purchase and a $500 sign-up bonus with $4,500 in spending in the first three months. With the cash back card, you have the same option to use your rewards to purchase travel from outside travel services at a value of 1 cent per mile. Furthermore, while both the miles and the cash back card offer a cash back option, the cash back card gives you twice the value on your cash back. In other words, your redemption options are far more flexible with the cash back version of the card.

It makes little sense to choose the miles version of the card with its more limited redemption options over the cash back card, unless you are certain that you are going to spend all of your miles on travel purchases, and you would benefit from the ease of using Capital One’s “purchase eraser” to immediately apply the miles to your credit card bill.

That said, the Spark Miles for Business card does offer a flexible and valuable travel rewards program. The high dollar value of its sign-up bonus and its potential rewards earnings put it near the top of our business card category.

High general rewards rate

The Spark Miles for Business card gives you double rewards miles on all of your spending – a rate rivaled by only a few other business rewards cards. There are no limits on these miles, which means, if you are a big spender, you won’t hit a cap and see your rewards rate plummet to 1 percent.

Also, since the double rewards rate applies to every purchase, you don’t need to keep track of spending categories, nor do you have to enroll in quarterly bonus categories. This means, though, that if you spend a larger than average amount in a particular category, such as gas or dining out, you lose out on the bonus earnings some cards offer in certain spending categories.

Large sign-up bonus

The annual fee Spark Miles for Business card’s 50,000 bonus miles is one of the highest sign-up bonuses among business cards and, in itself, may be worth the effort of applying. That sign-up bonus, earned when you spend $4,500 in your first three months, is enough to cover a $500 plane ticket.

That’s a much higher bonus than you would get with the no annual fee version of this card. Capital One’s Spark Miles Select for Business has a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles, and each purchase earns 1.5 miles instead of the 2:1 rate with the annual fee version.

Flexible rewards redemption

Capital One puts few restrictions on rewards redemption, so if you prefer a travel card with ease and flexibility, Spark Miles for Business could be the card for you. You can book your travel through Capital One’s travel portal or any travel site.

If you book travel from an outside site, you can use Capital One’s purchase eraser to apply your rewards miles to your purchase, or to a portion of your purchase, starting at just 2,500 miles ($25 worth of miles). You earn rewards miles on these travel purchases, which means you get a little extra bonus each time you redeem your miles this way.

The Spark Miles for Business card also lets you redeem your miles on a variety of other rewards, including cash back, gift cards and merchandise. However, your rewards miles tend to be worth less for these categories, so you’re better off sticking to travel rewards.

Premium travel and purchase benefits

Like many travel rewards cards with an annual fee, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card comes with a long list of benefits, including car rental insurance, extended warranty coverage and purchase protection. For business travelers, the no foreign transaction fees perk can save you typically 3 percent of each transaction in U.S. dollars made abroad.

Lacks some useful business features

When it comes to features for business owners, Spark Miles for Business falls short of other premium cards in the business category. While the card allows you to add other employees to your account for no extra fee, it does not let you manage those accounts remotely or to set limits on employee accounts. Also, while the card offers an app to help tag receipts and manage purchases, the app is designed for personal card users and doesn’t let business card owners track employee spending.

On the plus side, Spark Miles for Business offers quarterly and year-end account summaries, which you can download into QuickBooks to track expenses. Business owners also get discounts on purchases at participating merchants through the Visa SavingsEdge program.

Why get the Spark Miles for Business card?

  • You want your business spending to help you earn free travel rewards.
  • You want a simple, straightforward rewards program with few restrictions.
  • You want a flexible travel rewards program with a wide variety of hotel and airline options.
  • You want a business card with no foreign transaction fees, a perk more cards are offering, our 2016 Credit Card Fee Survey found.
  • You want to add employees to your business card account at no extra charge.
  • Tools would help you track and manage your business credit card expenses.

How to use the Spark Miles for Business card:

  • Use the card for most of your purchases to take advantage of the high rewards rate.
  • Redeem your miles for travel rewards, since other types of rewards have a much lower value.
  • You can squeeze extra value out of your miles with travel specials on Capital One’s rewards website.
  • You can book discounted travel on outside travel sites and redeem those purchases for statement credits.

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