|Business Rating:||3.7 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||1.0|
In a Nutshell:
A good tool for shaving the cost of business travel without investing in an annual fee or a complicated rewards scheme, the Spark Miles Select card from Capital One offers hassle-free travel rewards that are easy to redeem.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, free employee cards, discounts on business purchases with Visa SavingsEdge, quarterly and year-end summary, downloadable purchase records, mobile app, $0 fraud liability, car rental insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty, travel and emergency assistance, roadside dispatch, price protection, lost luggage reimbursement, shipping discounts, VIP event access
If you’re looking for a way to cut down the cost of business travel, but are too busy to mess with a high-maintenance rewards program, the Spark Miles Select card from Capital One is worth a closer look.
This no annual fee business card offers a simpler way to earn free or reduced cost travel than you’ll find with more traditional travel cards: Instead of earning bonuses on certain types of purchases, you’ll earn the same 1.5 miles on every purchase. Depending on how often you and your employees use the card, that could add up to huge savings over time.
A modest rewards rate that can add up quickly
At first glance, the miles bonus on the Spark Miles Select card doesn’t seem that impressive. Unlike competitors that offer two to three point bonuses on certain purchases, the Spark Miles Select card offers just 1.5 miles on every purchase.
However, since you’ll be earning a bonus on every purchase you make, your miles could add up quickly. For example, if your company typically charges around $3,000 a month, you’ll earn $540 worth of travel by the end of the year. The more you and your employees use the card, the more miles you’ll earn, allowing you to shave the cost of business travel or purchase trips you wouldn’t make otherwise.
A good value for everyday purchases
Depending on your company’s spending habits, you may even end up earning more miles with this card than you would with a traditional travel card. For example, many travel cards offer bonuses on restaurants and travel and just one point per dollar spent on everything else. But if your company doesn’t spend a lot on restaurant meals and travel, you won’t earn all that much.
Consider, for example, how much you’d earn if you typically spent $2,000 a year on travel and $12,000 on everything else. With the Spark Miles Select card, you’d earn $210 worth of travel. However, if you spent the same amount of money on a card that earns three miles for every dollar spent on travel and one mile for every other purchase, you’d generally earn just $180 worth of rewards.
A strong sign-up bonus
You can also get a big head start on your earnings if you charge $3,000 in the card’s first three months. The Spark Miles Select card offers a plump 20,000-mile sign-up bonus that’s worth up to $200 in free travel. That’s not nearly as generous a sign-up bonus as some pricier business cards offer. But for a card with no annual fee, it’s pretty good.
The Spark Miles Select card also wins points for flexibility and convenience. Not only is earning miles a breeze, you can also redeem your miles for any travel purchase you make. Hotels, air travel, car rentals, train trips, taxi rides and buses all count as travel purchases.
Unlike many travel cards, the Spark Miles Select card doesn’t require you to go through your card issuer to book rewards-funded travel either. You can compare costs and purchase the travel yourself from any website you choose, including third-party bargain sites. That way, you’re not only free to choose the lowest cost option; you can also pick rewards-funded travel without worrying about travel blackout dates or other restrictions.
Capital One miles don’t expire either. However, you do have to redeem your travel within 90 days of booking a travel purchase. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the next travel purchase to redeem your rewards.
Transfer options coming in December
Capital One recently made an announcement that’s a major plus for current and future Spark Miles Select cardholders: Starting in December, cardholders will have the option to transfer miles to 12 airline partners at a ratio of 2:1.5. While the current list of partners is lacking a major U.S. airline, and though cardholders will generally lose value in the transfer, there are some very valuable partners in the list – including Aeroplan and Avianca – that offer the opportunity to glean more than 1 cent per mile of value. The Spark Miles Select card, which was already very flexible, has become even more flexible and valuable:
Spark Miles Select Card transfer partners
|Aeroplan (Air Canada)||Star|
|Flying Blue (AirFrance, KLM)||SkyTeam|
In addition, the Spark Miles Select card stands out from other business cards by offering less expensive terms than many of its competitors. For example, it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee and charges just 3 percent for cash advances. Many business cards, by contrast, charge companies at least 4 to 5 percent to withdraw cash using a credit card.
Meanwhile, the Spark card’s minimum APR of 14.74 percent is slightly higher than the average minimum business card APR. However, it’s still relatively low. The most cardholders can be charged is 22.74 percent. The Spark Miles Select card does charge a big penalty APR of 30.90 percent, though, so you’ll want to avoid it if your company’s finances are fragile.
Like many business cards, the Spark Miles Select card also offers a number of free business tools that make tracking expenses and monitoring employee spending simpler and more convenient. For example, it offers a quarterly and year-end summary of your business card spending that you can use to get a bird’s eye view of your expenses.
It also allows you to securely download your purchase records using the same formatting as other commonly used accounting tools, such as Quicken, QuickBooks and Excel. In addition, the Spark Miles Select card offers free employee business cards, so you can pool rewards earnings, and easily track your employees’ spending.
Why get the Spark Miles Select card?
- You want a travel card, but don’t want to pay an annual fee.
- You want a flexible, low maintenance business travel card.
- You’d rather get refunded for travel you bought yourself than book free trips through your card issuer.
- Your business spends more money on charges that don’t typically earn rewards, such as printing expenses and office supplies, than on popular rewards categories, such as restaurant meals or travel.
How to the Spark Miles Select card:
- Maximize your rewards earnings by using your card as often as possible.
- Charge at least $3,000 in the card’s first three months in order to claim a sign-up bonus.
- Pool rewards by distributing free cards to employees and asking them to charge their business expenses, rather than use other payment methods.
- Be sure to redeem your rewards within 90 days of purchasing travel that you want refunded.
- While you’ll generally get the best value redeeming your miles for travel statement credits, you can also find great values in transferring your miles to airline partners – though you’ll lose value in the transfer, you can make up that value by looking for sweet spots in each airline’s redemption chart.
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