Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Review: A Solid Card With an Excellent Bonus

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is a flexible travel credit card that has what we look for in a business credit card, including a large sign-up bonus, high ongoing rewards, and low fees.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

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Our Bottom Line

Earning 2 miles per $1 for all purchases is among the best yield you'll find in the travel category. Add in a big sign-up bonus and no foreign transaction fees and you can see why it's such a popular business card.

What we Like:
  • 50,000 miles sign-up bonus
  • Unlimited 2x miles $1
  • No foreign transaction fees
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR: 19.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Receive up to $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee
  • Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2x miles from their purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
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The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is a travel card aimed at business owners who value a big intro bonus and earning miles at a speedy clip. Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is a bit of an outlier, though. The typical travel card tends to weigh its earnings in favor of travel spending; not so with this card, with its flat-rate miles rewards system. Different can be good, of course, so let’s explore if this card is the better for it.

What I like about the card

2 miles per $1 -- That’s very good for a base rate, which in the rewards card space tends to be the equivalent of 1 mile per $1 spent. The rewards program is also straightforward -- no rotating categories to keep track of here. Another plus: there’s no limit to the miles you can earn with this card.

50,000 mile intro bonus -- Capital One obviously wants to compete at the introductory come-on game. The issuer will grant 50,000 miles as a one-time bonus to new cardholders that spend $4,500 in qualifying purchases within three months of account opening. That 50,000 mile bonus equates to $500 in travel statement credits.

No foreign transaction fee -- Passes the no foreign transaction fee test for travel cards; another thing not to worry about when venturing overseas and using this card to help fund the trip.

Visa Signature perks -- This card carries the Visa Signature Business brand, which among other features offers:

  • Primary auto insurance, if the rental is used for business purposes.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement for up to $3,000.
  • Travel accident insurance that covers up to $250,000 for catastrophes.

Flexible redemption options -- This isn’t one of those cards that requires customers to redeem their miles through the issuer’s dedicated travel portal to get the best rate. Holders of this card have that option, but they’re also free to book travel through any means they want. They can then utilize Capital One’s Purchase Eraser for partial or full statement credit on the purchase.

Why you can trust me

Anyone who covers finance in those jobs will sooner or later cover credit products. At this point I’ve written and edited hundreds of stories on the topic for articles that have appeared on sites such as MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and CNN Money. In 2007 I came back to the U.S. from a long stint abroad. Before long I applied for and received the first credit cards I’ve had in my life. I’m happy to report I still have those cards, plus a few more -- all told, there are six in my wallet. I’m a cardholder in good standing with each, although admittedly it somehow took me over a decade to make my first miles redemption.

What could be improved

$95 annual fee -- Yes, this is waived in the first year of ownership. But $95 is a high price to pay, and a travel card with no annual fee may make sense for people with smaller credit budgets.

Bonus miles -- I’m certainly not scoffing at the flat-rate 2 miles per $1 rate. However, this card would be an irresistible pick if Capital One were to introduce at least the occasional elevated rate for certain categories, at 3% or even 5%.

Suggested credit score

This card is for business owners with excellent credit says. The issuer goes on to define a person in this category as one who has:

  • never defaulted on a loan.
  • never declared bankruptcy.
  • managed a credit card account or loan for at least three years. Said product(s) should have a credit limit or total amount of more than $5,000.
  • not, over the past year, paid a credit card statement, loan installment, or medical bill more than 60 days late.

The issuer takes pains to say that these factors are only guidelines in its decision. It will also weigh select information from the data you provide on the application and of course, your overall credit history.

What to look for in a business travel card

There are numerous elements that go into choosing the right travel card for you and your business. Let’s take a tour of some of the more important ones:

Enhanced earnings for travel

As in the case of Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, not all travel-slanted cards bestow extra miles or points on travel spending. Potential cardholders need to consider if one that doesn’t makes up for this with other features and/or benefits.

One-time or recurring miles bonuses

The travel space is competitive, particularly at the high end where business cards reside. Sign-up bonuses are quite common in this segment, as are ongoing bonuses for certain activities. A good travel card should be able to generate at least one of these forms, if not both.

Travel perks and benefits

It’s common for travel cards, particularly with the word “business” in the title, to offer a set of extras related to wandering; after all, you and your employees want to have the smoothest experience possible when away. Some typical extras to watch for are:

  • Car rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Concierge services via phone
  • Emergency cash disbursement
No foreign transaction fee

The better cards do not impose this fee, which tends to be 3% of the purchased amount. It nearly goes without saying that anyone who travels even rarely is better off with a no foreign transaction fee card.

What qualifies as a business?

Note that Capital One points out that Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is for business owners; so, there’s no point applying for one if you don’t fall into that category.

However, the definition of “business owner” can be fairly broad in the U.S. today. Driving for Uber, for example, could qualify, as can a number of other side hustles. No matter what type of commerce you’re doing, you should earn at least some money from it.

Your potential issuer will evaluate your personal and business income combined when deciding whether you should get their card.

If you have a business with employees, a key factor to consider when getting a business credit card is whether some or all of those people will receive cards too (the main Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business cardholder can add additional cards for free). If so, issuers may ultimately hold you personally responsible for the debt incurred with all cards used in your organization.

Is the annual fee worth it?

As with any product that carries a charge, you should only be willing to pay an annual fee for a credit card for two reasons -- you accept this as the cost of that card’s conditions and features, and you’re going to get enough utility out of the card.

Utilization is the key here. In the case of Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, right off the bat will you and your business spend at least $4,500 within the first three months of ownership to reap that 50,000 mile sign-up bonus? Those miles alone are worth $500 in travel statement credit, which is more than enough to cover five years of the annual fee.

Leaving other features of this card aside -- like the car insurance benefit, or your savings on having the foreign transaction fee waived -- you need to evaluate roughly how much you and your employees will be spending with your chosen plastic.

Pro tip

Here's how to calculate the breakeven point to know how much rewards you need to earn to cover a credit cards annual fee. Divide the annual fee by the rewards. The result is the annual spending required to breakeven. For example, a card with a 2% yield and a $95 annual fee will have a breakeven point of $4,750 (95/0.02). If you spend more than the breakeven point each year then the annual fee is justifiable for your budget.

For Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, the math works out like so: You and your team will need to hit 9,500 miles per year (equating to $95 in travel redemptions) to reach that $95 annual fee. This breaks down to an annual spend of $4,750, averaging out to just under $396 per month for all cardholders.

Comparing Capital One business credit cards

The Spark line of credit cards expands beyond just the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Here's a quick side-by-side comparison of two other popular Capital One business credit cards so you can figure out which is a fit for your needs.

As of Sep. 05, 2019
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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Read Full Review
Apply Now
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On Capital One's Secure Website.

Read Full Review

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Fair Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases within 3 months Bonus: N/A
Rewards Program: Unlimited 2% cash back Rewards Program: 1% cash back on all purchases
Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Regular APR: 19.24% Variable Regular APR: 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount

Highlights:

  • Enjoy no annual fee
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase
  • Build business credit with responsible use
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Enjoy business benefits including Year-End Summaries, employee cards at no extra cost and experienced small business customer service

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Apply Now
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On Capital One's Secure Website.

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Apply Now
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This card is right for you if...

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is for entrepreneurs seeking a top business credit card, and either want or need to travel. Having several cardholders spend on at least a semi-regular basis will keep the miles tally rising constantly. This, combined with a good flat rate, will rack ‘em up in no time, earning enough to redeem for a plane ticket to somewhere interesting.

Travel lovers whose business is a one-person Etsy shop or an Uber car might not reap so many benefits, although this is still a card that earns well. Its intro bonus is quite lucrative -- that 50,000 miles, at a redemption value of $500, can get you far on a plane.

At the end of the day, the intro bonus and the earnings rate for Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business makes it a fine card for any traveler, as long as they don’t mind paying that somewhat hefty $95 annual fee.