Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
Hits the road often, whether for work or play
This card is best for business owners who travel, but not just any traveling business owner. We recommend this card to business owners with excellent credit who are looking for an easy, no-fuss travel rewards program. There are no categories to track, and you can redeem your points whenever you want, even for travel purchases you’ve already made with your card.
Sky-high sign-up bonus
Annual fee waived the first year
Lots of account management tools
Poor options for transferring miles
No introductory 0% interest offer
- Sky-high sign-up bonus: If you have a lot of expenses, you could earn up to 200,000 bonus miles by spending at least $50,000 within the first six months. That’s redeemable for $2,000 worth of travel, and it’s among the best sign-up bonuses we’ve seen for general travel business cards.
- Annual fee waived for the first year: The Capital One Spark Miles card’s annual fee isn’t out of line compared with its competitors. Even so, you won’t have to worry about paying it for the first year.
- Lots of account management tools: You’ll get free employee cards with the Spark Miles card, and you’ll also get handy spend tracking features like year-end summaries, a list of recurring transactions, the ability to sync with popular accounting software, and even the ability to choose your own payment due date.
- Poor options for transferring miles: Capital One has 15 airline partners you can transfer your miles to. Similar programs with other credit card issuers let you swap at a 1:1 ratio. But Capital One’s transfer ratios are all worse than that.
- No introductory 0% interest offer: An introductory zero-interest deal is a nice feature for businesses that want a temporary reprieve from financing charges on large purchases. Unlike some other business cards, this one doesn’t have such an offer, so you’ll owe interest on purchases if you carry a balance.
Capital One Spark Mile’s Sign-Up Bonus
If you’re looking to earn a lot of travel rewards in one go, this card offers an unparalleled ability to rake them in. It’s divvied up into two phases. First, if you spend at least $5,000 within the first three months, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles. Second, if you spend at least $50,000 within the first six months (a tall feat), you’ll earn 150,000 more bonus miles, for a total of 200,000 bonus miles.
Since each mile can be worth 1 cent, this means you could earn up to $2,000 towards travel, which is an exceptional offer we’ve rarely seen with other cards. For many businesses, however, the spending level to reach this amount may be too high, so consider carefully if you’d be able to spend—and pay off—$8,333 each month to earn the sign-up bonus.
Earning Miles & Rewards
Earning rewards is easy with the Capital One Spark Miles card. You’ll earn a flat 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. Recently, Capital One also added the ability to earn 5 miles per $1 spent through Capital One Travel, its travel booking portal. The catch is that these extra miles only apply to hotel and rental car bookings paid for through the site, not airline tickets or other purchases you might make while at the hotel.
Your rewards won’t expire (as long as you redeem them before you close the card), and there are no blackout dates.
You have three ways to redeem your miles for travel with the Capital One Spark Miles card: to cover previous travel purchases, to book travel via Capital One, and to transfer to a loyalty program belonging to a travel partner.
Travel statement credits: Your first—and probably the best—option is to simply make your travel purchases anywhere you want with the card, and then use Capital One’s “Purchase Eraser” tool in your online account to receive a statement credit for those purchases. Your miles are worth 1 cent each when used this way.
If you opt for the Purchase Eraser tool, make sure you file for a statement credit within 90 days of making the purchase. After you’ve done that, you’ll see a statement credit within two to three business days.
Book travel through the Capital One’s Rewards Center: You can use your miles to pay for travel purchases this way at a value of 1 cent per mile.
Transfer miles to travel partners: Capital One has 15 airline partners, including JetBlue, but the transfer ratios are not good: You’ll need 2 Capital One points to get 1 JetBlue TrueBlue point, for instance.
You can also redeem miles or for cash back through statement credits or a check, but each mile is only worth half a cent that way. Or you can buy gift cards at 0.8 cents per point. We don’t recommend either option.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
You can maximize the value you get from this card by making sure you can meet the $50,000 spending requirement within the first six months in order to get the full 200,000-mile sign-up bonus without overspending. You don’t want to spend more than you normally would or go into debt to reach this spending level because that defeats the purpose.
After that, be sure to book hotels and rental cars via Capital One Travel to earn 5 miles per $1 spent. And on the redemption side, stick with travel where your miles are worth 1 cent each.
Capital One Spark Miles’s Excellent Perks
If you use your card to pay for these purchases, you could receive the following benefits that the editors of The Balance consider “excellent”:
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Skip through airport security with government pre-approval. You’ll receive reimbursement in the form of a statement credit within two months. You’re eligible for this credit once every four years.
- Primary rental car collision insurance: If you book a rental for business purposes, this coverage may provide primary insurance against damage up to the full cost of the car. If you’re not on business and it’s a personal rental, however, this insurance is only secondary to other policies you might have.
Capital One Spark Miles’s Other Features
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Extended warranties
- Travel and emergency hotline
Capital One perennially provides standout customer service. In 2019, that’s true again: it was rated as the third-best credit card issuer (out of 11 ranked) in a J.D. Power survey of credit card customer satisfaction.
You can manage your account through its mobile app, get answers from Eno, a text-based chatbot assistant, or sync your account with Alexa for another way to get help from a ‘bot. If those options fail or you’d really just rather speak to a person, there’s always Capital One’s 24/7 customer service hotline.
Capital One provides free credit scores via its CreditWise credit monitoring service. You don’t have to be a customer of Capital One to sign up.
Capital One provides plenty of options on the security front as well. With Eno, you can instantly get fraud alerts. You can use virtual credit card numbers when shopping online, so you don’t have to give out your real number. If you (or an employee) ever lose your card, you can also lock it down right from the app until you’ve resolved the situation. Capital One monitors account activity for fraud, and there’s zero liability for fraudulent purchases.
Capital One Spark Miles’s Fees
Capital One doesn’t charge any fees that are out of line with industry standards, although the penalty interest rate is steep. We also like this card because it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which no travel rewards credit card should.