Spark Miles From Capital One Review
Spark® Miles from Capital One® is a travel rewards card with minimal frills. With a flat rate of two miles for each dollar spent (plus five miles for every dollar spent on hotel and car rental bookings through Capital One Travel), this card offers a simple and appealing rewards system. And, unlike other travel programs, miles can be used for most travel arrangements — not just flights on your airline of choice or nights in specific hotels.
If you or your employees do a lot of traveling, this card might be a useful way to save a little money. On the other hand, a card such as Capital One’s Spark Cash offers similar rewards but with even more flexibility (and less hassle) because your rewards come in the form of cash back. Additionally, some of the more specialized travel rewards cards will offer more than the standard one cent per point that Capital One dishes out, though they might have more restrictions about how you can apply those points.
Is this card right for your business? Read on for the details!
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Spark Miles From Capital One At A Glance
Spark® Miles from Capital One®
$95 ($0 the first year)
Capital One has designed the Spark Miles card for those over 18 years of age and with excellent credit. Per the Capital One website, excellent credit users should have:
- Never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan
- Been no more than 60 days late for a payment in the past year on credit cards, medical bills, or loan repayments
- A loan or credit card for at least three years with a credit limit of $5,000 or higher
For those curious, an excellent credit score generally amounts to a number 740 or above. Keep in mind this number is just a guideline — there is no officially published credit score for this card.
Don’t know your credit score? Find out by checking one of Merchant Maverick’s favorite (and free!) credit score websites.
Rewards For Spending
With the Spark Miles card, you can expect a solid rewards rate when making purchases — plus, heavy spenders will like this card’s valuable early spend bonus.
An Early Spend Bonus Of Up To 200,000 Miles
The Spark Miles card comes with an amazing limited-time early spend bonus, but to take full advantage, you’ll need to be a very high spender. The bonus works like this:
- If you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening your account, you’ll earn 50,000 miles
- If you spend $50,000 in the first six months after opening your account, you’ll earn another 150,000 miles for 200,000 miles total
Based on the standard one-cent-per-mile redemption rate, those 200,000 miles are worth a whopping $2,000 in value. Note that your actual redemption value may vary depending on how you redeem your miles. Additionally, this bonus may not be available to current or previous Spark cardholders.
Unlimited 2x Miles On All Purchases
While the early spend bonus has a couple of steps, the base rewards scheme with Spark Miles is simple: You’ll collect two miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. Because there are no category restrictions, this is a very solid rate that matches up well against most other cards on the market.
5x Miles On Hotels & Rental Cars
As with Capital One’s other travel card, the Spark Miles Select, this bit of plastic will grant you 5x miles on hotels and rental cars. This newish feature to Capital One’s travel card lineup comes with a catch, though: You’ll only earn the five-miles-per-dollar rate when you book hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel. All other charges made outside of Capital One Travel (such as room charges or upgrades) snag miles at the card’s standard 2x rate. Additionally, booking hotels and rental cars through other services besides Capital One Travel won’t trigger the 5x rate.
As with other Capital One business credit cards, you can expect a few ways to redeem miles earned with the Spark Miles.
Use Miles For Travel
The easiest and most obvious redemption method is to redeem your miles for travel. When booking travel through Capital One, you’ll be able to use your miles on airfare, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals, and more. Capital One markets that there are no blackout dates, seat restrictions, or required minimum redemption amounts.
Multiple Redemption Options
If you get the hankering to redeem rewards for something beyond travel, you can do that too. With the Spark Miles card, you can redeem miles for cash as a check or account credit, gift cards from an array of merchants, and more. Keep in mind that if you choose one of these redemption options, your cash value may vary from the standard one-cent-per-mile rate.
Transfer Miles To 10+ Travel Partners
For those who do want to redeem for travel but can’t find a suitable option through Capital One, there is also the possibility of transferring miles to select air travel loyalty programs. At the time of writing, you can transfer miles to 15 partners, including JetBlue, Emirates Skywards, Air Canada, and Air France.
Rewards Don’t Expire
Just like every other Capital One business credit card, the miles you earn with the Spark Miles card won’t expire as long as your account is active. In some cases, you might be able to transfer miles between Capital One accounts, but note that as soon as your account is closed, any miles not redeemed will be lost.
You’ll receive a solid selection of perks with this card through both Capital One’s business benefits and Visa Business Benefits packages.
Free Employee Cards
Something that should be standard on any business credit card is free employee credit cards. The Spark Miles includes this benefit, which will allow you to dole out cards to your employees at no extra cost — and reap the rewards when they spend with the card.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit
A unique feature compared to other Capital One cards is the Spark Miles’s statement credit that covers the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This credit is worth either $100 (if applying for Global Entry) or $85 (if applying for TSA PreCheck).
Fraud Coverage & Alerts
Capital One markets that Spark Miles users are covered by “business-grade protection.” This jumble of buzz words might not sound like much, but Capital One’s fraud coverage is still pretty solid. Should they notice suspicious charges or fraudulent activity on your account, they can notify you via email, text, or phone call.
You’ll have the additional protection of $0 fraud liability, which means you won’t be liable for unauthorized charges if your card becomes lost or stolen.
Beyond the above security benefits, an employee’s card (or yours) can also be locked should it go missing or become stolen.
Account & Business Management
Capital One promises a bundle of online tools to aid your account management. These tools include setting a monthly due date, automatic payments, and an itemized year-end report that summarizes your annual spending.
Additional management features range from a list of repeating payments for subscriptions or bills to transaction details covering merchant addresses, logos, phone numbers, and maps (when available).
Capital One is also friendly toward external accounting software, and you can download purchase records into other formats, such as Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel.
Visa Business Benefits
Outside of Capital One’s core benefits package sits Visa Business Benefits. Highlights of these additional perks include purchase security and extended protection. The purchase security perk will give you the possibility of having an eligible item replaced, repaired, or reimbursed within 90 days of purchase. For an extended warranty, you’ll get the manufacturer’s warranty doubled on eligible items (up to one additional year).
Beyond purchase protection, Visa Business Benefits also grants users a worldwide 24/7 emergency card replacement service as well as an auto damage waiver covering eligible rental car damage due to collision or theft.
There are a few other benefits wrapped in with the Spark Miles too. These include:
- Rental collision coverage
- Travel assistance
- Roadside assistance
- Online/mobile app account access
- Eno, Capital One’s 24/7 virtual assistant
Rates & Fees
With the Spark Miles card, you’ll need to fork over an annual fee. However, its APR is comparable to other cards on the market, and there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
A Competitive APR
With an APR of 18.74% (variable), you’ll be looking at an interest rate that’s very reasonable to other available cards. Of course, this APR won’t come into play as long as you pay off your balance every month.
A $95 Annual Fee
While waived for the first year, you’ll want to keep the Spark Miles’s $95 fee in mind. If you’re making all your purchases at the card’s standard 2x miles rate and redeeming miles for the standard one cent per mile, you’ll need to spend at least $4,750 on purchases annually to recoup the annual fee’s cost ($95 / 0.02 = $4,750).
The $95 annual fee that comes with the Spark Miles card may make Capital One’s other travel business card, Spark Miles Select, appealing if you won’t be a high spender. The Spark Miles Select card offers only a 1.5x base rewards rate but features no annual fee.
That means that the Spark Miles Select is better for small businesses that intend to put less than $19,000 annually on the card (not counting hotel or car rental bookings made through Capital One Travel). On the other hand, the Spark Miles card will fit those that intend to break $19,000 per year*. (Of course, the Spark Miles’s annual fee is waived the first year, so even low spenders may collect savings while using the card for its first 12 months).
*How we got this number: For Spark Miles: $19,001 × 2x miles rate – $95 annual fee = 285.02 miles; for Spark Miles Select: $19,001 × 1.5x miles rate = $285.015 miles. Capital One Travel hotel/car rental bookings aren’t considered because the 5x earn rate is the same for both cards.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
As is the same with the rest of Capital One’s business credit cards, Spark Miles carries no foreign transaction fees. That is especially crucial for a travel card — those that venture abroad frequently won’t have to worry about paying more than they have to when making purchases outside the country.
Other Fees To Keep In Mind
Besides an annual fee, the Spark Miles comes with a couple of additional fees to watch out for. These extra costs include cash advance fees ($10 or 3% of the cash advance, whichever is higher) and late payment fees (up to $39).
Is Spark Miles From Capital One Right For You?
You might want to apply if:
- You plan on putting more than $19,000 worth of charges on your card
- You or your employees do a lot of traveling, and you want a card with flexible travel rewards
- You want a simple way to earn travel rewards for your business
You might want to look for a different card if:
- You plan on putting less than $19,000 worth of charges on your card (if so, take a look at the Spark Miles Select card)
- You want to redeem some or all points for reasons other than travel
The editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned. Nor has it been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Business Credit Card Rating Criteria.