Capital One Spark Miles VS Chase Ink Preferred
Business travel. Maybe you hate it, maybe you enjoy it. Either way, for certain types of businesses, work-related travel is an unavoidable expense. Get a business credit card with travel rewards, and you’ll be able to recoup a portion of your travel expenses in the form of points or miles, which can then be used to book more travel, among other things.
Capital One’s Spark Miles for Business and Chase’s Ink Business Preferred cards are two of the most prominent and popular business credit cards for travel rewards. They are similar to each other in many ways, but there are some pertinent differences in the way rewards are earned and used. These differences mean that the Spark Miles card will be a better fit for certain small business owners while Ink Business Preferred will provide more value for businessfolk with different spending priorities.
Let’s sort it all out to determine which of these travel rewards credit cards fits your business needs.
$95 (waived the first year) $95 18.74%, Variable 18.24% - 23.24%, Variable 80,000 points if you spend at least $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account N/A N/A N/A N/A None None 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases 3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines each account anniversary year; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Capital One Spark Miles Chase Ink Business Preferred Annual Fee Purchase APR Bonus Offer Purchase Intro APR Balance Transfer Intro APR Foreign Transaction Fee Rewards Other Benefits
$95 (waived the first year)
18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
80,000 points if you spend at least $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account
2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases
3 points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines each account anniversary year; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
To learn about other business credit cards specializing in travel rewards, check out our recent piece on the best business credit cards for travel.
Table of Contents
Both the Ink Preferred and the Spark Miles cards require a credit score of at least 690 in order to qualify.
Fees & Interest Rates
Neither the Spark Miles card nor the Ink Business Preferred offers an introductory 0% APR period, so we’re starting off even on that front.
The Capital One Spark Miles card offers a variable APR of 18.74%, while the Chase Ink Business Preferred carries a variable APR of between 18.24% and 23.24%. While applicants with the best credit scores may get a better interest rate with Ink Preferred, Spark Miles will give a slightly better interest rate to everyone else, as the rate doesn’t change based on your credit.
While both cards carry a $95 annual fee, the Spark Miles card waives your fee for the first year. Chase Ink Preferred does not.
As for other fees, neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, and while the Spark Miles card charges no balance transfer fee, Ink Business Preferred charges a balance transfer fee of 5%. Overall, Spark Miles comes out ahead when it comes to minimizing fees.
Capital One’s Spark Miles card currently offers the most impressive bonus offer of the two cards, but you’ve got to spend a lot in order to get the full bonus. The card offers 50,000 miles if you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening your account and an additional 150,000 miles if you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. If you’re going to be charging a lot to your Spark Miles card in relatively short order, you stand to pick up 200,000 bonus miles. Not bad! (Keep in mind that this is a limited-time offer)
The Chase Ink Business Preferred card offers 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening your account. If you’re going to spend at least $5,000 in your first 3 months of card use but not $50,000 within 6 months, Ink Preferred will give you a juicier bonus, but if you’re going to spend the higher amount, Spark Miles offers the better bonus.
Capital One’s Spark business cards tend to have simple and straightforward rewards earning structures, and the Spark Miles card is no exception. You’ll get an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. It’s nice to not have to concern yourself with spending categories and earning limits.
Chase Ink Preferred’s reward structure is more complex. You get 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 per year you spend in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. All other purchases get you one point per dollar spent with no earning limits.
The takeaway here is clear: If your business spending falls largely into the Ink Preferred’s bonus categories, you stand to earn more rewards with the Ink Preferred. If your business spending is more varied or is concentrated in areas outside the Ink Preferred’s high earning categories, the Spark Miles card may better benefit your business.
Of course, the value you can extract from your miles/points is relevant to this discussion as it determines how valuable your earned rewards are in the first place. Let’s discuss!
The Ink Business Preferred card lets you use your points to book travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards. When you do this, your points are worth 25% more than they would be worth otherwise. That’s like having 25% more points at your disposal! The only drawback is that you have to use Chase’s booking portal to book travel and enjoy this 25% value boost. Your other points options? You can transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners on a 1:1 point basis or you can redeem for cash (1 cent per point).
With the Spark Miles card, you don’t have to use Capital One’s travel portal to use your miles, though you certainly can. You can just redeem your miles for statement credit after purchasing your tickets elsewhere. Unfortunately, whether you book your travel with Capital One or with someone else, your points won’t get a 25% value boost. And while you can redeem your miles for cash, you’ll only get a half-cent per mile for them, making your miles half as valuable when used on things other than travel. We don’t recommend doing this!
While the Spark Miles card allows for more flexibility in terms of how you can use your miles for travel, the 25% value boost you get with Ink Preferred when using Chase’s travel portal is a major plus. Additionally, the points you earn with the Ink Preferred are twice as good as your Spark Miles points if you want to redeem your points for cash. Slight edge goes to the Ink Business Preferred.
Benefits & Other Perks
Both cards offer a similar array of travel and shopping benefits, such as extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waivers, and travel/emergency assistance. Both cards also offer access to Visa SavingsEdge, a program that lets you save up to 15% off on certain purchases from participating merchants.
Again, neither card carries a foreign transaction fee, so you can make purchases when traveling abroad to your heart’s content.
Which Is Best For Your Business?
The Spark Miles card and the Ink Business Preferred card have some characteristics in common, but their main points of departure are their respective rewards programs and their bonus offers.
Choose Chase Ink Business Preferred If…
- Your business spending largely aligns with the Ink Preferred’s high points earning categories (travel, shipping purchases, Internet/cable/phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines)
- You want to enjoy the 25% value bonus you’ll get for your points when booking travel (and you don’t mind sticking to Chase’s travel portal)
- You have excellent credit and you want a potentially lower APR
Chase Ink Business Preferred Annual Fee: $95 Purchase APR: 18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
Chase Ink Business Preferred
18.24% - 23.24%, Variable
Choose Capital One Spark Miles If…
- Your business spending is varied and doesn’t align with the Ink Preferred’s high earning categories
- You really don’t want to be restricted in how you redeem your miles for travel
- You plan to spend enough within the first 6 months that you stand to benefit from the Spark Miles’s bonus offer of 200,000 miles
It would be nice if I could give you a clear winner in this battle of the business credit card titans. The truth is, some small business owners will be better served by Chase Ink Business Preferred while others would do well to choose Capital One Spark Miles. Hopefully, this article will help you determine which group you fall into.
Unsure if you’ll qualify for one of these cards? Check out these links for help!