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TravelCapital One Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business: Which is...

Capital One Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business: Which is better for your business?


The Spark line of business credit cards from Capital One is built for small-business owners craving rewards for everyday, non-bonus spending. And the two cards in the family with annual fees — the Capital One Spark Cash Plus and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business — are both solid options.

If you’re debating which one to apply for, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Would I rather have cash to put back into my business or save up for a future travel redemption?
  • How much effort am I willing to put into learning about loyalty programs and award redemptions?

The answers to these questions will help determine which Spark card is best for you. But regardless, both of these cards are on TPG’s current list of best business credit cards and have a lot in common.

Let’s take a closer look.

Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business comparison

 Capital One Spark Cash Plus Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Annual fee $150 (see rates and fees) $95 (waived for the first year; see rates and fees)
Earning rates 2% cash back on all purchases, plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, plus 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
Sign-up bonus Earn $1,200 once you spend $30,000 in the first three months after account opening Earn 50,000 miles (worth $925 based on TPG’s valuations; not provided by the issuer) after you spend $4,500 in the first three months after account opening
Employee cards Free (see rates and fees) Free (see rates and fees)

Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business welcome offers

The Spark Cash Plus currently comes with a bonus of $1,200 once you spend $30,000 in the first three months of card membership.

That’s a nice return, though business owners with smaller budgets may find the spending requirement unachievable.

THE POINTS GUY

The Spark Miles earns 50,000 miles after you meet the $4,500 spending requirement in the first three months. You can use these miles to book travel directly through Capital One, cover a previous travel purchase made within the last 90 days at a value of one cent per mile or transfer them directly to one of Capital One’s 15-plus travel partners.

TPG values Capital One miles (an estimate calculated by TPG and not the card issuer) at 1.85 cents apiece, which makes the welcome bonus on the Spark Miles card worth $925.

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The icing on the cake is that with both of these cards, you’ll also earn rewards while spending your way to the welcome bonus since you’re getting at least 2% cash back (on the Spark Cash Plus) or 2 miles per dollar (on the Spark Miles) for all your purchases.

Winner: Spark Miles for Business. Its spending requirement will be way more achievable for most small businesses.

Related: Best ways to redeem Capital One miles

Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business benefits

Neither of these cards charges foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees for Spark Miles and rates and fees for Spark Cash Plus), which is handy if you travel internationally.

PEKIC/GETTY IMAGES

With both cards, you can receive itemized year-end summary reports to help you plan your budget.

Additionally, the Spark Miles gives you up-to-$100 credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Winner: Spark Miles for Business. It gets the edge here with its Global Entry credit.

Earning rewards on the Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business

With the Spark Cash Plus, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases plus 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. That’s a pretty standard return, so you can use this card to maximize non-bonus spending and feel good about it.

You can also get the card’s $150 annual fee refunded every year you spend at least $150,000 on the card (see rates and fees).

WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES

Note also that the Spark Cash Plus is technically a charge card rather than a credit card, meaning you must pay your balance in full each month.

On the other hand, the Spark Miles earns 2 miles per dollar on everyday business purchases, plus 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Since we value Capital One miles at 1.85 cents apiece, the Spark Miles effectively offers a 3.7% return on all spending and a 9.3% return on Capital One Travel purchases.

Winner: Spark Miles for Business. Its higher return rate wins out.

Related: Best business credit cards for each category

Redeeming rewards on the Spark Cash Plus vs. Spark Miles for Business

The biggest difference between the two cards is the redemption options you’ll get.

With the Spark Cash Plus, you’ll earn cash-back rewards, which you can redeem as a statement credit or check.

With the Spark Miles, you can redeem your miles at a fixed value of one cent apiece by booking travel directly through Capital One Travel or covering a previous travel purchase made within the last 90 days.

DRAGANA991/GETTY IMAGES

As with cash back, this redemption method is very simple — a plus, if you’re like TPG writer Ryan Wilcox and prefer straightforward redemption options. However, if you enjoy finding and booking high-value premium cabin awards, you can get even more value from your miles by transferring them to Capital One’s airline or hotel partners.

Winner: Spark Miles for Business. It has more redemption options and a long list of transfer partners.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable points

Should I get the Spark Cash Plus or Spark Miles for Business?

The Spark Cash Plus and Spark Miles cards could both be great options for your small business. If you lean toward travel spending and are willing to spend time figuring out how to redeem miles for maximum value, your answer is the Spark Miles since it’s a transferable points-earning credit card. If not, you’ll want to go with the Spark Cash Plus.

Bottom line

The Spark Cash Plus is a cash-back credit card that’s solid for everyday business expenses but won’t get you outsized value when it comes to travel. That’s where the Spark Miles for Business comes in.

Either of these cards could make sense for your business needs. It just comes down to how you want to collect and redeem your rewards.

To learn more, read our full review of the Spark Cash Plus and Spark Miles for Business.


Learn more: Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Learn more: Capital One Spark Cash Plus


For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

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