Capital One

[Analysis] Capital One Spark Miles Cards Now Earn 5X on Hotels and Car Rentals

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Today, Capital One has overhauled their rewards structure on both the Capital One Spark Miles for Business (Learn how to apply) and the no-fee, but lower earning, Spark Miles Select business credit card so that both hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One earn 5X Capital One miles on both Hotels and Car Rentals booked via the Capital One Travel portal.

Capital One Spark Miles Cards Now Earn 5X on Hotels and Car Rentals

Spark Miles for Business from Capital One

Spark Miles for Business from Capital One

I currently value Capital One miles at 1.2 cents a piece. That means these give me an Estimated Rewards Value* of 6% in both categories.

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*Estimated Rewards Value is the term I use on to denote the multiplier on a particular bonus category, e.g. Car Rentals, multiplied by the value of that particular mile or point.

Let’s take a look at whether you should or should not use your Spark Miles cards for these new categories:

Spark Miles Cards for Car Rentals:

Based purely on Estimated Rewards Value, these two cards now top the list of Best Credit Cards for Car Rentals, at a 6% Estimated Rewards Value.

The next two on the list are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Preferred. Earning 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and multiplied by my current 1.75 cent per point value of Chase Ultimate Rewards, these two cards will yield 5.25% on your Car Rental spend.

What to Consider:

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Preferred come with included Primary car rental CDW/LDW insurance. (The latter requires that the rental is for business purposes.)

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Spark Miles Select also have this feature for business use and it’s a big deal. Primary car rental insurance means that you don’t even have to file a claim with your own insurance in the event of damage to your rental vehicle.

Long story short, if you are driving for business, the Spark cards could be a good new option for your car rentals, as long as you can get as good of a price on the car rentals. However, it would be giving up the ability to use a powerful service for getting the *best* possible deal on your car rentals – AutoSlash.

AutoSlash works to find you the best deal on car rentals, uses all possible coupon codes, AND tracks your rental in case the price drops later and automagically rebooks you at the cheaper rate. But you have to book via AutoSlash, meaning that while you could earn your 3X points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’d be excluded from earning 5X Capital One miles as the booking needs to be via their own portal.

The best price is generally better than the higher rewards…. generally.

Spark Miles Cards for Hotels:

Hotels are even trickier. 

Personally, I am loathe to ever book a hotel via a travel portal of any kind.

When you do, most hotels will not let you earn their hotel points for the stay and will not honor your elite status benefits nor award you elite nights towards your next year of status. If you are a very casual hotel guest, this doesn’t apply to you. But for me, I want my night credits and status benefits!

So, the first stop on your decision tree here is if you are even willing to use a third party site.

If no, the 3X Ultimate Rewards points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Preferred (for a 5.25% value remain the best you can get while still paying directly at the hotel and earning all benefits).

Also See: Best Credit Cards for Hotels by Estimated Rewards Value

If yes, the absolute best option, at least through January 2020, is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card which earns twice as much – 10X – when you use their branded portal. That would equate to a 24% rebate (using the Estimated Reward Value formula). However, the prices in the Capital One hotels portal may be higher than outside of it. So you really always need to compare the price in the new Capital One portal to booking via other channels anyway.

Beyond that, the best earning card on hotels by pure Estimated Rewards Value is the Business Platinum Card from American Express and the Platinum Card from American Express which both earn 5X Membership Rewards points for hotels but you have to book via the American Express Travel Portal. Not to mention that those cards have annual fees of $595 and $550 respectively – so not exactly apples to apples.

Bottom line on the Capital One Spark Cards for Hotels:

I’d personally stick to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Preferred cards and book directly, but if you aren’t hotel brand loyal, the Capital One Spark Miles for Business and Spark Miles Select may turn out to be solid options on your hotel spend, especially seeing as how the Spark Miles Select offers this with no annual fee and still allows you to transfer out to the 15 Capital One airline partners.

What do you think?

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.