Spark Cash Plus Card
Spark Cash Plus

The Spark Business credit cards from Capital One are both great cards but with a slight difference.

Spark Cash Plus Card
Spark Cash Plus

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus (Learn How to Apply) earns a straight 2% cash back and has no preset spending limit.

It’s simple cash.

You earn them at the rate of 2 per dollar spent.

You can redeem each dollar earned in your account for …. one dollar.

But you can’t transfer Spark Cash points out to airlines or anything like that. It’s just cash.

Spark Miles for Business
Spark Miles for Business

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business (Learn how to apply), on the other hand earns Capital One “miles.” You earn 2 miles per dollar spent and can cash them out one of two primary ways:

1) You can use as a rebate on travel purchases at a 1:1 rate (or book travel at that rate in the Capital One Travel Portal. This would be like 2% cash back but you can only redeem for travel. You also have the option to redeem for straight cash – but at only half the rate (2 miles = $1) so that’s not a very good option.

2) Capital One miles are transferable to more than 18 airline and hotel partners.

Capital One Transfer Partners

Capital One Miles
Transfer RatioExpected Transfer Time
Air Canada (Aeroplan)1:1Instant
Air France / KLM Flying Blue1:1Instant
Avianca Lifemiles1:1Instant
British Airways Avios1:1TBD
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1Nearly instant
Choice Hotels1:11 day
Emirates Skywards1:1Instant
Etihad Guest1:11-2 days
Qantas1:11-2 days
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:11-2 days
TAP Air Portugal1:1TBD
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles1:1TBD
Wyndham Rewards Hotel Program1:1Instant
EVA2:1.51-2 days
Accor Live Limitless (ALL) Hotel Program2:11-2 days
Virgin Red1:1TBD

The Conundrum

If you know you just want cash back, then you know the Capital One Spark Cash Plus is your card.

If you know you want airline miles, then the Capital One Spark Miles for Business is your card.

But what if you want options?

You Can Have Both Cards – and Transfer from the Spark Cash to the Spark Miles Card

And I actually do. This way I can earn on the Spark Cash Plus (2 points per dollar) and then I can either redeem for a check at full rate (1:1) or I can transfer from my Spark Cash to my Spark Miles card and then transfer from there to airline partners.

You Can’t Transfer the Other Way

So, if you want to keep your options open, you have to do the earning on your Spark Cash card. You could earn on the Spark Cash and open a Spark Miles later – but you cannot do the reverse.

The Downside to This Plan?

Two annual fees. So there is an opportunity cost. You’d need to be spending enough to make it worthwhile. However, you can get the early spend bonus (more on that below) on both cards. Even the standard early spend bonus offer will offset your first 5 years of annual fees. And the big offer on now is 4 times that.

And the one piece of the puzzle that I don’t know is if the no-fee Spark Miles Select Business Credit Card is a transfer option from the Spark Cash. If you have both cards, can you please let me know? If that was an allowable transfer, you’d only have to pay your annual fee on the Spark Cash. The Spark Miles Select Business Credit Card earns at a lower rate, but the transfers to airlines are the same as the regular Spark Miles for Business.

I’ll also note that Capital One added a permanent fee waiver on my old Spark Cash account many years ago when I was calling to cancel (well before I even had this blog). I obviously was spending enough for them to care, but it’s worth knowing that this is possible. Certainly with even one of the two fees waived, this works even better,

Capital One Early Spend Bonus Offers

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card (Learn how to apply) is offering
a bonus of 50,000 Capital One miles when you spend $4,500 in your first 3 months.

The card earns 2 Capital One miles per dollar on all spend and 5X miles on hotels and car rental bookings made through the Capital One Travel portal.

And then the Capital One Spark Cash Plus (Learn How to Apply) has a similar offer with a Limited Time Early Spend Bonus of up to $1,000: $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months

Be aware: Capital One will pull all 3 credit bureaus when deciding to approve or deny your application. As well, a Spark Miles card with Capital One will be reported to credit bureaus on your personal report, meaning that it will count against your Chase 5/24 status. A new Spark Cash Plus will not report to personal credit.

I’m also not advocating getting both of these cards the same day. Mainly because you’d get denied for the second one. Ideally you already have one. Else, you’ll need to space your applications out by at least 6 months.

Is the Flexibility Worth Two Cards?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram for all sorts of tips on miles, points, credit cards, and travel.

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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.


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