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

spark cash
Spark Cash for Business

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Learn How to Apply) earns a straight 2% cash back.

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

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 purchase eraser for travel purchases at a 1:1 rate. 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 14 airline partners, 12 of which transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio.

The list of transfer partners is:

  • Aeromexico
  • Aeroplan (Air Canada’s program)
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines (2:1 ratio)
  • Emirates (2:1 ratio)
  • JetBlue (2:1 ratio)

The transfer ratio for all of these is 1.5 miles for every 2 Capital One miles or, put another way, you’ll get 3/4 of a mile for every one Capital One mile. Singapore, JetBlue and Emirates are exceptions, giving you just 1 mile per 2 Capital One miles.

The Conundrum

If you know you just want cash back, then you know the Capital One Spark Cash for Business 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 (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 of $95 each (waived the first year). 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 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,

The Limited Time Capital One Early Spend Bonus Offers:

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card (Learn how to apply) is offering
a bonus of up to 200,000 miles (which would become 150,000 airline miles). You will earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account and then another 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 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.

The miles earned from the bonus offer + minimum spend would be 300,000 Capital One “miles” and would be equal to 225,000 airline miles. In fact, you could have some pretty fantastic redemptions. For instance, you could use the miles to fly round trip in Lufthansa’s famed First Class from the US to Europe and back with plenty to spare. Or head to Asia in First on a Star Alliance carrier. (Learn How to Apply)

And then the Capital One Spark Cash for Business (Learn How to Apply) has a similar offer with a Limited Time Early Spend Bonus of up to $2,000. You will earn a bonus of $500 when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account and then another $1,500 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 months.

Be aware: Capital One will pull all 3 credit bureaus when deciding to approve or deny your application. As well, a business 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.

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

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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