Full Review of Capital One Spark Miles Select
Simple rewards program
Flexible travel redemption options
Your personal credit history could be affected
- Simple Rewards Program: The card offers a whopping 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car reservations made through Capital One Travel, plus a flat 1.5 miles per dollar on other purchases. With no cap on either rewards rate, big spenders can rack up rewards quickly without having to keep track of multiple rates by category. Of course, for all its simplicity the card's best rewards are limited, covering only a few travel categories.
- Flexible Travel-Redemption Options: The Capital One Spark Miles Select offers remarkably flexible travel rewards. You can use your miles to book travel directly through Capital One or get a statement credit against previous travel purchases. Even the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which is also very versatile, only offers two of these options—that is, you can book travel with points through Chase or transfer them to airline and hotel partners. Alternatively, you can transfer your miles to one of the bank’s airline partners, or take the rewards as cash. But the cash-back yields only half as much value. For example, if you have 50,000 miles, you’ll get $500 in travel redemptions or $250 in cash back.
- Your Personal Credit History Could Be Affected: Like most national business credit card issuers, Capital One reports your business’s account activity to the commercial credit bureaus, which can help you establish a credit history for your enterprise. But unlike most major business card issuers, the bank also reports your card activity to the consumer credit bureaus. As a result, if your business maintains a large balance relative to your credit limit or misses a payment, it could end up wrecking both your business and personal credit. Discover is the only other national business credit card issuer that reports to both the commercial and personal credit bureaus on a regular basis.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Capital One Spark Miles Select is a solid option for small business owners who want travel rewards and either don’t have a lot of expenses or don't want to deal with an annual fee.
For example, let's say you spend $10,000 per year (excluding hotel and car rental reservations through Capital One Travel). With this card, you'll earn 15,000 miles, which is worth $150 in travel. With the Capital One Spark Miles, you’ll earn 20,000 miles worth $200 in travel. But after the first year the Spark Miles’ card’s $95 annual fee could make it feel like you’re not earning quite as much.
The card’s accelerated rewards on car rentals and hotels booked through Capital One Travel can also be appealing for business owners who travel a lot for their business. Just keep in mind that the platform may not list every option available, so plan to price-shop on other travel websites to be sure you’re getting a good price.
Capital One Spark Miles Select Bonus
As a new cardholder, you’ll earn 20,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. That’s worth $200 in travel, giving you a return on your spending just under 7%. That’s not great, but if you don’t spend enough to justify a card with an annual fee, it’s better than nothing.
Rewards Earning Details
The card earns 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. That’s a solid rate, but again, keep in mind that the selection may be limited. Take some time to compare prices to make sure you’re not spending more just to earn more rewards.
The card also offers a flat 1.5 miles per dollar on every other purchase you make. That’s not the best rewards rate around, even among no-annual-fee cards—the Blue Business Plus from American Express, for instance, offers 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent each year. But it’s still decent compared with most business cards with no annual fee and a flat rewards rate.
Rewards Redemption Details
The Capital One Spark Miles Select is a travel credit card, so you’ll get the most value out of your rewards—one cent per mile—with the card's two travel redemption options:
- Purchase Eraser: Use your card to book travel through any eligible merchant, then you’ll have 90 days to use your miles to get a full or partial statement credit against the purchase.
- Book travel: Capital One allows you to use your miles to book travel directly through its travel platform.
If you want, you can also redeem your rewards for cash back, gift cards and more. But gift cards will give you a redemption rate of 0.8 cents per mile, and cash back offers just 0.5 cents per mile.
In addition to flexible travel redemption options, Capital One also allows you to transfer your rewards to one of its airline partners, which include:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Finnair Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
In most cases, you can transfer your rewards at a rate of 2 Capital One miles to 1.5 miles with the partner airline. However, JetBlue, Emirates and Singapore Airlines all offer a worse rate—you’ll only get 1 mile for every 2 miles you transfer from your Capital One account.
While you lose miles in the process of transferring them, it’s still possible to get more value out of your rewards this way than if you were to redeem them with Capital One.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
The more you use your card, the more miles you'll earn with it. If you don't use it for significant spending, at least plan to use your Capital One Spark Miles Select as often as possible, though be sure to avoid spending more than you can pay off each month so you don’t run into interest charges. And, if you have a business trip coming up, consider booking your hotel and rental car through Capital One Travel to earn more rewards—just be sure to compare prices with other travel websites to make sure you're getting the best rates.
When you're ready to use your miles, the easier option is to use them to book travel through Capital One or to erase travel purchases you’ve made with the card. But if you have some extra time and some aspirational travel plans, you may be able to get more value if you transfer your miles to one of the bank’s partners.
More specifically, you'll typically get more value on business-class or first-class international flights. For example, we found a business-class fare on Emirates from Los Angeles to Phuket, Thailand, that would cost you 250,000 miles plus $1,738 in taxes and fees, compared with a budget-breaking $7,224 in cash.
Of course, transferring rewards to partners requires additional research and greater flexibility in your travel, and you’ll need to stockpile miles until you have enough for these large redemptions. But if that’s your goal, it can be incredibly valuable.
Capital One Spark Miles Select Outstanding Benefits
One added perk the card offers is an introductory 0% APR promotion for nine months. If you have a big expense coming up or have some issues with cash flow management, this feature will allow you some time to pay off your balance without having to pay interest charges.
Have a plan in place to pay off your debt before the promotional period ends, though. Otherwise, the savings from the 0% APR arrangement could evaporate, and more, as you begin to pay a high interest rate on the remaining balance.
- Rental-car insurance
- Travel assistance
- Extended warranty protection
- Free employee cards and customized spending limits
- Year-end summaries
- Purchase records in multiple formats
Capital One was ranked No. 3 in the J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, though its overall rating was just slightly above the average for national card issuers.
The bank’s customer service team is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is standard among credit card issuers. The card issuer allows you to manage your account online or with the Capital One mobile app, which was ranked second among banks by J.D. Power in its 2019 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study.
Capital One allows you to lock and unlock your card from the mobile app, which can come in handy if you misplace your card and want to make sure someone doesn’t use it while you search for it. You can also lock employee cards, which you can use to have better control over card usage in your company.
Other than these features, Capital One's security features are relatively standard for the card industry.
While the Capital One Spark Miles Select doesn’t charge an annual fee like some other business credit cards, its rewards program is also less lucrative than many of its pricier competitors. Consider your spending habits to determine the card that best fits your business.
For example, the Capital One Spark Miles charges a $95 annual fee after the first year and offers 2 miles per dollar on most of your purchases. The fee means you’d need to spend at least $4,750 annually to justify the cost of the card. Yet if you spend a significant amount annually, you could potentially get more value out of the plain Miles card due to its superior earning rate vs. its Select sibling.
Also, consider other no-annual-fee credit cards before setting on the Capital One Spark Miles Select. For example, the Blue Business Plus card from American Express offers 2 points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent each year and has no annual fee. You can use Membership Rewards points to get gift cards or book travel through Amex Travel, or you can transfer them to one of the card issuer’s airline or hotel partners.
The Capital One Spark Miles Select can be especially valuable if you have the time and aspirations to maximize your miles through its partner airlines. But American Express and Chase also offer that feature on some of their business credit cards, so compare all of your options before picking one.
Beyond the rewards, it’s important to consider if and how you want your business finances to interact with your personal ones. One of this card’s drawbacks is that Capital One reports account activity on its business cards to consumer credit bureaus. If you’d rather avoid the potential issues that could arise from that reporting, it might be best to avoid Capital One business credit cards altogether.