I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.
Capital One Business’ new product, Spark Travel Elite, has an up front bonus up to 250,000 miles (!). Think of it as the small business version of Venture X. Right now it’s available only to Capital One customers with Relationship Managers but will become more broadly available.
- Initial bonus: Earn up to 250,000 bonus miles in the first 6 months: 50,000 miles once you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months and 200,000 miles once you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months.
- Earning: 2x miles on all purchases, or 10X miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights when booked through Capital One’s travel portal.
- Annual benefits: 10,000 bonus miles every year after their first anniversary plus $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel.
- Lounge: Unlimited access to Capital One airport lounges as well as Priority Pass and other Capital One partner lounges
- Additional: $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every 4 years; no preset spending limit (but a web and app tool to confirm purchase power)
The $395 annual fee Spark Travel Elite (same cost as the consumer Venture X) offers “the ability to pay vendors through the card (even if they do not accept cards)” which can be very useful.
The card takes advantage of the new Capital One-Melio partnership announced last week to pay vendors and suppliers directly from a Capital One Business account and earn rewards for the spend. Think of it as like having Plastiq.com built in – ACH and check payments from an account are free while credit card payments incur a 2.9% fee.
Some existing Spark business card holders can apply for this. Capital One tells me,
Existing Spark cardholders are eligible to apply for Spark Travel Elite; however, at this time, Spark Cash Plus cardholders are unable to apply for Spark Travel Elite.
The plan is to open up the card more broadly but it’s not exactly clear yet when that happens.
Think of the product as the small business version of Venture X, making the fee affordable for those focused on travel with a travel credit that drives cardmembers to the Capital One portal along with lounge access. It’s a logical pairing, and also part of Capital One’s effort to focus on higher-end small business customers.
Capital One discontinued their highly popular Spark Cash card for new business cardmembers last summer, and at the same time introduced Spark Cash Plus as a 2% cash back card with a $150 annual fee, and a $200 bonus each year the business spends over $200,000 on the card. That makes it 2.1% at exactly $200,000 in annual spend. The card comes with a $150 annual fee. At the same time they introduced Spark Cash Select with no annual fee and just 1.5% cash back.
I think Capital One customers are better off in the miles space, either with this new product or with Spark Miles card ($0 annual fee the first year, then $95) whose points transfer to airline miles