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The Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card Review: Is It Worth It?

The Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card Review: Is It Worth It?

The Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card's generous sign-up bonus and fantastic travel and business perks make it a fantastic option for small business owners.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: See website for details
  • Sign-up bonus: 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 rate: 2X miles on every purchase plus 10X miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights when booked through Capital One Travel. The card has no preset spending limit
  • Annual fee: $395
  • Other benefits: Annual bonus miles and travel credit, unlimited airport lounge access, TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry credit, small business benefits

Pros

  • Attractive sign-up bonus
  • Excellent earning rate
  • No preset spending limit
  • Does not report to personal credit bureaus
  • Useful small business perks
  • TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry credit every four years
  • Annual bonus miles and travel credit
  • Extensive airport lounge access

Cons

  • Only currently available to clients of Capital One Relationship Managers
  • High spend requirement to achieve the sign-up bonus
  • $395 annual fee
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Is the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card worth it?

The Spark Travel Elite can be worth it for small business owners anticipating high startup costs and a strong need for business travel. This card comes with a multitude of valuable benefits including:

  • 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 toward travel) every year after their first anniversary
  • Up to $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel
  • Unlimited airport lounge access
  • Unique business benefits such as free employee cards, the ability to pay any vendor through the card — even those that don't accept credit cards — and receipt capture through the Capital One Mobile app.

This card is essentially the business version of the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, with nearly identical benefits. While the card comes with a high $395 annual fee, it's worth noting that this is much lower than what other premium business credit cards charge annually. Another potential drawback with this card is that it's currently only available to clients of Capital One Relationship Managers.

If you're looking for a card with a lower annual fee that may be easier to secure, consider another small business credit card instead.

Sign-up bonus

If you can spend enough to earn it, the Spark Travel Elite offers a fabulous sign-up bonus:

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.

This type of bonus is ideal for small business owners with large startup costs. While the miles earned with this sign-up bonus can be exceedingly valuable, you'll want to make sure the spend requirement is something you can afford so that you don’t end up going into debt. Luckily, the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card does not report to personal credit bureaus, so if you need a bit of time paying off your card in full during the first few months, your credit score won't suffer.

Earning rate

For small business owners with travel needs, the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card offers a lucrative earning rate:

2X miles on every purchase plus 10X miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights when booked through Capital One Travel. The card has no preset spending limit.

If your business is spending significantly on travel-related expenses including hotels, flights and rental cars, this rate can be exceptionally beneficial. It's also worth noting that the 2X miles on every purchase is quite impressive compared to what many other business credit cards are offering.

If you rarely incur travel expenses, however, you'd likely benefit more from a card with more business-focused bonus spending categories. The American Express® Business Gold Card, for example, lets you Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month*

Redeeming rewards

While you have several options when it comes to redeeming your Capital One miles, you'll get the most value using them for travel, which will typically net you about 1 cent a piece. Cardholders can use their Capital One miles to book flights on any airline through the Capital One Travel Portal without seat restrictions or blackout dates. You can also use your rewards toward car rentals, hotels, cruises, ride-sharing services and more.

Capital One also has a host of hotel and airline partners to which you can transfer your miles, many at a 1:1 ratio, which offers even more flexibility. Note, too, that your miles won't expire for the life of the account.

Annual bonus miles and travel credit

Two of the most impressive perks that come with this card are the annual bonus miles and Capital One Travel credit. Cardholders will receive:

  • 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 toward travel) every year after their first anniversary
  • Up to $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel

The 10,000 bonus miles give you a complimentary $100 to use toward travel every year. This is a nice way to kick off your next adventure, as you can put these miles toward flights, hotels, rental cars and more. Similarly, the $300 annual credit offers endless travel possibilities, so long as you book through Capital One Travel.

Unlimited airport lounge access

Another top benefit of the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card is its extensive access to global airport lounges. Cardholders will receive free unlimited access to:

  • Capital One airport lounges
  • More than 1,300 Priority Pass Lounges around the world
  • Over 100 global Plaza Premium Lounges

With this many options to choose from, you can travel with the ease of knowing you'll always have access to an airport lounge no matter where you are.

Other Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card benefits

The Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card comes with a suite of additional benefits that can prove extremely useful for cardholders.

Capital One Spark Travel Elite cardmembers will receive a TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry reimbursement credit once every four years. This is an excellent perk, as both of these services can save you significant amounts of time at the airport. TSA PreCheck® expedites your waiting time in a special airport security line, while Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck®) cuts down wait time at customs when reentering the country from abroad.

As a credit card targeted toward small business owners, it's only fitting that the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card comes with business-grade capabilities. Cardholders will have access to:

  • Free employee cards
  • The option to pay vendors using their card, even if the vendor doesn't accept credit cards
  • Receipt capture through the Capital One Mobile app

These benefits can be helpful for small businesses looking to manage their finances.

The Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card comes with no preset spending limit. That means the amount you'll be able to spend will change over time based on your spending habits, payment history and other factors.

If you are looking for peace of mind before making large purchases, you can confirm your purchasing power on the Capital One website or app to ensure your transaction will be approved before making it.

A nice benefit of the Spark Travel Elite is that it will not report to personal credit bureaus as long as your account remains in good standing. This gives you the freedom to get your business up and running without having to worry about a negative impact on your credit score.

Drawbacks

  • Only currently available to clients of Capital One Relationship Managers — This detail can be a strong barrier to entry, especially if you're not currently banking with Capital One. If you are not a client of Capital One Relationship Managers and aren't seeking to become one, you may want to go with a more attainable Capital One business credit card instead.
  • High spend requirement to achieve the sign-up bonus — If you don't think you'll be able to spend $10,000 in the first three months or $50,000 in the first six months of card membership, you won't benefit from the lucrative sign-up bonus.
  • $395 annual fee — While this annual fee may seem steep, it's actually relatively moderate compared with other premium business credit cards that charge well over $600 for annual credit card ownership. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, charges a $695 annual fee.

Alternatives to the Spark Travel Elite

While the Spark Travel Elite can be a great option for clients of Capital One Relationship Managers, those seeking a more easily attainable business credit card may want to consider the following options.

Spark Travel Elite vs. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

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Verdict: An impressive premium card with a high price tag.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a top competitor in the premium business card space due to its excellent business and travel perks. The major downside to this card is its exorbitant $695 annual fee, though many cardholders would argue that the credits and additional perks that come with the card largely work to offset it. For example, cardholders can expect to receive hundreds of dollars in credits for purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe and U.S. wireless service providers (enrollment required). You'll also get extensive lounge access, a generous welcome offer and various other premium perks that make this card valuable for small business owners.

Spark Travel Elite vs. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: Valuable benefits for a $95 annual fee.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers a great alternative to the high price tag charged by other premium business credit cards. For just $95 annually, cardholders can Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. You'll also enjoy free employee cards and a host of travel and purchase protections, including extended warranty protection, travel and emergency assistance services, and more.

Beyond the large disparity in annual fees, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is accessible for any small business owner who meets the credit score requirement, while the Spark Travel Elite requires members to be clients of Capital One Relationship Managers.

Spark Travel Elite vs. American Express® Business Gold Card

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Verdict: Excellent earning rate personalized to your business needs.

The American Express® Business Gold Card charges a slightly more moderate $295 annual fee compared to the Capital One Spark Travel Elite Card's $395 fee. It also comes with a variety of stellar rewards and benefits. Cardholders can enjoy the American Express® Business Gold Card's unique earning rate, which is personalized based on your business needs: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month*. Cardholders will also receive travel and purchase protections, no foreign transaction fees, free employee cards and more.

Should you get the Spark Travel Elite?

If you are a small business owner with large expenses and are a client of Capital One Relationship Managers, you should consider getting the Spark Travel Elite. It comes with top benefits for both business and travel, which can be invaluable for someone looking for a business credit card with all the bells and whistles. However, if you don't fit the requirements for card approval, you may be better suited to another small business credit card instead.

The information related to Spark Travel Elite, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Business Gold Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).