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Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
One of the easiest ways for credit card issuers to grab your interest is by dangling a lucrative welcome bonus, one that promises the instant gratification of lots of rewards miles right up front, as well as points or some other perk as an immediate thank-you gift for signing up.
Granted, that shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor you consider when weighing all the different options you’re confronted with. But sometimes the offers are so big, so near-unheard-of, that they demand attention all by themselves — and one such pair of sign-up bonuses (the biggest of 2018, in fact) is back, just in time for the end of this year. The cards we’re talking about are Capital One’s two Spark business cards: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. If you’ve been on the fence about applying for one of these or even just for a new card in general, perhaps this might clear things up for you — one of those cards is offering a welcome bonus of up to 200,000 miles for signing up and hitting the requisite spending targets.
Here’s what you need to know:
The basics: Let’s start with that welcome offer of up to 200,000 bonus miles. The Spark Miles card is offering 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 with the card in your first three months. This is a business card, remember, and businesses tend to expense amounts that are much larger than an individual’s and which is why the second part of this offer is as follows — if you can spend $50,000 in your first six months with the card, you’ll be given a ridiculously high bonus award of 150,000 additional miles.
With the Spark Cash card, the bonus is similarly inviting — it’s just that it’s in cash instead of miles. If you spend at least $5,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn a $500 cash bonus. Again, if you spend a total of $50,000 in the first six months, you’ll score an additional $1,500 cash bonus.
There is an annual fee of $95 for each card to be aware of, but the great thing is the fee is waived during your first year. In terms of the rewards rate on both cards, the Spark Miles card earns you 5x miles on hotels, rental cars booked via Capital One Travel and 2x miles on everything else, while the Spark Cash card delivers 2% cashback on every purchase. Also, you can easily redeem that reward in the form of a statement credit or a check, while with Spark Miles — with its potential to earn you a ton of miles — you can redeem the reward there as either a statement credit for travel purchases or transfer to one of Capital One’s transfer partners.
Which is better?
Two cards, two different approaches to rewards, so that naturally begs the question of whether one is better than the other. The answer is that it depends — on your needs and preference, for starters. Cash back is more flexible than miles (you can spend it on whatever you want), though according to The Points Guy the miles here are actually worth more. The Spark Miles card even offers a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit of up to $100 that’s not available via Spark Cash.
There aren’t any domestic carriers on Capital One’s list of transfer partners, though you can still redeem miles for domestic routes through partners — such as American Airlines flyers being able to use Etihad Guest to book first-class flights on American Airlines for 33,333 Capital One Miles each way. Additionally, you can just redeem your miles for 1 cent each for eligible travel expenses without having to worry about the transfer process at all.
The final word
Here’s the great thing about these two cards, different as they are — you’re getting at least $2,000 in value via the limited-time offers, no matter which one you apply for. As such, we can’t stress this enough. These are some of the most valuable card rewards on the market today. And you can’t go wrong with either. As we noted, if you use rewards more for your travel, the Spark Miles card is probably the better bet for you, compared to Spark Cash probably being more ideal for business owners looking to save money on expenses.