Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Feb 16, 2018 | Updated Feb 19, 2018

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Capital One offers five different credit cards in their Spark family of business cards, including two cash back cards which are covered in this review.

These cards are both designed for people with excellent credit:

  • Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: 2% cash back, $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business: 1.5% cash back, no annual fee, 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months

These are general cash back cards, which means that they don’t have any spending categories to worry about. Instead, they provide the same reward no matter where you shop or what you buy.

The Spark Cash offers a higher cash back rate and also has an annual fee. But if you plan to spend more than $19,000 every year with it, it will be the more rewarding choice out of these two. If you won’t be spending that much per year, the Spark Cash Select will end up providing more cash back.

These cards both report your activity to the business credit bureaus, which means they can help you build up your business credit. This is unlike many other business credit cards.

Should you be using one of these cards to help manage your business spending? Keep reading to find out!

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Apply Now

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
  • Interest Rate: 17.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Cash rewards don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don't expire
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business
Apply Now

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.99%, 17.99%, or 21.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases until May 2016; 12.9%-20.9% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Get online Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don't expire

Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Why we like these cards

We gave the Spark Cash and Spark Cash Select cards 5 out of 5 Stars. They’re good options for business owners to earn cash back on purchases in general, rather than specific categories.

  • They’re cheap to use. The Spark Cash Select has no annual fee, while the Spark Cash is just $95 (waived the first year). And you can offset that fee by spending as little as $4,750 per year with the card.
  • You’ll earn a competitive amount of cash back with each card, given their fee structures.
  • Both cards have a pretty good signup bonus for spending in the first 3 months.
  • These cards are available at the Visa Signature level. That comes with upgraded benefits compared to most cards, like discounts and complimentary services while traveling.
  • Capital One provides a decent set of business-related benefits with these cards. That includes spending and account management tools.
  • You can get an unlimited number of employee cards at no cost.
  • Capital One business cards report activity to three business credit bureaus. So these cards are good options if you want to improve your business’s credit.

Why these cards could be better

  • You won’t be earning a ton of cash back with these cards, compared to some other business credit cards.
  • There are some valuable perks, but nothing to write home about.

There are many other options for business owners to earn rewards on purchases. Check out some alternatives to the Spark Cash cards below, some of which have bonus reward categories.

Insider Advice: Using These Cards as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Use these cards to earn cash back on every purchase, no matter what you’re buying. You won’t need to be concerned with bonus reward categories, and which card to use where.
  • Be sure to get the signup bonus, whichever card you use. You can earn that by spending a certain amount in the first 3 months. The Spark Cash requires $4,500 spent, which will earn you $500 cash back. The Spark Cash Select requires you to spend $3,000 and will provide $200 cash back.
  • You should probably only need one of these cards at a time. We’ve calculated if you spend more than $19,000 per year, the Spark Cash will be more profitable than the Spark Cash Select. Otherwise, consider going with the Spark Cash Select, which will end up providing more cash back.
  • If you have the Spark Cash, you should be sure to spend enough with the card to offset the annual fee each year. You’ll need to spend $4,750 per year to make up for that fee.
  • If you have the Spark Cash Select, use the 9-month 0% introductory APR offer for purchases. This will let you pay off large business expenses over time at no interest.
  • You can earn more cash back more quickly by assigning employee cards to your employees. You’ll earn cash back whenever the cards are used, and you can set individual credit limits to control spending. Employee cards are free.
  • These cards are available at the Visa Signature tier, which comes with enhanced benefits compared to basic Visa cards. The tier you get will depend on your credit history and financial situation. Check your Guide to Benefits to see which benefits are available for your card.
  • Take note that these are business credit cards, which means they are different from regular personal credit cards in a few important ways. Read all about how business cards are different from consumer credit cards.
  • These cards report to business credit bureaus, specifically Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Small Business Financial Exchange. This means you can build your business credit with these cards.
  • These cards don’t have foreign transaction fees, so they are good options for business trips outside the country. Most cards charge a fee of up to 3% for every purchase made when traveling abroad. And as Visa cards, they’ll be accepted basically everywhere.

The Rewards

The Spark Cash is more rewarding, providing 2% cash back no matter where you shop and the largest signup bonus.

The Spark Cash Select is next, offering 1.5% cash back on every purchase and a smaller signup bonus.

Earning

Spark Cash

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $500 cash back for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months

Spark Cash Select

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $200 cash back for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back, and it will not expire as long as your account is open.

You may be able to transfer your rewards between Capital One cards. Contact customer support for your card to learn if you can.

Redeeming

You can redeem the cash back you earn as a statement credit to reduce the balance of your account, or you can have it mailed to you in the form of a check. The statement credit is usually the easiest way to redeem.

Capital One provides an automatic redemption system you can set up. This will automatically redeem your cash back at either a set time every year or when it reaches a specified threshold.

There is also the option to redeem your cash back for certain purchases, gift cards, and other expenses. But these methods are subject to change and will not always grant the full value of 1 cent for every 1 cent you’ve earned. So, it’s usually best to just redeem for statement credits.

How to Offset the Annual Fee

The Capital One Spark Cash card comes with an annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year. It would be best to earn enough cash back every year to offset that fee, and then make some profit on top of that. So how much do you need to spend every year to offset the fee?

This card provides 2% cash back, so if you spend $4,750 you’ll earn exactly $95 in cash back. Any rewards you earn after that will be pure profit.

That means you should expect to spend at least $4,750 with this card every year to make sure it remains profitable for you. However, you’ll need to spend more than that to make the Spark Cash card the right choice between the two Spark Cash cards. If you won’t spend very much you should consider the Spark Cash Select, which has no annual fee but only offers 1.5% cash back.

We’ll discuss exactly how much you need to spend to make the Spark Cash card the right choice in the next section.

Which Card is Better for You?

We saw above that you’ll need to spend $4,750 per year to offset the annual fee of the Spark Cash card. But that will only let you break even.

If you spent that much with the Spark Cash Select instead you would earn $71.25 in profit, and that would be a better strategy. Without an annual fee, that amount of spending will provide cash back every year even though you earn at a lower rate.

So how much do you need to spend per year to make the Spark Cash card, at 2% cash back, more rewarding than the Spark Cash Select at 1.5% cash back? Here are some example amounts, along with how much cash back you’ll earn after the annual fee is subtracted.

Amount Spent Annually Cash Back Earned (Spark Cash) Cash Back Earned (Spark Cash Select)
$2,500 -$45 $37.50
$4,750 $0 $71.25
$10,000 $105 $150
$15,000 $205 $225
$19,000 $285 $285
$20,000 $305 $300
$25,000 $405 $375
$30,000 $505 $450
$40,000 $705 $600

As you can see, you’ll need to spend $19,000 per year to make the Spark Cash card as profitable as the Spark Cash Select. As you spend more than that, the difference in the cash back you’ll earn grows more and more in favor of the Spark Cash card.

So, if you spend more than $19,000 per year the Spark Cash will provide more cash back and it would be the right choice for you; if you won’t spend that much, the Spark Cash Select will be more rewarding overall even though it offers a lower cash back rate.

The Benefits

Capital One provides a nice set of benefits for each of these cards. They each come with the same benefits.

The benefits you get will depend on your card service level — Visa Platinum (basic) or Visa Signature (upgraded). This will depend on your credit history and financial situation, and it will be determined by Capital One if you’re approved for an account.

The Spark Cash and Spark Cash Select cards will usually come at the Visa Signature level. However, in some cases they may come at Visa Platinum, which has reduced benefits. The following benefits are for Visa Signature business cards from Capital One. Be sure to check your Guide to Benefits to learn exactly which benefits are available with your card.

Reports to Business Credit Bureaus

These cards report your activity to these three business credit bureaus:

  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Experian
  • Small Business Financial Exchange

This is a pretty unique feature because most business credit cards, which have the word “business” in their name, don’t actually report your regular activity to either the business credit bureaus or the personal credit bureaus. Instead, they only report to the personal credit bureaus when you perform a negative action, like a late or returned payment.

The Spark cards provide a way to build up your business credit, unlike most other business cards which will only affect your personal credit when you do something negative. This feature makes these cards stand out among business credit cards.

Quarterly and Year-End Summaries

You can get custom, itemized reports of your spending to help simplify accounting and taxes. Includes primary and employee cards.

Downloadable Purchase Records

Download your records any time you’d like in a variety of formats, including Quicken®, QuickBooks™ and Excel®.

Spark Business Customer Service Representatives

Speak with specially trained reps whenever you’d like for help with any questions you have. Call toll-free, 1-800-867-0904.

Free Employee Cards

Get an unlimited number of employee cards to distribute to your employees, and earn rewards every time they use them. You can set individual credit limits for the cards.

24/7 Concierge Service

Call the number on the back of your card for non-emergency help with a variety of tasks, like making travel arrangements, getting tickets to events or reservations at restaurants, and finding hard-to-find gifts.

Visa® SavingsEdge

Get up to 15% off at merchants when you shop through the Visa SavingsEdge shopping portal. You’ll find deals at gas stations, hotel chains, restaurants, office supply merchants, tech websites, and more.

Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection

Frequent travelers should take note of this benefit, because it provides a variety of perks, discounts, and complimentary services at over 900 hotels around the world, including most of the top brands. When staying at these participating resorts and hotels, Visa Signature cardholders will receive the following benefits:

  • Best available rate guarantee
  • Automatic room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available
  • Complimentary continental breakfast daily
  • $25 USD food or beverage credit
  • VIP Guest status
  • 3PM check-out upon request, when available

Fine Wine & Food

Visa Signature cardholders get discounts at over 50 wineries in Sonoma County, California. See the list of participating wineries.

The benefits at wineries include:

  • Purchase 1 standard tasting using a Visa Signature card and receive 1 complimentary tasting of equal or lesser value
  • Preferred pricing on non-wine purchases over $50, where applicable
  • Savings on wine purchased same day in the Tasting Room
  • Savings on Reserve tasting or special wine and food pairings

Sports Experiences

A rotating selection of sports-related discounts and benefits.

One example is an invitation to join Troon Rewards, the reward program of the Troon golf course and merchandise company. This will give you a 10% discount on golf fees and merchandise at Troon courses around the world. Current Troon Rewards members can receive an upgrade in status, either to Gold (15% discount) or Platinum (20% discount).

Shopping Discounts

Visa Signature cardholders have access to a rotating selection of discounts and offers at a wide variety of retailers. There is a nice selection to choose from, with both online and offline offers, and it includes many popular brands so it’s worth checking before you make any major purchase.

Some current examples (at the time this was published) include:

  • Save $10 on purchases of $50 or more at GNC.com
  • Buy a $75.00 Macy’s eGift card & get a $5.00 Macy’s eGift card
  • Save 20% on purchases of $200 or more at Cole Haan (online or in-store)
  • Buy/renew a 3-month Audible Gold Gift Membership for $45 plus applicable taxes and receive a $5 Amazon.com gift card
  • Free Pearl Harbor Tote Bag with purchase of $25 or more at USS Arizona Memorial Museum Store in Hawaii

Shopping Protections

These cards also come with several perks to help out when shopping. You’ll get Purchase Security to cover your items against theft and damage. And also an Extended Warranty to protect your purchases longer than usual.

Visa Signature-level cards will also get Price Protection, which will reimburse you if you find an item you bought being advertised for a lesser price.

Travel Protections

You’ll get some travel protections with these cards, like Travel and Emergency Assistance to help you find emergency services when you need them. And an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver to lighten the cost of your car rentals.

Visa Signature cardholders will also get the Roadside Dispatch service for on-the-road emergency referrals, like tire changes and towing. Travel Accident Insurance is included as well, which provides coverage on common carriers, and the Lost Luggage Reimbursement service will provide up to $3,000 in reimbursement if your luggage is lost or stolen.

Other Benefits

These cards come with a variety of benefits, which could be fairly valuable if you make use of them often enough. If you’d like to read through the benefits for each card, you can see:

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Intro APR for Purchases Regular APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Spark Cash $95 (waived the first year) None 17.99% Variable 23.99% Variable 0%
Spark Cash Select $0  0% for 9 months 13.99%, 17.99%, or 21.99% Variable 23.99% Variable 0%
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Spark Cash 30.4% Variable Up to $39 See Terms
Spark Cash Select 30.4% Variable Up to $39 See Terms

Here you can see a few differences between the cards.

The Spark Cash has an annual fee, but it’s fairly small and only kicks in after the first year. As we’ve discussed above, you can offset this fee by spending $4,750 with the card per year to earn $95 in cash back.

The Spark Cash Select comes with an intro 0% APR offer, which will apply to purchases for 9 months. If that’s a necessity for you, this will be your only option out of these two cards. This intro rate does not apply to balance transfers, and it may be replaced by the regular rate or the penalty rate if you make a late payment. You may get a regular purchase APR on the lower end or the higher end, depending on your credit and financial history.

Neither of these cards have a foreign transaction fee, making them good choices to bring with you on business trips outside the country. Most other credit cards will charge a fee, usually of 3%. They’re also Visa cards, so they’ll be accepted pretty much everywhere around the world.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Small Business Credit Card Phone Line  1-800-867-0904

Capital One’s customer service is fairly good compared to other credit card companies. When we’ve called them, we’ve generally been able to figure out what we needed to know without too much hassle.

We recently called to ask about these Spark Cash cards. We were wondering if they always come at the Visa Signature level, or if they might come at Visa Platinum too.

It took some time to get this answer, but we learned that these cards could come at either the Signature or Platinum level. If these were consumer cards, any accounts with credit limits of $5,000 or above would receive Signature. And any accounts below that would get Platinum.

However, with business cards like these it works differently. There is no set limit at which an account will get Visa Signature. Instead, the specifics of each business card application will be considered to determine which Visa tier it gets.

So there’s no hard and fast answer to this question. But we would guess that most people who are approved will end up with a fairly high credit limit and will get a Visa Signature card. These cards are meant for excellent credit, so anyone who is approved should be in relatively good shape financially.

Whenever we’ve called Capital One, we’ve spoken with friendly representatives who were glad to help. Last year, they came in third in J.D. Power’s annual Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. That seems about right to us. You might spend some time on hold when you call, but that’s not unusual for credit card issuers.

Web Support

Capital One makes it very easy to navigate their site and find their card offers. Compared to some other card issuers, finding information about their cards is usually quite straightforward.

When you reach a card page you’ll usually be able to see all the important points pretty quickly. And there are plenty of links to get more information. Unlike many other card issuers, Capital One provides a prominent link to the card’s Guide to Benefits.

This is an excellent move on their part, because it gives you a way to see the specific benefits that will come with your card, spelled out with full details. Most other card issuers don’t provide an easy link like this, making it more difficult to figure out exactly what benefits you’ll get with a particular card.

The Bottom Line

The Spark Cash and Spark Cash Select credit cards from Capital One are both options to help you manage your business spending. They have a few small but important differences that could sway you to pick one over the other.

If you’re going back and forth between the Spark cards, consider the main ways that they are similar and different:

Feature Spark Cash Spark Cash Select
Cash Back 2% 1.5%
Spending Bonus $500 for spending $4,500 $200 for spending $3,000
Benefits Full set, including business Full set, including business
Annual Fee $95 (waived the first year) None
Intro APR None 9-month 0% APR on purchases

These cards are different in a few ways, but neither one is necessarily better than the other.

Would you rather earn 2% back and pay an annual fee? Or get 1.5% back and pay no fee? You can offset the annual fee on the Spark Cash by spending $4,750 per year. But remember that you’ll need to spend more than $19,000 per year before the Spark Cash becomes more profitable than the Spark Cash Select. If you won’t spend that much annually, the Spark Cash Select will be the better choice because you’ll end up with more cash back.

Do you want a card with an intro APR for purchases? The additional benefits are the same, so you don’t need to compare them in that category. Take a look at your finances and your spending habits, and think about which one of these cards would bring you the most value.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive business rewards card, there are several others you might be interested in. See some alternatives to the Spark Cash cards below.

Or, if your credit isn’t that great, check out the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business (Review). It’s designed for average credit, and offers 1% cash back for every purchase.

How to Apply for the Spark Business Credit Cards

To apply for one of the Spark Business cards just click the appropriate Apply Now button below. You’ll be taken to Capital One to apply, and they’ll check your credit history and your business’s credit history.

The Spark Cash cards are both designed for people with excellent credit.

When you apply, you’ll need to have your basic personal information, along with business information which includes your total annual revenue and your business’s Tax ID Number or Employer ID Number.

They’ll check your credit reports from any of the three major consumer credit bureaus. The approval process can be instant or it may take a few days, and if approved you should get your card within 10 business days.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Apply Now

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
  • Interest Rate: 17.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 2% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Cash rewards don't expire, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don't expire
Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business
Apply Now

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.99%, 17.99%, or 21.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases until May 2016; 12.9%-20.9% variable APR after that
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • Get online Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
  • Redeem cash rewards anytime, for any amount, even set up automatic redemption
  • Earn unlimited cash rewards that don't expire

Alternatives to the Spark Business Credit Cards

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash Card (Review) has no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The only Spark card to have an intro rate is the Spark Cash Select, and that provides 9 months at 0% APR for purchases only.

The Ink card is quite rewarding for certain types of business owners:

  • 5% cash back:
    • at office supply stores
    • on internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2% cash back:
    • at gas stations
    • at restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: $300 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

You can get employee copies of the Ink card, just like the Spark cards. It also comes with a basic set of shopping and travel protections.

Overall, it has the potential to be quite a rewarding card if you frequently shop at merchants where you’ll get the 5% cash back. There’s no annual fee, so anything you earn is pure profit as long as you avoid interest and penalty fees.

The major difference between the Ink and the Spark cards is that the Spark cards offer general rewards that you’ll get no matter where you shop. The Ink card offers its best rewards in specific categories. A good strategy to maximize rewards could be to combine these cards: use the Ink whenever you’re shopping in the 5% and 2% reward categories, and use a Spark card for every other purchase.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express (Review) is more expensive than any of the Spark cards, coming with an annual fee of $175 which is waived the first year. It’s also different in that it’s a charge card, meaning you’ll have to pay your entire balance in full every month.

If you’re willing to pay that price you’ll get to choose your own bonus category:

  • 3X points per dollar in the category of your choice:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 2X points per dollar on the 4 remaining categories, and at Amex Travel
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Signup bonus: 50,000 points for spending $5,000 in qualifying purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Signup bonus: up to $1,500 in statement credits for G Suite by Google Cloud during your first 3 months

So if you want to customize your rewards and tend to make purchases in the categories listed here, this card might be a great choice for you. You can get up to 1 cent per point with the normal redemption methods, like for flights and gift cards. That means you’ll be earning 3% cash back in the 3X category, 2% back in the 2X category, etc.

You can also transfer your points to participating frequent traveler programs, a great feature that can potentially make those points very valuable. In some cases you can earn the equivalent of up to 4.2% cash back with a transfer, but this amount will vary depending on the program and what the points are used for (flights, hotel rooms, etc.).

This card comes with a nice signup bonus of 50,000 points for spending $5,000. That comes to an equivalent of $500 when redeemed for 1 cent per point. There are many benefits with this card that could be very valuable, especially for frequent travelers. Cardholders have access to The Hotel Collection by American Express, for example, which provides discounts and credit at hotels when you book eligible stays.

The Business Gold Rewards card comes with a comprehensive set of shopping and travel protections, which are comparable to the Visa Signature benefits of the Spark cards. American Express also provides a suite of business benefits through their OPEN program, which help you manage your account and connect with other business owners.

You can get additional employee cards, but they will cost you. The first employee card will have an annual fee of $50, waived in the first year of card ownership; additional employee cards will have no fee. Compare this to the Spark cards, where you’ll get an unlimited number of free employee cards.

Overall, the Business Gold Rewards card is more rewarding than the Spark cards as long as you spend in its reward categories. And the benefits are a step up as well. But you’ll also be paying quite a bit more for it, so you’ll need to check your finances to see if you’ll use the Business Gold card enough to make it worth the fee.

SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express

The SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express (Review) comes with no annual fee. It has a nice 0% intro APR for 9 months on purchases. This means it has the same basic fee and interest rate structure as the Spark Cash Select.

The rewards are quite different, however. Instead of offering the same cash back for every purchase, the SimplyCash Plus offers:

  • 5% cash back at:
    • U.S. office supply stores
    • Wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. providers
  • 3% cash back on your choice of 1 category:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Car rentals from select rental companies
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases of advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases of shipping
    • Purchases of hardware, software, and cloud computing services from select U.S. providers
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

So as you can see the rewards are very versatile, giving business owners 5% cash back on common office purchases. And the 3% category is customizable to fit the type of spending you’ll do most. There is no signup bonus for this card, so in that area the Spark Cash and Spark Cash Select have it beat.

You’ll get a basic set of shopping and travel protections with this card, along with access to valuable OPEN business benefits provided by American Express. These include a Spend Manager, account alerts, discounts at certain merchants, and a forum to converse with other business owners.

Employee cards are available for free for the SimplyCash Plus, just like the Spark business cards.

The main difference between the Spark cards and the SimplyCash Plus are the rewards. Would you rather earn 5% and 3% cash back at the specific categories mentioned above? Or a set amount of cash back for every purchase you make? To earn the most rewards possible you could use both cards. Use the SimplyCash Plus whenever you’re spending in the reward categories, and the Spark card for every other purchase.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express (Review) is a bit different from the other cards mentioned here.

Instead of providing rewards for every purchase or business expenses in particular, it’s meant to be used with hotels and resorts within the Starwood Preferred Guest portfolio, which is very broad and includes over 1,300 locations around the world. It’s designed for business owners who are frequent travelers, and who spend at least $1,000 on travel per year.

This card has an annual fee of $95, waived the first year, and there is no introductory rate on purchases. Balance transfers are not allowed with this card. We found that you can offset the annual fee on this card by spending just $750 per year at Starwood properties, as long as you redeem your rewards with a valuable method. So this fee shouldn’t be much of an obstacle for anyone who travels often.

With this card, you’ll earn:

  • Either 4 or 5 Starpoints® per dollar on eligible purchases at participating SPG hotels and resorts
    • 2 Starpoints for the SPG credit card
    • 2 or 3 Starpoints for being an SPG member, depending on your status (explained below)
  • 1 Starpoint per dollar on all other purchases
  • 25,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5,000 bonus Starpoints for transferring 20,000 Starpoints to a participating frequent flyer program

You’ll earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar at SPG properties with this card. But 4 points per dollar will be the usual rate for most members, and that’s still pretty good.

There is also an option to transfer your points to a variety of frequent traveler programs. This is a great deal because you’ll be earning points at a very high rate when staying at SPG properties. That means you’ll have a lot of points to transfer. And you’ll even get a 5,000 point bonus whenever you transfer 20,000 points or more.

The Starwood card provides different a value for your points depending on how you redeem them. We’ve calculated that you can earn the equivalent of at least 13% cash back with this card when you redeem for your 5th night free at hotels and resorts. That’s probably one of the best cash back equivalents you’re likely to find. The value of your point transfers will vary depending on the particular transfer you’re making, but we found that you can easily earn the equivalent of 7% cash back when transferring points.

There are many other valuable redemption methods too, like free night stays, SPG Flights to get good prices on airfare, SPG Moments to get access to extraordinary experiences, and more. These are some of the most rewarding offers available with credit cards, and they definitely beat out the reward options with the Spark cards.

There are an incredible number of benefits, perks, and ways to redeem points with this card. They include automatic SPG Preferred status along with discounts and special offers. And a wide variety of complimentary services, like free breakfast and internet, whenever you book eligible stays.

The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card can potentially be an extremely valuable credit card, but only for travelers who tend to stay at SPG properties. If that doesn’t sound like you, this card won’t do you much good and you might be better off with one of the Spark cards.

If you are a business owner who travels often, however, a great strategy could be to pair up the SPG Business card with one of the Spark cards. Just use your SPG card whenever you stay at an SPG property to get your Starpoints. And then use your Spark card everywhere else to earn cash back.

Do you use one of the Spark Cash business credit cards from Capital One? How do you use it? Leave your own review of the Spark Cash or the Spark Cash Select, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other business credit cards? Check out our picks for the Best Credit and Charge Cards for Small Businesses and Startups.

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  • Sunshine Compua

    CAPITAL ONE BUSINESS SPARK : They are the biggest bunch of morons out there. The most incompitent liars out there. First off we want to tell everyone that Capital One got sued in Florida for attempting to charge fees after fees to account holders and settled out of court for $40 million. After that these scumbag scam artists start playing with your payment account. For nearly 8 years, I’d make a payment online via a bank account put in the profile. Under normal means, if you made a payment on Monday, it would be in your pending balance on Tuesday, which gave you until Tuesday 9 PM that night to put the money into the account before assessing over draft fees. These bastards are now purposely overdrafting bank accounts to steal money in fees. If you do a online payment its an EFT (electronic funds transfer) which normally it would follow what we had explained above. What these crooks are doing, is that they are posting the payment as an ACH (basically a check). They will take your routing information and account and make up a fake check without your permission. If the banking institution doesnt have an electronic means of payment, banks would make a draft on your behalf and put it in the mail, what these con artists are doing is doing the same check, and them immediately cashing it in, even after bank hours (which is illegal). We had a capital one business account linked to the card, and what these aholes would do is all of the sudden stop making the payment as an EFT and make it an ACH so they can make up fees and attempt to charge me for check overdrafts. When we called to complain, the credit card side blamed the banking side, the banking side blamed the credit card side and so forth. When we told the credit card side point blank are you doing exactly what we said above, 5 times they were asked that question and 5 times they purposely avoided answering it. The only thing they kept on saying is “make sure you have the money in your account when you make the payment”. That means they will force fees on your account even after the bank is closed. Another thing these bastards are doing, is that we do business with this one company for nearly 2 years, every transaction we do they purposely block our card. We go to complain they unblock it and then 2 weeks later they pull the same bs again. Today the same thing. They give you the runaround, and they dont care about anything. When you go to call, they make up another lie saying they have high call volumes when in actuality they have 1 person maning the phones during a weekend. Capital One is the biggest bunch of scumbags to deal with. We will be closing our accounts with these aholes.

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