Capital One Spark Miles vs. Chase Ink Preferred

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If you are a small-business owner and not taking advantage of the rewards and benefits offered by business credit cards, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars per year in luxury travel.

Today, we’re comparing two of the best small business card offers available, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. The Spark Miles is currently offering an all-time-high signup bonus of up to 200,000 miles, and the Ink Preferred provides the highest signup bonus of any Ultimate Rewards earning card. Both cards allow you to redeem points at a fixed value towards travel, plus transfer points to travel partners, but feature different benefits and earning structures.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer Earn up to 200,000 miles: Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. Limited Time Offer
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is one of just a handful of business rewards cards offering at least a 2% return on business expenses (issued as 2x Miles), plus you'll earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠. Your rewards never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
  • Earn up to 200,000 miles: Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. Limited Time Offer; worth $2,000 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • 5 Miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.
  • 5 Miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The most valuable Ultimate Rewards signup bonus on offer and our top pick for small business rewards cards. Business owners earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 450,000 points per year on a wide range of 3X bonus categories.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • 3X 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
  • 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

Welcome Bonus

By far the biggest signup bonus currently available, the Spark Miles is offering up to 200,000 miles, delivered as a two-tiered welcome bonus. You receive 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening. If you value Capital One miles at 1.5¢ each, the welcome bonus is worth $3,000 towards travel, but potentially much more if you transfer to airline partners for business- or first-class flights. Thanks to the high minimum spending requirement of $50,000 to earn the full welcome bonus, you’ll also collect an additional 100,000 points on your way to collecting the new cardmember bonus, for a total of 300,000 miles. A return of ~$4,500 on $50K of business expenses.

On the other side of the equation, the Ink Preferred currently offers 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening., the highest signup bonus of any Ultimate Rewards earning card. Compared to the Capital One cards, the minimum spend is relatively low, and much more achievable if your business expenses are insufficient to collect the full Capital One bonus. If you value Ultimate Rewards points at 2¢ each, the signup bonus on the Ink Preferred is worth ~$1,600. Adding the additional 5,000 points earned via the minimum spending requirement increases the total value to ~$1,700.

The winner here depends on your ability to meet the minimum spend on the Capital One cards. If you can meet the $50,000 minimum spending requirement (~$8,350 per month), getting an application in while the welcome bonus is at an all-time high is a no-brainer.

Securing limited-time offers before they return to standard levels is one of the cornerstones of award travel success, and history shows us these bonuses won’t be around for long.

If you have any doubts regarding your ability to make the minimum spend on the Capital One cards, you are much better off applying for the Ink Preferred.

Earn points and miles on every business expense

Earning Potential & Bonus Categories

Landing a huge signup bonus is a great way to boost your rewards balance. Still, you need to factor in the long-term earning potential of a rewards card before settling on an application strategy. Small business cardholders can typically put through much higher volumes of spending on rewards cards than personal cardholders. So bonus categories have a significant impact on your ability to earn points or miles over the long haul.

In this respect, the Spark Miles and Ink Preferred are as different as chalk and cheese. Where the Ink Preferred features a variety of small business-focused bonus categories, but a relatively low return on non-bonus spending. The Spark Miles nets a high return on non-bonus expenditure, but only receives bonus miles on hotel and car rental spending when purchased via Capital One Travel.

The Ink Preferred earns 3X Ultimate Rewards on the first $150,000 in combined purchases across the following categories each year:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

Maxing out the bonus categories each year on the Ink Preferred will land you 450,000 Ultimate Rewards points, a valuable haul. The downside is that you’ll only receive one point per dollar on all other purchases.

The Spark Miles earns an unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, plus you’ll get 5x on hotels and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel. Capital One miles earning cards also earn 10X points on hotels booked through hotels.com/venture through 01/31/2020. A great feature, but set to be replaced by the 5X earning categories at Capital One Travel at the end of January.

If your business expenses line up with the Ink Preferred bonus categories, you will get a better return over the long run with the Chase card. If you primarily charge your card for non-bonus business expenses, Capital One will provide a better return. Check out our list of the best rewards cards for small business if you are hunting for specific bonus categories or card benefits, as we list the details of a wide variety of business rewards cards.

Earn 3X points on online advertising spend with the Ink Preferred
Earn 3X points on online advertising spend with the Ink Preferred

Redemption Options

Both cards earn rewards in programs that allow you to redeem points at a fixed value towards travel. Plus, you can transfer from both Capital One Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to travel partners for potentially much higher redemption values. That said, there are significant differences between the two programs, which we highlight below.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards earned with your Ink Preferred to 12 airline or hotel partners. Points typically transfer instantly, and all partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include:

  • United MileagePlus
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Singapore KrisFlyer
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Iberia Plus
  • World of Hyatt
  • Marriott Bonvoy Rewards
  • IHG Rewards Club

We dig into the Ultimate Rewards transfer partners in detail in our comprehensive review of the program, highlighting valuable transfer partners alongside specific examples of how to get the most out of your points with each partner. In addition to transferring points, you can redeem them for a fixed value of 1.25¢ per point through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal towards the cost of flights, hotels, car rentals, and experiences. As flights booked through the travel portal are considered revenue tickets, you will earn both redeemable miles and elite status credits on these reservations. While this adds an extra layer of functionality to points earned on your Ink Preferred, it’s important to note that you are restricted to prices and available airlines, hotels, car rentals, and activities found in the portal.

Capital One only launched its airline transfer program at the end of 2018 but has already cemented itself as a reliable alternative to the Chase, Amex, and Citi transfer programs. While it lacks a high-value domestic airline partner, it offers plenty of other options, including top-value programs within each of the three big alliances.

Capital One transfer partners include:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France & KLM (Flying Blue)
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hainan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines

Whereas all Chase partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio, most of Capital One’s airline partners transfer at a rate of 2:1.5, with Emirates, JetBlue, and Singapore receiving a 2:1 transfer ratio. Although Capital One partners receive a lower transfer ratio, the higher-earning rate on non-bonus expenses means that you are effectively earning 1.5X airline miles per dollar spent on everyday expenses as opposed to one airline mile or hotel point per dollar on non-bonus expenses with the Ink Preferred. Ultimately, each program offers unique partners, and you’ll need to assess which program best facilitates your travel goals.

New Singapore Suites Individual Suite
Transfer points from either program to Singapore KrisFlyer and fly the new Singapore Suites!

Card Benefits

Both cards feature annual fees under $100 per year, $95 for the Ink Preferred, and $0 intro for first year; $95 after that for the Spark Miles. At this price point, you don’t get the luxury travel perks found on ultra-premium cards like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. Still, both cards offer select travel and purchase protection benefits, which we’ve listed below.

Ink Preferred key benefits include:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (primary for business rentals)
  • Baggage delay reimbursement
  • Cellphone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip interruption / trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Extended warranty

Spark Miles key benefits include:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (primary for business rentals)
  • Extended warranty
  • Free employee cards
  • Global Entry or TSA precheck application fee credit
  • Purchase security

Application Restrictions

Like all Chase cards, the Ink Preferred is subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy. If you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the previous 24 months, you won’t be eligible for the Ink Preferred. However, as a business card, the Ink Preferred doesn’t add to your 5/24 count, making it a great alternative to personal cards if you’re trying to stay under or get back under the 5/24 mark and apply for Chase personal cards.

Capital One doesn’t have the same restrictions on the total number of cards applied for over a one- or two-year period. However, they have high application standards, and applicants with a lot of recent inquiries can struggle to get approved for Capital One cards, even with a top credit rating. You will only be accepted for one Capital One card every six months (Capital One lumps business and personal cards together). Unlike other card issuers, Capital One business cards do show up on your personal credit report and will count towards your Chase 5/24 count.

Final Thoughts

Rewards cards present an outstanding opportunity for folks in charge of the balance sheet to collect a stack of rewards for everyday business expenses. If your business can meet the $50,000 minimum spend on the Capital One cards, this is a once-per-year opportunity (based on welcome offer history) to bank up to 200,000 miles or $2,000 cashback. Plus the additional rewards earned while meeting the minimum spending requirement.

If you remove the welcome bonus from the equation, these cards are a relatively even match, although big spenders will eventually come out far ahead with the Spark Miles card. In the end, the best choice likely comes down to which earning structure aligns with your business spending and which program best suits your travel goals.

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
Annual Fee$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Welcome Offer Earn up to 200,000 miles: Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. Limited Time Offer
The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is one of just a handful of business rewards cards offering at least a 2% return on business expenses (issued as 2x Miles), plus you'll earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠. Your rewards never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
  • Earn up to 200,000 miles: Earn a bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of opening your account. Limited Time Offer; worth $2,000 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
  • 5 Miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • 2 Miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere.
  • 5 Miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The most valuable Ultimate Rewards signup bonus on offer and our top pick for small business rewards cards. Business owners earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 450,000 points per year on a wide range of 3X bonus categories.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • 3X 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
  • 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

Capital One Spark Miles vs. Chase Ink Preferred
4.3 (86.67%) 12 votes
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