Advertiser Disclosure

Capital One Spark Miles vs. Chase Ink Preferred: Which Business Travel Card Is Best?

Updated April 23, 2018
Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
capital-one-spark-miles-vs-chase-ink-plus-compared
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

If you’re a small-business owner who travels regularly, using the right credit card for your expenses can translate into serious savings on your trips. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card are among the best choices available for business owners, but which one wins out? Let’s compare.

Rewards

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is as simple as it gets when it comes to earning rewards. Cardholders receive an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase. Points are worth a penny each when redeemed for travel.

With the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, things get more complicated, but also more rewarding in the right situations. The card offers 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases annually on phone, Internet and cable TV services; travel; shipping; and advertising on social media and search engines. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point per dollar. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 1 cent for most other uses. So the rewards rate for this card can be as high as 3.75%.

Winner: Depends on your spending

If you spend a lot within the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card’s bonus categories, you’ll get a lot more value out of that card than you would out of the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. But if your expenses fall largely outside those categories, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is the better choice.

Sign-up bonus

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers one of the biggest sign-up bonuses in the business: 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®. The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has a respectable sign-up bonus, but it’s worth quite a bit less: A one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Winner: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

No other business card offers a more lucrative sign-up bonus than the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card on an ongoing basis.

Redemption flexibility

Many travel cards require you to redeem your points or miles with a certain airline or hotel, giving you limited options.

With the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, you can either redeem your miles directly by booking travel through Capital One’s travel portal, or you can use the card to pay for travel and then redeem your miles for a full or partial statement credit against the purchase. There is no minimum redemption amount to get full credit for a purchase; partial redemptions start at 2,500 miles, or $25. You can also redeem for cash back, but this isn’t a good option because you’ll get only half a cent per mile versus a full cent when redeeming for travel.

With the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you can book travel with points through the Ultimate Rewards booking tool. You can also transfer your points to one of Chase’s 11 travel partners (see the list here) or redeem for cash at 1 cent per point.

Winner: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

If you want to redeem for travel — which is the entire point of carrying a travel card — the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers as much flexibility as you can ask for in a travel card. Plus, you’re not tied to the card’s booking tool. If you find a better deal elsewhere, go for it and redeem your miles for statement credit.

That said, there is value in what the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers. For example, if you don’t plan on traveling for a while and need a little cash, its per-point redemption value for cash back is twice what the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business offers. Its transfer partners can also be valuable if you can get a good redemption on a flight or hotel stay.

Fees

The only difference here comes in year one: The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card charges $95 a year.

Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card charges a balance transfer fee of 5%, while the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business has no balance transfer fee.

Winner: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

If reducing what you pay in fees is your top priority, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is the better bet. However, the waived first-year annual fee doesn’t necessarily make it the better choice for everyone. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card more than makes up for that first year’s fee with its sign-up bonus. In subsequent years, you’ll make up the fee with a little over $2,500 a year in spending in the bonus categories (assuming you redeem for 1.25 cents a point).

Interest rate

While we recommend paying off your balance in full each month, that may not always be possible. These two cards are fairly evenly matched here:

  • The ongoing APR is 18.49% Variable APR for the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business.
  • The ongoing APR is 17.49% - 22.49% Variable APR for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Winner: Depends on your credit

If you have sterling credit, you may get a better interest rate with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. If you have only good credit, however, you may be better off with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, since its rate doesn’t change based on your credit.

Making your choice

There’s no across-the-board winner. In the end, the nature of your business and its expenses will determine which card is best for you.

Looking at both cards side by side with no variables, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card can offer a lot more value upfront and over the long term.

But if your business doesn’t spend according to the bonus categories, you’re looking at a 1.25% rewards rate on most of your purchases when redeeming for travel (not including any value you may get by transferring your points to an Ultimate Rewards partner). In that case, you’re better off with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and its 2% rewards rate on everything.

Ben Luthi and Ellen Cannon are staff writers at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ecannon@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ellencannon