Recently, it may have seemed like Capital One has been sitting on the sidelines. After the splash it made with the launch of the Venture X card last year, it’s been quietly improving transfer partners and opening sensational airport lounges, while Amex has been stealing the points thunder with its non-stop points parade.
Well, someone better hold Cap’s beer, because Amex isn’t the only issuer that can throw down a 250,000 point welcome offer.
This week, Capital One launched a brand new business credit card: the Spark Travel Elite. While the benefits and spending perks of this new card are almost identical to the Venture X, the starting welcome offer is in the stratosphere…250,000 Capital One Miles.
But there’s a catch: there’s no public link for this card. The only way to apply for it is through a Capital One Relationship Manager (which sounds like couples therapy but isn’t)…and the minimum spend for the entire welcome offer is $50,000.
- New cardholders can earn up to 250,000 miles after being approved for the Spark Travel Elite card. The bonus has a tiered structure:
- Earn 50,000 miles after spending $10,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
- Earn an additional 200,000 miles after spending $50,000 within the first six months of card membership.
- You must apply via a Capital One Relationship Manager
Key Card Details
- Annual Fee: $395
- Earning rates: 2X everywhere. 10X hotels and rental cars/5x on flights when booked through the Capital One travel portal.
- $300 annual credit for travel that’s booked through Capital One Travel.
- Unlimited access to Capital One airport lounges and Plaza Premium Lounges. Also comes with Priority Pass Select membership.
- 10,000 mile annual anniversary bonus.
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
- Offers the ability to pay vendors that don’t accept credit cards via C1’s new partnership with Melio.
The new Spark Travel Elite is effectively the small business version of the Venture X card and is almost identical in terms of benefits and earnings, making it a compelling keeper card. While you have to pay a $395 annual fee, in my opinion the anniversary bonus and $300 travel credit more than offset the annual fee, and you also get access to the excellent lounge benefits and 2x everywhere earning. My assumption would be that the generous authorized user (AU) benefits of the Venture X will apply here as well (where AU’s get the same lounge benefits and primary rental car insurance with no additional annual fee).
The spend will be a non-starter for some. I don’t really think that it’s worth getting the card unless you can do the whole $50K, and that’s a big number. However, for those who can, remember that this bonus is on top of the normal 2x earnings on the card, effectively meaning that you’ll get 7x on the first $50K in spend, for a total of 350,000 C1 miles when all is said and done. Our Reasonable Redemption Values list Capital One miles at 1.45 cents per point, so that 350,000 points is worth just over $5,000. 10% back on $50,000 spend should be tempting for those who can swing it.
What about the application via Capital One Relationship Manager? If you don’t have one, you can call Capital One and ask to be assigned one. If you’re not currently a Capital One customer, you can still do the same thing. That said, you will have to actually answer questions from a living person, so if you do decide to apply now, just make sure that you’re comfortable with the dialogue surrounding your business. Also, just because you’re able to talk to a relationship manager, it doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to apply or be approved. We have no info on what the qualifications that Capitol One is using for invitations or approvals (if there are any). You can see Nick’s primer here. It’s being reported that eventually there will be a public application link, but who knows what the welcome offer will be at that point.
View from the Wing reports that the card will not appear on your personal credit report, so this won’t affect your 5/24 status and the spend won’t be reported on your credit utilization. If you are comfortable with your eligibility for a business card, can get an application through a relationship manager and can swing the spend, this new Spark Travel Elite offer is definitely worth considering.