Spark Travel Elite – Why I Finally Got It
Peer pressure as they say is never a fun thing. This is especially true when your peers are credit card maniacs who have never seen a spend too large for them! The other day I signed up for the Spark Travel Elite, a card that is well worth getting in my opinion. Unfortunately to maximize the bonus I will need to spend $50K. Let’s take a look at whether or not it is worth it.
Spark Travel Elite – What You Need to Know
Spark Travel Elite is basically Capital One’s business version of their popular Venture X card. The big difference is it comes with a much bigger bonus which I will walk you through below. This card is not currently available online, so you have to go through a Capital One Business Banker to get it. For more information on applying take a look at Mark’s post about how he got the card and the application process.
Spark Travel Elite Welcome Offer & How You Earn Miles
Now let’s talk about the juicy stuff. Let me walk you through the tiered welcome offer plus how you earn points with the card.
The Spark Travel Elite 250K bonus works like this:
- Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $10,000 within the first 3 months
- Plus an additional 200,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first six months
And the card earns miles in the following ways:
- 2X miles on all purchases
- 10X miles on hotels and rental cars
- 5X miles on flights when booked through Capital One’s travel portal.
If you’re following along, after meeting the $50K in spend I should have a total of 350,000 miles or $3,500 in cash available. Put another way, this ends up being a 7X return on spend which is pretty darn good. But is the juice worth the squeeze?
Why I Applied for the Capital One Spark Travel Elite
While I was joking about peer pressure above, the truth is several MtM team members have this card and talk about it all of the time. My main reason for getting the card was the welcome offer, however there are a few more good reasons as well. First, I don’t have a Venture X and I want into the Capital One lounges. But the main reason is because the card has some valuable perks as well.
In exchange for the $395 annual fee on the Spark Travel Elite I will get:
- $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel.
- Earn 10,000 bonus miles every year after first anniversary
- Unlimited access to Capital One airport lounges as well as Priority Pass and other Capital One partner lounges
- $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years
That is a lot of value, especially considering the decent 2X return on all spend. I’m not thrilled that the credit has to be used through Capital One Travel, however I won’t have an issue at all using it so that’s not a big deal. Between the annual 10K bonus miles and the $300 credit, the annual fee is mostly taken care of going into the future. With Capital One aggressively building out their lounge network this could be a card to keep long term.
Spark Travel Elite – How I Will Meet The Spend
One of the reasons I bit on this card finally is because I do feel I will be able to meet the spend without a ton of work. My reselling business has a decent amount of spend this time of year plus I will have taxes to pay and other expenses that will get me a decent chunk of the way there. $50K is A LOT, but spread over 6 months it is doable. That said, I would be lying if I said it isn’t quite daunting. We shall see how it goes.
It’s Okay To Pass On Cards That Don’t Make Sense
While I was being a little playful with the title, I think it’s important to state that you don’t need to sign up for every card or chase every welcome offer. Knowing your own limits for spend and bandwidth are important. I was focusing on other stuff these past few months, but finally felt it was time to apply. I could see some people just meeting the $10K spend for 50,000 miles, however I don’t think it is any fun to leave so many points on the table. I am going to go all of the way.
Spark Travel Elite – Bottom Line
The Spark Travel Elite is a great card and one I actually want in my wallet. While the long term value is something I can assess again when it renews in a year, there is no doubt that the welcome offer combined with all of the card’s perks make it worth the $395 annual fee in the first year. There are rumors that the offer could be changing at the end of the year, however I have not heard anything concrete.
While I think this is definitely an offer worth considering, remember it’s perfectly okay if you pass on it because of the huge spending requirements or the up front annual fee. Now I just need to go figure out how to spend my newly found travel slush fund. Nevermind it’s probably going to be awhile…
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I have a referral for this card and have not applied yet. I’m afraid I’ll be denied due to a lot of recent cc inquires. Does anyone have any DP regards this. If I’m approved I’ll probably earn. SUB in first month
Certainly there are more prudent way to get equal or greater total bonuses from multiple card min spends. However, the challenge of this massive 50k 6 month min spend will be a mountain that must be climbed.
Absolutely. I have needed some motivation so this will be a fun challenge.
Thank you for sharing.
Did the Spark Cash about a year ago. Do not have access to any manufactured spending, so had to make it the old fashioned way. Nerve wracking.
Not sure I would do it again.
Had to forgo other SUB opportunities for 6 months that ultimately offered better returns.
Having said that, if you fly out of or through DFW. The Venture X or this card is a wonderful thing. Capital One Lounge in DFW is a joy.
Centurion Lounges have become unusable
Yeah I’m looking forward to the Cap One lounges. It will be a challenge but I have half of it accounted for already so hopefully it won’t be too bad.
Significant difference between this card and the venture X. This card does not allow the additional 4 card holders access to the capital one lounges and priority pass like the Venture X.
Fair enough. It is very similar and is basically their business version of the product. I didn’t say it was exactly the same. Also, it’s a charge card and has a much bigger welcome offer. But the core of the card is largely the same.
That said those lounge benefits are definitely a difference people should know about. Thanks!
Mater says dad gum.
Get er done!
I’m the type of person that likes to knock out the spend requirements as fast as possible otherwise I feel like it’s a dark cloud hanging over my head all the time. With such a hefty spend for the full 250k points, I would feel a lot of anxiety until such was done.
I know some would say that you could just get the 50k points and be done with it but that’s not how I work…I’d stress myself out trying to get the full bonus and feel exhausted and overwhelmed during the entire process. Even knowing I have 6 months to meet the spend, my mind would say, get it done as fast as possible. I’m my own worst enemy.
Congrats on picking up the card, I’m sure you’ll knock out the spend get the full bonus without issue.
If my wife is an unpaid officer in the company, can she apply using my income?
It is reasonable to do so. No bank would assert bank fraud if she did. The technical/legal answer gets too involved, especially in light of the practical reality of the situation.
I picked this up as well after a recommendation to an account manager. I’ve got the 50K points, but I don’t think I can do the 50K in spend in time. But, it’s still a good card because of the $300 credit. It posted about 4 days after I purchased an airfare through Cap One travel. Definitely a keeper for me.
Nothing wrong with doing what you are comfortable with. I think I’m going to do the $50K but it will be a chore.