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American Express Plum Card vs Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business 2024

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December 18, 2023

In head-to-head competition, which of these rewards credit cards wins out? Here’s what each has to offer and how they fare when put to the ultimate test — the cash back you’ll earn for using them.

American Express Plum Card
The Plum Card from American Express pays an unlimited 1.5% cash back (Early Pay Discount) on the portion of your balance you pay within 10 days of your statement closing date. The card’s Extra Days to Pay option allows you to defer payment of the remainder of your new balance until the payment due date on your next billing statement without incurring interest, as long as you pay at least the minimum payment due.

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business
Earn unlimited 1% cash back for your business on every purchase, no limits or category restrictions. Plus, earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Credit Card Calculator
Monthly Spend
Spend Categories expand_more
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dining Dining
local_gas_station Gas
monetization_on Other
card_travel Travel
phone_iphone Cell Phones
print Office Supplies

American Express Plum Card

American Express Plum Card Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business

Read review
Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Which credit card earns more cashback overall?

Based on identical spending inputs, you’ll earn cashback per year with American Express Plum Card and $309.60 with Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business. For context, the average annual rewards payout from the business rewards credit cards in the database is $181.73.

The annual rewards payout assumes you charge $2,580 each month spread across the following spending categories: Cell Phones ($516), Dining ($516), Gas ($258), Office Supplies ($387), Travel ($387), and Other ($516). The dollar amounts for each category are based on average small-business spending data (how much business spend proportionally in each category) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources. We encourage you to use our business card rewards calculator to customize the amounts based on your business’s actual spending patterns.

To ensure the most accurate results possible, the rewards calculations for American Express Plum Card and Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business incorporate bonus rewards rates, spending caps, default rewards rates and annual fees, where applicable.

Is the American Express Plum Card good?

Flexibility is the name of the game with the Amex Plum Card, but at what cost? (We can answer that: $250 a year.) While not technically a “rewards card” — or a “credit card” for that matter, since it requires paying off each month’s balance in full — this business card offers 1.5% cash back on balances you pay off early. Forgoing the early bird special buys you extra time (60 days) to settle your tab. Worth it if you need a no-limit charge card when you’re short on cash; less so if you’re all about maximizing rewards.

thumb_up Likes

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back (aka “Early Pay Discount”) on the portion of your balance paid within 10 days of statement closing date
  • Early Pay Discount applied automatically to next statement as a credit
  • No spending categories to track
  • 60-day no-interest grace period when minimum payment is paid by the due date
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No preset spending limit (this is a charge card you must pay off each month) makes it good for high-dollar expenses
  • Up to 99 employee cards available
  • Comes with Amex’s extended warranty/purchase protection, car rental loss/damage insurance, Global Assist Hotline)

thumb_down Dislikes

  • 1.5% cashback applies only to amount of balance paid early
  • Hard to justify the $250 annual fee for businesses aiming to optimize rewards
  • 0% cashback on purchases not paid during the “Early Pay Discount” window
  • High “minimum payment” hurdle: 10% of the balance from new card activity, plus the entirety of any previously deferred balance
  • Steep $15,000 spending requirement in first three months to earn $500 statement credit
  • Balance must be fully paid off within 60 days or ugly fees apply
  • Spending limit may vary, based on your credit/payment history and spending behavior

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Cell Phone - - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Office Supplies - - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

Is the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business good?

This is a business rewards card option if your credit (or your business’s) is less than stellar. The stingy 1% rewards rate and potentially low credit limit reflect that. But hey, it’s a start.

thumb_up Likes

  • A 1% cashback rewards card option for those with just OK credit
  • No cashback spending caps or category restrictions
  • 5% cashback on hotels/rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • Cashback redeemable at any time for any amount
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee

thumb_down Dislikes

  • Meh 1% rewards rate
  • No higher rewards tiers (except through Capital One Travel)
  • No sign-up goodies
  • High purchase APR and punishing penalty APRs
  • Potentially very low credit line ($300)

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Cell Phone 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Gas 1.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Office Supplies 1.00% - - -
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

compare_arrows Compare cash back credit cards

Select and compare two credit cards head to head to see which offers the most bang for your buck.

Select Credit Cards

  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Business American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmazon Business Prime American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Blue Business Cash
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Plum Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital on Tap Business Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select for Good Credit
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Spark 1% Classic for Business
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Spark 2% Cash Plus
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Ink Business Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Ink Business Unlimited Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCostco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTD Business Solutions Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTruist Business Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Business Leverage Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards Visa Business Card


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The results of the Credit Card Business Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Tiered rewards rates: Some business cards pay a flat cashback rate on all purchases. Others pay higher cashback rates on purchases that fall under specific spending categories. The algorithm incorporates each issuer’s unique reward’s program to determine the “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Spend category inputs: Based on the rewards cards in our database, cell phones, dining, gas, office supplies, travel and "other" are the categories most often used by business credit cards that feature tiered rewards programs. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Monthly spend: The default dollar amounts for each spend category in the Business Credit Card Calculator are based on average small-business spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources. Click the arrow on the “Spend Categories” to customize the monthly spend inputs and find the business card with the highest payout rate for your small-business spending.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on office supplies on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)