Barclay’s is a bank based in England but ever since they bought Juniper Bank back in 2004 and by 2008 they broke into the top 10 credit card issuers in the United States.
Now in 2013, Barclaycard is looking to claim the title as the best credit card for miles by launching the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard.
The Barclaycard Arrival MasterCard with its 2 miles for every $1 you spend is meant to take down the popular flagship card issuer credit cards like the Capital One Venture.
Best Credit Card for Miles
For those seeking award travel it usually goes that you identify your award travel needs, find the best frequent flyer program for you and then apply for the best airline credit card that they have on offer.
But sometimes there is no best frequent flyer program for you and even the best airline credit card lacks the flexibility of allowing consumers to book award travel on competing airlines.
That is why we would go with a miles program created by the card issuer itself like Capital One Venture Miles and the new Barclaycard Arrival Miles program. These types of programs are made for the award traveler who doesn’t care about booking $10,000 first class flights or the hassle of dealing with award availability issues that plagues many frequent flyer programs. This is a straight forward approach to award travel and there is great value to be had with it.
The Barclaycard Arrival miles program gives you the ability to book a cheap flight, by using our ITA Matrix search skills, and then up to 90 days later use the Barclaycard Arrival miles to pay for the flight and the best part is you can still earn frequent flyer miles in the airline you fly with for that award travel. That is something you most certainly do, earn miles on award travel, if you booked with an airline’s frequent flyer miles.
Let’s review the new Barclaycard Arrival by taking a look at its features side by side with the Capital One Venture to find our best credit card for miles.
|Annual Fee||$59 (waived for the first year)||$89 (waived for the first year)|
|Bonus Miles||10,000 when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months||40,000 when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days|
|Earn 2x Miles on All Purchases||Yes||Yes|
|Book Any Airline, Any Time||Yes||Yes|
|No Foreign Transaction Fee||Yes||Yes|
|Travel Redemption Bonus||No||10%|
|Redeem for Statement Credit||Yes||Yes|
|Lifetime Complimentary TripIt Pro||No||Yes|
When it comes right down to it the biggest differences between the cards are the following three things…
1. Credit Card Bonus Offers
The Barclaycard Arrival card can be argued that it offers more value than either card because it offers you 4 times the 10,000 miles bonus of the Venture and it has the same $1,000 spend requirement within the first 3 months.
This is a no brainer for now but I am not sure if the Barclaycard Arrival will have a 40,000 signup bonus offer indefinitely or if its just a promotional offer and it will drop to a 10,000 basic offer like we see with the Venture card.
If both programs are completely equal the best credit card for miles title is going to be given to the card with the biggest bonus offer and right now that is the Barclaycard Arrival with 40,000 miles.
2. Miles Back Bonus
The Barclaycard Arrival does offer 10% back on miles redeemed for travel which the Venture does not. This works when you redeem 50,000 miles for travel, you will receive 5,000 miles back as a bonus to use towards your next redemption.
The 10% miles back is said to be posted within 1 business day after your travel redemption is processed.
This is a clear win for the Barclaycard Arrival.
3. Annual Fee
Both cards waive the Annual Fee for the first year but for every year after that you will be paying $30 more if you have the Barclaycard Arrival.
They both offer double miles on every $1 in purchases you make with the card so this is a clean tie. There are no bonus categories so there is no chance of earning more than 2 miles per $1 either so its good to have the consistent return.
But if you spend a lot at office supply stores or a certain airline you might want to get a credit card that has special bonus categories for those purchases.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Now both of these cards are no foreign transaction fee credit card and you do still earn you double miles on every $1 you purchase while traveling abroad.
The Venture card is a Visa card and Arrival is a MasterCard. According to a 2009 survey by Business Travel News Visa is accepted by 30 million merchants in 170 countries and MasterCard is accepted by 28 million merchants in 210 countries and territories. Both card networks are good choices for international travel and you should not have any serious problems but always read about your destination country before deciding on which credit card to bring.
Barclaycard Arrival Final Thoughts
The Barclaycard Arrival is a solid entrant into the card issuer miles program niche and even with the $30 higher annual fee I think it is the better card than Capital One’s Venture. You earn that back with the complimentary access to the TripIT Pro travel app alone, a $49 annual value, and then the additional perk of 10% miles back when you redeem miles for travel really makes the difference between the two cards.
With the limited time bonus offer of 40,000 miles, the Barclaycard Arrival is clearly the titleholder of best credit card for miles right now. I look forward to seeing what the Barclaycard Arrival can add to next to increase the value of their miles program.