Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Better Than Barclaycard Arrival Points?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Don commented:

Which points have the most value? Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Barclaycard Arrival points?

Activities In Milan

You Can Use Points to Visit Places Like the Duomo in Milan, Italy

Don wants to know if Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Barclaycard Arrival points are more valuable.

Both Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Barclaycard Arrival points are valuable, it just depends how you use them.  I like Barclaycard Arrival points for domestic US travel and Chase Ultimate Rewards for international travel.

And I’ll explain why!

Barclay Arrival Points

Don can earn Arrival points from both the Barclay Arrival Plus card and the Barclay Arrival card.

Link:   Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Link:   Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

A.   Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard

Don can get a 20,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival card ($100 in statement credits or $200 when redeemed for travel) after completing the minimum spending.

The Barclaycard Arrival card has no annual fee.  But it earns 2X miles only on travel and dining unlike the annual-fee version which earns 2X miles on ALL purchases.

And it’s a Barclaycard and it can be tough to get multiple cards from them.  So if I had to pick 1 card, I’d skip this card and choose the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card.

B.   Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Don can get a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card after completing the minimum spending.

The $89 annual fee is waived for the 1st year, so Don gets at least ~$400 in statement credits after spending $3,000 within 3 months.

Barclaycard says Don will earn “miles” but he’s actually earning statement credits because Barclaycard miles can NOT transfer to airlines.

By redeeming for less expensive domestic travel or for travel expenses such as car rentals, taxis, cruises or more, Don can get Big Travel for Small Money because he won’t be spending as much cash.

Don can use Arrival points for statement credits at 0.5 cents per mile (poor value) or more than 1 cent per mile if he redeems for travel.

And Don gets 5% of his miles back when he redeems for travel.  So 40,000 miles gets him $400 towards travel and 2,000 miles back (40,000 X 5%).  Then Don can redeem the 2,000 miles he got back for another $20 towards travel.

Don earns 2X miles on all purchases, so he’s getting 2% back on every purchase.

Hyatt Regency Maui Ocean Front Room

Don Could Use His Arrival Points to Stay at the Hyatt Regency Maui

You can redeem miles on discount travel sites.  The exact sites aren’t specified, but Hotwire, Priceline, and Orbitz should count.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Don can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the following Chase cards:

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Ink Bold

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Don gets 1 cent per point redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points as a statement credit.  For some folks, the statement credit is worth it.  But I get more value by transferring my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airlines of hotels for international travel to places like Italy.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents when he books travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall.  The advantage of booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards mall is that you can book travel with no restrictions.  But if you want to book travel with no restrictions, you’re better off with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card because you get ~2 cents per Arrival point compared to 1.25 cents with Ultimate Rewards points.

Don can also almost instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to certain airlines and hotels.

For example, Don can use 70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to United Airlines and fly First Class 1-way from New York to London.   The same ticket otherwise sells for ~$13,500!


Don Would Pay ~$13,500 to Fly First Class From New York to London

However, Don’s Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom card can’t be transferred to certain airlines and hotels UNLESS he has the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card.

Don can follow my step-by-step guide on how to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from his Chase Freedom to his Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred account.

Because Don can transfer his Chase Ultimate Rewards points to certain airlines and hotels, such as United Airlines and Hyatt hotels, he would get more value from his Chase Ultimate Rewards points if he redeems them for international travel.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Barclaycard Arrival points are valuable because they can be redeemed for travel.

Because Barclaycard Arrival points can’t be transferred to airlines, Don should use them to redeem for domestic travel, travel where he has no flexibility or other travel expenses.

And Don could redeem his Chase Ultimate Rewards points for international travel because he can transfer them to certain airlines and hotels.  And potentially get a better value than redeeming for statement credits.

It doesn’t hurt to get the sign up bonus for both cards.  But after the 1st year Don can pick one card based on his travel goals.

How do you use your Barclay Arrival points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

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17 responses to “Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Better Than Barclaycard Arrival Points?

  1. Ryan Prillman

    I was granted a Barclay Arrival Plus card 10 months ago. They gave me the platinum version not the world master card at the time. The card came with the 40000 bonus but the platinum card has little protection compared to the world and world elite. I maxed the bonuses and was wondering should i cancel the card now or wait until im closer to annual fee date? (Sept 30 2014). My goal is to get the card again in the world elite version. I recently aquired the us airways credit card 2 months back. Any suggestions?

  2. If you book hotels through the ultimate rewards portal, do you get hotel points?

  3. I think they’re both great but they’re hard to compare to one another. I always recommend Barclay points for people that aren’t really super interested in travel hacking. Someone that just wants to get one card and forget about it – for that Barclay is great.

    I also love Barclay for things like rental cars, or trips to hotels that aren’t points based. For example, my brother is getting married this year at an independent lodge where I can’t use points. Instead of paying $270 for the 2 night stay – I just redeemed 27,000 Barclay points (and then got a rebate of 2700 back!)

  4. Darius – what happens to Barclays Arrival points when you cancel the card? Can you transfer the points to another Arrival card like with Chase cards?

  5. @Points With a Crew
    I agree completely. I recommend this Barclays card to all my friends looking to get in the points and miles game. It’s the, “Set it and forget it,” of the rewards card industry.

  6. Don’t forget too if you have barclay arrival card, you can go to their travel community and earn more miles based of the travel stories you post!

  7. Book through the chase shopping mall WITH your barclaycard and then redeem for statement credit. I recently booked a full size car at a local airport for $48 for 2 days (local edition was $95) and then redeemed for ~4320 barclay points!

  8. But after the bonus year, remember to compare with staple cards like the free Fidelity Amex. That provides 2% cash back, with no travel restriction. You need to spend $40K plus a year on the Arrival for the slightly better bonus (2.2+% vs 2%) to outweigh annual fee. Only negative is that it does have a small FTF, but if you are only using domestically, almost certainly a better choice than paying the Arrival annual fee.

  9. I applied for and use the Barclays Arrival in addition to a few other cards (Chase Ink Bold, Chase Freedom, Amex Cash Preferred, and Discover ….) Most of the others have their own respective “best to spend in this category” (e.g. Ink 5% at office supplies, Amex 6% groceries, Discover and Freedom both with revolving 5% ….)

    I then use the Barclays Arrival Plus on ANYTHING else that would only be getting 1% using any of my other cards, because it essentially gets 2.2% cashback redeemable toward travel, with points that never expire. I figured that since I’m going to spend at least $8,090 per year on these types of purchases (and there is a ~1.1% difference between Barclays Arrival vs. the Plus version), $8,090 x 1.1% = $89, meaning that I will have made up the annual fee just by having the Arrival Plus.

  10. Miles Professor, FTG, Points guy, and MMS are all hyping this card at the same time. Odd

    • @Ryan Prillman – You could close it now, wait a few months and then try to get the better version of the card.

      @Michael K – Yo udon’t.

      @ Barak – I don’t believe so. You have to use them.

      @Cashback – That’s true in the 2nd year onwards.

  11. Was just at Duomo last week and Lake Como while traveling for business. Incredible cathedral! Nice photo at night D!

  12. I recently booked a trip to Europe with my AAdvantage account on American planes, and paid the taxes/fees with my Arrival+ card. So I was able to credit the taxes with points. Covered almost $600 in taxes with this, which would have required 60,000 UR points.

  13. I have found that you need both cards. The Arrival is the single greatest rewards on everyday purchases @ 2.2%. However the UR value in the portal, as well as travel options is great too.

    I recommend to carry both cards

  14. Pingback: Best of Million Mile Secrets - June 2014 | Million Mile Secrets

  15. What is the advantage of being able to transfer points to airlines/hotels over just booking through whoever you like on a travel site and getting the statement credit?

    • @Soggy – You can usually get more expensive travel when you transfer points than using it for a statement credit. For example, 25K points transferred to Hyatt can get you hotel rooms worth a lot more than the ~$250 statement credit.