Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Want more flexibility to cover your travel costs? Credit cards that earn miles & points are often the best way to get Big Travel with Small Money because they can get you award flights and hotel award stays.
But the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card let you redeem miles for other travel costs, like Airbnb stays, taxi rides, meals in hotels, and flights with NO blackout dates. That can save you more money when you travel!
Let’s look at both cards to see how they compare!
Two Excellent Cards for All Things Travel
- 40,000 miles (worth at least $400 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.
- 2X miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- $59 annual fee waived for the first 12 months
You can redeem the miles to cover almost any travel-related purchase, including:
- Hotel stays
- Subway passes
- Train or rail tickets
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture earn miles that are different from cards like the Citi ThankYou Premier Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can NOT transfer your miles to other airline and hotel partners.
That’s because Barclaycard Arrival and Capital One Venture “miles” aren’t exactly miles. They have a fixed value of 1 cent per point when you redeem them for travel purchases.
You can redeem them after you book your travel (or directly with miles through Capital One’s No Hassle Rewards Portal) for a statement credit.
Why Are These Miles Useful?
With these cards, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates! And, you’ll also earn points with the airline or hotel when making a reservation.
You can even use your miles for food. Credit cards code certain hotel restaurants and room service as a hotel purchase, so you can use your miles to eat for free inside hotels!
You have 120 days from the date of your purchase to redeem miles for Arrival Plus travel purchases, and 90 days to cover the charge from your Venture balance.
How Are They Different?
There are important differences between these 2 cards.
You can only redeem Barclaycard Arrival miles for travel purchases of $100 or more. So, you need at least 10,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles in your account before they’re useful.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus gives you the option to redeem your miles for cash back at 0.5 cents per mile, starting at a smaller increment of 5,000 miles. This is NOT a good deal, because your miles are worth half of their travel value.
The Capital One Venture has NO minimum redemption increment when redeeming miles, unless you’re using miles to partially pay for a travel purchase. In that case, the minimum is 2,500 miles ($25).
This is MUCH better than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. You are able to pay for a $30 cab fare with your Capital One Venture miles, but you couldn’t use your Barclaycard Arrival miles unless the cab fare is at least $100!
Capital One also has a tool similar to the Chase Travel Portal called No Hassle Rewards portal. Through this site you can book travel with miles instead of purchasing your travel and erasing it later. If you use the portal, there is no minimum miles requirement to book.
Apart from this perk, booking with miles is NOT a good idea unless the price shown on the portal is the same or lower than other sites. That’s because purchasing travel with miles does not EARN miles for spending, and purchasing travel with your credit card does!
The Capital One Venture also allows you to redeem your miles for a statement credit at 0.5 cents per mile. The minimum redemption increment is 5,000 miles. But again, you get half the value when you use your miles this way.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus gives you a 5% rebate on the miles you redeem for travel purchases.
For example, if you redeem 20,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles for a $200 travel purchase, you’ll receive 1,000 miles back (20,000 miles X 5%).
The Capital One Venture card doesn’t offer a redemption rebate.
The Capital One Venture ($59) has an annual fee $30 less than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus ($89).
The lower annual fee will likely offset the Barclaycard Arrival Plus 5% rebate for most folks. But if you spend a lot on travel purchases, the extra miles may be worth it. As always, assess your spending habits and choose which one is best for you!
And keep in mind, the annual fee on both cards is waived for the first year.
Chip-and-PIN or Chip-and-Signature?
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the few cards with Chip-and-PIN capability. It is primarily a Chip-and-Signature card, but has Chip-and-PIN capability if the signature option is not available. This can come in handy if you travel internationally a lot, as I found out.
This means the Barclaycard Arrival Plus will work at unattended machines for things like bike rentals, gas, and at train ticket kiosks, while the Capital One Venture may NOT work.
Other Options to Consider
Link: Citi® Double Cash Card
Once you’ve earned the sign-up bonus on these cards, there are other options that can give you similar value with everyday spending with NO annual fees:
- The Citi Double Cash earns 1% cash back on purchases, and 1% back when you pay your bill.
- The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature offers 2% cash back everywhere when you deposit rewards points into your eligible Fidelity account.
Because these are cash back cards, you can redeem your rewards for anything, not just travel. But these cards DO NOT come with a sign-up bonus.
Folks can also get cards that go far beyond a 2% return. Cards such as the Chase Freedom® and SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express have 5% category bonuses that earn over double the rewards of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture. And both have no annual fee.
And Discover’s current promotion will double the cash back you’ve earned at the end of 12 billing cycles. So the 1.5 miles per $1 (1.5% back) with Discover® it Miles will effectively earn 3% for the first year. And the 5% category bonuses of the Discover® it turn into 10%!
One other point to consider is that Capital One pulls your credit score from all 3 main credit bureaus, giving you 3 hard inquiries on your report! This is a deal breaker for some folks, because hard inquiries cause your credit score to temporarily dip. And too many can make it harder to be approved for future credit cards and other loans.
When you sign up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or the Capital One Venture and complete the minimum spending, you’ll earn 40,000 miles (worth at least $400 toward travel) purchases. You can NOT transfer these miles into another loyalty account.
These cards are basically 2% cash back cards that limit redemption to travel purchases. They have no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee the first year.
Both cards have great sign-up bonuses. But there are other cards that offer the same return for everyday spending, without paying an annual fee.
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 20,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!