Both of These Cards Earn Cash Back…but One of Them Has a Secret Power!

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Did you know a credit card can make the points you earn from other cards worth moreWhen deciding which cards to get, consider not all miles and points are the same.

Both Of These Cards Earn Cash Back But One Of Them Has A Secret Power
Want to Visit Cancun? The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited Cards Can Get You There Even Faster!

Million Mile Secret Agent Barbara asked:

I currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.  I’ve already earned my bonuses on both cards.  Recently, I applied for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, and I am waiting for a response.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on all purchases, while the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard earns 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1 spent on all purchases.

Which card would offer me the biggest bang for my buck in terms of rewards?

I like the way you’re thinking, Barbara!  In my opinion, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards make an excellent credit card combination!  But there are certain situations where you might want to stick with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card earns 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1 spent on all purchases.  But there are other things to consider besides the earning rate.  Let’s take a look at what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited stronger together!

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

This Combination Takes Your Points-Earning to the Next Level

I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  They transfer to some of my favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs.  And you can still use them to pay for other hotels, airfare, or rental cars through the Chase travel portal.

Remember, you can only redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles for travel purchases of $100+ (10,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles).  So it’s NOT good for small purchases.  But you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit of $20 or more (2,000+ Chase Ultimate Rewards points) toward any expense at 1 cent per point.

Both Of These Cards Earn Cash Back But One Of Them Has A Secret Power
You Can Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Hotels That Aren’t Transfer Partners, Like The Logan Philadelphia Curio Collection by Hilton

Plus, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents per point through the Chase travel portal!  And it allows you to transfer the points you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to Chase’s travel partners.  This secret makes the points you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card worth much more!

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card currently comes with a $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months of account opening.  And using the secret power of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card makes the sign-up bonus worth at least ~$187 ($150 + 25% bonus) toward airfare and hotels!

Is the Annual Fee Worth It?

If you’re not planning on keeping your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the power of the Chase Freedom Unlimited is reduced.  But even with the $95 annual fee, I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is worth keeping.

Both Of These Cards Earn Cash Back But One Of Them Has A Secret Power
Emily Keeps the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Year After Year Too, Because It Earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points on Travel & Dining Purchases

Especially when you compare it with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card’s $89 annual fee.  It’s worth paying an extra $6 a year to unleash the power of transferable points!

When Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus a Better Deal?

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus earns a better rate than the Chase Freedom Unlimited on all purchases.  Even with the 25% bonus from using the secret power of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll only earn ~1.87 cents (1.5 points + 25% bonus) per $1 toward travel.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card earns 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1, and you’ll get a 5% rebate every time you redeem.  So you’ll effectively earn 2.1 cents (2 Barclaycard Arrival miles + 5% rebate) per $1 spent.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred only earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining purchases.  So if you don’t plan on spending much on travel or eating out, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus might be better for you.

Both Of These Cards Earn Cash Back But One Of Them Has A Secret Power
You Can Redeem Barclaycard Arrival Miles for Almost Any Travel Expense, Like Train Tickets

When you redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles for travel expenses, you’ll get a 5% points rebate!  This is great if you plan on using your miles for Airbnb stays, campgrounds, train rides, or other travel that can’t be booked through the Chase travel portal.

Chase won’t approve you for most of their credit cards if you’ve opened 5+ new credit cards within the past 24 months from any bank (some business cards don’t count).  So for folks who can’t get the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a good backup option.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a great credit card to partner with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  You can transfer your points to great travel partners.  And redeem them for 25% more through the Chase travel portal!

And you’ll have more flexibility with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Because you can redeem them at 1 cent per point as a statement credit of $20 or more (2,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) for any expense.  This is the same rate as Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles.  But Barclaycard Arrival miles can only be redeemed at 1 cent per point towards travel expenses of $100 or more!

Depending on your spending habits and travel goals, there are a few situations where the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card might be better for you.  And it’s a good option if you are over the Chase “5/24” limit.

Thanks for the question, Barbara!  And welcome to the miles & points community!

Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

Comments are closed.