What’s more impressive than an introductory credit card signup bonus worth 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, worth $400 in travel statement credit? How about ongoing high rewards rates to the tune of two mileage points for every $1 spent? If that entices you, read on. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has more to offer, which is exactly why it is mentioned among our 2017 CardRating's Editor's Choice winners as one of our favorite travel cards:
Each time you redeem your rewards, you get 5 percent back to use on your next redemption. So if you redeem, say, 60,000 travel miles, you get 3,000 miles back to put toward your next trip. We love this innovative approach to earning travel points.
Unlike some travel cards, spending on travel is not the only way this card rewards you. The two times the miles you earn each time you spend $1 applies to all purchases you make.
Barclaycard calls the benefits of this offer “rich rewards.” So, be prepared to spend big to be rewarded big. As with any worthwhile bonus, the 40,000 mileage points from Barclaycard requires you to spend some cash, specifically, $3,000 in 90 days. So if you’re a light spender, this might not be the card for you. Furthermore, the $89 annual fee that kicks in after the first year as a bit steep, but it’s not unheard of, and is easily offset if you use your credit card often.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers similar perks for the travler-rewards seeker, though the points you earn with the Chase card, known as Ultimate Rewards points, are more flexible than those you earn with the Barclaycard. That's in large part because Ultimate Rewards points are transferrable to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs in addition to being redeemable directly through the Chase travel portal.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you'll earn two times the points on your travel and dining purchases worldwide and one point on all your other purchases. Then, when it comes time to redeem your points, you'll receive 25 percent more value for the points if you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. That redemption bonus is why the signup offer with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is so lucrative: Earn 50,000 bonus points, worth up to $625 when redeemed for travel, after making $4,000 in purchases in the first three months. Obviously, the needed spend to earn the bonus is a bit higher (as is, by the way, the annual fee after the first year at $95), but if you see yourself wanting redemption flexibility, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be the better option.
The real beauty of Discover it® Miles is a stellar introductory offer. Here's the deal, on an ongoing basis Discover it® Miles cardholders earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on every purchase. After your first year as a card member, however, Discover will match all the miles you've earned during that first year. That effectively means you earn three miles per $1 during your first year as a card member. That definitely beats what the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers, but it is only for the first year.
After that first year, you'll still earn a solid 1.5 miles per $1 with Discover it® Miles, but that is a bit lower than the two miles per $1 you'll earn with the Barclaycard. That said, Discover it® Miles doesn't come with an annual fee. In the end, you'll need to honestly assess your travel and spending habits to determine whether your rewards can offset an annual fee. If not, the no-annual-fee Discover it® Miles might be the better choice.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a slightly higher intro offer to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, Venture® offers 50,000 mileage points (a roughly $500 value) for spending $3,000 in the first three months. The other big perk is that every $1 you spend gets you two miles (but the Barclaycard still edges out Venture® with 2.1 percent thanks to that 5 percent back each time you redeem). The biggest differences: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card $0 annual fee is introductory. In the second year, you pay $95, which is just a bit more than the Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. The Venture® card does not offer 5 percent miles back when you redeem your mileage points. So, is the extra few dollars per year in annual fee worth it?
Clearly, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is for the traveler who regularly spends with a credit card. If you are able to qualify for the introductory bonus miles, and venture out more than once a year for travels, this card is one to consider. This is not a forgiving card if you start missing payments or stop using the card, since – like most cards of this type – truancy and inactivity could forfeit your points and remove you from the program.