Capital One Venture vs. Barclaycard Arrival image

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For many consumers, travel represents such a common and major expense that credit card companies market certain credit cards to capture this consumer group. Currently, two of the most competitive credit cards, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Barclaycard Arrival cards, should be on the top of the list for frequent travelers who want to earn plenty of rewards on their travel spending. We compared the two to help you decide which is ideal for you.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Barclaycard Arrival are very similar in many regards. Both of them have an annual fee that’ll afford you an above-average rewards program, which is free of categories and tiers. They also make it extremely easy to redeem your hard-earned miles. But, their little differences will sway your choice between the two.

Capital One Venture Rewards

capital one venture cardHeavily advertised on television with regular appearances from Alec Baldwin and hoards of vikings, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is an attractive option because cardholders earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on anything. And, the miles can be redeemed for statement credit on travel. It means you can still shop for the cheapest travel deals and erase the cost of the purchases with your miles. Every mile is equivalent to $0.01 when redeemed for travel.

A typical airline card will force you to use the miles through their frequent flier program on the airline’s flights, which may not provide the best value when you break down the numbers.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards cardmembers can also redeem their miles for cash, gift cards, brand-name merchandise, credit for previous non-travel purchases and more. However, the rates for redemption may vary.

The card has a $59 annual fee (waived first year) and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Barclaycard Arrival

Barclaycard-Arrival-Plus-World-Elite-MasterCardThe Barclaycard Arrival card was introduced as a direct competitor to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards card. It also allows cardmembers to earn 2 miles per dollar on all spending and miles can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, after they were made. Every mile can be redeemed for $0.01 on travel purchases.

The upside to the Arrival card is that you receive 10 percent of your miles back when you redeem for travel. For instance, if you redeemed 25,000 miles for a $250 travel purchase, you’ll get 2,500 miles back.

Earned miles can also be redeemed for cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. However, every mile translates to $0.005 for these rewards (e.g, 5,000 miles can be redeemed for a $25 gift card, non-travel statement credit or merchandise).

The card has an $89 annual fee (waived first year) and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Making the decision

The primary consideration when choosing between the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Barclaycard Arrival is the worth of the annual fee.

You may think that since the Arrival card costs $30 more per year, the Venture® Rewards card is the better route. But, if you take into account the miles redemption bonus, you may think otherwise.

Take a look at this table:

CardAnnual FeeAnnual SpendMiles EarnedRedemption Value
Capital One® Venture Rewards® Credit Card$59 (first year waived)$15,00030,000$300
Barclaycard Arrival$89 (first year waived)$15,00030,000$300 + 3,000 miles (= $30)

When you redeem 30,000 miles, you would have gained a 3,000-mile redemption bonus, which is equivalent to the $30 difference in the two cards’ annual fees. This means that the Barclaycard Arrival card is better if you spend more than $15,000 on a credit card during the year. If you spend less than that, the Capital One® Venture Rewards® Credit Card brings better value.

(Correction: A previous version of the article stated that miles for the Barclaycard Arrival card could only be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases.)

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  • john

    You left out the most important difference: the Barclaycard gives you 40,000 miles when you get the card.

    • John, we’re aware of the introductory bonus offers provided by each card but we opted to not include that information because the bonus offers can change at any time without notice.

      • Riza

        Simon, do you know how Barclay’s customer service compares to Cap One?

        • Riza, unfortunately, I cannot provide a fair comparison of the customer service provided by Barclaycard US and Capital One, since I’m not a customer of neither and it would be a highly subjective opinion anyway.

          However, it may be worthwhile to check out the complaints logged against the two companies in the CFPB database. Barclaycard US has more than 800 credit card complaints while Capital One has more than 5,000 credit card complaints. (Note: Capital One is a much larger credit card issuer.)

  • samboys

    Barclays has an advantage if you use for travel. Capital one has an advantage if you decide to take cash back. Capital one has an advantage as a Visa card as opposed to a MasterCard. Interrupted travel and Car Rental coverage being two things you will be better off with under a Visa coverage compared to a MasterCard coverage.

  • PG

    Hi Simon. If I understand correctly, when comparing the value of the two cards with regard to annual fee, the 3000-mile redemption with the Barclay card is only relevant if one plans to redeem those miles within the year; If I save up my miles for a really big trip two years from now and redeem them all at that time, then I won’t be getting the $3000 miles each year to offset the extra $30 of the Barclay card annual fee, right?

    • PG, in the end, however, you’d still help to offset the effective cost of Barclaycard’s annual fee because the miles that you earn will not expire as long as your card account remains in good standing.

      Say you spent $15,000 in Year 1 and another $15,000 in Year 2. When you redeem the 60,000 miles on travel ($600), you’ll get 6,000 bonus miles, which is the equivalent of a $60 travel credit — accounting for the annual-fee difference over the course of 2 years.

      • PG

        Hello, Simon. After your reply a year ago, I got the Barclay card. However, I recently received a letter in the mail from Barclaycard stating that they are making the following changes:
        1. Reducing travel statement credit redemptions to 5% miles back
        2. Requiring a minimum of 10,000 miles to redeem toward a qualifying travel purchase of $100 or more

        Scalawags! I’m inclined to switch to Capital One Venture but would appreciate your take on it.


        • PG, hope you are doing well! Thanks for the notice — really bad news here. I had no idea this was coming.

          My early reaction: there’s nothing good about these changes unless they introduce something else to compensate for it. I’m actually more concerned about the new $100 travel purchase threshold to qualify for a reward redemption. It is simply too restrictive. What about quick taxi rides or cheap bus tickets? So many things can be classified under “travel” that cost less than $100.

          I’ll contact Barclaycard to see why these changes are happening. In the meantime, if you don’t mind, could you send me a quick photo/screenshot of the notice to

          • PG

            Done! Thank you for looking into this.