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 Credit Card

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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