Have you had trouble recently trying to redeem your airline miles or hotel points? As airlines and hotels increase the cost of awards, and reduce the availability of the best ones, many travelers and credit card users are fed up with the direction these programs are taking. As an alternative, an increasing number are turning to more flexible reward programs offered by the banks. Both the Capital One® Venture® Rewards card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offer double miles for all purchases, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards any travel purchases.
Let’s take a look at these two cards, and see which one is right for you:
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
This card offers new customers a one-time bonus of 50,000 bonus miles, worth $500 in travel statement credits, after spending $3,000 on new purchases within the first three months of account opening. You earn two miles per dollar spent, and you can redeem your miles for statement credits towards travel reservations including airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can redeem as many or as few miles as you want at any time, once the miles have posted to your account.
As a part of the Visa Signature program, it includes many cardholder benefits. For example, it comes with extended warranty protection that can add an additional year to your manufacturer’s warranty. It also comes with rental car insurance and a complimentary concierge service that can assist you 24 hours a day with nearly any request. The Visa Signature program also includes numerous travel and shopping discounts at featured hotels, resorts and merchants.
The standard interest rate for this card is 17.99% - 25.24% (Variable), based on your creditworthiness when you apply. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and as with all Capital One® cards, there’s never any foreign transaction fees.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Barclaycard is offering new cardholders 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in new purchases within 90 days of account opening and paying the annual fee. You can earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase as well as getting 5% miles back to use towards your next redemption, every time you redeem.
This card is part of the World Elite Mastercard® program which offers numerous purchase protection and travel insurance policies. For example, it includes trip delay, cancellation and interruption coverage, as well as baggage delay insurance. When shopping, you receive price protection, return protection and extended warranty coverage. The World Elite Mastercard® program also includes elite rental car status, hotel discounts and discounts on premium airfare purchases.
New applicants receive 0% on the first 12 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, with a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Then, the standard interest rate is 18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness when you applied. There’s an $89 annual fee for this card, which is waived the first year and no foreign transaction fees.
Which card is right for you?
Clearly, these two competing cards have very similar rewards programs. Both offer double miles on all purchases, and miles from either of these cards are worth one cent each as statement credits towards any travel purchase.
The Capital One® card has an edge in a few areas. When it comes to miles, Capital One® miles can be redeemed in any amount, while you need to accumulate at least 10,000 of Barclaycard’s miles before you can redeem them. Another great benefit of Capital One® includes a slightly lower interest rate of 15.24% for its most qualified applicants, versus 18.24%, 22.24%, or 25.24% variable based on your creditworthiness for Barclaycard. That said, those who regularly carry a balance should be using a low-interest rate credit card, and not one that offers rewards.
However, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes out ahead in several other ways. It offers you 5% of your redeemed miles back, which makes this card a little bit more rewarding. Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. As part of the World Elite Mastercard program, it gives you more benefits than the Visa Signature program that Capital One’s Venture card is part of. Finally, Barclaycard offers new applicants 12 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers that post to your account within 45 days of account opening, while Capital One has no introductory financing offer at all.
Capital One® has the slight edge for those looking to minimize the long-term cost of paying an annual fee, but Barclaycard’s clearly offering more valuable rewards and benefits. By closely examining these advantages and drawbacks of these two products, the right choice will become clear.
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