Last week I announced that the Capital One Venture card has upped its sign up bonus to 50,000 points after meeting the minimum spend requirements. Within this post I stated that this is a great card for those looking for a fixed earning and redeeming credit card program, however, there are other fixed card offers available as well. Another great card is the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard. While the sign up offer is currently slightly less at offering 40,000 points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months, you will get a fixed 2.1% back on your purchases – with the Capital One Venture card you get a fixed 2% back on all purchases.
In this post I will detail out the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard, and then will compare it against the Capital One Venture card in another post.
With this card you earn 2 miles per dollar spent on ALL purchases. Since this is a fixed redemption program 1 mile = 1 cent, however, when you use your points you get 5% back. For example, the 40,000 miles you get from the sign up bonus equal a flat $400, but when you go to use those 40,000 miles you will get 5% back to your account, which equals 2,000 miles (or $20). So really, you are earning a flat 2.1% back on all purchases. The annual fee is slightly higher than the Capital One Venture card at $89/year, but waived for the first year. To pay an annual fee of $89/year on a fixed program, you must spend enough during the year for it to be worth it. Spending $4,300 a year will give you $90 towards free travel and is essentially the point where you will break even.
There is, however, a no-fee version of this card, although the sign up bonus isn’t nearly as good. You’ll earn 10,000 points after meeting the same spend requirements and you will only earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining. On all other purchases you’ll earn a measly 1 point per dollar spent. If your intentions are to only use this card for travel and dining though, getting 2.1% back on those purchases is great!
Since the annual fee is waived the first year, you are better off signing up for the premier version of the card and then downgrading when the annual fee is about to hit. This will get you the full sign up bonus and then allow you to continue to earn 2.1% back on travel and dining with no annual fee.
To use your points, you simply put your travel purchase (anything categorized as Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies counts as travel) on your credit card and you have 90 days to earn those points required. You can then request to use your points on a previous purchase, but you must have the points in full to cover the entire cost. For example, if you pay for an airline ticket that is $300, you must have 30,000 points to use within 90 days. You cannot use a combination of cash and points to cover the expense.
The good thing about this is you will still earn points with the specific airline carrier or hotel chain when using your points. The airline and hotel do not consider this a free flight/night. When using other redemption programs you do not earn points/miles when redeeming for a free flight/night.
This card is great for those that typically do not redeem their points for more than 2.1 cents per point. For example, if you earn Starwood points with the Starwood Amex credit card and you redeem 10,000 points for a room that would have otherwise cost $109/night, you are getting less than 1 cent per point value! The average person probably does not get more than 2.1 cents per point when redeeming. If you want luxury travel (business class seats, fancy expensive hotels), this card is not the card for you – although you might enjoy the miles simply from the sign up offer!
There are a few other perks to this card, such as a free membership to TripIt Pro. Not something I’d pay for, but if it comes along for free why not. This membership typically costs $49/year and essentially acts as a personal travel organizer. There are also no foreign exchange fees and you have a few insurance options such as delayed luggage insurance and trip cancellation insurance.
Another benefit is that is is a Barclaycard for those of you who are currently maxed out on your Chase and American Express card applications. From my understanding, Barclaycard typically pulls from Transunion.
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