Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard vs. Capital One Venture Card

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Over the past few weeks I’ve written about both the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard and the Capital One Venture credit card. Both are very similar in that you earn 2 points per dollar spent and there is a fixed redemption. But which one is better? I am going to write this post not taking into consideration the sign up offer as those offers change from time to time and it is a one time bonus.

The point of the post is to go over which card is better for every day spend, assuming you like the fixed redemption route. Of course many people will find a better value in the points and miles specific credit cards, but for the average person who is not looking to stay at a $1,000/night hotel in the Maldives or to fly business class, a fixed redemption can sometimes have a better value.

  • Earning structure:
    • Barclaycard Arrival: Earn 2 points per dollar spent
    • Capital One Venture: Earn 2 points per dollar spent
  • Redemption: 
    • Barclaycard Arrival: 1 point = 1 cent, but if redeeming on travel you’ll get 5% back
    • Capital One Venture: 1 point = 1 cent
  • Annual fee:
    • Barclaycard Arrival: $89/year, first year fee waived
    • Capital One Venture: $59/year, first year fee waived

So which one will give you more points? If you plan on redeeming for travel, then it all comes down to how much you will spend on the card in a year. While the Barclaycard essentially gives you 2.1% back (which is higher than Capital One Venture’s 2% back), it has a higher fee by $30 a year.

Of course the first year with no annual fee, the Barclaycard is by far better regardless of how much you spend. Once the annual fee kicks in that is when things could potentially change. Once you start having to pay an annual fee, you need to spend at least $15,00 on your card over the course of the year to make the Barclarycard Arrival card worth it over the Capital One Venture card.

To avoid the annual fee overall though, you can get the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard and when the annual fee is about to hit you can downgrade to the no annual fee version of the card. With the no annual fee version you will still get the 5% back when you redeem your points for travel, but you will only earn 1 point1 on travel and dinning (whereas the fee version of the card you earn 2 point per dollar spent on all purchases).

If you are interested in one of these two cards (or both) solely based on the sign up offer, as of today the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard is offering 40,000 points after meeting the minimum spend requirements, while the Capital One Venture card is only offering 20,000 points. This means you will get a flat $440 towards travel with the Barclaycard Arrival and $200 with the Capital One Venture.

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  1. Yeah – I was just talking about this the other day too. Another card that’s similar are the Citi ThankYou cards, though they only give 1% so they’re definitely not as good as the 2 you mentioned.

    And as Kalboz said, I am also missing the 50K CapitalOne link – I was going to include that in my app-o-rama today but I decided to just wait a few months to see if that comes back.

  2. I actually have both cards for now. I’ve had the Cap1 card for a few years, and I applied for the Arrival card because of the signup bonus. I’m leaning toward canceling the Arrival card when the annual fee is due because of the difference in the annual fee. I’d like to keep the Cap1 card because you also have access to Cap1 Deals each week that are similar to the Amex Sync deals. I saved $114 in 2013, which more than made up for the annual fee. That tips the scale even more in the favor of Cap1 for me. To my knowledge, the Arrival card has no such offer. I have other Barclaycard accounts (US Air and NFL) where I often get their quarterly category bonuses, but nothing so far for the Arrival card.

  3. Another perk of the Arrival is that you can redeem points in $25 increments. The Capital One card will only let you redeem points if you can cover the full cost on your statement (although I’ve successfully gotten around this by saying that I purchased several tickets instead of one).

  4. To recover the $30 annual fee difference in Barclay card, you only need to speed $1500 (1500*2%=30), not $15000.

    And $1500 more spending in a year is very easy to achieve..

  5. @TonyL, sorry, but I think your math is incorrect. Say that you spent $1500 on each card. You would get $30 cash back from the Venture card and $33 from the Arrival card, which is only a $3 difference. To recover the $30 difference in the annual fee, you would need to spend that $1500 10 times, hence $15000 annual spending.

    You’ve mixed up the decimal point. Your analysis would be correct if the Arrival card returned 4% versus the Venture card’s 2%.

  6. I have had CapOne for years, but recently got the Barclay for the bonus. I will keep CapOne, though, because I bank with them and the rewards checking and rewards money market accounts I have add nicely to my balance every month.

  7. @Jivepicnic: Sorry I think you’re still wrong here. The Barclays card has a $30 premium over the Venture, so you have to earn 3000 extra points per year to make up the difference, which would cost $1500 in spending.

  8. @mikehawk, if you were going to spend $1500 more on the Arrival and had both cards, you’d always have the opportunity to spend it on the Venture as well. When we look at the total annual return for spend X, we have two intersecting lines. The Venture line is 0.020*X – 59. The Arrival line is 0.022*X – 89 (ignoring the repeating 10% bonus on redemptions for simplicity). These intersect at X = 30/0.002 = $15000. If you spend less than $15000 annually on the card, the Venture’s return is higher. If you spend more than $15000, the Arrival’s return is higher. Try it by plugging any value for X in the two total return equations.

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