If you’re looking for a straightforward travel credit card that doesn’t require a lot of extra thinking or “travel hacking,” the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® are probably on your radar.
The two credit cards are similar on the outside — they both offer 2 miles per dollar spent and offer large sign-up bonuses. But there are enough subtle differences between the two cards that it’s worth comparing them in depth to decide which is better for you.
In this guide, we’ll cover each of the cards’ main features and show how one may be better than the other for certain situations.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card vs. Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard
Both of these credit cards are solid options for any traveler, but the details may prove to be better or worse, depending on your situation and preferences. Let’s dig in.
Both credit cards offer 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, but each card has an ace up their sleeve.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, for instance, offers 10 miles per dollar spent when you book hotels through hotels.com/venture. That’s essentially a 10% discount on every hotel you book through the site.
If you get the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, however, you’ll get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem them. So, if you redeem 50,000 miles, Barclays will deposit 2,500 miles into your rewards account.
So, if you book hotels relatively frequently, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card may be the better option. But if you don’t stay in hotels very often or you don’t want to be stuck with using one website to book your hotels, consider the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® instead.
As of September 2018, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 in the first three months with the card.
The Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, on the other hand has a Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days (normally it offers 60,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days.)
While the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers a higher bonus — it’s worth $100 more in travel statement credits — you’ll need to spend more to get it. So, it may be better for people who can afford to spend $5,000 in just a few months.
If you can barely manage to meet the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s minimum spending requirement, it’s better to get $500 worth of free travel than missing the minimum spend requirement on the other card and getting nothing.
Both credit cards allow you to redeem your rewards for a travel statement credit. All you need to do is use your card to book almost any kind of travel, then log in to your credit card account and use your miles to get a full or partial statement credit against the purchase.
There are, however, a few key differences between the two cards in how you can redeem your rewards.
Redemption minimums: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have a minimum redemption amount, while the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® requires that you use at least 10,000 miles per redemption.
So, if you upgrade your seat on a flight and pay $99, only one of the two cards will allow you to use your miles to effectively erase the purchase.
Redemption timeframe: Once you make a travel-related purchase with your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you’ll have 90 days to accumulate enough miles to get a statement credit for the transactions.
If you have the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, though, you’ll get 120 days, giving you more time to build up your miles account. This is especially important considering the card’s 10,000-mile minimum for redemptions.
Other redemption options: Both credit cards also allow you to redeem your miles for cash and gift cards, but the redemption rates aren’t great.
But one thing Capital One offers that Barclays doesn’t is the option to use your rewards to book travel directly through the card issuer’s website. This feature makes using your miles even more convenient.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card charges a higher annual fee of $95 but waives it the first year. In contrast, the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®’s $89 annual fee doesn’t get waived at all.
So, even if you can afford to meet the card’s minimum spending requirements, you’re effectively getting $511 in travel rewards versus the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card’s $500.
Depending on how you use the card, however, you could make up for that first annual fee over time.
Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, making them both a good travel companion if you’re taking a trip abroad. As for interest rates, they’re both on par for the most part.
The only difference is that the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers an introductory 0% APR promotion on balance transfers for 12 months. So, if you’re looking to pay down high-interest credit card debt, that might be a card worth considering.
For most of the best credit cards, it’s not just the rewards program that makes the card stand out; it’s also the card’s ancillary features.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of those with these credit cards. But what they offer can still be enough to help you make a decision.
To start, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers cardholders an application fee credit worth up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. You’ll get that credit every four years, giving you up to $25 per year in extra value.
With the Barclays Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, the main game changer is the card’s chip-and-pin capability.
With most card issuers in the U.S. offering chip-and-signature credit cards, having the pin option makes the card easier to use when you’re overseas using a self-service kiosk, such as at a train station.
Which credit card is better for you?
Neither of these credit cards is the perfect choice for everyone. It’s important, therefore, to take the time to consider what you want out of a credit card.
Each card offers a variety of features, so take a good look at each and decide which one would best suit your needs and preferences. Also, compare each with other top travel credit cards to get an idea of what else you could get out of a credit card.
This process can take time, but it’s well worth it to ensure that you get the best credit card for you.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated September 7, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.