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Barclaycard Arrival Plus vs. Capital One Venture: Travel Credit Card Showdown

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Both the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card promise would-be travelers industry-leading flat-rate rewards and sign-up bonuses. Their versatility and value make them travel credit card royalty. But because they share so many features, deciding between the two can be tough.

In this tight competition, your spending habits might send one of these cards sailing over the finish line first — possibly to a narrow victory. Generally, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® ekes out a win for those who plan to hold the card long term, while the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card pulls ahead for those who plan to hold the card for a shorter time. For some, the side benefits on each card might also be a deciding factor.

How they compare

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card both get you 2 miles per dollar spent, and miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for credit against travel purchases. These flexible rewards, paired with robust earn rates, make these two cards top choices for infrequent travelers craving flexibility.

 Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee$0 for the first year, then $89 $0 for the first year, then $95
Sign-up bonusEnjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchaseEnjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
Rewards2 miles per dollar spent2 miles per dollar spent
Redemption bonus5% toward your next redemption

(If you redeemed 50,000 miles, you'd get 2,500 miles toward your next redemption.)
None
Foreign transaction feesNoneNone
How it defines "travel purchases"“Airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, purchase and travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, and ferries,” according to Barclaycard's website. “Airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares,” according to Capital One's website.

Here’s where the cards differ:

  • Sign-up bonus: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers a sign-up bonus worth $500. That’s more valuable than the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, worth $400. Winner: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.
  • Redemption bonus: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® both offer 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. But because the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® gives you 5% of your miles back when you redeem, its effective rewards rate is 2.1%, compared with 2% on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Winner: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.
  • Annual fee: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $89. That makes it slightly less expensive than the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. Winner: The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.

Take the quiz: Which card is more valuable?

How these cards stack up depends on how long you carry them and how much you spend. Take the quiz below to figure out which card is a better deal, from a rewards and cost perspective.

Tie-breaker round: What else should you consider?

If you took the quiz and found that one card offers a commanding lead over the other, congratulations: You’ve found a winner. But the difference between the two cards is relatively small for you, here are some other card features worth considering:

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is chip-and-PIN enabled. With this card, you’ll be able to use it at certain kiosks and parking meters abroad, places your other cards likely won’t be accepted. If you’re traveling internationally often, that’s a big deal. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, like most U.S. credit cards, is a chip-and-signature and can’t be used for these transactions.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has lower redemption minimums. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card doesn’t come with any minimum redemption requirements if you use the miles to cover a full or partial travel purchase. That means you can use your rewards on just about anything, even a relatively small purchase, such as a bus fare or cab ride.

With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you need a whopping $100 worth of miles — equal to $5,000 in spending — before you can redeem for travel statement credit. That’s one of the highest minimum redemptions we’ve seen on a travel credit card.

Still undecided? 

If these two powerhouse rewards cards still seem evenly matched to you, here’s a good rule of thumb for making your final decision:

  • If you’re planning to keep the card for just a couple of years, go with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. The richer sign-up bonus makes it a better deal in the short term.
  • If you’re planning to keep the card long term, go with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. The slightly higher ongoing rewards and lower annual fee on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® make it a better deal for the truly committed.

When you go with the card that best complements your spending, you’ll come out ahead.