Barclays launched the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to match competition with other banks’ flexible bank-point cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture. These cards are not co-branded with a specific airline or hotel, instead they earn flexible points that can either be transferred to various travel partners or cashed out for statement credits on any type of travel expenses.

The two biggest things to look at are: your time horizon and how you want to use the points.

The Barclays Arrival Card is great for short notice use and you earn the 40,000 mile bonus immediately after meeting the $3,000 spending requirement. I had the 40,000 miles post to my account within a week of receiving the card, so this can be very useful for getting last-minute free travel. You can actually apply the bonus miles as a statement credit for the $3,000 spending on the same statement, leaving you to pay only what ever is leftover.

The Arrival card is also great for covering travel expenses like Airbnb, travel activities, or taxes and fees on award tickets. This makes Arrival miles a great way to fill in the gaps where traditional airline miles and hotel points can’t be used.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred 45,000 point bonus is technically more valuable if you know how to use the points–meaning you transfer them to more valuable travel partners like United, Southwest, Hyatt or British Airways. If you can plan on travel farther out (6+ months) and know how to find flights, you can get ~1.5 – 2.0 cents per point. If used right this makes the bonus worth around ~$800+ in value. The sign-up bonus normally takes a statement cycle to post so it also takes longer to get the points posted into your account.

A quick bottom line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is best for earning airline miles and hotel points for travel planned 6 months out, whereas the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is best for straight cash back, last-minute travel, and travel flexibility.

Teamed together both cards offer some of the most powerful ways to earn free travel through credit card spending. Now, obviously there is a lot more to breaking it down than that, so let’s take a closer look at each card.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

 Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Travel2 points per dollar2 points per dollar
Restaurants2 points per dollar2 points per dollar
All Other Purchases2 points per dollar1 points per dollar
Transfer Points to Airline MilesNoYes
Other10% back on miles redeemed for travel7% annaul dividend bonus
Return Per Dollar Spent2.2%2.14%
Annual Fee$0 the first year, then $89$0 the first year, then $95
Bonus Offer40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in first 90 days40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in first 3 months + 5,000 points for adding an authorized user

The table comparison is a great side-by-side visual at the major differences between the two cards with the most notable difference being that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® earns 2 points per dollar on ALL purchases.

Card Earnings

The Barclays Arrival World MasterCard earns 2 points per dollar on ALL purchases whereas the Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel and restaurant purchases, but only 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Unless you plan to only use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card on travel and restaurants purchases, you won’t be earning the same return that you could by using the Barclays Arrival Card. Since I bet most of your purchases fall into the ‘all other purchases’ category, the Arrival Card might be a better option in terms of everyday spending. Though you also have to consider the redemption value of the points.

On top of that you will earn 10% back on all Arrival miles redeemed for travel. This means that for every dollar spent you are essentially getting 2.2 points after you use them for statement credits on travel expenses. Think about that, 2.2% percent back is hard to beat!

If you’re looking for the highest earning card for everyday spending I would consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. You cannot beat the 2 points per dollar on every purchases.

On the other hand if you are planning international travel and need airline miles to cover the flight, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a great way to earn points that can be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio.

So let’s break this down with a couple of spending examples:

 Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Sign-up Bonus4000040000
Non-Bonus Spend
Points Earned from $10,0002000010000
Points Earned from 10% Points Rebate/7% Annual Dividend7200700
Total Points6720050700
Total Travel Value$672$634
Bonus Spend
Points Earned from $10,000 Bonus Spend2000020000
Points Earned from 10% Points Rebate/7% Annual Dividend72001400
Total Points6720061400
Total Travel Value$672$767

One valuable aspect of the Arrival card is that you earn miles on the travel purchases that you redeem on miles to remove from your statement. This ‘double’ earning takes the value of Arrival miles from 1.11 to 1.14 cents per mile. This actually makes the card’s earning 2.28%-back on all purchases and the sign-up bonus worth $456.

For the example above, after spending $10,000 on the Arrival card you will have earned a total of 60,000 miles from the bonus and spending. To redeem these miles you will have to make a $600 travel purchase, thus earning 1,200 additional miles and increasing what the card earns to 2.28%. This higher earning potential obviously only works if you continue to use the card and the cycle of redeeming miles.

Value Per Point

When you use points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to cover direct travel expenses you will get 1 cent per Ultimate Rewards point or Arrival mile. Basically each point can be viewed as straight cash back when redeemed for travel and statement credits.

However, there is a big difference in the potential value you can get from each point. Barclays Arrival miles are set at a value of 1 cent each, but Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Sapphire Preferred can be transferred to airline miles and hotel points with Ultimate Rewards travel partners.

The transfer ratio is 1:1 to all travel partners and you can get MUCH more than 1 cent per point when transferred to airline miles and redeemed for flights. If you transfer to United Airlines and redeem for international travel you can often get close to 2.0 cents per mile. You can also get close to that value with Southwest when you redeem points at the ‘Wanna Get Away’ fare level.

With that said, unless you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the more valuable transfer partners such as United and Southwest you’re probably not going to get a ton more value than what you would get from Arrival miles. For instance, if you transfer Chase UR points to any hotels you are likely to get less than 1.0 value per point when you redeem them. For instance, I consider it more valuable to earn Arrival miles than to earn UR points and transfer them to Hilton hotel points.

With the Arrival card you are always going to get 1.0 cent per mile and the flexibility to redeem them for any travel can make them potentially very valuable to you. The bottom line is that it depends on the type of travel you want to get from your rewards as well as the flexibility you need from you rewards points.

Both Cards are Great, But for Different Reasons

I currently have both of these cards and consider both valuable for different reasons. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is one of the best cards on the market for flexible travel rewards and straight cash back for any type of travel expense. If you’re looking for flexible travel rewards and want to earn the top return (2.2% back) per dollar spent on all purchases, sign-up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® with the current 40,000 mile bonus offer.

On the other hand the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good option if you want to earn airline miles or hotel points for a specific program and have a valuable use for those points. Ideally I would earn UR points for future travel that I can plan for far in advance and keep the Arrival miles in my account for unexpected travel expenses or costs that cannot be covered by airline miles.

The bottom line is that these two cards paired together make a great team, covering most spending categories and travel rewards uses.

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About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.

5 Comments

  • Recently apply for both, I apply first for the arrive and I got denied then applied for csp and got approved for the CSP.

    • Luis, did you call into the reconsideration line? I’ve found its almost always worth calling in if you are not instantly approved and could just mean clarifying some information for an approval.

  • This is exactly what I am planning on doing with my cards. I am planning a honeymoon to Europe in about a year and plan on using my 100k AAdvantage or Chase points to cover airfare and hotels. However, I also plan on renting a car and staying at smaller bed and breakfasts, which the Arrival will cover. By also staying at non-chain hotels, I’ll be able to cover more of my expenses with the Arrival card and have a longer trip!

    • That’s definitely a great strategy and it sounds like you’ve got everything covered on your honeymoon to Europe. Have a great time and happy travels!

    • Beware! It appears that the Arrival card is not currently available with the chip in it that the pictured chase card has. I was in Europe last summer and none of my credit cards worked in most places because the continent has left the magnetic strip! You will need a card with a chip and pin to use your credit card in most places. Only with online purchases and a few restaurants was it possible to use my card by manually entering numbers or using an old CC machine. I will not repeat this mistake!