Which Credit Card To Get: Chase Sapphire Preferred Or Barclaycard Arrival?

by on March 2, 2014 · 36 comments

in Barclays, Chase, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TPG reader Lance sent me a Facebook message this week to ask me about which credit card he should get.

“I already have an American Express Platinum and Starwood cards, but I want to get another card that allows me to use points for travel expenses and statement credits. I’m deciding between the Barclaycard Arrival and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card – which should I get?”

I always say having a diverse selection of points and miles is useful, and having a diverse portfolio of credit cards can help with that. So really, getting both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclaycard Arrival would make sense in this case.

Having several credit cards can be a great way to diversify points.

Having several credit cards can be a great way to diversify points.

The best thing about the Barclaycard Arrival is that you get a 40,000-mile bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Those points are equivalent to about $454 when you redeem them for travel, but they’re not great for straight-up statement credits since you get just 0.5 cents per mile for a rate of return of 1% (you earn 2X miles per $1 on all purchases). However, Lance, if you are like most TPG readers, you are a traveler and can best benefit from using the points for travel purposes. Technically you are getting 2.27% back in value per dollar you spend.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card will also give you a 40,000-point sign-up bonus if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. The Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed at 1.25 cents apiece towards travel expenses. However, remember that  you can earn 2.14X points per dollar on travel for dining, so if you strictly spent just on travel and dining, you would get just over 2.5% back, which is slightly better than the Barclaycard Arrival. However, do consider that the Arrival earns 2X miles per dollar on all purchases, not just travel and dining. The Barclaycard Arrival may be a better card if you are just looking to redeem just for travel expenses.

Additionally, the Chase Sapphire card has you book travel through the Ultimate Rewards, whereas the Barclaycard will allow to buy whatever you want that is travel-related – purchasing an airline or train ticket, pay for a taxi, etc. – and then you can have it taken off your statement as a credit.

My final advice: get both! Both cards come with a 40,000-point bonuses – just make sure you meet the minimum spending requirement on each in the first 3 months to get the bonus. If you have a Bluebird and a place where you can purchase Vanilla Reload using credit cards near you, that shouldn’t be too hard. The annual fees on both cards are also waived for the first year, and both sign-up bonuses can be valued at several hundred dollars, depending on how you use the points, so you can definitely leverage them for a lot of value.

More information on these cards and others can be found below:

Upcoming Changes to the Barclaycard Arrival

Maximizing Barclaycard Arrival Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-Up Bonus

Top Five Credit Cards For Travel Rewards

Using the TPG Maximizer Tool To Help You Choose The Right Card

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Pszczolka

    One major benefit to the Arrival is the points post automatically – as soon as the purchase goes through you can spend them. The Chase card, meanwhile, makes you wait until the billing statement and so you’re never quite sure how many points you have which I find a bit annoying. I’ve fed this back to them so maybe it will change if enough people do (even the Amex cards always show you more or less right away, even if you can’t spend them right away) but once I get my bonus I’ll probably switch back to using the Arrival primarily for this reason.

  • fred stevens

    Of these two, I prefer chase. They seem more experienced. The website is nice where you can see all your chase credit cards and bank accounts on a singe page. also you can transfer chase points to other programs or use them for statement credits. I had some problems with Barclaycard, but was able to work it out

  • Icheckthingsout

    GET BOTH – that way TPG maks more money!!!

  • Jack

    Remember that you can call to apply for the Arrival card with a lower spending requirement of $1,000 which TPG conveniently does not mention because he does not get paid.

  • ed

    Get the arrival for convenience since it’s a fixed 2.22 cents per dollar spent. If you want to maximize the points game, then the sapphire is a better option only if you also use Freedom and have a checking account through chase. The 5x categories and 10% bonus can add a lot of points.

    The questions I would ask is whether you want a decent return with not a lot of effort, or if you want to juggle 2 cards and do the extra work to find the best fare/conversion rate.

    However, before deciding you should ask what the goal is. Is it to diversify the type of points you get to increase partners or to maximize points. I could imagine getting the gold premier or the upcoming everyday preferred could do that job very well.

  • lancej

    With the award devaluations going on across the board, plus the scarcity of award seats, it seems that holding points to transfer to an airline or hotel partner seems risky. The idea of using the Barclaycard for the statement credits seems easier and more consistent. Maybe you lose a little on the calculated value, but if you can’t use your points for airline seats or free rooms, then what’s the point in holding them. Just a thought

  • Locke42

    I personally prefer the CSP. The rate of return per dollar is just so much higher with UR points than with Arrival miles. The “1.25 cents per UR point” is the absolute minimum UR points are worth. Transfer them to airlines or hotels, and their value can double. On top of that, you can earn major bonus points through the UR mall, which you can’t do with the Arrival.

    Of course, the uncertainty of not knowing exactly how much they are worth until you find a deal is a problem, so for peace of mind the Arrival is better. But I like the idea of being able to optimize my redemption rates with flexible points programs like SPG and UR.

  • David

    Actually, the Sapphire Preferred only requires $2000 spending in the first 3 months not $3000.

  • Josh Frey


    In many ways I think it’s a question of complication. The arrival is essentially 2.27 on everything (and redemption is simple), whereas CSP depends on your utilization of points.

    If you redeem for travel, the lowest you’d be looking at for CSP is 1.34 on base spending and 2.68 on travel/dining. But it’s worth noting that unless you travel a lot, you’ll be paying for your travel with points and therefore not earning points paying for it. And there are other good dining cards without annual fees.

    Like Ed mentioned, CSP shines when you can make good use of Chase’s transfer partners and convert points from Freedom. If you can get a value of ~2 cents per point and convert 5% categories from Freedom, CSP wins hands down.

    But yeah, it’s all about degree of complication.

  • thanksTPG

    You’re right –I got both… a couple of months ago.. Thanks TPG!

    I got an upgrade on my Japan trip to business class on United’s Dreamliner (using the Saphire card), and the Barclay’s card will pay 80% of my round trip flight from Japan to Seoul. TPG gets to enjoy his referral money (which is probably not much). And due to TPG’s advice, I get tremendous benefits on my first trip to Japan and South Korea.

    Thanks again, TPG!

  • lem

    And he did allow your comment post, right (even though your claim is not substantiated). But you weren’t wanting to be helpful were you? Your point was to express envy, and suggest TPG’s readers are gullible lemmings.

  • Greedy

    I agree the CSP can be more valuable if you transfer to the a partner AND make mostly travel/dining purchases for 2X ultimate rewards. However, I like that the Arrival has no annual fee and you get 2X points for everything.

    I have both now primarily for the sign up bonus. Depending on how much you spend (and what you spend on) the benefits of CSP might be offset by the annual fee.

  • ed

    The 2x everything arrival does have an annual fee. Maybe you got the first year waved but expect to pay on anniversary date. The no fee version is not 2x on all purchases

  • iahphx

    A sophisticated discussion of this topic would note that Barclay’s is far less willing than Chase to give you multiple credit cards. If you already have one or two of their other cards, you might be rejected for the Arrivals card — especially if you’ve been “churning” cards with other issuers.
    My non-commissioned advice is that if there’s ANOTHER Barclay’s card you’re interested in — like, for example, the soon-to-disappear US Airways card — do NOT apply for an Arrivals card first. Go slow with Barclay’s and get the card you really want, and certainly get that one first.

  • Brian C. Lee

    No, it requires $3000 in 3 months. There have been a few specific offers for less spending, but for the most part, it’s always been $3000 in 3 months.

  • newmanso

    I agree. The recent United devaluation is still a pain and almost 90% of my UR points was transferred to it…

  • Justin

    I’ve been wrestling with restructuring our biz spend with UR. We do about $500k annual spend and $100k of that is travel. Currently carry AMEX corp (the non transferable mr) and BofA cash back for MC/Visa alternative but it just seems like we could really benefit from travel rewards. Need to come up with a sensible gameplan being hub based between PHL and EWR and wanting flexibility in flights and hotels. I just think we spend way too much on employee travel.

  • Robert K

    Why is no one mentioning that points transferred to United are worth a lot more due to free one-ways and open jaws on United. No cash back card, like Arrival, can compete with that. Flights to Asia and back with free one-way to anywhere in US is 80K miles. That flight would costs $2600. With 10% back from Arrival you are at $2340. You would have to spend $117,000 on arrival and only $80,000 on Sapphire to buy this trip. $37,000 difference. That $37,000 would be good for another round-trip to Europe.

    Am I wrong?

  • Matt

    So my biggest question is based on this scenario: I plan to travel, mainly cross-country for family. I won’t be spending on travel, but rather redeeming for travel (that’s really my biggest question, because i wont be spending on travel, is one card preferred over the other?) I’ll rack up points based on usage as I will be using the card for all purchases, including a monthly rent and mortgage payment. So would Arrival be preferred in this situation because i would really just be redeeming points/miles for travel rather than spending on travel?

  • Esther

    Why only 80%?

  • Knife FIght

    Did anyone else notice that the Chase Sapphire Preferred has an extra 5k bonus points now just by adding and additional authorized user and making a purchase? This is on top of the regular 40k points offer.

  • Lonetree

    I´m getting sick of dealing with Arrival. First you have to spend minimum $25 on a purchase for it to be eligible for credit, and second what Barclay considers a travel expense is somewhat arbitrary. Deutsche Bahn train in Germany, yes. Italian Trains in Italy, no. Even though the Capital One Venture does not have the 10% redemption bonus, it is a lot easier to deal with and redeem miles.

  • Flexic

    Which of these cards would you prefer if you were only interested in getting round-trip tickets from mainland usa to Europe?

    The Sapphire would let you transfer UR points to United, where it is only 60,000 miles for an economy saver round trip ticket to Europe. Whereas a quick glance at hipmunk shows the roundtrip price to be ~$1500 for me which would require 150,000 barclays miles.

    Even with the 10% mileage back for travel purchases on barclays and earning 2mi per $1 spent, it seems like Sapphire may be the better card in this case?

  • doctorofcredit

    How’d you get the 2.27 figure?

  • doctorofcredit

    The real question is which card should you keep after the annual fee hits.

  • Jen

    I am new to getting a card with travel rewards. My goal is to save up points/miles to use for a family trip to Disney World. I want points that can be redeemed on the flights and stay at a Disney resort. But after that trip, I want to be able to use the points to travel anywhere (so the Disney card doesn’t make sense). I don’t have or make a lot of money, so I’d like to avoid having to pay a big annual fee. I like the Amex Premier Gold card’s 3x on travel and 2x on gas and groceries (which would be most of my purchases) but the points can’t be redeemed at a Disney resort. Can you recommend a card?

  • Art R.

    Why is the US Airways card better? I have a US Airways card and a CSP and was planning on getting the Arrival because the rewards seem to be easier to get redeemed for travel. I will be backpacking for the next 2 years and would be using my rewards for plane tickets.

  • Cobbis

    So many great arguments for both cards – but it seems like one feature of the Arrival card isn’t getting as much attention as it deserves. With Arrival card, you’re not limited to a handful of hotels or airlines, but instead it’s nearly limitless travel partners where you can use your earned miles! Shouldn’t that be a killer benefit tilting the scale in Arrival’s favor?

  • Sophia

    I plan on doing extensive travel throughout Eastern Europe then through Southeast Asia for 4-6 months starting this Fall. I’m traveling on a pretty tight budget, mostly staying in cheaper Airbnb’s, with the bulk of my expenses being the flights and other modes of transportation, and I would like to purchase my flights on my new card. Which card do you think would be best for me in this case? I’m leaning towards the Barclay, since I would get cash back on all of my purchases, not just on travel. However, the $25 minimum per purchase to qualify for credits seems a little risky, especially considering most of my during-travel purchases will be less than. Let me know if you can help!

  • TerpZ

    been using the site forever… decided it was finally time to give you a referral. approved for barclaycard via your link!

  • thepointsguy

    Thank you! Really appreciate it

  • Esquared

    Anyone know if you can earn miles on balance transfers with either of these cards?

  • John Smith

    Is there a way to link my bank account to my sapphire? if so , how?
    I have a regular free checking account.with Chase.

  • Nathan

    People cannot overlook the annual fees. You can still get both cards for the bonus because the first year is waived. But you have to remember that once that year mark hits you’re going to get hit with about 180 dollars in annual fees. That can be a step backwards for many of us who are trying to get the most out of saving money for travel. The real question is deciding which card to keep after the first year….

  • ieatstars

    Can you expand on this? I have never heard of free one-ways with UA. Thanks in advance!

  • eye of newt

    Isn’t the 2% on all purchases? That’s the first I’me hearing of a $25 threshold.

Print This Page