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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.
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: