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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Ink Business Cash Credit Card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

TPG Reader Vick recently tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy Help! Should I use my SPG Amex or my Barclaycard Arrival for fixed monthly costs like cell, cable etc.? Which card’s points are worth more?”

TPG reader Vick Tweets: “@thepointsguy Help! Should i use SPG Amex or Barclaycard Arrival for fixed monthly costs like cell cable etc. which pts are worth more? Thx.”

The real answer is neither, but let me answer first and then  provide a card that will get you more value than either of those options.

Starwood Preferred Guest points are really valuable and I tend to use my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express for purchases that won’t be banking me a bunch of points in bonus categories on other cards in my wallet. I value StarPoints at about 2.2 cents each conservatively and what’s great is they can be transferred to several airlines partners. I love using my SPG points for hotel bookings, especially when Cash + Points is available, but the downside is if you’re going to a location where Starwood doesn’t have a presence you will be out of luck in terms of accommodations.

 

SPG also has a SPG Flights program where you can redeem StarPoints with no blackout dates, but in general StarPoints are not going to cover a lot of your travel expenses.

Alternatively, BarclayCard Arrival miles are treated like currency since you can redeem them for statements credits and receive a 10% mileage refund on travel redemptions. In that case you’re getting a return on your spending of just about 2.2% since you earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. While the value of Arrival miles is very similar to StarPoints, you have more flexibility in redeeming Arrival miles since you can use them to cover travel expenses like travel agencies, hotels/motels/resorts, cruise lines, passenger railways and car rentals.

If you’re going to stick with just these two cards, I would recommend mixing up your spending so you’re diversifying your point portfolio.  If you’re trying to book Starwood hotels or first class award tickets on partners like British Airways, Alaska or American I would use your Starwood Amex more, but if you want to earn points that will cover more general travel charges, use the Arrival card.

Earn5x on cable, phone and internet charges!
Earn5x on cable, phone and internet charges!

Instead of using either of those cards I would suggest opening up a Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus card if you find yourself spending a lot on cable, internet and phone charges. Right now there is a limited time bonus for 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $5,000 spent within the first 3 months for both the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards. That sign up bonus alone is worth about $750 in travel and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. In terms of spending, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on hotels and gas purchases and 5 points per dollar on cellular, landline, internet and cable TV services. Earning 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent is worth far more than one StarPoint or 2 Arrival miles.

The no brainer here would be to go get one of those business cards as long as you have a qualifying business. Keep in mind, even if you don’t have a major business you can still qualify for business cards. Most issuers will let you get a business credit card by applying with your own social security number if your business is a sole proprietorship (a business run by one person).

For more information see these posts:

Top 10 Reasons to Get a Business Credit Card
Top 1o Ways to Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Miles
Detailed Look at the Benefits of the Ink Bold and Ink Plus Cards
Top 10 Benefits of the Ink Bold and Ink Plus Cards,
A Detailed Look at Ink Bold Benefits You Might Not Know About,
Maximizing Chase Ink Bonus Spending Categories
Maximizing the Ink Office Category Bonus Spending
Maximizing the Ink Bold’s 5X Spending Bonuses With Gift Cards
Maximizing Ultimate Rewards With the Chase Ink Cards
Chase Ink: Which Card Is Best For You
Can You Get Both The Ink Bold and Ink Plus?
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Top 10 Ways To Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.