Should I Redeem Amex Rewards or Barclaycard Arrival Miles For Flights?

May 17, 2015

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TPG reader Eva tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy– “Is it better to buy airline tickets with American Express Membership Rewards points or Barclaycard Arrival Plus points?”

Not all miles and points are created equal, which is why I love to have a diverse collection of airline miles, hotel points and transferable credit card points. Lately I’ve been really ramping up my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard points and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card points, which are both great because they cover costs like Uber, Airbnb and train tickets, basically acting as cash towards travel. Whereas hotel and airline points can be great for covering a majority of expenses, sometimes it’s great to have points you can use for other types of travel.

Not all travel rewards are created equal. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Not all travel rewards are created equal. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you want to use your points like cash, as Eva does, it’s best to use Barclaycard Arrival Plus points. Amex Membership Reward points are are much more valuable when you transfer them to airline partners like Aeroplan or Lufthansa. For instance, last summer I booked a first class ticket from Europe to the U.S. for 62,500 miles on Lufthansa simply by transferring some of my Amex Rewards points.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus points are always pegged at one cent per point plus you get a 5% rebate when you redeem your miles, so use those for travel costs like cheap plane tickets (or other types of transportation costs) and transfer your Amex points for a better deal on long-haul first or business class airfares.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

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