The Differences Between the Arrival Card and Venture Card

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I write a lot about the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® and very little about the Capital One Venture Card.

Superficially the two cards are similar. Both offer miles that can be redeemed for any flight, hotel, car rental, or other travel expense.

Plus the Venture Card has had a sustained TV advertisement blitz for several years that seems to have gotten through to most people. So a lot of people assume the two cards are identical or just as good as each other. They’re actually very different though.

Sign Up Bonus

The Arrival Plus offers 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

The Venture card offers 20,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first three months.

That means the Arrival Plus offers a better headline bonus and a better rebate on the minimum spending requirement. But the difference is even larger than it appears.

Value of One Mile

Arrival miles are worth 14% more at 1.14 cents each than Venture miles, which are worth 1 cent each.

The reason Arrival miles are worth so much more is that you get an instant 10% rebate on all redemptions of Arrival miles for travel. Plus you earn Arrival miles on the travel purchase that you later eliminate with your redemption.

All this means that the Arrival Plus’s 40,000 bonus miles are worth $456 in free travel, while the Venture card’s 20,000 bonus miles are worth $200 in free travel.

While the Venture’s sign up bonus has never tempted me, I opened the Arrival Plus and cleared its bonus last month. Here’s why.

Big Advantage: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

How do the Arrival Plus and Venture card compare on earnings, annual fee, foreign transaction fee, and other benefits?

Earning Potential

Both cards earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. As noted earlier, Arrival miles are worth 1.14 cents each and Venture miles are worth 1 cent each.

That means their earning rates are:

The Arrival Plus’s earning rate is 14% better than the Venture card’s.

The Arrival Plus’s earning rate is so consistent and so good that I’ve labeled it one of the Three Cards Big Spenders Should Use.

Big Advantage: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Foreign Transaction Fees

Neither card has any foreign transaction fees.

Since I travel so much, this comes in handy frequently for me.

Also the Arrival is a MasterCard and the Venture is a Visa, both of which are widely accepted worldwide just like in the United States.

Other Benefits

The Arrival Plus comes with two other awesome benefits worth mentioning:

  • Free FICO credit score
  • Free TripIt Pro Subscription ($49 value)

Barclaycard announced in November that its cardholders for some cards would have free access to their FICO score, which is an exciting feature for those of us who get so much value from our credit score.

This is your real FICO credit score, not one of those “FAKO” scores that are readily available online. Because I have an Arrival Plus, I get free access to my FICO score. About every month, I get an email that it has changed, and I log in to check the score.

I experimented with TripIt Pro before getting the Arrival Plus to see if it was worth getting. I really enjoy the interface and the convenience of having all my trip information in one place for all my upcoming trips. A normal TripIt Pro subscription is $49, but the subscription is complimentary if you get the Arrival Plus.

Big Advantage: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Annual Fee

Both cards waive the annual fee for the first year.

After 12 months, the Venture Card has an annual fee of $59. After 12 months, the Arrival Plus has an annual fee of $89.

That $30 difference is more than swamped by access to the FICO score and TripIt Pro that the Arrival Plus gives.

But even if you valued those perks at zero, it only takes a little over $10,000 in spending per year for the 14% better earnings rate of the Arrival Plus to eliminate the $30 difference.

Plus since the Arrival Plus’s sign up bonus was $256 better than Venture’s, it would take until the 10th year for the sign up bonuses’ difference to be smaller than the annual fees’ difference.

Small Advantage: Venture Card


I understand why people initially notice the similarities between the Arrival Plus and Venture cards and don’t see all the differences at first.

Both are cards that earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases that can be used toward:

  • Any flight on any airline with no blackouts
  • Any hotel, hostel, B&B, etc
  • Car Rentals
  • Other travel expenses

But the cards actually differ quite a bit on the specifics.

Sign Up Bonus: Arrival Plus worth $456, Venture worth $200

Earning Rate: Arrival Plus worth 2.28%, Venture worth 2%

Foreign Transaction Fee: Zero for both cards

Other Benefits: Arrival Plus gives access to real FICO score and TripIt Pro

Annual Fee: Both waived the first 12 months, then $59 for the Venture and $89 for the Arrival Plus

Overall, I think the Arrival Plus blows the Venture Card away. For more information on how both compare to other cards in the category, see this comparison table I made of bank-point cards.

Application Links:


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29 Responses to The Differences Between the Arrival Card and Venture Card

  1. You didn’t mention the Barclaycard Travel Community, which affords opportunities to post trip reports and pictures, with reasonably good points rewards for it, if that’s the sort of thing you like to to do. I kind of hesitate to mention it, because the temptation will be there for some to just go for quantity rather than quality, spoiling it for everyone.

    I would quibble just a bit at the margins with the awards valuation for some readers. When spending on travel with the Arrival you do pass up bonused spend which can be more lucrative elsewhere, depending on what cards you hold. Thus the fact the Venture rebate holds for any spend, not just travel, does ever so slightly budge the needle in its direction. Yet overall I agree: The Arrival is clearly the better deal.

  2. I think it would be helpful to remind people it can be difficult to get approval from Barclays if you have a lot of recent credit inquiries and/or if you don’t frequently use your other Barclays cards (e.g. US Airways MC, Lufthansa M&M MC). In addition, it would be helpful to remind people that Capital One will do three credit inquiries, not just one, at the time of application. Finally, it would be informative and fair for you to disclose your financial stake, if any. Do you get affiliate fees from Barclays for the Arrival card and none from Capital One?

  3. Wouldn’t you need $10,000 of annual spend to offset the difference in the annual fees?

  4. Journey4Happy

    I agree Jim. It seems Scott is somehow not taking into account that the actual cash back difference is only 0.28%.
    To be exact, $30 ÷ 0.0028 = $10,714.29

  5. I got 50,000 points when I signed up for the Venture card recently, definitely making it worth it for me.

  6. Um if you’re going to give credit to the arrival card because it earns points on the initial travel purchase then you have to do the same for venture. And using that logic, venture points are worth more than 1 cent each. To keep the much hyped 10% bonus in perspective, if you spend $25k on the arrival, your 10% bonus is worth $50 (ignoring the repeating 10%). After the bonus, there is little difference in the value of the two. And venture points are easier to redeem (c1 is much more flexible)

  7. I think the logistics of redemption also make the Barclay’s card better. I always have a problem redeeming my Capital One card and these blogs also have pointed out those differences…….

  8. Neither card is worth keeping past the first year unless you can get the annual fee waived. With Venture you need to spend $2950 just to break even on the annual fee ($59/.02). With Arrival, the breakeven is $4159 ($89/.0214) Most people would be better off with a 2% cash back card like the Fidelity Amex for their everyday spend.

    • Tom, I agree. The no annual fee Fidelity Amex 2% cashback card is superior to both of these cards as a long-term keeper to put non-bonused spend on, unless you spend over $31,785.71 per year on the Arrival Card ($89 annual fee / $0.0028 advantage of Arrival 2.28% versus Fidelity 2.00%). This is because the Fidelity Amex has no annual fee. And you earn cash, instead of points that can only be redeemed toward travel. The Arrival signup bonus is nice, though, so it would be better to cancel the Arrival card before the annual fee comes due, and stick with the Fidelity Amex.

      And, as pointed out by Journey4Happy above, the breakeven spend point to favor the Arrival vs. the Venture, is $10,714.29, not $2,000 as stated near the end of this post. Also, as sam pointed out above, you need to be consistent in how you value earning when you redeem the points for a statement credit.

      • @Grasshopper Think manufactured spend and the spend levels are far north of the figures mentioned bandied about here……….We are in search of nirvana not just a quick fix……….

        • Even with manufactured spend, the breakeven point is still exactly the same: $10,714.29 spend per year on Arrival, to net more than Venture; and $31,785.71 per year spend on Arrival to net more than Fidelity Amex.

          I think what you are saying, though, is that with manufactured spend, those thresholds are easy to meet. I agree, but I will say that I am growing tired of all my trips to the stores.

          • @HA! My Charlie Victor Sierra staff see me so much that if they don’t see me daily they are tempted to file a missing person report!

            • Hahaha! That’s hilarious, because when I went into my usual Oscar Mike Xray store this weekend, I had four of five employees all ask me where I had been, and if I was alright. Both the assistant manager and the manager came out to tell me they had extra cards in stock for me, hidden behind the giftcard display case door, if I wanted them. A new clerk I had never met felt verrry left out in this love-fest, because she was the only one who didn’t know me by name. ;-)

              • @Chris she texted me and said “who is this guy?” and “why does he think think that the green and blue is only his?” “But baby you let me know when you are coming in and I’ll put the cards back out for you”…………..the nerve of some people…………..

  9. The Fidelity Amex is a good card but it charges a Forex fee, only lets you redeem in 2,500 point blocks and of course Amex is not s widely accepted as Visa/MC.

    The other problem with the Arrival card (vs Venture) is the minimum redemption is 2,500 points. Want to redeem for that $20 train ride? Too bad! Capital One does not have a minimum threshold and you can redeem against the same charge over and over again to burn points if you want to.

    The credit score is nice, I suppose but I don’t put a lot of value on it.

    tripit is ok but to get the most out of it you have to give them access to your FF accounts and/or your email which I am not comfortable with. I prefer Kayak’s free trip aggregation service anyway.

    The choice between Venture and Arrival is not as cut and dry as this blog makes it out to be.

    • For TripIt, you can just forward emails to TripIt without giving them access to your account if you prefer.

    • I agree with you on both points about the Fidelity Amex, that it charges a FX fee, and that it is less widely accepted than Visa or MC.

      I actually prefer the Navy Federal Flagship Visa to all of these cards being discussed (Fidelity Amex, Arrival, Venture). Same 2% cashback on everything, it is a Visa not Amex, and charges no FX fee. It comes with a 30,000 point ($300) signup bonus, for $3,000 spend in 90 days, and $49 annual fee waived first year. But you have to have some relationship to the military to join.

  10. Regardless of how much card companies deny it, cards without chips are of little value overseas. So, when you discuss cards with no foreign fees, please state if they also have have chip&pin or chip&signature.

    • @Jerry I really did believe that and told Chase as much……but on my last trip to France last year I would be in a (good) restaurant and the chip card would’t work and the no chip card did work……CRAZY! but it happened two different times and I have no logical reason that this occurred….

    • I disagree that CHIP cards matter very much. The only time I’ve ever not been able to use a card for a purchase in 45 countries is buying train tickets in Germany, Sweden, and Norway from machines.

  11. How do Capital One and Barclay’s customer service compare? (Years ago, there was a general consensus that Cap One customer service was poor. Has it improved?)

  12. oldmanpeabody

    Cap1 customer service is still awful. They also, in my experience, are the most likely to reject a credit-worthy application. My last 4 churns I have something like a dozen and a half approvals (some requiring recon line calls) and zero rejections from Chase, Citi, Amex, US Bank and BofA. During that time I applied for ONE Cap1 card and was rejected. Won’t make that mistake again.

  13. How do you redeem Capital One Venture miles? Can you use those miles to book travel on any online travel agency or airline website that you want? I like that the Barclaycard Arrival is set up that way.

    • Yes, book with whatever travel company or direct with the vendor (airline, rental car, etc.).
      Very straightforward on redemption – you see your accumulated miles when you logon to your Cap One account. Click on redeem points, for previous travel, then it shows all eligible charges for the past 90 days – click on the items you want (subject to available points), and confirm the redemption. The amount will be credited to your card within a day or two…

  14. I have both Barclays and Venture, which I got with a 100,000 point sign up bonus. I prefer CapOne. I actually find their customer service really, really good. I also bank at CapOne, and have a rewards checking acct and a really awesome money market (no longer available) that earns the same No Hassle Miles, so they get pooled together. Not aware of this option with Barclays.

  15. Wouldn’t you also earn miles on the tickets you purchased from the Cap One venture card.. you the value of the Cap One points should be higher than 1 cents, just like you have Arrival card.. I understand they give a 10% rebate and so in totality there value would be higher.. but the Cap One Venture is worth more than 1cent, as long as you are earning miles and cap one points for the purchases that you are redeeming later.. unless I am missing something here..

    • That is what sam was saying above. If you give credit to Arrival for earning points on the charge you redeem for, then you need to give credit to all cards that redeem that way, including Venture.

      If Scott kept this valuation logic consistent, then the Venture card would earn 2.04%, not 2.00%. Not a big difference, but hey, the name of the blog IS milevalue, so math counts.

  16. I think the Arrival is slightly better than the Venture. The fact is that until the Arrival launched, the Venture got little attention. Both are great cards, especially with generou sign up bonuses. The Arrival works best if you spend a lot on the card and redeem it for large travel expenses that are not otherwise defrayable with miles (fuel surcharges on award tickets, stays at independent or boutique hotels, cheap travel in economy, ancillary airline fees, etc).

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