I don’t see the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred as similar cards at all.

But I know that Barclaycard sees the two cards as competitors. You can see it in a few things:

  • Two and a half years ago, Barclaycard raised the bonus on the Arrival Plus to 40,000 Arrival miles to match the 40,000 Ultimate Rewards that the Sapphire Preferred offered.
  • Then, Barclaycard raised the minimum spending requirement to $3,000 in three months, which exactly matched the Sapphire Preferred at the time. (The Sapphire Preferred has since raised its spending requirement to $4,000 in three months, which has not been matched by the Arrival Plus.)
  • The no-annual-fee Arrival offers 2x miles on travel and dining, exactly the 2x categories of the Sapphire Preferred. (The Arrival Plus offers 2x miles on all purchases.)

So how will Barclaycard respond to the Sapphire Preferred raising its standard sign up bonus to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months (plus another free 5,000 Ultimate Rewards for filling in an extra box on the application)?

Hopefully Barclaycard will decide to keep competing and will increase the sign up bonus on the Arrival Plus to 50,000 bonus Arrival miles. I’d even be OK with a concomitant increase in the spending requirement to $4,000 in the first three months to exactly match the sign up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred, though of course I would prefer the extra miles without an increased sign up bonus.

I like to put falsifiable predictions in print, so over time you can tell whether I know what I’m talking about or not (I know, I know, there’s really no upside in this for pundits, but I still want to), so here is my prediction:

  • The Arrival Plus increases its standard sign up bonus to 50,000 Arrival Miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months on the card by February 29, 2016

Let’s see if it comes true.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 80,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

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