What’s the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card?
Chase Sapphire vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
Today I wanted to talk about travel rewards cards. When we were planning our trip to China last year, I did a bunch of research on what travel rewards cards people were talking about, which ones were getting good reviews, etc. etc. etc. I found two that seemed to be mentioned over and over and over again. I have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and the Chase Sapphire. I signed up for both of them. They both have annual fees that are waived for the first year, so I thought I would get both of them, try them out for a year, and then decide which one to keep. So today I thought I would go through the pros and cons of each and let you know which one I’ve decided works for me the best after a year of use.
Both of these cards come with big sign-up bonuses when you put a certain amount on the card within the first ninety days. Both of them have no foreign transactions fees, which is great abroad. And both of them have the chip, so you can use them abroad in places where the chip is taken rather than the magnetic strip. Okay, so let’s get started. Chase Sapphire card: what I like about this card–this is a very cool card. Just superficially, it’s very cool. Like, it’s really hefty, it feels nice. It’s heavier than any credit card that I’ve used. The number is actually not on the front–it’s on the back. It’s just an attractive card. With this one, you get 40,000 bonus points when you sign up and put four grand on the card within ninety days. You get two points for every dollar spent on travel and restaurants and one point for every dollar spent everywhere else.Best Credit Card For Air Travel
So, Barclaycard. With this one, you also get 40,000 bonus miles when you sign up and put $3,000 on the card within the first ninety days. With this one, you get two points per dollar spent anywhere, and the way you redeem the miles is you actually purchase travel on the card and then reimburse yourself with the points that you have accumulated. Another thing with this is that when you redeem your points, you get a ten percent point redemption bonus. So, if I redeem 2,000 points, I’m going to get 200 of those back automatically, just because. Okay, so I used these last year to fund our summer travels. Chase Sapphire card, the bonus miles paid for my trip to Boston and Maine, and it also paid for part of Simona’s flight as well, so yay. And with the Barclaycard, we used this a lot to pay for things while we were in China, like hotel stays and flights over there. Okay, so, which one am I keeping? Though it pains me, because I really like how this credit card feels, we are going to keep the Barclaycard, and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, you just get more points with this one than with this one. We basically put a lot of our monthly expenses on our credit card and then pay it off at the end of every month. And month-to-month, we are going to spend a lot more on other things than, say, travel–sadly–um, and even restaurants. So, getting two points for every dollar here and being able to get two points every time I go to the grocery store, every time I go to Wal-Mart, I accumulate a lot more points with this one than I do with this one.
Secondly, redeeming the points. It’s way easier to redeem the points here than here. The thing with the Chase Sapphire is that you’ve got to go through their portal. And yes, you can transfer points to a miles program and all that stuff, but just if you’re straight up using the system, you have to book through Chase. And while they say, like, ooh you get discounts, you get this amount back, blah blah blah blah blah, frankly, the prices were never as good on their site as I could find on other sites. With the Barclaycard, I can book travel on Priceline, Hotwire, anywhere, and then get reimbursed for it. So, I can find the best price on a flight or a hotel room and still get reimbursed for my points. We ended up getting almost $1,100 of free travel off of this card last year alone.
So, that was awesome. Another thing that I like about this is that when I use the online interface, I see the points accumulating in real time, so at any point in the month I know exactly how many points I have on this card. With the Chase Sapphire, you only get the points accumulated by the end of the month. So, a little thing, but it’s just tiny little things like that make the Barclaycard just so much more intuitive and so much easier to use. So next year, we will be staying with Barclaycard and sadly letting go of the Chase card. Okay, so the disclaimer is obviously you don’t want to be opening up all these credit cards and then closing them. That can kind of mess with your credit score. So make sure you check your own credit score and know what your debt-to-credit ratio is and all of that stuff before you start opening and closing accounts.Best Credit Card For Air Travel