Move over Capital One: Barclaycard offers travelers better rewards
By Jay Keller
If you asked travelers last year “what’s in your wallet”, many would likely say the Capital One Venture Rewards Card.
This year, however, NextAdvisor.com on Thursday named the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard as the new leader in travel rewards credit cards where cardholders get the best, real-dollar value from earned rewards.
Just about every major hotel chain and airline offers some type of rewards program linked to a credit card but it’s often hard to determine the real value since rewards (usually) given in points or miles.
“We were able to put a real-world value on the points and miles users earn with travel credit cards,” NextAdvisor.com spokesperson Tasha Lockyer said in a statement. “Clarifying the actual monetary value of these rewards makes it easier for users to compare the cards and choose the best one for their needs.”
The 2013 Travel Rewards Credit Card Analysis is an independent analysis conducted by the consumer watchdogs at NextAdvisor.com that evaluates every rewards program connected to a credit card that help customers earn free stuff for the things they are already doing.
Barclaycard’s “Earn 2x on All Purchases” won first place for value in the travel rewards cards analysis with a $2.00 flight and hotel redemption value for every $100 spent.
This means that cardholders earn two miles per dollar spent on all purchases, a step above many travel cards who only offer extra mile earnings for purchases in specific categories.
Last year’s winner, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, ranked a “very close second” but came up short thanks to Barclaycard’s 10-percent-point bonus for booking travel.
The booking bonus, which researchers say doesn’t exist with any other rewards card, means that spending 10,000 in points on travel will earn a 1,000-point bonus deposited to the cardholder’s rewards bank.
But travelers aren’t as impressed with bonus points as they are with cash value.
NextAdvisor.com says what thrusts the Barclay Arrival World Mastercard ahead is the offered 40,000-point bonus, valued at $400, while the Capital One Venture Rewards offers a 1,000-point bonus that is equal to $100.
The third-best value, according to NextAdvisor.com, is the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express and its “amazing” $2.61 hotel point value, the highest hotel redemption value of any card in the study.
While the value for flight redemption was much lower at $1.35 per $100 spent, Starwood Preferred Guest users earn up to five points per dollar spent at Starwood hotels and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Assuming travelers use their rewards for hotel stays to combine point earnings, the Starwood card from American Express rated as the highest hotel value for any travel card in the study.
Rounding out the top five on NextAdvisor.com’s rankings were the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card from Chase. (Complete list of 15 best travel rewards credit cards and methodology)