The most well-known of these cards is the Capital One Venture card, thanks to the Vikings and one of the Baldwin brothers. The card offers a straight 2mpd return, and the miles can be redeemed for a 1cpm rebate against travel purchases paid for with the card. A few years ago the Capital One made a big splash with their "Match My Miles" sign-up promotion in which the sign-up bonus for getting a venture card was up to 100,000 Venture Miles ($1,000). I jumped on that offer for the bonus alone, but since then I've found that my Venture Miles (accumulated primarily through manufactured spending) are a very useful tool in the Pointsninja's utility belt. Enough so that I've actually paid the $59 annual fee to keep the card after the first year.
Yesterday I received the Barclaybank Arrival card that I mentioned the other day, and, looking at the Ts&Cs and the website, the card is even better than I thought. Like the Venture card, the Arrival card earns a straight 2cpd on all spend. Also like Venture Miles, Arrival miles can be redeemed for a 1cpm rebate against travel purchases made with the card. Barclay defines travel purchases as follows:
- A Travel purchase is defined as: Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies.
Now, with the benefit of having the full cardmember agreement an access to the Barclay website, I see that Arrival card redemptions work more like Venture mile redemptions. So, if I redeem 30,000 Arrival miles for a statement credit to cover my $300 stay in Peru, I'll get a nice little rebate of 3,000 miles ($30). Of course, I'll get a 10% rebate when I redeem those miles as well, and so on (though, with apologies to Zeno, I don't expect Barclay to rebate an infinite number of fractional miles). What this means is that the Arrival card give an effective 2.2% rebate. This beats any (non-bonused) cash-back card out there, including the Fidelity Amex (2% straight cashback).
The card currently carries a 40,000 mile sign up bonus for spending $1,000 within 90 days and the annual fee is waived the first year. It looks to be a significantly valuable card from a bank that doesn't have a lot of travel cards.