When it comes to earning cash back, there are many cards you can choose from. When it comes to cash back card with fixed earnings, earning 2% on every transaction is pretty darn good. Both the Citi Double Cash and Barclay Arrival Plus do just that. I currently have both of these cards and they each have their purpose. There’s a lot of publicity for the Barclay Arrival for a top credit card, but does that actually mean the Barclay Arrival is better than the Citi Double Cash?
A quick breakdown of each card:
|Citi Double Cash||Barclay Arrival Plus|
|Sign Up Bonus||None||40,000 miles|
|Spending Requirement||None||$3,000 in first 90 days|
|Annual Fee||None||First year waived, then $89|
|Foreign Transaction Fees||3%||None|
|Redemption Options||Statement Credit, Deposit to account, gift cards||Statement Credit*, gift card, or merchandise|
|EMV Technology||Chip and Signature||Chip and Signature with PIN capabilities|
The Citi Double Cash earns 1% on all purchases and 1% on payments made. If you don’t hold a balance on your credit cards, this is essentially 2% back on every purchase.
The Barclay Arrival Plus earns 2.2% back when redeeming for travel. It earns 2 miles for every dollar spent and when redeemed for travel you receive 10% of your redeemed miles back for a future redemption!
Winner: Barclay Arrival
The Cit Double Cash has no sign up bonus, I’m hopeful Citi will eventually add a bonus to this card.
The Barclay Arrival Plus has a 40,000 mile bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. The bonus is worth over $500.
Winner: Barclay Arrival, it’s not even close.
The Citi Double Cash has no annual fee ever, making this a great card to keep and increase your credit history.
The Barclay Arrival has an annual fee of $89, which is waived for the first year. I have read of increasing number of articles saying Barclay will not waive fee in year 2.
When you look beyond year 1, you will need to spend $44,500 to break even on the yearly fee.
Winner: For year 1, it is a tie.
After year 1: Citi Double Cash
Foreign Transaction Fees:
The Citi Double Cash charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. This is not a card to use internationally since you can find a card that has no foreign transaction fees
The Barclay Arrival Plus does not charge foreign transaction fees. This should be a card you consider if you travel internationally.
Winner: Barclay Arrival
Starting in October it will be required that all credit/debit cards have an EMV Chip. This is a more secure technology and reduces the risk of fraudulent charges.
The Citi Double Cash currently comes with an EMV Chip. It is a Chip and Signature card, which isn’t as secure as Chip and PIN.
The Barclay Arrival is a Chip and Signature with PIN capabilities. The PIN makes this a more secure option because you would need the chip from this card and your 4 digit PIN. This also comes in handy when traveling internationally, especially at unmanned kiosk for trains or even to purchase gas.
Winner: Barclay Arrival
The Cit Double Cash can be used to purchase gift cards, be used as a credit statement or just deposit it to your account. You are able to start redeeming your reward cash when you reach $25.
The Barclay Arrival can be used to purchase gift cards, be used as a credit statement, or to purchase merchandise. When you redeem your Arrival miles for travel you will redeem at 1 cent per mile and you’ll even receive 10% of the miles you redeemed to use for a future redemption. If you decide you want to not use your miles for travel, you will redeem at 0.5 cents per mile. I would advise not to use your miles for non-travel redemptions.
Winner: Barclay Arrival when redeeming for travel
Citi Double Cash for all non travel redemptions
So, which card is the better option? I think it depends on your redemption goals. I don’t believe there is any reason not to get the Barclay Arrival, especially for the first year. It’s over $500 for travel and it doesn’t cost you a penny to have! The Arrival bonus will completely take care of the Airbnb stay my wife and I will have in Budapest later this year.
After year 1, I would say the Citi Double Cash is the better option. I juggle too many cards and I would not put $44,500 on my Barclay Arrival to justify spending $89. Of course, if you travel internationally very frequently or the 10% rebate is more appealing to you, the Arrival might be better for you.
My plan with my Arrival Plus after year 1? I plan to downgrade to the Arrival Plus fee free version. It earns as much as the Arrival Plus for travel and you still get 10% back when redeeming for travel. I will put all non-bonus spending on my Double Cash and cash it in when I book my travel.
Do you think the Arrival Plus is far superior to the Double Cash? Do you agree or disagree with me?