Credit Card Battle: Barclay Arrival Plus vs Citi Double Cash

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

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My Review of Barclay Arrival Plus

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My Review of Cit Double Cash

Earning Rate:
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 

Sign-up Bonus:
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.

Annual Fee:
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 

EMV Technology:
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 

Redemption Options:
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?

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4 thoughts on “Credit Card Battle: Barclay Arrival Plus vs Citi Double Cash

  1. “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.” It looks like your calculations are incorrect. You would only need to spend $4,450 on the Barclay Arrival to earn the $89 back.

    1. You’re calculating it based in if the Double Cash didn’t earn at all. The Barclay Arrival earns 0.2% more than the Double Cash (2.2% vs 2%). If the Double Cash earned no rewards, you would be correct, but you’re still earning 2% with it

      $89/0.2%= $44,500.

  2. “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.” It looks like your calculations are incorrect. You would only need to spend $4,450 on the Barclay Arrival to earn the $89 back.

    1. You’re calculating it based in if the Double Cash didn’t earn at all. The Barclay Arrival earns 0.2% more than the Double Cash (2.2% vs 2%). If the Double Cash earned no rewards, you would be correct, but you’re still earning 2% with it

      $89/0.2%= $44,500.

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