About Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Mar 30, 2017

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a credit card with a long name and an even longer list of accolades as one of the best travel rewards credit cards you can find.

If you’re new to the world of travel rewards credit cards, then knowing why a card is one of the best can be a little confusing. You have to consider rewards rates, bonuses, annual fees and other factors.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to understand what the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is all about.

In the next few minutes we have together, we’re going to talk about the benefits that might or might not make this card worth your time, the Arrival Plus’ rates and fees as well as reviews by experts and consumers just like you.

At the end of our review, we’ll wrap up all the pros and cons and give you some suggestions for other travel cards you might also enjoy.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard’s Short-Term Benefits

One of the things that draws people to credit cards are the up-front offers of free cash or travel. In fact, much of the hype over new credit cards focuses on these introductory bonuses.

Owning a credit card is much more than what you get up front, but we’ll talk about that in the next section. For now, let’s review the Arrival Plus’ short-term bonuses

Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ 50,000 Miles

If you can spend $3,000 on this card within 90 days of the day you’re approved, Barclays will credit 50,000 miles to your account.

“Miles” is just another way to say points because they aren’t actual miles – you can’t redeem them for frequent flyer miles. Barclays converts those points into dollars you put toward travel purchases at a rate of $0.01 per mile.

So, those 50,000 miles you get are actually worth $500. To use that money, you go into your Barclaycard account and select the purchases to which you want to apply your rewards balance.

Now, those miles are worth a little more than $0.01 because of a bonus that’s applied after you redeem your miles, but we’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ No-Interest Balance Transfers

The second big intro offer you get with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is an offer for 0% interest for 12 months on any balance transfers you make within 45 days of being approved for the card.

You’ll have a chance to tell Barclays which accounts you want to transfer as you sign up for the card, but you can also do it after you have your card as long as you do it before the deadline.

There’s a trick to this, though, that you need to know. You’ll have 0% interest on those balances, but if you don’t pay all of them off by the end of 12 months, Barclays will charge you interest on the total amount of transfers you made in the first 45 days.

Conclusions About the Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ Short-Term Benefits

The short-term benefits of this Barclaycard credit card are pretty strong. The intro miles bonus is $100 better than what you’d get with the Capital One Venture, another miles-based travel rewards card.

The no-interest balance transfer offer puts the Arrival Plus alongside the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and the Discover It Miles as the only travel-rewards cards with intro APR offers, according to our article on the best travel rewards credit cards of 2017.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ Long-Term Benefits

The long-term benefits of a card are what really make it worth it – or not worth it – for you.

Imagine if a car salesman was selling you the Arrival Plus sports car and she said the car gets 50 mpg the first year, but, after that, it drops down to 15 mpg. Would you take that deal? Sure, the up-front miles-per-gallon is great, but the long-term mpg is pretty awful.

That’s what credit card benefits are like, and that’s why it’s important to know what this card can give you a few years down the road.

What is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ Cash Back Rate?

Every time you use your Arrival Plus card to make a purchase, you’ll get two miles for every dollar you spend. So, if you spend $20 at Whole Foods, you’ll get 40 points. To redeem your points, you’ll need to cash in at least 10,000 points.

How Does Points Redemption Work?

Your Arrival Plus miles can only be redeemed for travel purchases of at least $100 made in the past 120 days.

That means two things that are very important: there’s a time limit on redemption and you can’t use redeemed miles on travel purchases under $100.

Your miles will never expire, but there are some rules about when you’re eligible to earn them. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ terms and conditions say you can’t earn miles during a billing cycle if:

  • You don’t make the minimum payment
  • Your account is more than 30 days late
  • Your account is in default (more than 90 days late)

The easiest way to avoid this is to set your account to auto-pay for at least the minimum payment every billing cycle.

What Counts As “Travel”?

When Barclays says you can redeem your Arrival Plus miles to pay for travel purchases, what counts as “travel” is more extensive than you think:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rentals
  • Cruises
  • Travel agencies
  • Travel sites
  • Trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limousines

While you shouldn’t have any problems redeeming your points for these types of purchases, you need to know that the technical definition of “travel purchases” has to do with the code the merchant uses for transactions.

If they don’t use a travel-related code, you won’t be able to redeem your miles for purchases you make with them. Again, this isn’t usually a problem, but you might want to keep it in mind.

How Does the 5% Redemption Bonus Work?

The one long-term benefit that sets this card apart from other travel cards is the 5% redemption bonus you get whenever you cash in points.

If you redeem 20,000 points, then you’ll get 1,000 points added to your account after your redemption transaction.

So, when you factor in this bonus, your rewards rate is actually 2% plus the redemption rate, which makes the overall rewards rate 2.1% (2% x 1.05).

This redemption bonus nudges the Arrival Plus ahead of the Capital One Venture card for the travel card with the best rewards rate.

Fraud Protection

Your Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard comes with $0 fraud liability, which means you aren’t responsible for any fraudulent charges made to your account.

Your card also has chip technology, a standard in the industry that protects your card from skimming scams and makes it easier to use abroad where chip-card terminals are common.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Benefits

Because the Arrival Plus card is part of Mastercard’s World Elite program, you get an interesting mix of benefits:

Travel Accident/Trip Cancellation Insurance

Any trips you purchase with your card provide you with reimbursements in the event that certain illnesses or accidents befall you before or during your travel.

Free Hotel Perks

When you use your card to book a room at Starwood, Mandarin Oriental, InterContinental, Hyatt and other hotels in the World Elite portfolio, you’re eligible for:

  • Free upgrades
  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Free breakfast for up to two people
  • A unique amenity that’s different at every property

These perks are subject to availability. Head to the Mastercard luxury hotel portfolio to see which hotels give World Elite perks.

Free Air Travel Perks

When you book a full-fare economy class seat on certain airlines, you’ll get a free upgrade to business class.

Book a full-price business class ticket on certain airlines and you’ll get up to 50% off on a companion ticket.

Pro tip: You also get complimentary elite memberships with certain car-rental companies. To view participating companies in all of the categories we mentioned, head to the World Elite travel benefits page.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard’s Rate and Fees

The Arrival Plus’ list of travel benefits is pretty solid, but you can negate a lot of the cash-value rewards you get by making late payments or not paying off your balance every month. Why?

Because of the rates and fees the card – and every credit card – charges you when those things happen:

  • Purchase APR: 16.49%, 20.49% or 23.49%, depending on your credit scores
  • Balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, purchase APR after that
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $89, waived first year
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Up to $37

The Arrival Plus’ low APR is equivalent to what you’d get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred or Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards.

The waived annual fee is nice, but not unusual – most travel cards with annual fees under $100 waive this fee the first year.

What Other People Are Saying About the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

As we mentioned in the introduction to our review, most experts say the Arrival Plus is one of the best cards in the industry.

Here’s a sampling of the scores it gets from other review sites:

  • ValuePenguin: 96%
  • NerdWallet: 4.3 stars
  • Credit Donkey: 4.1 stars
  • MileCards: 4 stars
  • CardRates.com: 4.4 stars

Now, a card’s rewards numbers and rates are one thing, but the customer’s experience is a whole other thing. Imagine a baseball player with great numbers who’s a jerk to fans – he might be great for getting wins, but he’s a bust with the fan base.

Customer reviews of the Arrival Plus indicate the card’s great “stats” don’t account for poor customer relations:

  • NerdWallet: 3 stars from 40+ reviews
  • WalletHub: 4.6 stars from 2,700+ reviews
  • Credit Karma: 3.4 stars from 30+ reviews

We totaled up the six most recent reviews on each site and found that the Arrival Plus gets an average score of 2.8 stars.

Here’s the big complaint about the card: random fraud alerts that freeze the account.

We read several reviews in which customers said they made normal purchases in their hometown, only to receive notices that their card had suspicious activity.

One customer said he notified Barclays that he was traveling abroad, only to have his card frozen due to “fraudulent activity.”

Here’s a part of a review by “Tatyana Dolgaya” about these fraud frustrations; it sums up other reviewers’ sentiments pretty well:

“The point of a travel credit card is to have a reliable card while traveling. Barclaycard put a fraud alert on my card and cut it off while I was abroad. After 6 phone calls and 3 promises to overnight me a card to Europe, Barclaycard managed to send me a card via direct mail, which of course needed to be canceled since it would not have arrived in any reasonable timeframe.”

Now, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll face the same problems these reviewers did, but it is something to remember as you decide whether or not you want this card.

Our Final Thoughts About the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

In our opinion, there are few cards out there that can compete with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus’ impressive list of long-term benefits.

The 2.1% rewards rate for every dollar you spend is better than any travel credit card we’ve reviewed, and the World Elite membership benefits are tremendous.

When you add in the up-front offers of 50,000 miles and 0% interest on balance transfers, you’ve got a solid credit card that you very well could be happy with for a long time.

However, if the issues with the fraud alerts concern you and you want to explore other options, consider reading our reviews of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture card.

The Capital One Venture offers a similar cash-back rate of 2%, but customers seem to be a little happier with the card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is considered by many to be the top travel rewards credit card because of its big intro bonus and because you can transfer your points 1:1 to major airline and hotel rewards programs.

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