Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Review
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is a travel rewards card that offers a 70,000-point sign-up bonus and a 2x rewards rate that can earn you more than $600 in free travel per year.
The card is unique among the competition because it’s simple to use and racks up rewards much quicker than similar cards.
Understanding if this card is the right fit for you takes some research and analysis, both of which we’ll provide in this review. In the next few minutes, we’ll talk about how the card’s rewards work, what the rates and fees are, and how the card’s features compare against other prominent travel rewards cards.
Pros: Excellent sign-up bonus and yearly rewards can earn you more than 130,000 miles the first year owning the card.
Cons: No travel partners, a high interest rate and a high annual fee make this card costly if you carry a balance.
Estimated Yearly Travel Rewards: 63,000 miles
|Sign-Up Bonus||Annual Fee||Regular APR|
|70,000 points||$0 for the first year, then $89||18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24%|
|Rewards Rate: Unlimited 2x miles on everything|
This credit card uses the same method of rewards earning and redemptions that other travel cards use.
Every time you make a purchase, Barclays calculates the number of rewards you earn and, at the end of the billing cycle, deposits those miles to your rewards balance.
You can view your balance when you log into your Barclays’ account. It’s here that you can apply those miles to past travel purchases you’ve made, which we’ll talk about in a few minutes.
Earning rewards occurs in three ways. First, if you can spend $5,000 in the first 90 days of submitting an accepted application, Barclays will deposit 70,000 miles to your account. The fine print says these miles will show up on the statement the next month after you hit the spending requirement.
Any fees you pay (late fees, for example) and interest you pay won’t count towards the spending limit.
The second way to earn travel rewards is to use your card for everyday spending. Every dollar you spend with the card will earn two miles. Based on our calculations about the average household spending numbers, we think you can earn 60,000 miles a year based on the 2x rewards rate.
The final way you can earn miles is via a 5% redemption bonus that you get when you redeem your miles. So, if you redeem 10,000 miles, Barclays will deposit 500 miles back into your account.
You have several options for redeeming your miles. The most beneficial option is to redeem your miles for travel purchases. These redemptions are worth one cent per point. The minimum redemption is 10,000 miles, which means you only travel purchases of at least $100 are eligible for redemption.
To redeem your miles, you go to your online account and select eligible travel purchases to which you want to apply your miles. Purchases that qualify as “travel” are as follows, according to the Arrival Plus’ fine print:
- Hotels and motels
- Car rental agencies
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
- Trains, buses, taxis, limos
You can use your miles to pay for the full amount of your purchases. If you can’t pay the full amount—say you have $160 worth of miles and a $170 travel purchase—then Barclays will allow you to pay as much as you can in increments of $25.
Using the example above, if you have $160 worth of miles and a $170 charge, Barclays will apply $150 worth of miles to the purchase. And, since you get a 5% redemption bonus, Barclays will add 750 miles ($7.50) to your balance.
You also have the option of redeeming your miles for cash back but we advise against this. The redemption rates are half a cent for every point, which is half the value of redeeming the miles for travel. The same disadvantageous redemption rate applies to gift cards you can purchase with your miles.
Pro tip: You can apply your rewards to travel purchases made within the past 120 days.
The Arrival Plus can earn you $1,300 worth of travel in the first year you own the card and that alone could be enough to convince you to get the card. However, it’s important for you to get a sense of what this card’s interest rates (“APR’s”) and fees are just in case you carry a balance or pay late:
- Interest rate for purchases and balance transfers: 18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24%
- Interest rate for cash advances: 27.49%
- Penalty interest rate: None
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3%, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fee: $10 or 5%, whichever is greater
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late/returned payment fee: $37
- Annual fee: $0 first year, $89 after
We like to focus on a card’s interest rates for many different reasons. First, more people who use credit cards carry a balance than those who don’t. This means that there’s a good chance you’ll end up having a balance because you can’t pay off your entire balance when your bill is due.
Second, interest rates can cause you to make interest payments that, in some cases, can exceed the cash value of the rewards you earn.
Because of these two reasons, we’ve created a chart to help you see how much interest you’ll pay according to two things: the Arrival Plus’ three APR’s and how much you’d pay over the course of the year with an average daily balance between $1,000 and $5,000.
|18.24% APR for one year||22.24% APR for one year||25.24% APR for one year|
|$1,000 daily balance||$182.40||$222.40||$252.40|
|$2,000 daily balance||$364.80||$444.80||$504.80|
|$3,000 daily balance||$547.20||$667.20||$757.20|
|$4,000 daily balance||$729.60||$889.60||$1,009.60|
|$5,000 daily balance||$912.00||$1,112.00||$1,262.00|
This chart is intended for you to see the financial consequences of having credit card debt. The lowest APR on this chart is available to those with credit scores above 700, which is about the average for U.S. consumers. After one year, any average daily balance of $3,750 or above will cost you more in interest than you’ll earn in rewards.
The best way to avoid this is to spend less than you earn. Budgeting can be a crucial tool in determining this, helping you avoid hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest payments.
The other rates and fees are pretty average for most travel cards. A distinct advantage, though, is the fact that the card’s annual fee is $0 the first year and less than $90 the subsequent years.
The following chart features the key rewards rates, travel-related perks, and rates and fees for six additional popular travel rewards credit cards:
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard||Capital One Venture Rewards||Discover it Miles||Chase Sapphire Preferred||U.S. Bank FlexpPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card||Citi Premier Card||Bank of America Travel Rewards Card|
|Intro offer||70,000 miles||50,000 miles||45,000 miles||60,000 points||25,000 points||50,000 points||25,000 points|
|Rewards rates||2x on all purchase plus a 5% bonus on redeemed miles||2x on all purchases||1.5x on all purchases||2x on travel and dining, 1x on everything else||2x on cell phones, charitable donations and airlines, gas or groceries||3x on travel and gas, 2x on restaurants and entertainment, 1x on everything else||1.5x on all purchases|
|Yearly miles/points on $30K spending||63,000 miles||60,000 miles||45,000 miles||34,865 points||40,531 points||44,498 points||45,000 points|
|Travel portal booking bonus||None||None||None||1.25x||1.5x||1.25x||None|
|Number of transfer partners||None||15 (14 int’l airlines, 1 domestic airline)||None||9 (6 int’l airlines, 3 domestic airlines, 3 hotels)||None||15 (14 int’l airlines, 1 domestic airline)||None|
|APR||18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24%||17.99%, 22.74% or 25.24%||14.24% to 25.24%||18.24% to 25.24%||16.24% to 26.24%||16.74% to 25.74% (29.99% penalty APR)||17.24% to 25.24% (29.99% penalty APR)|
|Annual fee||$0 first year, $89 after||$0 first year, $95 after||None||$95||$0 first year, $49 after||$0 first year, $95 after||None|
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is the clear leader in the first three categories in this chart, as its up-front bonus is the biggest of the seven cards listed and its yearly rewards edge out the Capital One Venture Rewards because of the 5% redemption bonus you earn.
The U.S. Bank FlexpPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card has about 25 percent fewer yearly rewards points than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, but the card’s 1.5x travel booking boost pushes the value of its rewards nearly to the level of the Barclaycard.
It’s when you move into the next category—transfer partners—where the Barclaycard falters a bit. It doesn’t have a way to send your miles to an airline or hotel loyalty program like you can with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Citi Premier Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards.
The card’s interest rate and annual fees are a bit of a weak point as well. Its lowest APR is four percentage points higher than the Discover it Miles and, although its annual fee is $0 the first year, it jumps to $89 the second year and subsequent years, which make it a costly card compared to the Bank of America Cash Rewards and Discover cards.
If you don’t carry a balance on the Arrival Plus, then you can negate the high interest rate. However, there is no avoiding the $89 annual fee after the first year.
Our research indicates that this card’s greatest strengths are its industry-leading sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles and the 60,000 miles you can earn the first year. If you redeem all those miles the first year, then you’ll earn an additional 5,000 miles in redemption bonuses.
The card’s weaknesses are that it doesn’t have any travel partners and its interest rates are high. Also, while the card has no annual fee, the $89 you’ll pay each subsequent year is higher than four of the cards we showed in our comparison chart.
Based on this information, we believe there are certain types of consumers who will enjoy this card. We think the Arrival Plus is an excellent fit for someone who doesn’t carry a balance and wants a card that provides the most travel miles per year. If you’re this person, we believe you can leverage the card’s rewards to the fullest.
However, if you’re someone who prefers to use a card through which you can transfer rewards miles to travel partners, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus isn’t going to work for you. You may find that the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One Venture Rewards is the better fit. Each of the cards has a dozen or more travel partners.
» Further Reading: Best Travel Credit Cards of 2019