About Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard
The Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard is the Barclays version of a luxury travel card, offering many of the same perks that you’ll find from luxury credit cards but with an annual fee that’s $300 less than those premium cards.
This card is the newest offering among the bank’s travel cards and most resembles the Bank of America Premium Rewards, a card with similar benefits and annual fee.
The Arrival Premier is, in that sense, the second card to try and offer consumers a set of travel perks that feel like a premium credit card but without paying the premium annual fee.
Is this card a good fit for you? What kinds of rewards does it offer? Is there anything you should know about its rates and fees? How does it compare to the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve and the premium credit cards we mentioned?
We will answer each of these questions in this review as we walk you through the findings of our in-depth research and provide our expert opinion on the card’s strengths and weaknesses.
The Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard’s Rewards: Points, Bonuses and Perks
As we mentioned earlier, the Arrival Premier offers the type of travel rewards you see from a card with an annual fee of more than $400. Those rewards can be split into two groups: points and perks.
You have two ways to earn points with this card: everyday spending and yearly bonuses.
You will earn two rewards points for every dollar you spend on purchases. When you buy a $500 TV from Best Buy, for example, you’ll earn 500 points.
Based on what we know about consumer spending habits, we believe that a family of four could spend between $25,000 and $30,000 a year with this card, which equals out to between 50,000 and 60,000 points.
Among the travel cards we’ve researched, that’s tied with the Capital One Venture and the Barclays Arrival Plus for the best rewards rate.
However, the card’s points-earning strength isn’t limited to how much you earn on each purchase. What makes the card valuable, is that you’ll receive tiered bonuses at the end of the year based on how much you’ve spent:
- $25,000 or more: 25,000 points
- $15,000 - $24,999.99: 15,000 points
- $10,000 - $14,999.99: 10,000 points
So, using our example from a few seconds ago, the average family could earn 50,000 points from their daily spending and an additional 25,000 points at the end of the year, putting your total at 75,000 points.
No other travel card we’ve reviewed, luxury or non-luxury, produces that many points each year. Based on this fact, we think this card is an excellent choice for those who spend at least $25,000 a year.
You have multiple options for using your points. Based on our research, you get the most value with the least amount of effort by redeeming your points for travel purchases you make with the card. The exchange rate is $1 for every hundred points. Those 75,000 points you earn your first year are worth $750.
Barclays’ fine print notes that you can only redeem points for travel purchases of $100 or more, which means most Uber or Lyft rides can’t be negated with rewards points.
Along with these yearly points bonuses come several key travel perks that mirror what you’d receive from premium cards.
The main benefit you get is a $100 reimbursement for the application fee you’ll pay when you sign up for Global Entry, a government-run program that will give you expedited security check-in at airports provided Global Entry approves your application.
In addition to this benefit, you also get discounted entry into Mastercard Lounge Key airports lounges. There are more than 850 of these lounges around the world. Entrance into any of the lounges in the Lounge Key network is $27 for Arrival Premier cardholders. Normally, many of these lounges would cost at least $50.
Lounge Key lounges are Mastercard-branded lounges that are part of other networks. For example, you can get access to the Virgin America Clubhouse in LAX Terminal 2, a club that provides free beer and wine, free coffee and water, free admission for kids 5 and under and free wifi.
At DFW in Dallas, you get discounted entrance into Minute Suites, which is a lounge that offers small rooms with couches, a desk and a TV. The rooms are a good space to nap. The facility also offers hot showers for an additional fee.
A Quick Note About the Arrival Premier’s Points Transfers
We mentioned earlier that you can transfer your rewards points to travel partners. Based on our research, transferring points to the card’s travel partners isn’t a beneficial move.
The main reason is that the Arrival Premier’s travel partners are international airlines with limited routes in the U.S. and whose points-transfer rates put the cardholder at a disadvantage.
Rates and Fees of the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard
Credit card’s rates and fees can end up costing you so much money that the rewards really aren’t worth it. We’re going to list the rates and fees here, then talk about how they can affect the card’s rewards and perks:
- Purchase and balance transfer APR: 17.49%-21.49%
- Promo APR: 0% on balance transfers for 15 months
- Cash advance APR: 26.74%
- Annual fee: $150
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Balance transfer fee: $0 in the first 60 days, 5% after
The card’s APR is high – but not abnormal – for a travel rewards card. The idea here is that the credit card company wants you to pay a lot of interest in order to make up for the rewards they’re giving you.
If you carry a balance, the APR will apply. And, remember, the best APR is usually reserved for consumers with a credit score at 720 or above.
The fact that the card offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months and won’t charge a fee for transfers made in the first 60 days is a nice perk and one that you don’t often find with travel cards.
Keep in mind that if you have a daily balance of $1,000, over the course of the year you’ll pay around $175 in interest. Couple with the $150 annual fee and you’ll end up paying $325 just to own the card.
How the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard Compares to Other Travel Cards
As we mentioned early on in this review, the card has some great features that resemble what you’d get with a premium card. The following table shows you how the Arrival Premier compares to the Bank of America Premium Rewards and the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
|Barclays Arrival Premier||Bank of America Premium Rewards||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Yearly rewards with $25K spending||75,000||39,560||34,000|
|Lounge access||Yes (discounted)||No||Yes (Free)|
|Sign-up bonus||No||Yes, 50,000 points||Yes, 50,000 points|
This comparison gives you an idea of how the Arrival Premier compares to a card with a somewhat similar annual fee and a luxury card annual fee.
The card is the best for annual rewards, far exceeding what you can get with the Bank of America and Chase cards. However, the other two cards provide the big 50,000-point sign-up bonus.
The Arrival Premier points bonuses encourage people to stick around past the first year. You can earn 50,000 bonus points, but it will take two years and $25K/year to get it.
As for lounge access, the Sapphire Reserve is the best choice because you get a free Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you free entrance to more than 1,100 airport lounges worldwide.
The Bank of America card doesn’t offer any lounge access but does provide a $100 travel credit you can use to save money on lounge fees as well as baggage fees and other travel-related costs.
The Final Word: Pros, Cons and Who the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard Is Good For
We believe the greatest strength of this card is the number of yearly rewards you can earn if you can spend at least $25,000 a year.
If that’s you, our research shows that you can earn around 75,000 points a year that you can redeem for at least two average-priced round-trip flights a year (around$700) or five nights in a hotel that costs $150 a night.
The downside to the card is that you don’t get free airport lounge access or a travel credit. Also, the card’s airline travel partners aren’t really worth the trouble.
In general, we believe this card is an excellent choice for someone who spends at least $25,000 a year on their card (about $2,100 a month) and doesn’t want to have to worry about transferring points to airline frequent flyer programs.
Now, if you’re a more advanced credit card user and you want a card that’s going to give you plenty of travel partners, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a good choice. However, the $450 annual fee could make it cost prohibitive.
Our guide on the best travel credit cards of 2018 can help you see what else is out there. The article guides you through which card is best overall, then talks about which cards are best for your particular situation.