Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review 2017: Why You'll Love It
A good travel rewards credit card is worth its weight in gold. And, while there’s certainly a lot to love about other top-rated rewards cards for travelers, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® remains one of our favorites because of its high rewards rate, flexible reward options, and awesome sign-up bonus.
Here’s why you should consider it:
- It has an awesome sign-up bonus. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account. That’s equivalent to $500 of travel by itself!
- The rewards add up fast. You’ll earn 2x miles for every dollar you spend.
- Your rewards keep on giving. When you redeem your rewards, you’ll get a 5% miles rebate to use the next time (hard not to love that).
- Reward options are super flexible. You’ll be able to redeem rewards on nearly any travel purchase, including airfare, hotels, cruises, and more in the form of a travel statement credit.
- Miles never expire. As long as your account is open, your reward miles will never expire.
- No foreign transaction fees. So you can travel abroad without worrying about fees.
- $0 annual fee for the first year. After that, it’s $89.
Why You’ll Love It
1. It’s one of the most flexible travel credit cards available
When it comes to booking a trip, flexibility is key. Luckily, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® has you covered with super flexible reward redemptions.
Once you’re ready to redeem, rewards can be booked however you’d like - whether that be directly through an airline or hotel, travel agent, or travel website. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard will then reimburse your travel expenses with the reward miles in your account.
This option is especially great for budget travelers since it allows you to snag the best deals whenever they become available.
Here are a few examples of how easy the reimbursement process is:
Example 1: Let’s say JetBlue has an incredible sale on airfare and you quickly book a $100 roundtrip ticket to San Diego using your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.
Once the purchase shows on your statement, you would simply select and submit the expense for reimbursement using your miles; when the transaction clears, you’ll be jetting off to San Diego for free thanks to your rewards.
Example 2: If you’re planning a trip with a group of friends and making reservations through a travel agent, you can use your miles to be reimbursed once the trip is booked.
All you’d have to do is use your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to pay for your travel reservations, log into your account, pull up your statement, and tag the expense for reimbursement. Once it’s been processed, you’ll see a credit on your statement for the amount covered by your reward miles.
2. The sign-up bonus is worth getting excited over
A generous sign-up bonus is always a factor when searching for a travel rewards credit card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® doesn’t disappoint. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening an account.
To put that into perspective, 50,000 miles is enough to redeem over $500 in travel statement credits!
This is one of the absolute best sign-up bonuses currently available - just be sure to meet the minimum spending requirement to take advantage of it.
3. Rewards are easy to earn and add up FAST
Building a stockpile of rewards with this card is easy - you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on this card.
Each mile is worth 1 cent, and when you redeem your reward miles, you’ll get 5% of them back to use towards your next redemption. Most credit card reward rates are 1%, so this high rate of rewards is a keeper.
4. No need to worry about hidden terms and conditions
As with all rewards credit cards, worrying about blackout dates, mileage caps, and reward expirations are common. However, you won’t need to worry about that with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. There’s no cap on the amount of award miles you can earn, no blackout dates, and as long as your account is open, miles don’t expire.
Another great redemption tip is you can redeem miles for your entire trip or just a portion - you decide what’s best for you.
5. Traveling couldn’t be easier
This card carries no foreign transaction fee, making it a must-have for traveling abroad. Also, it’s chip-enabled and PIN capabilities make it a secure choice to use while traveling abroad.
6. There’s a built-in support network
One of the reasons we love this card is because of the emphasis on customer experience.
When you sign-up for the card, you not only receive a powerful travel rewards card, but you also gain access to the Barclaycard Travel Community which connects travelers across the globe and rewards them with bonus miles for sharing their travel stories.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World MasterCard®
You may have already noticed, but there are two versions of this card available: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World MasterCard®. The latter doesn't include "Elite."
The cards are similar except for 3 areas: the sign-up bonus, rewards earning structure, and annual fee.
- Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening (equivalent to a $500 travel statement credit)
- Earning structure: Earn 2 miles per dollar on any and all purchases
- Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $89
The World Elite version of the card also qualifies customers to receive:
- Complimentary concierge service
- Access to premium offers and travel advisors
- Access to Priceless Experiences, such as Priceless Golf
- Support from an identity-theft hotline
- Travel protection, purchase security, and more
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World MasterCard®
- Sign-up bonus: 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days (equivalent to a $200 travel statement credit)
- Earning structure: Earn 2 miles per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1 mile per dollar on everything else
- Annual fee: $0
Other benefits, such as the 5% rebate on travel redemptions, flexible booking, and no foreign transaction fees, apply to both versions of the card.
Annual fee vs. No-fee
It’s obvious that the sign-up bonus for the World Elite version of this card is bigger, but bigger doesn’t always mean better.
Our team did the math and found the break even point on the annual fee after spending to be about $4,200. If you aren’t sure you’ll spend that much, you may want to consider the no-fee version of this card.
How Other Cards Measure Up
As good as this card is, no credit card is perfect for everyone. If you fall into one of the categories below, it may be best to consider a different option.
You prefer cash back. A high rewards rate is only good if it fits your lifestyle, so if traveling isn’t really your thing and you’d prefer a cash back rewards card, the Citi® Double Cash Card might be better for you. You’ll get 1% cash back when you use the card to make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. Plus, there are no limits to the amount you can earn, and no annual fee, making it a solid choice for a cash back rewards card.
You’re loyal to a specific airline. Belonging to an airline loyalty program isn’t a deal breaker for getting the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® by any means, but if you’re able to get more value out of reward miles or points through a loyalty program, you might be better off with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® instead. This card allows you to transfer points to several major travel programs at a 1:1 ratio, which if you’re skilled at stretching rewards, could mean squeezing as much as 5 cents out of each point.
You don’t plan to travel abroad. If you typically stick with domestic travel, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card may be a better match for you. With a similar sign-up bonus and earning structure, the Venture® Rewards Card features chip-and-signature technology (vs. chip and PIN) which is standard all around the US, and has a lower annual fee - $0 for the first year, then $59.
If you’re looking for a rewards card to serve as a powerful travel companion around the globe, look no further than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. With so many incredible benefits and a ton of flexibility, you’ll be booking for your first rewards trip in no time.
Disclaimer: This content and the opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been provided, commissioned, or endorsed by the credit card issuer. All information was accurate at the time of this post but card terms and conditions may change at any time.