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Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® is a premium travel rewards credit card with an $89 annual fee (waived in the first year) and a straightforward rewards program that earns 2x miles on a wide range of purchases. These miles can be redeemed against virtually any prior travel purchase: airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, vacation packages, and incidental fees, to name a few. A nice redemption bonus and fairly generous 0% APR balance transfer promotion further sweeten the deal for cardholders.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you only travel occasionally or prefer to remain loyal to a single travel brand, this card’s $89 annual fee (waived in the first year) and broad-based rewards program might not serve you well. Plus, if you’re a light spender, the $100 minimum redemption threshold may deter you.
Still, Barclaycard Arrival Plus is among the most versatile travel rewards credit cards out there. Here’s what you need to know about its features, advantages, and disadvantages.
For a limited time only, when you spend at least $5,000 within 90 days of opening your account, you earn 70,000 bonus miles. That’s worth up to $700 when redeemed for statement credits against prior travel purchases.
Every $1 spent on eligible card purchases earns 2 miles, with no caps or restrictions on how much you can earn. There are no mileage categories or tiers. Miles don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
The best redemption option is for statement credits against virtually any travel purchases: airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, taxi and rideshare fares, public transportation fares, incidental charges, discount travel site bookings, cruises, and vacation packages. Qualifying purchases must have been made within 120 days of the redemption date. Miles are always worth $0.01 apiece when redeemed for travel statement credits.
You must have at least 10,000 miles to redeem for statement credit redemptions against travel, and qualifying purchases must be $100 or greater. This is a higher minimum redemption threshold than competing cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This could be problematic for light spenders who take longer to accrue the requisite number of miles. Above the $100 threshold, Barclaycard allows redemptions in $25 increments for up to $2,000 in total redemption value (200,000 miles).
Non-travel redemptions are available too, including statement credits, gift cards, and general merchandise, among other options. However, these methods invariably devalue miles, often by 50% or more. Unless you haven’t made sufficient qualifying travel purchases in the recent past and don’t expect to do so for the foreseeable future, there’s no reason to fall back on these choices.
5% Redemption Bonus
Every travel credit redemption qualifies for a 5% bonus. For instance, when you redeem 20,000 miles, you’ll receive a bonus of 1,000 miles. Bonus miles are deposited into your loyalty account and are available for use with your next redemption.
Bonus Miles for Barclays Travel Community Posting
Subject to certain limitations and restrictions, you’ll earn bonus miles for qualifying stories posted to the Barclays Travel Community. If you want to share stories of your latest adventure and earn tangible rewards in the process, this is your ticket. Each 100-plus-word story with at least 1 unique photo earns 150 bonus miles – a $1.50 value when redeemed for travel. You can’t post more than 5 stories per location or more than 100 stories per month.
Introductory APR Promotion
Balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening accrue no interest (0% APR) for 12 months from your account opening date. Once the introductory period ends, variable regular APR applies.
Following the end of the introductory period, the balance transfer APR rises to 18.24%, 22.24%, or 25.24% variable, depending on your personal creditworthiness or prevailing interest rates. The purchase APR is 18.24%, 22.24%, or 25.24% variable from the day you open your account. The cash advance APR is 27.49%.
After the first year, the annual fee for this card is $89. There are no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
World Elite Mastercard Concierge
The World Elite Mastercard Concierge is your complimentary personal assistant for complex travel bookings, hard-to-snag reservations, and travel advice.
This card requires excellent credit.
- Excellent Sign-up Bonus. Arrival Plus has a great sign-up bonus: 70,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 within 90 days (offer available for a limited time only). That’s worth up to $700 when redeemed for statement credits against prior travel purchases – enough to offset the cost of some round-trip international flights or 2-plus nights at an upscale hotel.
- Strong Point Earning Rate. This card earns unlimited 2 miles per $1 spent on everything, with no caps or restrictions. For comparison, Chase Sapphire Preferred only earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining. All other Sapphire Preferred purchases earn just 1 point per $1 spent.
- Expansive Definition of Travel. Arrival Plus cardholders can redeem accumulated miles for virtually any travel purchase, including local transportation purchases not typically associated with the travel rewards category. Some competing cards restrict redemptions to one travel brand or brand family or require cardholders looking for more redemption options to formally transfer miles or points to participating partners.
- 0% APR on Balance Transfers for 12 Months. This card has a 0% APR introductory promotion on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. Once the qualifying transfer is made, the 0% APR remains in effect for 12 months from the account opening date. This allows plenty of time to pay down moderate credit card balances without accruing interest at sky-high rates.
- 5% Bonus on All Travel Redemptions. Every travel redemption made with this card earns a 5% bonus: 500 miles for a 10,000-mile redemption, 1,000 miles for a 20,000-mile redemption, and so on. This provides a small but meaningful boost to the card’s baseline mile-earning rate, lessening the sting of the $100 minimum redemption threshold.
- No Blackout Dates. Since travel redemptions are retroactive, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates during peak travel times. This is a big advantage over branded travel loyalty cards that limit award travel during high-demand periods such as spring break and the winter holiday corridor.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. This card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. If you’re looking to save money on your next international vacation, this is a big perk that’s likely to reduce your total overseas spending by 2% to 3%.
- Has an Annual Fee. Arrival Plus has an $89 annual fee after the first year. If you don’t spend enough to justify a travel card with an annual fee, consider a fee-free alternative like the Expedia+ Card from Citi.
- Miles Value Capped at $0.01 Apiece. When redeemed for statement credits against travel, Arrival Plus’s miles are always worth $0.01 apiece. By contrast, some branded competitor cards’ mile and point values vary widely at redemption – often rising north of $0.02 or $0.03 apiece. For instance, American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles ($95 annual fee) ascribes variable but quite generous mile values on long-haul award flight redemptions.
- High Threshold for Travel Redemptions. Arrival Plus has one of the highest redemption minimums in the travel rewards category: 10,000 miles, equivalent to $100 in travel purchases. Moreover, qualifying purchases must be greater than $100 and less than 4 months old. This is a high bar for infrequent travelers, who may find themselves with a decent pile of functionally un-redeemable rewards on hand. By contrast, competing cards such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card have low or nonexistent redemption thresholds.
- Non-travel Redemptions Have Poor Value. Cash equivalent redemptions, such as gift cards and general statement credits, generally carry poorer values than travel statement credit redemptions. So do general merchandise redemptions, if they’re available. By contrast, Chase Sapphire Preferred has a fairly generous and (nearly) across-the-board redemption rate: $0.01 per point.
- Few Value-Added Benefits for Shoppers or Travelers. This card doesn’t have many value-added benefits for frequent travelers or savvy shoppers. There’s no expedited entry application fee, airport lounge discount, preferred boarding class, or complimentary luggage deal here.
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® isn’t the simplest travel rewards card out there. The 5% redemption bonus is a curveball that complicates return on spending calculations, and the $100 minimum redemption threshold is problematic for light spenders.
But it’s a far cry from the branded airline and hotel rewards credit cards, whose complicated rewards program terms and conditions require an advanced degree to parse. If you like your travel rewards credit cards straightforward, consider Arrival Plus.
Do you use Barclaycard Arrival Plus or do you prefer another general-purpose travel credit card?