The Barclaycard Arrival World Elite MasterCard is a general travel rewards card designed for people who want to earn points toward free travel on all of their purchases, but don’t want to be restricted to any single airline or hotel program.
It is particularly good for those who want a card that will cover lower cost flights, hotels and other travel related charges, where miles and points won't work or are not a good redemption value. Charges such as low cost airfare, rental cars, hotel rooms, rail transportation, cruises, dining, etc.
The combination of reward flexibility, 60,000 point sign up bonus and 5% points back when you use your points for travel make this a card a nice option for the domestic traveler.
Barclays Arrival Plus Card Review
Arrival Plus Sign up Bonus & Transfer Options
The Barclaycard Arrival World Elite MasterCard offers a nice sign up bonus. With this bonus offer you will receive 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 within the first 90 days of having the card. You will also receive 5% of your “miles” back when you redeem your “miles” for statement credits towards all or a portion of your travel purchases within the last 90 days (i.e. if you spend 20,000 miles on airline ticket, you will get 2,000 of them back).
Quick note – Barclay refers to their points as “miles”, which is a little confusing since they are not frequent flyer miles. What they are calling “miles” are really credits back to your statement.
Another great bonus feature of this card is that you to get 2 points for every $1 spent on anything (compared to the Chase Sapphire Card which gives 2x points on Travel and Dining purchases only, and most other cards that only provide a 1:1 ratio). This combination of 2x miles and the 5% miles back feature essentially allow you to get 2.1% cash back on your credit card spend when you redeem for travel.
Points earned in the first year with the Barclay Arrival Plus Card
Assume you spend $3,000 per month on the Credit Card in the first 12 months.
+ 60,000 Bonus Miles – Must purchase $5,000 within the first 90 days
+ 72,000 Miles from Spending – 2:1 ratio of points per dollar charged on the card
= 132,000 Miles earned in the first year. That’s enough for:
- Over $1,300 of free travel rewards, if redeemed through for travel related items, OR
- Statement credit of $650 (not a great deal as a cash back card since the cash back value is .5 cents per mile…)
There is no ability to transfer to other hotel or frequent flyer programs, so you will not see a transfer option
Additional Benefits of the Barclay Arrival Plus MasterCard
The Barclay Arrival Card comes with a suite of benefits exclusively available to cardholders. Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard benefits include:
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: This is a great benefit for international travelers that will save you from having to pay the 3% surcharge placed on international credit card transactions.
- 5% Points Back when redeemed for travel: Receive 5% of your miles back every time you redeem for travel.
- No blackout dates: There are no seat restrictions and no caps on earning and redeeming.
Since this is a World Elite Mastercard, you will also get the following additional benefits:
- Personal Travel Advisor: 24/7 concierge service to help you book travel and events
- Shoprunner: Order from 140+ online stores using ShopRunner and receive unlimited free two-day shipping and return shipping
- Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance: up to $1,500 per incident
- Identity Theft Services: Free service to help them detect and resolve identity theft.
Our take on the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Is it Right for you?
With the 60,000 point bonus, 5% credit back feature, and the flexibility to use “miles” for any type of travel, this is definitely a travel credit card for you to consider. The flexibility of being able to use your points for any type of travel reward – including travel agencies, hotels, airlines, tour operators, cruises, etc. is a great feature that rarely comes with such a large sign up bonus.
Benefits of the card include:
- When you earn your miles for a airline purchase or hotel stay, it is a statement credit, so you still earn the frequent flyer miles or hotel points that you would not otherwise get with a reward ticket or stay.
- If you can get lower priced airline tickets, this can be a much better value that using frequent flyer miles (especially if you fly Delta where 25,000 mile domestic rewards are almost impossible to find).
- You can use the “miles” for flights on any airline or stays at any hotel
- It can be used for things like group tours or train tickets that frequent flyer miles and hotel points won't cover.
- No foreign transaction fee feature is big when traveling internationally
Some of the drawbacks to this card are:
- It is not a good card if you are trying to earn a free international ticket (these tickets are in the $5,000+ range so you would need north of 500,000 barclaycard “miles” for this, which is not realistic for the average person. If you are putting that kind of spend on the card, you would be better off with the Chase Sapphire or American Express Platinum card)
- It is not good if you need to use it as a cash back card. You receive a $50 statement credit for every 10,000 “miles”. There are better options if you want a cash back card.
That said, the Barclaycard Arrival World Elite Mastercard is a great card to have in your wallet, definitely when partnered with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I would use the features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve for my higher cost international trips and the Barclay Arrival Plus for lower cost domestic flights, cheap intra-Europe flights, European rail costs and lower priced hotel stays.
For a complete list of all Travel Credit Cards go to the Travel Credit Card Page. On this page you will find all of the best travel credit cards including the best Travel Reward Cards, Airline Mile Cards, Hotel Point Cards and the latest sign up bonus offers.
Know Your Credit Score:
Before you apply for any credit card, you should make sure you have an understanding of your credit score and credit history. Most Travel Credit Card Companies require you to have a strong credit score, ideally they will prefer a FICO score of at least 700.
Once you apply for a credit card, the credit card company will perform a credit inquiry. Be aware that credit inquiries will affect your credit score. Each time you apply for a credit card (or any type of loan for that matter), the inquiry will reduce your score anywhere from 2-5 points.
By law, you are allowed to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year. The free annual copies of your credit report will give you all of the data that provides the foundation for your credit score, but the Credit Reports don't provide the Credit Score itself. You will need both your Credit Report and Credit Score to get the full view of your credit situation.
Here are four links to get your Free Credit Score:
- CreditReport.com Free Credit Score
- CreditSesame (no card required – provides Experian Score)
- CreditKarma (no card required – provides TransUnion Score)
- myFICO (link to the Free credit score estimator page)
Here is the link to get your Free Credit Report:
Finally, please only apply for any travel credit card if you pay your bills in full each month. Carrying a balance on any travel credit card will eliminate the benefit of the travel rewards due to the higher interest rates associated with these cards.