Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Review

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Snapshot

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is a rewards card that earns 2X miles on all your purchases.

The card has chip card functionality, so it can be used at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad.

Eligible new cardmembers may earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases with this card in the first 90 days and after the $89 annual fee is paid.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card Highlights

Annual fee:$89
Rewards:2X miles on all purchases
Bonus offer:Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and pay the annual fee
Foreign transaction fee:None - No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
Additional benefits:Every time you redeem get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption
We think it's best for:Frequent travelers

Someone planning a big trip

Someone who doesn't want to keep track of rotating bonus categories
We think these folks should do more research:Someone who wants cash back

Someone who wants more flexible redemption options
Additional Notes:Terms and conditions apply

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Basics

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is competing with co-branded travel credit cards offered by airlines and hotel chains. Instead of having one card to pay for your airline tickets, another to pay for your hotel stays, and a third card that earns cash back everywhere, Barclaycard gives you the option to put all your purchases on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, and you can redeem your miles for a travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.

In that way, Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is similar to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, has no foreign transaction fees and there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year; $95 after that.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers qualifying new cardmembers a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has no introductory APR offer for either purchases or balance transfers.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Rewards

The rewards structure of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is straightforward: you earn 2X miles for every dollar you spend on purchases with the card. Travel statement credits start when you’ve earned at least 10,000 miles, you can redeem them against an eligible travel purchase of at least $100 made within the last 120 days.

As an added bonus, you can get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem. So if you redeem 10,000 miles against a $100 eligible travel purchase, you can get 500 miles added back to your account pretty quick, making it easier to reach the 10,000-mile redemption threshold again.

 

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Pros

The key advantage of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is its simplicity. Since it earns 2X miles on all purchases, you don’t need to keep track of bonus categories or worry whether you’re using the right card for a given purchase.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® charges no foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad. If you frequently travel internationally, those foreign transaction fees can easily add up to hundreds of dollar per year, so finding a card with no foreign transaction fees might be an important consideration for you when choosing a credit card.

In Europe, most credit cards are issued as chip-and-PIN cards, which require users to type in a PIN, like a debit card. In the United States, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has the ability to function as a chip-and-PIN card. That means you can use your credit card in Europe at unattended kiosks and terminals, like the ones commonly found in subways and train stations. I personally love this feature since it means I can take my time when selecting train tickets or subway fare options, rather than waiting in line, struggling with a language barrier, and holding up the people waiting behind me.

Finally, the 60,000 bonus miles for eligible first-time cardmembers after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days, those 60,000 bonus miles is enough to redeem for a $600 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase. If you have a lot of upcoming travel planned, the card may be worth carrying for that reason alone.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Cons

There are two important drawbacks to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: the annual fee and the restrictive redemption rules.

The 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem helps to balance out the cost of owning the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. That’s a decision you’ll have to make based on your own travel needs.

Besides the annual fee, it’s also important to keep in mind the potential difficulty of redeeming your Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® miles. The card has a relatively high $100 redemption threshold, requiring you to accumulate 10,000 miles before you can redeem them at their full value. And once you’ve earned 10,000 miles, you also need to have made a travel purchase of at least $100 within the last 120 days.

While I travel enough to have no difficulty finding purchases to redeem my miles against, if you’re an infrequent traveler or don’t spend very much money on your existing credit cards, you may find yourself struggling to redeem your miles at their full value.

Should you get this card?

Since the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers eligible first-time cardmembers 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases on the card in the first 90 days, the best time to sign up for the card may be when you already have expensive, upcoming travel plans. By booking $5,000 worth of airline tickets, hotels, cruises, or other travel expenses, you can trigger both the 60,000 bonus miles and generate qualifying travel purchases to redeem against your new miles.

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Published March 8, 2016
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