5 Things to Know About the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard

The card is no longer open to new applicants. Plus, more compelling no-annual-fee travel card options exist.

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The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® once had a rare advantage: Besides its sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards for no annual fee, it was early to the chip-and-PIN game. This made it easier to use overseas. Because other countries were quicker to adopt the technology than the U.S. was, travelers often found themselves in awkward situations where their American chip-and-signature card didn’t work.

But these days, that's a mostly moot point because:

But if you still have the baseline Arrival card, here are five things to know about it.

1. You can get the card only through a product change

As noted above, the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is no longer available to new applicants. Current cardholders can still use it, and earn and redeem rewards.

If you have the higher-tier Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you can request a product change to the baseline Arrival version if you want to keep your account open without having to pay an annual fee.

2. Travel and dining are its bonus categories, but it's not competitive

For existing cardholders, the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® earns 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and travel, and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else. That's underwhelming and no longer competitive with the market.

For one thing, you can find any number of no-annual-fee credit cards that earn 1.5x back on all purchases, which makes them better options for everyday spending. With the Arrival, outside of its two bonus categories, the best you'll be able to do is 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases.

The Arrival's deficiencies are perhaps more pronounced in the travel rewards category specifically. For example, though it does come with an annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers the same rewards structure and earning rates as the Arrival does. But unlike the Arrival, the Sapphire Preferred gives you a points boost when you redeem your rewards for travel through Chase, and it also allows you to transfer your points to multiple travel partners, for a chance at snagging even greater point values.

The Arrival offers no such chances at outsize point value, and in fact, points take on less value when used for anything but travel. Speaking of which ...

3. Travel is the most valuable reason to use rewards

Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed as a statement credit against travel expenses, which includes “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines and ferries,” according to Barclaycard's website. The minimum redemption is 2,500 miles (worth $25).

You can also redeem miles for cash back and gift cards, but you'd only get 0.5 cent per mile. And if you redeemed for merchandise, the per-mile value would likely be even lower than that.

4. Get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them

One particular perk helps you stretch your rewards further. You get a 5% miles bonus when you redeem. For example, if you redeemed 50,000 miles, you’d get 2,500 miles — worth $25 — toward your next redemption.

5. Other no-fee travel cards may be a better fit

For a better $0-annual-fee travel card, we recommend the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, which gets you 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. Points are redeemable for travel statement credits at a value of 1 cent each. And compared with the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®, this card is far more generous with its classification of travel, including categories such as amusement parks and RV rentals.

It also offers a sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. Plus, there’s a no-interest promotion: 0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

Another option is the Discover it® Miles, which comes with 0% intro APR on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 14 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. It offers 1.5 miles per $1 spent, which can be redeemed for statement credit. UNLIMITED BONUS: Only Discover will automatically match all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

And unlike the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®, you don’t need a certain number of rewards saved up to redeem. You can cash in with as little as 1 cent, a valuable perk for frugal spenders.