Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard Worth Its Annual Fee?

Feb 22, 2019

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Making the jump to a travel rewards credit card can be daunting.

There are so many options out there, including those earning airline rewards and hotel-specific cards. Many of these cards come with an annual fee, and justifying that can be tough if you're used to a no-fee card.

But if matched well with your travel goals and needs, a card with an annual fee can end up paying for itself in miles and points.

Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® one of those worthwhile rewards cards? With an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $89, it doesn't cost as much to carry as some other cards, but it's still an expense.

Here are a few things to consider before signing up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® .

The annual fee is worth it if you:

  • Can responsibly spend $5,000 in the first 90 days to earn the sign-up bonus. The card's welcome offer is as follows: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. If you cannot hit that minimum spend with routine expenses or with planned one-time purchases, and pay it off each month, then you may eat away at the benefit of this welcome offer.

  • Plan on regularly redeeming your points. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes with a unique bonus of 5% miles back whenever you redeem. That’s every time, regardless of how many miles you’re using. If you use all 70,000 from the welcome offer, that’s 3,500 miles back toward your next redemption.

  • Are ready to share your travel stories. Joining the Barclays Travel Community is a great place to meet fellow travelers and read personal stories, but Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® holders get an additional bonus for sharing their stories: Free miles. Completing the member profile nets you 500 miles, a travel story with at least 100 words and a unique picture is worth 150 miles, and each detail added to the story using the map is an additional 10 miles. Frequent travelers can publish up to 100 stories each month with some restrictions on the number of stories for each location.

The annual fee isn’t worth it if you:

  • Do not spend a lot on travel. This card is geared toward travelers, with benefits to match. But when it comes time to redeem, your Uber ride home from the airport won't qualify. Redemption for travel statement credits comes with a 10,000-mile minimum, which would subtract $100 from your statement. If you’re making only short or cheap trips, this card may not be for you.

  • Are looking for partner-specific perks. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers a high rewards rate on all purchases and flexibility on where to redeem those points, but it lacks some of the benefits of dedicated cards. You won’t get an upgraded hotel room or priority seating on your next flight when paying with this card.

  • Do not pay off your balance each month. High rewards cards tend to come with high late fees or interest. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no different. By not paying off the card each month, your bill will accrue at a faster rate than your points, rendering the main benefits of this card meaningless.

The bottom line

For flexible travelers who aren’t married to one airline or hotel chain, this card's standard 2 miles for every $1 spent can easily provide more value than the annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $89. And if you’re eager to share your travel adventures with an online community, you can keep on earning after the trip ends.

If you still aren't sure whether paying an annual fee makes sense for you, try our calculator to see if the annual rewards you could earn through the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will cover its annual fee.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Barclaycard Arrival Plus v. Capital One Venture: Travel credit card showdown NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards How to choose a travel credit card

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