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Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review: Earn More, Redeem More

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Editor's Rating: 4.1 / 5

Competition among travel cards has gotten fierce, with new cards offering a slew of high-end perks. But the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, one of the old-timers, still holds up. With a decent rewards rate, a healthy sign-up bonus, flexible redemption rules and a relatively low annual fee, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has much to recommend it.


Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Apply Now on Barclaycard's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate on all purchases, not just bonus categories
    • Sign-up bonus
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Annual fee waived in first year

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Requires excellent credit
    • No luxury perks

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $89

    APR

    • APR: 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Balance Transfers for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
    • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
    • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
    • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
    • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a fee for balance transfers.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: Basics

Picking one travel credit card over another often means making compromises, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® checks pretty much all the boxes.

  • Sign-up bonus: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. Each mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel or 0.5 cent when redeemed for cash back. Whenever you redeem miles, you get 5% of those miles back toward your next redemption. You can start redeeming for travel with 10,000 miles, or 5,000 miles for cash back.
  • Redeem your miles for almost any travel purchase of $100 or more, including airfare, hotels, cruises and more. Just go online within 120 days of booking with your card and apply your miles for a statement credit.
  • EMV chip-and-PIN capability
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $89

Where the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® shines

High rewards rate

Earning 2 miles per dollar, at a value of 1 cent per mile, gives the card a rewards rate double the industry standard of 1%. The 5% redemption bonus boosts the effective rate to 2.1%.

Big sign-up bonus

Hit the spending threshold, and you’re well on your way to a free trip.

Flexibility

With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you can use your miles for almost any travel purchase, and you can book however you want. Reserve directly with an airline or hotel, or a travel agent or discount travel site. As long as you pay with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you can reimburse yourself with your miles. This flexibility is especially great for budget travelers who like to look at all their flight and hotel options to find the best deal. And because you’re booking like a regular traveler, there are no blackout dates or other restrictions, as there often are when you try to redeem frequent flyer miles.

Ease of use overseas

Like any good travel card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has no foreign transaction fees. Plus, the card has chip-and-PIN capability. Chip-and-PIN is standard in much of the world, but rare on cards issued in the U.S. When traveling abroad, you’ll find that many kiosks and other automated payment systems require you to use a PIN to verify your identity, rather than a signature. That’s not a problem with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.

cardholder benefits packages

This card is on the World Elite Mastercard platform, which provides high-end benefits for cardholders. These include:

  • Complimentary concierge service and a personal travel advisor available to help you plan trips
  • Access to the Luxury Hotels & Resorts and perks like complimentary breakfast
  • Upgrades and discounts on certain airlines; discounts on chauffeured car services and private jets; and discounts on cruises and vacation packages
  • Access to Priceless Experiences, such as Priceless Cities and Priceless Golf

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes with other protections from Barclaycard, including:

  • Access to an identity-theft helpline
  • Built-in travel and purchase protections, including purchase security, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and more
  • Access to the Barclaycard Travel Community, which rewards members with miles when they share their personal travel stories

» MORE: Barclaycard credit card mobile app review

Why another card might be better

There’s a lot to love about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, but no card is perfect for everyone. Consider other options if one of these situations applies to you.

You want a HIGHER SIGN-UP BONUS

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has something of a doppelganger. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card also earns an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and it also allows you to redeem your miles for statement credit against travel purchases. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95. However, it has a higher sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card doesn’t offer the 5% redemption bonus of the Barclaycard, but it still has an edge when it comes to redemption. It doesn’t have any minimum redemption requirements when you redeem for the full cost of a travel purchase. So if you want to redeem miles for an $8 cab ride, you can. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has a minimum redemption of $100 — equal to $5,000 in spending.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but it also doesn’t offer chip-and-PIN.

Not sure whether the annual fee is a dealbreaker? Our calculator can help:

» MORE: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

You want points you can transfer

If you’re good at eking extra value out of every point through airline and hotel loyalty programs, you may be better off going with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

This card gives you 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Otherwise, points are worth a penny apiece.

You can also transfer your points to several major frequent travel programs at a 1:1 ratio. Transfer partners include United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott and Hyatt. If you’re skilled at stretching rewards, you could squeeze as much as 5 cents out of each point, potentially driving the card’s rewards rate much higher than that of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a comparable sign-up bonus, but with a higher spending threshold (and, if redeemed at 1.25 cents per point, a higher value): Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And it has a slightly higher annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

» MORE: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you’re interested in knowing how these cards stack up to other travel cards, scroll through NerdWallet’s list of the best credit cards to have.

Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® right for you?

If traveling is your passion and you want a card that will help you get to your next destination in style, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is an excellent choice. The card’s rewards rate, redemption flexibility rate and chip-and-PIN capabilities make it a winner for globe-trotters.

Lindsay Konsko and Ellen Cannon are staff writers at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ecannon@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ellencannon