Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review: Closed to Applicants, but Flexible if You Have It
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It's no longer available, but current cardholders get a high rewards rate on all purchases, along with flexible redemption. Just be aware that you don't get the perks of a dedicated airline or hotel card.
Pros & Cons
High rewards rate on all purchases, not just bonus categories
No foreign transaction fee
Has annual fee
Minimum redemption required for travel
Get 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending, plus a sign-up bonus, for an unbeatable $0 annual fee.
Compare to Other Cards
20.49%-27.49% Variable APR
16.49%-27.49% Variable APR
See Pay Over Time APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
690850good - excellent
Recommended Credit Score
690850good - excellent
Recommended Credit Score
690850good - excellent
» This card is no longer available
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no longer accepting applications. See our best travel credit cards roundup for other options. Below is our review of the card from when it was still available.
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Sometimes a solid card with fewer frills is a superior one. That's the case with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, a relatively simple travel rewards credit card with a high flat rewards rate, flexible travel redemption rules and a modest annual fee. However, as of 2019, this card is no longer taking new applications.
Existing cardholders have been able to keep and continue using it, though, and as of November 2022, the option to transfer rewards to several travel partners was introduced.
There's a no-annual-fee version of this card, with less robust perks, called the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®. But it, too, has stopped accepting new applications.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: Basics
Card type: Travel.
Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $89.
Rewards: 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.
When 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 miles for almost any travel purchase of $100 or more, including airfare, hotels and cruises. Go online within 120 days of booking with your card and apply your miles for a statement credit.
Interest rate: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24%-25.24%, Variable
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Other features: Chip-and-PIN capability.
Not sure whether paying the annual fee makes sense for you? Try our calculator and see whether the rewards you earn on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will cover the fee.
Highlights of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
High ongoing rewards rate
Earning an unlimited 2 miles per dollar spent, at a value of 1 cent per mile, is solid because it applies to all spending, not just spending in certain categories, such as travel, restaurants or supermarkets, which you find with other cards. So that means a great rewards rate whether you’re shopping online, paying for furnace maintenance or covering a doctor copay. Better yet, the 5% redemption bonus when you cash in miles — good toward a future redemption — boosts the effective rewards rate to 2.1%. This simple-but-lucrative rewards rate for all spending makes the card a candidate for top-of-wallet status.
It used to be harder to find a card that earned 2X on all purchases, no matter the category. But today, several other cards exist on the market that do just that. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2X on every purchase with no limit for a similar annual fee.
Barclays has a liberal definition of “travel purchases,” giving you a lot of options for redeeming your miles, including spending with airlines, hotels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, trains and buses, among others. And book however you want — directly with an airline or hotel, or through a travel agent or discount travel site. As long as you pay with the card, you can reimburse yourself with miles. That’s more flexible than travel credit cards that force you to book through the issuer’s travel portal to get the best rewards value. And it will appeal to budget travelers who prefer comparing travel deals from a variety of places. There are no blackout dates, restrictions or extra fees, as there can be with redeeming frequent flyer miles, for example.
Ease of use abroad
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. When traveling abroad, you'll may find that some kiosks and other automated payment systems require you to use a PIN to verify your identity, rather than a signature (though this requirement is not as common as it used to be). Chip-and-PIN is standard in much of the world, but it's rare on cards issued in the U.S.
Barclays closed the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® to new applicants in 2019, but as of November 2022 it added the ability to transfer miles to a host of travel partners. An odd addition to a card that is no longer open to new applications, it nevertheless gives current cardholders more options for redeeming their miles. However, the transfer ratio of Barclays points is inferior to other programs whose points largely transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
EVA Air Infinity Mileage Lands
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Aeromexico Club Premier
Air Canada Aeroplan
JAL Mileage Bank
High redemption threshold
The card has a minimum redemption for travel statement credits of 10,000 miles, or $100, which you'd have to spend $5,000 on the card in order to earn. For smaller spenders, it could be a long wait to accumulate enough miles to redeem. The minimum is 5,000 miles for other redemption options and 2,500 if used toward the card’s annual fee.
Low-value redemption alternatives
For cashing in miles, this is mostly a one-trick pony. You get a penny per mile for statement credit that offsets travel purchases, or for paying the card’s annual fee. You get half as much value — or less — if you redeem miles for cash back, gift cards or merchandise. You can now transfer miles to some travel partners, but the ratios are poor.
Fewer travel freebies and perks
The card’s simplicity is also a potential drawback. It doesn’t offer the perks that some travel cards do, such as airport lounge access or reimbursement for TSA Precheck or Global Entry applications. And while you can use miles to pay for checked-bag fees on airlines, airline co-branded cards often give you checked bags for free, along with early boarding. Similarly, you can use miles from this card on hotel stays, but you won’t get the automatic free nights that some co-branded hotel credit cards offer.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® still has value for some cardholders, but because it’s not available to new applicants, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your next travel card. Here are a couple of alternatives for specific types of consumers.
If you want don’t want a redemption minimum
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has a doppelganger card: the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It also earns an unlimited 2 miles per dollar on most purchases, and it also allows you to redeem your miles for a statement credit against travel purchases. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card doesn’t offer the 5% redemption bonus, but it also doesn't have a minimum redemption requirement. So if you want to redeem miles for an $8 cab ride, you can.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $95 and a nice sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. It doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, but it also doesn't offer chip-and-PIN.
» MORE: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
If don’t want to pay an annual fee
One of the best $0-annual-fee travel cards around is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. It earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything. It comes with a neat offer for new cardholders: 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.
It doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, but as with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, it also doesn't offer premium travel perks like airport lounge access or travel transfer partners.
If you want better value when transferring points
If you’re an expert at squeezing extra value from airline and hotel loyalty programs, you may be better off going with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Otherwise, points are worth a penny each.
You can transfer your points to several major frequent travel programs at a 1:1 ratio. Transfer partners include United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott and Hyatt. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a comparable sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. But it does have a slightly higher annual fee: $95.
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 you’re still satisfied with this card’s simple but valuable rewards program and can easily make up for its annual fee, it makes sense to keep it around. You can always supplement it with a premium travel card if you want to enjoy more luxury travel perks. For those weary of paying an annual fee, it may be time to retire the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and get a good $0-annual-fee travel card instead.