Editorial Review

Barclays Arrival Premier Review: Card Puts a Premium on Loyalty

This card does away with the big sign-up bonus for new cardholders, instead offering annual bonuses worth as much as $250 on top of the standard 2 miles per dollar spent.

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Our Take

3.7

Editor's overall rating

The Bottom Line: If you travel at least once a year and know you’ll spend more than $25,000 on a single card annually, this is an excellent choice.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

on Barclays's secure website

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

Annual Fee 
$150

Waived first year

Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74%

Variable

Annual Fee 
$150

Waived first year

Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74%

Variable

Alternate Pick: Lower fee, better partners

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

NerdWallet Rating

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Points worth more when used to book travel

Get 2 miles per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 mile per dollar ensewhere. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when used to book travel through Chase, and you can also transfer them on a 1:1 basis to a dozen major airline and hotel programs. There's a big sign-up bonus, too. Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $95.

Read our review

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • Has annual fee

recommended credit score

Full Review

With the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, it pays to be loyal — literally.

This general travel credit card gives you an impressive 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. But unlike most of its competitors, it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. Instead, you can earn loyalty bonuses each year for meeting certain spending thresholds. Because of this setup, the card can leapfrog the competition in long-term value for folks who can put $25,000 or more on it a year. But for those who spend less, this card and its annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $150 probably aren’t the best choice.

Key features of the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

  • Sign-up bonus: None
  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $150
  • Ongoing rewards: 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase; miles worth 1 cent apiece
  • Loyalty bonuses:
    • Spend $15,000 in purchases in a cardmember year, and get 15,000 loyalty bonus miles after hitting that threshold
    • Spend $25,000 in purchases in a cardmember year, and get 10,000 loyalty bonus miles after hitting that threshold

If you meet that $25,000 threshold, you’d net a total of 75,000 miles (50,000 earned from your spending and another 25,000 earned in loyalty bonus miles), making this the highest loyalty bonus currently available on any credit card.

  • Other benefits:
    • Reimbursement for Global Entry application fee ($100) every five years
    • Discounted airport lounge access via LoungeKey (you pay $27 per person per visit)
    • Chip-and-PIN enabled
    • Miles transferrable to partner airlines (see below)

Miles can be redeemed for credit toward travel purchases, including flights, hotel stays and car rentals. Miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel. (For cash back or gift cards, miles are worth 0.5 cents apiece.) Because this is a general travel card not tied to any one airline or hotel chain, you have more flexibility: Book travel however you want, then use your miles to pay for it. The minimum amount you can redeem is 10,000 miles, or $100. If you don’t have enough miles to cover a full purchase, you’ll only be able to redeem within $25 increments between $100 and $2,000.

You can also transfer your miles to a handful of international airline partners. No major domestic carriers are among the partners. In most cases, the transfer value is 1.4-to-1. That means you would get 1,000 partner miles for every 1,400 miles transferred from the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®.

To see whether the rewards and bonuses you’d earn on the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® would make up for the annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $150 , use our calculator:

This card’s sibling, the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, also gives you 2 miles per dollar spent, but it offers a sizable sign-up bonus and has an annual fee of $89 . To get a sense of how this card compares to that one, read our review of the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®.

Why you should get the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

For folks who travel and prefer to use just one card for purchases, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® could be a perfect pick.

Robust ongoing rewards for big spenders. If you travel at least once a year and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’ll spend more than $25,000 on a single card annually, this card is an excellent choice. That’s because of how this card doles out loyalty bonuses:

  • Spend $15,000 in a cardmember year, and you’ll get 15,000 loyalty bonus miles (worth $150 when redeemed to cover travel purchases) after hitting that threshold
  • Spend $25,000 in a year, and you’ll get 10,000 more loyalty bonus miles (for a total of 25,000 bonus miles each cardmember year, worth $250 when redeemed to cover travel purchases) after hitting that threshold

The bonus at the $15,000 threshold — worth $150 — effectively wipes out the annual fee that kicks in after the first year. That puts the card roughly on par with other no-annual-fee cards with 2% rewards rates. But once you hit that $25,000 mark, the card pulls far ahead of the competition.

Chip-and-PIN-enabled with no foreign transaction fees. The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is one of the few cards issued in the U.S. with chip-and-PIN enabled. This allows you to verify your purchases on the card with a keypad instead of a signature. (Chip-and-signature cards are more common in the U.S.) Because of this, you can use this card virtually anywhere — even at kiosks and parking meters abroad.

Like any good travel card, it also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. That saves you about 3% on every purchase made outside the U.S.

Global Entry reimbursement. With this card’s Global Entry reimbursement, you can zip through airport security and customs at no extra cost. Use your card to cover the $100 application fee for Global Entry — which lasts for five years — and you’ll get reimbursed for the full amount. This reimbursement becomes available every five years.

Why you should go with another card

The ongoing rewards rate on the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is compelling, but the other benefits on the card are less so.

No sign-up bonus. Even though the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is designed for big spenders, it doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus. From a short-term perspective, that puts it at an enormous disadvantage compared to other travel cards, many of which feature plum welcome offers.

If you’re looking for a card with similar benefits and a big sign-up bonus, check out the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This card offers travel rewards that are just as robust — 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases — but unlike the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, it also comes with a generous 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. To earn the same amount in loyalty bonuses, you’d have to spend $50,000 over two years on the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®. The annual fee on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is $0 for the first year, then $95.

Hard-to-attain loyalty bonuses. The loyalty bonuses on the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® are central to its overall value. But unless spending over $15,000 or $25,000 a year on a single credit card is like rolling off a log for you, these bonuses aren’t easy to get.

For folks who spend less, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer would be a better option. It offers a similar rewards rate: You get 1% back on every dollar spent and 1% back on every dollar paid off. The annual fee is $0, making it a more cost-friendly choice for frugal cardholders.

Low-value lounge benefits and transfer partners. Most premium cards offer complimentary access to certain airport lounges, but the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® doesn’t. Instead, it offers the mass-market version of that perk: You can get into airport lounges in the LoungeKey network for a reduced price of $27 a person. You’d have to drink a lot of free booze to make that deal worthwhile.

Some of the card’s other side benefits are also relatively weak. You can transfer your miles to a handful of international airlines, for example, but at a rate that’s less favorable than a 1:1 ratio.

For better lounge benefits and transfer partners, try the Chase Sapphire Reserve® instead. Although it has an annual fee of $450, its travel credit of up to $300 effectively wipes out two-thirds of that fee. It offers a tidy 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. This card offers access to plenty of 1:1 transfer partners and complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you into select lounges for free. Many of those lounges are the same as in the LoungeKey network.

Is the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® right for you?

To unlock the most valuable benefits on the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, you’ll need to use it regularly and do some pretty significant spending. If that sounds unrealistic, go with another offer. But if you envision spending $25,000 or more a year on a single card, it could be a worthwhile addition to your wallet.

» MORE: Planning a trip? Get tips and find deals at NerdWallet Travel

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