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Updated July 16, 2017

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Review: Why is $89 Worth It?

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Is this 2x miles credit card worth the $89 annual fee? Read on to see how the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® compares with other top travel rewards credit cards.

3/20/2018 Update: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

Overall Score

4.1

Rewards

5.0

Interest Rates

3.5

Fees

4.0

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • 40000 bonus miles offer
  • Earn 2x miles on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $89 annual fee

Bottom Line

Excellent travel credit card to earn miles for flexible travel rewards

Did you know: There is a newer Barclays travel credit card, the Barclays Arrival Premier.

A Flexible Travel Rewards Card

If you want to earn 2x miles on ALL purchases and have the flexibility to redeem miles toward ANY airline purchase, consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

This card lets you earn miles quickly with no mileage caps. In addition, a 40,000 mile bonus offer makes this card an even more attractive choice.

In our opinion, this card is a great fit for big spenders who don't have a strong preference for a certain airline or hotel rewards program. It's also great if you don't want to put much thought into how you use your credit cards but still like know you're getting rewards with every swipe.

The catch?

You'll have to pay an $89 annual fee - waived for the first year - but if you're a frequent traveler and want the ability to redeem points toward a broad range of travel purchases, this might be the one for you.

Read on for a complete rundown of how the Barclaycard Arrival Plus's offerings stack up against its annual fee.

But first, let's highlight the current Barclaycard Arrival Plus promotions you should not ignore.

Overview

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Here's what you get with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus:

  • 40,000 bonus miles: New cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles after making $3,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days. This is equal to $400 in travel statement credits.

  • 2x miles on all purchases: Some travel cards have tiered rewards or put caps on how many miles you can earn. With this card, you get twice the miles on ALL purchases, with no limit on how many miles you can rack up and no expiration date as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.

  • Redeem miles for statement credit: Users can easily redeem miles for statement credit toward any travel expenses of at least $100 made within the last 120 days. Redeem miles for travel statement credit at a value of 1 cent per mile or for cash back at a value of .5 cents per mile. Eligible travel purchases include spending on flights, hotels, and car rentals - with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates.

    You can redeem miles in increments of 10,000 for travel purchases, or 5,000 miles if you redeem for cash back.

  • Redemption bonus: When you redeem miles for travel, you'll get 5% of the miles back as a redemption bonus - that's 500 miles back for every 10,000 you redeem-- to use toward your next redemption.

  • No foreign transaction fees A lot of cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee to purchases made outside the U.S. However, this card doesn't penalize you for making purchases abroad.

  • Smart chip technology: Unlike many smart chip credit cards in the U.S. with "Chip and Signature" technology, this card supports Chip-and-PIN. This means that once you set it up, you'll have an easier time in places like Europe, where they use unmanned kiosks that often require a PIN in addition for credit cards with a smart chip.

  • $89 annual fee: Waived for the first year

How Miles Redemption Works

Miles can be redeemed for statement credit toward any travel purchases made in the previous 120 days with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates. And as long as your account remains open and in good standing, your miles won't expire.

Barclaycard has a pretty generous view what it considers travel spending, including:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels/Motels
  • Car Rentals
  • Travel Agencies
  • Discount Travel Sites
  • Cruises
  • Ferries
  • Taxis/Limousines
  • Trains/Buses
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds

When you redeem 10,000 miles toward travel, you'll receive a $100 statement credit. And don't forget, you'll also get 5% of your miles back with every redemption used towards travel. Redeem for cash back and those 10,000 miles will get you $50 - but you won't get the 5% redemption bonus.

Tip: You can earn even more miles when you use the card's shopping portal. Next time you're ready to go shopping, check with Barclaycard first - you could earn up to 12 miles per dollar on items you were already going to buy.

Other Perks

Besides travel rewards, this card comes with some other perks:

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months: for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening, you get a 0% intro APR for 12 months. After that, the regular variable APR is 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%. You can take advantage of this by transferring a balance from another card. Just make sure you have a plan to pay them off within a year.

  • You can use your miles for more than travel: If you don't want to redeem miles for travel, or if you want to redeem less than 10,000 miles, you can swap them out for gift cards or cash back statement credit - although at half the redemption value you would get for travel purchases, and only in increments of 5,000 miles.

  • Travel Insurance: As a World Mastercard, the Arrival Plus also comes with handy benefits such as travel accident insurance, reimbursement for eligible expenses if your baggage is delayed or misdirected, and trip cancellation/interruption coverage.

  • Get your credit score for free: Barclaycard gives you free access to your FICO score each month.

Downsides

Like any card, the Arrival Plus has some drawbacks, and you should consider them before you apply. Here are a few reasons why you might be more satisfied with another card.

  • You can't transfer miles: When you're ready to redeem miles earned with your card, you just apply them as a statement credit to your eligible travel purchases. That's great for ease of use, but can be limiting if you prefer transfering your points into airline and hotel loyalty programs. If you're a miles game aficionado, this isn't the card for you.

    With something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can transfer your rewards to frequent traveler programs to make them stretch even further.

  • No introductory APR on purchases: Unlike some other cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus does not offer an introductory APR on new purchases.

  • The reward rate may not be as high: The Arrival Plus gives you double miles on everything, but you could potentially earn more rewards with a different card, depending on your spending habits and how savvy you are with credit cards.

    For example, some credit cards have rotating 5% rewards categories. If your spending patterns line up with their rewards categories, you might be able to earn rewards faster with those cards.

  • You must wait until you get 10,000 miles to redeem them for travel: This card isn't designed for people who are looking to redeem a little change every month. You can only redeem your miles for travel statement credit in increments of 10,000, and the credit can only apply to purchases made in the previous 120 days. If you're not a frequent traveler or big spender, you may find these restrictions challenging.

    If you prefer to be able to redeem miles in odd amounts, consider the Capital One Venture Card instead. It also offers 2x points on all purchases, a redemption rate of 1 cent per mile, and an option to redeem miles for statement credit, but it allows users to redeem miles for the partial cost of a travel purchase, starting at as few as 2,500 miles. Read this for a full comparison between the Capital One Venture and Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

Top Questions

We've addressed the pros and cons. Now, here are the answers to the rest of your burning questions:

How hard is it to get approved?
You usually need excellent credit to qualify for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. If you're still working on building your credit history, we suggest a no annual fee credit card instead.

What can I redeem the miles for?
Compared to other cards, Barclaycard gives you more leeway on how you can use your miles. You can use your miles for travel statement credits for a wide variety of travel expenses, including airline tickets, hotel stays, timeshares, campgrounds, car rentals, cruises, and train rides. You can also use them for gift cards or merchandise (at a lower redemption value).

How does redemption work?
When you're ready to cash in for travel statement credit, you can redeem your miles in increments of 10,000 miles (for a value of $100). Barclaycard's website makes the process easy to figure out - just go to the "Managing Rewards" section, look for the statement credit option, and Barclaycard will show you which charges are eligible.

For another card that allows you to redeem miles toward travel purchases - but with a lower annual fee - check out the Capital One Venture card.

When do I get the 5% redemption bonus?
You'll see the 5% redemption bonus miles back in your account within one business day.

Can I transfer the miles?
No; you can only redeem your miles with Barclaycard.

How are the travel perks?
Limited. While this travel-centric card does come with some nice extras - travel accident insurance and trip cancellation insurance, to start - some airline-branded cards and premium travel credit cards offer more benefits.

With a card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner, you get a few more travel perks: your first bag checked free and priority boarding on Delta flights. If you fly frequently, those perks could end up cutting your flight costs significantly over time.

Bottom Line

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is an excellent travel credit card for racking up miles if you're a frequent traveler, use your credit card frequently, plan to pay your balance on time and in full every month, and don't have a preference for a specific airline or hotel rewards program. Don't let the $89 annual fee deter you; the 40,000 miles bonus offer is a nice perk, the card's rewards rate is higher than average, and you'll earn miles twice as quickly as with most other rewards credit cards.

However, if you plan to carry a balance or want to be able to transfer miles to your favorite rewards program, you may want to consider a credit card with a low interest rate or transfer partners instead.

Terms and limitations apply.

3/20/2018 Update: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no longer available on CreditDonkey. This offer may have been discontinued or may no longer be available to new applicants.

David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Barclays. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Barclays. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on May 24, 2013. This content may have been updated on July 16, 2017. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Barclays website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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About CreditDonkey®
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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