Over the summer of 2015, Barclays restructured the benefits on its flagship credit card – the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. Despite all the changes, this card still remains, in our opinion, one of the best travel credit cards available. The card offers 2 miles for every purchase and you can get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. Since we value each mile at $0.0105, this means we estimate that the card has a 2.1% rewards rate. Additionally, it offers one of the broadest “travel” categories of any credit card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is a valuable addition to the wallet of any serious traveler.
Review: Is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® World Elite Still Worth It?
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® continues to be our top choice for a credit card that can be used everyday to earn travel rewards. The 2 points on all spending and the 5% redemption dividend will yield you 2.1% in rewards whenever you use the card. For a card that you can pull out of your wallet everyday, a 2.1% in rewards is significantly higher than other available cards. A card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can produce rates as high as 2.5%, however that is limited to dining and travel purchases (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal) – other day-to-day spending will yield just 1.25%.
Travel rewards earned with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® are also among the most flexible, usable as statement credits on any travel expense (airfare, hotels, car rentals & others).
Finally, as with many travel rewards credit cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes with a very large signing offer. New cardholders are eligible to receive 70,000 bonus miles if they spend $5000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening the account.
Bottom Line: While we will miss the better benefits this card used to offer, we still feel it does enough to be well worth its $89 annual fee (waived first year). All the card’s features make the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® one of our ‘editor’s pick’ in categories like Best Rewards Credit Cards, Best Airline Credit Cards and Best Hotel Credit Cards.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Benefits And Features
We look at the most important details of the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and examine the updates to the card. Our in-depth analysis can help you figure out how the card's benefits might perform for you.
How Do the Rewards Work?
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has one of the simpler rewards structures, making it an extremely easy card to understand and to use. With the card you'll earn 2 miles on every dollar spent regardless of what you choose to use the card on. You can then redeem the miles you've earned for statement credits on travel expenses at a rate of 1 cent per point. When you redeem miles this way you'll also receive a 5% dividend, effectively increasing the per point value to 1.05 cents.
Cardmembers may only apply reward miles toward purchases made within the last 120 days. Therefore, you shouldn’t purchase a vacation thinking that you will eventually gather enough points to pay down the expense. Unless you know for a fact you will gather enough points within 4 months (plus the additional couple of days it will take for rewards to post to your account).
Calculating the Rewards Rate
Spend $1,000 on any expense = 2,000 miles earned. 2,000 miles = $20 in statement credit on travel expenses + an additional 100 mile dividend worth $1 for $21 in total value. $21 in rewards / $1,000 spending = 2.1% rewards rate. The lowest reward you can redeem for is $100.
What Counts as “Travel” with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®?
What counts and doesn’t count as travel is largely dependent upon two factors: merchant category codes (MCCs) and Barclays themselves. To get the most out of this card, we recommend you redeem your rewards miles so that you can earn the 5% miles bonus. In order to do so, you'll be required to exchange your miles for statement credit towards travel purchases. Examples of spending categories that Barclays considers to be travel:
|Spending Categories Under Travel|
|Car Rental Agencies||Travel Agencies||Discount Travel Sites|
Each vendor categorizes the products and services they provide under some code (the MCC). Barclays then gathers all the codes it believes should fall under the “travel” category and applies the bonus miles accordingly. For example, one MCC may be “auto rental company” and another “airline”. Barclays will acknowledge all transactions with merchants who have those MCCs as travel.
How the Arrival Plus Compares to Other Cards
If you're interested in how the card compares to other travel cards play with our credit card modeling tool to see how different cards perform when it comes to rewards.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® vs Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®
Choosing between the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is all a matter of how much you spend and where you spend it. With the plus giving better rewards on the general spending categories in exchange for the annual fee, it's the better card if you have very broad expenses.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® does have a few more benefits, including the expenses that it categorizes under travel. The World Elite MasterCard designation also adds a little bit of access and value, though we think it's minimal at best.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Most consumers can expect the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to offer a lower average rewards rate than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. With both cards the points you earn are worth a penny each. For an everyday card, however, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® will generally get you more awards since you get 2 points for every single dollar you spend. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only gives you 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. If the majority of your spending is going to be outside these categories, the Arrival will net you 2.1% (including the card’s 5% travel dividend) while the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards rate would generally be around 1.25%.
Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes out ahead is for cardholders that have significant travel expenses and are willing to leverage the Ultimate Rewards (UR) program. Combining the card’s double points on travel, and its built-in 25% more value when redeeming points for travel via UR, means that you can accrue more than 2.5% in rewards this way (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal).
If you're choosing between the cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is probably a better bet as a general spending card if you have a broad array of expenses, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a more rewarding card for the travel-focused and will leverage Ultimate Rewards to its maximum.
|Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
The information related to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.