Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the card offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Review

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Review

The best travel rewards card for general spending. Fantastic rewards rate no matter where you shop with it.
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

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. With a 2.1% rewards rate, and 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.

Pros

  • 2.1% Rewards Rate, still among the highest
  • 60,000 mile signing bonus, worth $600

Cons

  • Minimum rewards redemption of $100 (up from $25)
  • Tourist attractions no longer considered “travel” expenses

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 can produce rates as high as 2.5%, however that is limited to dining and travel purchases – 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). Recently Barclays excluded “tourist attractions” from the travel category. Even though this made it more limited, it still remains among the most flexible when compared to competitors.

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 60,000 bonus miles if they spend $5000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening the account. With a value of $600 when used for statement credits against travel, this is among the most valuable bonuses available to consumers. The bonus alone compensates for more than 5 years of annual fees.

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. 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.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee
$89
Purchase APR
17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness
Credit Needed Good/Excellent
Details
  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • See Rates & Fees

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.

Note that the lowest amount of reward you can redeem for is $100 - that is the equivalent of spending $4,761 and accumulating at least 9,524 miles (including the 5% travel dividend). This means you won't get to redeem your miles for smaller ticket items like short taxi rides. Instead, the rewards gathered using the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® will be predominantly used on airline/hotel bookings, and things of that nature. This is a minor inconvenience, which will require cardmembers to be a little bit more patient. The good thing is that miles never expire (so long as you remain active and in good standing) which means you can take your time gathering the necessary rewards.

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
AirlinesHotelsMotels
Car Rental AgenciesTravel AgenciesDiscount Travel Sites
TaxisLimousinesFerries
TimesharesTrainsCruise Lines
CampgroundsBuses

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.

World Elite MasterCard Membership

The card’s World Elite MasterCard designation unlocks access to many premium benefits for Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® cardholders. The World Elite status is the highest level offered by MasterCard and opens up services that are enticing to high spenders. Very few credit cards are part of this “exclusive club”, which puts the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® in a unique position. To see the perks of being a World Elite Member take a look here.

The no-annual-fee version of the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® does not share this benefit. Instead, it is on the World MasterCard network, which doesn’t come with nearly the same number of benefits.

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 Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard®

Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard®
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Choosing between the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® and the Barclays 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 really just a matter of math. If you include bonuses, the number you'll want to focus on is $1,000 a month in spending. Spend more than that and the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® will come out to be the better card. Less than that and the Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard® is the better overall option.

Without bonuses and in all years after year 1, you'll want to spend about $745 dollars a month on categories outside of travel and dining, for the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® to be more lucrative. The extra 1% difference in everyday awards will make up for more than the annual fee of the more expensive card at that point.

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 which do not apply to the Arrival. 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 Arrival Plus World. With both cards the points you earn are worth a penny each. For an everyday card however, the Arrival Plus World Elite will generally get you more awards since you get 2 points for every single dollar you spend. While the Sapphire only gives you double miles on dining and travel purchases. 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 Sapphire Preferred rewards rate would generally be around 1.25%.

Where the Sapphire Preferred 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 20% discount when redeeming points for travel via UR, means that you can accrue more than 2.5% in rewards this way.

If you're choosing between the cards, the Arrival is probably a better bet as a general spending card if you have a broad array of expenses, while Sapphire Preferred is a more rewarding card for the travel focused and will leverage Ultimate Rewards to its maximum.

Arrival Plus World EliteChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 2.1% on everyday spending regardless of category
  • Rewards rate is fixed
  • Better as an everyday card
  • Only 1 point per dollar for general spending categories
  • 2X points for travel and dining
  • Higher rewards when used on travel-focused spending

Comparison Tool

The rewards rate you will receive through the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® is a simple 2.1%. Other cards may be harder to figure out. Because of this, we developed the tool below to automatically calculate an estimate of your rewards given your unique spending profile. Simply enter your anticipated monthly budget, and let our tool do the rest.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that 3.18%
$500
Receive 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
$1,091
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.01 = $686
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.01 = $500
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,091

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • 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
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% - 25.24% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
$89 1.58%
$0
Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
$543
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.01 = $721
Less Annual Fees -$178
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 543

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $89
APR 17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness

Card Details

  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Credit Cards

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.