One card that I overlooked on my most recent round credit card applications is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.

Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

While Barclaycard hasn’t been the power player of travel credit cards in the past, lately they have launched some impressive offers–The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® and the Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®–both of which have a bonus and card perks that can amount to a huge value. For several reasons this fairly new card will definitely be on my radar for my next round of card applications.

You can redeem 40,000 Arrival miles for $440 worth of travel

You can redeem 40,000 Arrival miles for $440 worth of travel

The recently launched product has two versions and they’re called the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. It definitely caught a lot of attention from bloggers the first week it was out, and for good reason. Both cards are part of a fixed value miles program that allows you to purchase your travel and then get statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per mile when you redeem your miles. Not that this is the BEST card out there, it definitely offers something different, especially for purchasing last minute sale flights that would normally occur a $75 fee for booking with awards.

The current offer for the $89 annual fee version is 40,000 bonus miles ($400 in value towards travel), and the no-fee version has a 20,000 mile bonus offer ($200 in value towards travel). While most fixed rate value programs offer 1 cent per mile, you will earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases with the $89 (waived for the first year) annual fee Barclaycard. The no fee version offers 2x miles on dining and travel.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • 0% intr APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases – Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits – redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

The no-fee version only offers 20,000 bonus miles and has the same minimum spend–since the annual fee is waived the first year on the premium card you might as well get the higher bonus.

Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that’s enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months after account opening. After that, variable APR, currently 14.99% or 18.99%, based upon your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X miles on travel and dining and 1X miles on all other purchases
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Book the travel you want — airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers

The differences between the two cards

Since the annual fee of $89 with the premium card is waived for the first year, the real differences between the two cards is the bonus offer and the earning potential. The card with the $89 fee will net you 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days versus the 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 within 90 days with the no fee card. You will also earn 2x miles on all purchases, whereas the no fee card only earns 2x miles on travel and dining purchases and 1x on all other purchases.

Essentially, both cards act as all other fixed-value points cards on the market. You will earn a set amount of points per dollar spent, and later be able to redeem those points at a rate of one cent per mile for travel purchases. You simply just have to redeem the miles for a purchase from your statement, and you will be credited the amount. A benefit that these cards offer above other fixed value cards is that they award you 10% of the miles that you redeem towards travel. Meaning, you are earning miles for redeeming your miles. The 10% awarded back to you means you are getting $440 in free travel after you redeem the first 40,000 points.

This can make a big difference when you start to redeem large amounts of travel. With the annual fee card, this works out to a total earning rate of 2.2 cents per dollar spent. This feature makes this card better than most other fixed-value cards. Capital One’s Venture card comes the closest to meeting this at 2 points per $1 you spend.

The numbers work out nicely on larger trip purchases. Say you purchase two tickets to Europe for $1,200 and redeem 240,000 miles for the trip. You’d get 24,000 miles (worth $240 value) back.

With Barclays you can earn cashback statement credits, gift cards and merchandise, but the redemption value is not quite as good and is between 0.5-1%. When you redeem your miles for cashback statement credit, or gift cards you will only be earning a 1% return on spending with the $89 card and .05% with the free card. The most you will be able to return from your spending is 1% which is with gift card redemptions at 5,000 miles. So the real benefit to this card is clearly targeted strictly for redeeming miles for travel expenses.

This is the only card that I know of that offers a 10% refund on all miles you spend–potentially giving you a 20% bonus on all your redemptions. It is an interesting aspect to the card and we will have to see if there are more cards that come out with something similar. In other terms. you’re overall redemption is at a rate of just 90% of the points you need, but you have to have 100% of them before redeeming. It makes it a nice incentive to spend your miles and not hoard them!

How do they stack up to other similar fixed value point cards?

Since the the annual fee card earns 2x points on all purchases, and the no-fee card only earns 2x points on travel and dining, both are close to matching the Capital One Venture card. The Capital One Venture card earns a flat 2% back and with the US Bank Flexperks Visa you will get between 1-2% return on every dollar spend. When you consider the 10% mileage refund, it puts the BarclayCard on top as you will be earning 2.2% back with every dollar.

Both cards are also World MasterCards, which is a special premium category of product that offers several value-added benefits such as Mastertrip protection–a minimal travel insurance that can cover up to $5,000 in travel emergencies. Mastertrip will help replace or locate lost luggage, travel tickets and important documents.

As with most major credit cards, both versions of Barclays credit cards provide accident insurance for up to $1 million. Mastertrip also covers up to $50,000 in damages or theft to non luxury vehicle rentals as long as the entire payment was made using the credit card. Protection also extends to price and purchase. Products or services paid for and can be found for a lesser amount within 60 days will guarantee you the difference up to $250 for no more than four claims a year.

To see the full list of World MasterCard benefits check out the benefits page here.

Who can benefit most from this card?

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is potentially for high annual spenders who also book their own corporate travel on their personal card. If you are a high spender and use this card to rack up a lot of miles, you can easily liquidate them by applying them to your plane tickets that you buy for your paid company travel.

This card is also a great backup in case you cannot find saver award flights, but instead find cheap fares to purchase. This way you will not only be able to save your airlines miles, but also be able to travel for free or at a steep discounted price, which allows you to save your airline miles and still travel for free or a steep discount. The points can also be used to cover a high fuel surcharge on an award ticket–making the award ticket absolutely free! There are many ways to take advantage of this offer and make it fit into a niche for your travels.

At the end of the day, these two cards put a spin on the fixed-value points cards available and raised the bar on earning potential. The larger 40,000 mile sign-up bonus and TripIt Pro subscription make for a nice bonus, but the premium versions earning rate of 2 miles per $1 on ALL purchases and the 10% mile refund set this card apart from its fixed value rivals.

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About the author

Rand Shoaf

Introduced to traveling at a young age, Rand has since traveled to over 45 countries. Learning how to maximize credit card sign-up bonuses in college has allowed him to earn millions of travel miles and points. Using the same tips and tricks he writes about here has ultimately allowed him to explore the word for pennies on the dollar.