Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard Review: A Great Rewards Card
The Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard is one of the best rewards cards I have found. In fact, Money Magazine included it in its best travel rewards card review in 2013. Before I get on with the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard review I want to point out that there are two versions of the card.
There is the no-annual fee version – which is the Barclay Arrival™ World Mastercard® and an annual fee version – the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®. For the sake of this post I’ll be covering the no-annual fee version, but will touch quite a bit on some differences between the two cards further in the post.
My wife and I have both churned the Barclaycard Arrival card in the past and had a great experience in doing so. What I love about the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® is that it can be used on virtually any kind of travel you can imagine, including:
- Hotel stays
- Rental cars
- And more
Before I get on with the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® review I will give the disclaimer that if you’re struggling with debt or are tempted to overspend with credit cards then the last thing you should be looking at is churning credit cards – plain and simple. If that’s not an issue, and you like to earn rewards, the Arrival™ World Mastercard® should help you step up your travel hacking game.
Things I Like About the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®
You get at least $200 in free travel. This is my favorite feature of the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®. When you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days you get 20,000 miles which equates to $200 in free travel.
Get 10% miles back when you redeem. Every time you redeem miles on the Barclay Arrival you get 10% back. So, if you redeem 10,000 miles you get 1,000 miles back. This works out to at least another $20 in free travel!
Travel however you want. The Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® covers virtually any kind of travel as I stated above. It works on the traditional things plus taxis, discount travel sites, trains, limousines, ferries and more. This is hard to beat in my opinion.
Redeeming miles is simple. The miles on your Barclay Arrival™ card work as a statement credit. Once you have made your travel expense, simply call Barclays within 90 days and the credit will be applied to your statement. It’s incredibly simple.
Earn 2X points on travel and dining. This is fairly standard, but with the Barclaycard Arrival™ you earn 2X points on all travel and dining related purchases and 1X points on everything else.
No Foreign Transaction fees. The Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® does not have any foreign transaction fees. This is a nice feature, especially for a travel card.
Free online credit score. This is becoming more standard, but you get access to a free online credit score with the Barclaycard Arrival™. I like this feature, but I also use Credit Karma so I basically get this already.
There are other features I like about the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®, like intro 0% APR for 12 months and a free TripIt Pro Mobile Organizer subscription but this covers the majority of the features.
Barclaycard Arrival™ vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®
As I stated in the introduction, Barclays re-branded the annual fee version recently and named it the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®. Thankfully for us, the re-branding made this version of the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® an even better card to consider.
Many of the features between the Barclay Arrival™ and the Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® are the same, but there are also a number of significant differences. If you’d like a detailed breakdown, you can check out my Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® review, but have provided a highlight of a few of the major ones below:
Annual fee. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® carries an $89 annual fee, but it is waived the first year.
More free travel. The Barclaycard Arrival™ steps up even more in the re-branding. If you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days you get 40,000 bonus miles. That equates to $400 in free travel. When you include the 10% redemption bonus you’re talking at least $440 in free travel!
Earn more with each purchase. The Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® tiers the miles you earn. That’s not the case with the Arrival Plus. You earn 2X miles on all purchases.
Easy to use internationally. Barclays has added a chip and pin feature to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®. If you travel overseas, this should make using the card easier when you need it.
There are some other cool features to the upgrade of the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®, such as:
- Complimentary concierge service
- Baggage delay insurance
- Travel Accident, Trip Cancellation insurance and access to auto rental collision damage waiver
- Access to travel advisors and more
Which Barclaycard is Right For You?
In my opinion, either of the cards from Barclays are worth considering. I believe the real difference comes down to your feeling on the potential of an annual fee and the ability to meet the higher spend requirement on the Arrival Plus™ card. If meeting the minimum spend requirement is going to be a challenge for you then the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® is your best bet.
Assuming the minimum spend requirement isn’t going to be an issue, then the Barclay World Elite Mastercard® would be the card to consider. I don’t like the possibility of the annual fee, but there is an easy way around that. Assuming you’re able to redeem your travel within a year of getting the card, you can easily downgrade to the Barclay Arrival™ after your redemption. That is what my wife and I did and it was quite simple. Plus, you don’t have to deal with canceling a card.
Personally speaking, I think either of the two Barclay cards are great but would default to the annual fee version of the two. That is because you can do more with it. When my wife and I both churned the Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®, we were able to earn nearly $900 in free travel through our regular spending. That pretty much sealed the deal for us. I know you can also get something very similar through the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and that is definitely one to consider, but there’s no saying you can’t do both.
What I like about the Barclaycard Arrival™ Plus World Elite Mastercard® is that you can leverage it to take a free trip. My wife and I did exactly that when we went to Vegas last year and you can too if you work it right. Pair it with the US Airways Mastercard so you can use that to fly for free and then use the Arrival Plus for your lodging. You could also pair it with the Starwood card for free lodging and use the World Elite Mastercard to cover the airfare. The point is it offers you great flexibility. That said, you really can’t go wrong with the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard® either.
Do you like to take advantage of credit card rewards points like those available through the Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®? If so, what’s your favorite new one, I want to know!
* Revised from original review on June 5, 2013
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