[Review] Barclaycard Arrival Plus

At a Glance

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the leading “Catch-All Cards” for anyone’s credit portfolio. It boasts a solid 2% cashback rate on all purchases with no yearly limit plus an additional 5% back when you redeem your rearrival pluswards for statement credit on travel purchases, putting a maximum return total of 2.1%. The card was definitely designed for a world traveler in mind as it has no foreign transaction fees and many other travel perks. Overall it is a solid card that most people can find a key place for in their credit portfolio.

The Facts 

Card Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Rewards 2.1% on all purchases (2x miles per $1 + 5% back on travel redemption). No yearly limit.
Annual Fee $89 (first year is waived)
Sign-up Bonus 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days ($400 + $20 if you redeem miles on travel)
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%
Interest Rate 15.99% – 19.99%
Miscellaneous 0% APR for 12 months on each balance transfer made with 45 days of opening account

Chip Card Technology

Free online FICO Credit Score access

MasterCard World Elite Concierge and Luxury Travel Benefits

Travel Accident and Trip Cancellation Insurance

Baggage Delay Insurance

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Credit Portfolio Role Catch-All Card
Credit Score Needed High

In-depth Discussion 

The Arrival Plus is definitely a big contender when it comes to maximizing cashback on everyday purchases. Although it is often mistaken primarily as a card for a world traveler, it quickly becomes evident how this card can be great for anyone. The rewards system for this card uses “miles” which can be a little confusing. These “miles” are not associated with any airline this is just a way Barclays chooses to call their rewards. Each mile has a cash value of $0.01 apiece which means you get a total of $0.02 per dollar spent totaling 2% cashback. But the cashback rate gets a little sweeter when you redeem the miles for travel purchases on your statement. When you redeem for travel purchases you get 5% of your miles back which effectively brings your total cashback rate to 2.1% which is a very solid return. Redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 which can be redeemed for purchases that fall under the “travel” umbrella such as hotels, airlines, transportation, and many others.

The sign-up bonus for the Arrival Plus is one of the best you can get: 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 or more within the first 90 days. Those 40,000 miles equate to $400 plus 5% if redeemed for travel for a grand total of $420. The minimum spend requirement is a little high but definitely worth it if you are able to meet the criteria.

Probably the most glaring issue with the Arrival Plus is its annual fee of $89. The annual fee is on the slightly higher side for credit cards but still within the realm of reasonable. If a majority of your spending is on this card you can easily make up for it in rewards each year. The silver lining is that the annual fee is waived for the first year. In addition, if you are Active Duty military you can call to get the annual fee waived.

There are a variety of other features to this card. As a World Elite MasterCard, a cardholder has access to concierge services among other shopping and extended warranty benefits (more details at http://www.mastercard.us/credit-card-world-elite.html). There are also a slew of benefits that any traveler can appreciate like travel accident, trip cancellation, and baggage delay insurances. One other benefit that has been a growing trend with credit cards is that cardholders now get access to their FICO  Credit Score on their online accounts. The no interest on balance transfers is a nice option for those trying to consolidate debt, just be aware of fees that will with transferring.

Because of the cashback rate and sign-up bonus, one needs a pretty solid credit score (I recommend 700+) and reportable income to be on the safe side when applying for this card. Keep this in mind if you are looking to apply for this card.

Conclusion 

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a solid card for anyone’s credit portfolio. Although it does not  have high special category cashback rate, its 2.1% on all purchases is very lucrative and one of the best rates you can get from a credit card that does not have category restrictions. The annual fee is a little steep but not a deal breaker as the sign-up bonus and cashback rate definitely compensate for it. And speaking of the sign-up bonus, $420 is an incredible amount as long as $3,000 over 90 days is in line for your normal spending or you are getting ready for a pre-planned large purchase.

The key with this card is to ensure you redeem the miles for travel purchases to get an average 2.1% instead of just 2% cashback. For those who think they do not spend money on travel enough to utilize the 2.1%, just know your miles will never expire as long as you stay in good standing with your account. So even if you have to wait months or even years to redeem for that large travel purchase to come around, there is no rush to redeem your miles.

For those with high spending that doesn’t fall in broad categories like gas, groceries, or specific travel (the same airline or hotel) this will be a great card for you. The deal will only get better for those who travel internationally and can capitalize on no foreign transaction fees or the various travel insurances. The card will fit well in any credit portfolio that is looking for a solid catch-all card to cover the expenses that can’t get any bonus rewards categories.

Last updated on 17 May 2015

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