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Update: Post edited to reflect changes to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.
Update: Post has been edited to reflect the new $3,000 within the 1st 90 days spending requirement on the card.
Update: Post has been edited to reflect that redeeming for non-travel statement credits is a poor value since you get 0.5 cents per mile.
Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® 40,000 Miles
Late last year, Barclaycard was testing a 40,000 miles Barclaycard Arrival Plus. This was a targeted offer so not everyone could apply for it.
But the 40,000 miles offer is now available to everyone! I previously had affiliate links to a 20,000 mile offer, but it wasn’t worth writing about.
The $89 annual fee is waived for the 1st year, so this means that you’re getting at least $400 in statement credits after spending $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 90 days of opening your account.
Barclaycard says that you earn “miles” but you’re actually earning cash back with the card since you can’t transfer your Barclaycard miles to airlines. But you can redeem them for statement credits at 0.5 cents per mile (poor value) or 1.05 cent per mile if you redeem for travel.
You get 5% of your miles back if you redeem for travel, so 40,000 miles gets you $400 towards travel and 2,000 miles back (5% of your miles back). You can then redeem these 2,000 miles which you got back for $20 towards travel (but only combined with another 8,000 miles! Because the minimum redemption is 10,000 miles). And so on…
You earn 2X miles on all purchases, so you’re effectively getting 2% cash back for each purchase. But since you get 5% of your miles back when you redeem for travel, this is effectively a 2.1% cash back card when miles are redeemed for travel.
This makes the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® (with 2.1% cash back for travel) better than the Capital One Venture card which offers only 2 miles per $1 or 2% cash back and the best cash back card for travel.
That said, an extra 0.1% is NOT going to really have much of an impact unless you spend a LOT on the card. To put that into perspective, an extra 0.1% on $100,000 is only $100! But the Arrival card does have the best sign-up bonus of any cash back card, which is why I’ll get it.
I’ve written previously about the Barclaycard NFL card which offers $400 cash back. The NFL card also has a 3% foreign transaction fee, but no annual fee.
On the other hand, the 40,000 miles Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® card has an $89 annual fee (waived for the 1st year), and no foreign transaction fees.
I’d get the card for the sign-up bonus of ~$420, after spending $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 90 days of opening your account, which can be used towards any travel expense – air, rail, car, cruises, hotels, etc.
I don’t think this is as good a card as the
Barclaycard US Air card (no longer offered), but it could be the next best Barclaycard. That’s because you can get $420 towards any travel redemption after spending $3,000 within the 1st 90 days. And there’s no restriction on flights etc., since you can buy them anywhere and request a statement credit.
And the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® could be replacing the Barclaycard US Air card, if Barclaycard is unable to continue issuing the credit card for American Airlines after the merger with US Air is complete.
This would be similar to the US Bank Northwest card transitioning to the FlexPerks card once the Northwest and Delta merger was complete and American Express issued the Delta credit card.
Platinum vs. World Master Card
I’ve written previously that Barclaycard is notorious for approving you for a lower version of the card and giving you fewer miles.
Well, it looks like things may be improving since the terms don’t indicate that you will get a lower sign-up bonus if you get approved for the World Master card. If you get approved for the Platinum version, you should get the 40,000 miles sign-up bonus, but not the concierge and Preferred Access benefits of the World MasterCard, which are virtually useless in my opinion.
The terms say “If at the time of your application you do not meet the credit criteria previously established for this offer, or the income you report is insufficient based on your obligations, we may not be able to open an account for you or you may receive a Platinum card which has fewer benefits.“
Domestic vs. International Redemption
Even though this is the best cash-back card if you redeem for travel, I wouldn’t use this card for every day spending if your goal is first or business class travel. That’s because you’d have to spend ~$250,000 to earn $5,250 cash back for an international business class ticket (but with no restrictions).
On the other hand, you’d have to spend $80,000 on the American Express Starwood card to earn 80,000 Starwood points which you can convert to 100,000 US Air or American Airlines miles for a business class ticket.
But the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is a good card for everyday spending if you’d like to buy cheap coach tickets because spending $12,500 gets you ~$263 in cash back (2.1%) which you can then use for any coach ticket.
However, you still have to spend a LOT, which makes the concept of a “best” everyday spending card irrelevant for most folks. But arguing over the “best” everyday spending card does keep us miles and points bloggers busy!
That said, I prefer to use my spending towards new credit card sign-up bonuses, but not everyone is like me!
Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard® – 20,000 Miles
There is also a no-annual fee version of the card available which earns 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 within the 1st 90 days of opening your account. This is worth $100 in statement credits or ~$210 when redeemed for travel.
Confusingly the card has almost the same name (Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard®) as the 40,000 miles card which does charge an annual fee.
As expected, the no-annual fee card earns 2X miles only on travel and dining unlike the annual-fee version which earns 2X miles on ALL purchases. However, the no-annual fee card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees as well.
I’d personally skip the no-annual fee version of the Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard® and apply for the 40,000 miles version which waives the $89 fee for the 1st year.
The 40,000 miles Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is a good option for the $420 sign-up bonus when used towards travel. You may even be able to get more than 1 Barclaycard (different card types) based on Rapid Travel Chai’s experience.
I personally wouldn’t spend a lot of money on the card after the sign-up bonus, even though it is the best cash-back card for travel with 2.1% cash back when redeemed for travel.