Barclaycard Review: Arrival™ World MasterCard® Annual Fee vs. No Annual Fee

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For a multitude of reasons, the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is considered one of the best credit cards around. Still, there’s a lot of curiosity and confusion when it comes to deciding which is the more valuable of the two: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (with an $89 Annual Fee – waived the first year) or the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®(with No Annual Fee).

It might be natural to gravitate toward the card with no annual fee, but in almost every case, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is a considerably better rewards credit card.

With this dual Barclaycard review, I’ll explain why by comparing the two cards in more detail.

Barclaycard Arrival Card Differences

The first major difference between these two cards is what you get when you sign up. The second is the rate at which you earn rewards.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®:

  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

Finding The Differences

With the annual fee card, you’ll earn a solid 2x miles per dollar spent regardless of what type of purchase you make. On the flip side, with the no-fee card, you’ll need to consider the fact that only travel & dining purchases will reap the most benefits.

A 4-Year Comparison: 2x on All Purchases vs. 1x on All Purchases

This comparison is based on the following assumptions:

  • Year 1: $10,000 in travel & dining purchases were made in the first 90 days, then $5,000 in other miscellaneous purchases were made for the remainder of the year.
  • Years 2, 3, and 4: $10,000 in travel & dining purchases and $10,000 in other miscellaneous purchases were made each year.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years
Sign-up bonus $400 N/A N/A N/A
Rewards earned $300 $700 $1100 $1500
Annual fee -$0 -$89 -$89 -$89
Cumulative earnings $700 $1011 $1322 $1633


Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®:

1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years
Sign-up bonus $200 N/A N/A N/A
Rewards earned $250 $550 $850 $1150
Annual fee -$0 -$0 -$0 -$0
Cumulative earnings $450 $750 $1050 $1350


Key Takeaways

Despite the $89 annual fee, the annual fee version of this card still garners you more rewards every single year. And the annual fee card is even more valuable if you spend little on travel & dining purchases since those are the only two categories that earn you double points with the no fee.

When you should get the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®

The only instance when you should get the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®: is if the total amount of purchases you make result in you earning less than $89 in rewards. With the annual fee card, the annual fee is waived the first year and the $400 sign-up bonus (which is $200 more than the no fee card) compensates for the $89 annual fee for two+ years. Simply put, if you plan to keep this card for the long haul, the annual fee card will lead to greater rewards in almost every scenario.

No matter which card you choose, the benefits can lead to plenty of savings on travel over the course of several months or years. Here’s how they work:

  • Just book your travel through any airline, hotel, discount travel engine.
  • Redeem your miles for statement credits toward all or a part of your travel purchases within the last 120 days.
  • To redeem, go into your statement online and select the travel purchases of your choice to redeem your points.


Big Benefits from Both Barclaycard Credit Cards

  • No mileage caps or foreign transaction fees
  • Get 5% miles back when you redeem for travel
  • Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates
  • Book the travel you want – airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
  • Reimbursement for expenses if your baggage is delayed or misdirected
  • Trip cancellation/interruption coverage
  • MasterCard(R) Global Service with 24-hour emergency assistance

If you’re ready to reap the benefits of cash back and free miles, sign up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.

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