When Barclaycard rebranded to “Barclays” and announced they would offer a new travel credit card earlier this year, rewards enthusiasts were ecstatic. The new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® would offer 2x miles on all purchases like its predecessor, the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®. Plus, other perks like airport lounge access, no foreign transaction fees, and a Global Entry credit wound round out the offer. With benefits like these, what’s not to love?
Unfortunately, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® hit the market without a ton of fanfare. Sure, this card has its benefits, but it has a decent sized annual fee and it doesn’t have an authentic signup bonus.
With that being said, I still believe this new credit card has some redeeming qualities and that it could even be a winner for a certain type of consumer. If you’re thinking of getting a new travel credit card, keep reading to learn more about this offer and how it stacks up to the competition.
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®: Key Takeaways
- Earn unlimited miles. You’ll earn 2x miles for each dollar you spend when you use your card for any purchase, and the miles you earn are unlimited.
- Earn 25,000 loyalty bonus miles every year. Spend $15,000 on purchases and get a bonus 15,000 miles. Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases and get an additional 10,000 miles. You can earn this loyalty bonus every year.
- Get a Global Entry credit. Score a $100 Global Entry credit (which includes TSA Precheck) once every five years.
- Use your miles for cash-back, gift cards, or travel statement credits. Redeem every mile you earn for one cent each when you cash in to cover travel expenses.
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®: A Decent Card for Frequent Travelers Who Want Easy Rewards
Before we dive into all the details of this card, let’s start with some of its biggest benefits. First of all, it’s easy to love the fact this card lets you earn 2x miles for every dollar you spend. You won’t have to worry about bonus categories or earning limits, so this card is one you can easily use for all your regular spending. Also keep in mind that your miles never expire.
Receiving a Global Entry credit every five years is also a big plus. You’ll also get no foreign transaction fees, international chip and pin technology, and a complimentary FICO score with your statement.
One of the most intriguing concepts behind this card involves its signup bonus, or lack of one really. Instead of offering a big bonus upfront, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® offers a smaller bonus you can earn every year. I think Barclay’s intention behind this was trying to provide a card people would keep for the long haul. In reality though, some cardholders will like the idea of earning up to 25,000 loyalty bonus miles every year — others, not so much, because they prefer a bigger bonus upfront.
Another cool benefit of this card is that it actually lets you transfer your miles to airline partners! This is a huge departure from previous cards offered by this bank, so it’s an exciting perk for sure. At the moment, Barclays miles transfer to Aeromexico, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, China Eastern, Etihad, EVA Air, Japan Airlines (JAL), Jet Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Qantas. This is all good, right?
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®: Where it Falls Flat
Now, for the bad news — and there’s a lot of it. While I appreciate what Barclays has tried to do by offering a bonus you can earn every year, transfer partners, and Global Entry, some of this card’s details don’t make a lot of sense.
One disappointment has to do with this card’s transfer partners. Maybe you’ve heard of or used Japan Airlines miles, Aeromexico, or Air France/Flying Blue miles, but the rest of the airlines offered are pretty obscure. Worse, the transfer ratio for your miles isn’t 1:1: At the moment, you’ll get 1 airline mile for every 1.4 Barclays miles you transfer to all airlines except Japan Airlines — where the exchange rate is even worse, at 1.7 Barclays miles per JAL mile.
The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® also offers airport lounge access in the form of a Lounge Key membership, but make sure to read the fine print. Lounge Key does let you access over 850 airport lounges around the globe, but you still have to pay for your visits despite the fact you get a free membership.
Here’s how Barclays explains it in their terms and conditions:
“This benefit provides lounge membership with ‘pay as you go’ lounge visits at $27 per person, per visit, plus select offers from participating airport merchants. Guests are permitted at the discretion of each lounge.”
Basically, you get a free membership but then you have to pay as you go… so… yeah, this isn’t really airport lounge access in a traditional sense. It’s more of a coupon to get discounted visits to certain lounges, which is nice but not that spectacular.
Who This Card Is Good For:
- Frequent travelers who understand the airline transfer partners and know they can use them
- People who plan to spend $25,000 on their card every year to earn the loyalty bonus miles
- Anyone who wants to earn a flat 2x miles without worrying about bonus categories
Who Should Skip It:
- Frequent travelers who want real airport lounge access
- Consumers who want more choice among airline transfer partners
- Anyone who doesn’t want to pay a $150 annual fee (waived the first year) for negligible benefits
How Does it Compare to Other Travel Credit Cards?
While there are many travel credit cards we could compare to, one of the closest in terms of earnings and redemption value is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This card also offers 2x miles for every dollar you spend, and it lets you redeem miles for travel at a rate of one cent per mile.
|Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
|Annual Fee||$150 (waived the first year) See Terms||$0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that|
|Signup Bonus||75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases||Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel|
|Earnings Rate||Earn an unlimited 2x miles on all purchases||Earn an unlimited 2x miles on all purchases|
|Redemptions||Redeem for travel at a rate of one cent per mile; also redeem for cash-back or gift cards at a rate of .5 cents per mile||Redeem for travel at a rate of one cent per mile|
|Global Entry Credit||Yes||No|
|Airport Lounge Access||Yes, but you still pay $27 per visit||No|
|Transfer Miles to Airlines||Yes||No|
When you look at this table, it’s easy to see how the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card could come out ahead as the better offer. It doesn’t have an annual fee the first year and it offers a real signup bonus you can earn right off the bat. Sure, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® makes it possible to earn 25,000 loyalty bonus miles every year, but you have to spend $25,000 on your card to earn them! That’s a hard pill for anyone to swallow, but it’s especially unattractive when you consider that you only have to spend $3,000 on your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card within three months of account opening to earn 50,000 bonus miles worth $500 in travel.
Of course, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® lets you transfer miles to airline partners. This could be a big boon if you use any of the airline partners frequently and need another way to pad your frequent flyer balance. Many people use Air France/Flying Blue miles for cheap flights to Europe, and Japan Airlines miles can be extremely valuable.
The Global Entry credit this card offers is nice too, but there are plenty of other travel credit cards that offer a Global Entry credit and much better perks.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Best Strategy with the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®
While the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® is a mixed bag, it’s still a good card to consider if you plan to maximize it. If you decide to sign up, you should absolutely make sure you spend $25,000 on your card every year to earn the loyalty bonus miles. You should also be a candidate for Global Entry so you can take advantage of the $100 credit.
To make the most of your card, use it for all your regular purchases to rack up 2x miles for every dollar you spend.
Want More Bang for Your Buck? Consider This Card
You may also want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This card offers a Global Entry credit, a signup bonus, and Priority Pass Select airport lounge access that lets you visit over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide for free. The card does come with a hefty $450 annual fee, but you get a $300 travel credit good for any travel purchase each year. That brings the net annual fee down to $150, which makes it comparable to the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard® but with superior perks.
Also, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has a different set of transfer partners that could suit you better depending on your travel style. With Chase, you can transfer miles 1:1 to popular loyalty programs like Southwest Airlines, Hyatt, Marriott Rewards, United MileagePlus, and British Airways.
It’s always exciting when a card issuer rolls out a new rewards card, and this card is one that will work for a lot of people. Instead of earning a signup bonus once at the beginning, Barclays has structured this offer so you can earn a bonus every single year you meet their minimum spending requirement.
Still, the minimum spend to earn the bonus is rather high. For that reason, this card is one that is meant to be used for all your regular spending throughout the entire year. Before you sign up, consider whether you can spend $25,000 on your card each year to earn the loyalty bonus miles. If not, you’re probably a lot better off with a different travel credit card altogether.
Before you pull the trigger to sign up for this card or any other, we suggest you read through and take note of the cards on these pages:
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