Updated January 4, 2018
Busy travelers seeking a high travel rewards rate may find that Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® is just what they’re searching for. Add in the fact that the card carries a lucrative new cardholder bonus worth $400 in travel-related statement credits, and Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® is a shoo-in, best-in-class credit card with no fuss that we think deserves a spot on our list of both the best travel credit cards and best credit cards of 2018. Travel hackers who know how to stretch their miles may have other travel cards in their wallets, but we prioritize convenience and flexibility for the majority of cardholders instead, especially when one misstep can result in paying thousands of dollars in interest just to earn hundreds of dollars in travel rewards.
- 2x miles per $1
- New cardholder bonus worth $400
- Free FICO® score
- 0% intro APR for balance transfers
- No foreign transaction fee
- No 0% intro APR for new purchases
- Annual fee
|Bonus Offer||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|
|Annual Fee||$89 - waived first year|
Reg: 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%, variable
|Balance Transfer APR||
Intro: 0%, 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
Reg: 17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24%, variable
- 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.
What we like about Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard®
- $400 new cardholder bonus – Qualifying new cardholders earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
- 2x miles per $1 – Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® pays 2x miles per $1. Miles are generally worth $0.01 apiece, which equates to a 2% yield when redeemed for statement credits against travel purchases within the past 120 days. This is among the highest flat travel miles rates for all purchases among the credit cards we cover.
- 5% miles redemption bonus – This card offers rewards on top of rewards by giving you a 5% bonus when you redeem your miles. For example, redeeming the 40,000-mile sign-up bonus will add 2,000 miles to a cardholder’s miles treasure chest to use for a subsequent redemption.
- Statement credit redemptions – Redeeming for statement credits rather than being tied to a card issuer’s travel booking portal or a specific airline adds convenience for those searching for cheap travel.
- No foreign transaction fee – Pesky foreign transaction fees can quickly add up when whipping out credit cards for purchases abroad. Besides, we’re all a bit looser with our wallets while on vacation. Fortunately, Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® has nixed the typical 3% foreign transaction fee many card issuers charge. That’s a savings of $60 on $2,000 worth of international spending!
- 0% intro APR for balance transfers – Travel cards are typically packed with perks that incentivize spending (e.g., rewards, new cardholder bonuses), which leaves indebted cardholders who want to pay down their debt balances out in the cold. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® addresses both needs. Notably, balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening receive a 0% intro APR for 12 months with standard transfer fees of 3% (min. $5).
What could be improved for Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard®
- Annual fee - The price paid for convenient redemption options and a high rewards yield is an annual fee of $89 (waived the first year).
- 0% intro APR
for new purchases – The card doesn’t offer a grace period for new purchases
but does provide a reprieve from interest charges for balance transfers. We’d
prefer the card offers both.
How to best use Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard®
- Travel rewards cardholders will generally be better off paying balances by the due date each month to avoid interest charges. It’s a losing strategy to rack up debt for the sake of earning rewards at single-digit rates only to watch as they get eaten up by far higher double-digit interest charges,
- Spend at least $3,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days to qualify for the new cardholder bonus.
- Avoid redeeming miles for cash since miles are converted at far worse rates than for travel. See our list of the best cash-back credit cards if you prefer cash back to travel redemptions.
- Transfer high-interest credit card debt to chip away at debt balances faster. We Fools always encourage smart use of debt, and transferring balances to a 0% intro APR card can help avoid costly interest charges. In fact, paying down a $5,000 balance over 12 months will cost a whopping $462 in interest charges at an 18% APR.
- Leverage free access to your FICO® score. Barclaycard provides you with free access to your FICO® score, and we think this perk is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges upwards of $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.
Travel bonus worth up to $625
Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers one of the largest sign-up bonuses we know of for a card with an annual fee below $100. Qualifying new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after spending at least $4,000 on new purchases in the first three months. All points redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® are worth 25% more than redeeming for cash back, leaving qualifying cardholders with a bonus worth $625 for travel or $500 cash back. What’s more, travel and restaurant purchases earn 2x points per $1, all other purchases earn 1 point per $1, and points can be transferred to a long list of Chase’s participating transfer partners, all with a low annual fee of $95 (waived the first year). Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® review to learn why many consider it a must-have and why we picked it as one of the best travel credit card sign-up bonuses.