Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Pros

  • 2x miles per $1
  • New cardholder bonus worth $500
  • Free FICO® score
  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • No 0% intro APR for new purchases
  • Annual fee

Updated 7/6/17

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 $500 in travel-related statement credits, and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® credit card 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 2017.

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.

What we like about Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® 

  • $500 new cardholder bonus – Qualifying new cardholders earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 50,000-mile sign-up bonus will add 2,500 miles to a cardholder’s miles treasure chest to use for a subsequent redemption.
  • 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 billing cycles 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 that Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® 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.

How to avoid an annual fee

BankAmericard Travel Rewards® punches far above its weight as a travel credit card and doesn't charge an annual fee, which are a few reasons why we rank it as one of the best no-annual fee credit cards. All purchases earn 1.5x points per $1 and can be redeemed for travel-related statement credits, making this a powerful travel credit card for cardholders searching for cheap deals using their preferred booking portal. Qualifying new cardholders also earn 20,000 points bonus – redeemable for $200 in travel-related statement credits -- after spending at least $1,000 on new purchases in the first 90 days. Loyal Bank of America banking customers can even juice rewards by up to 75% for the highest tier or Preferred Rewards clients. That's equivalent to earning travel rewards at a sky-high rate of up to 2.62%, which is unmatched for no-annual-fee cards we've come across. Read our full BankAmericard Travel Rewards® review to learn more. 

Final take

Travelers who want the capability to book travel with their preferred portal have found one of the top solutions with Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. We consider it best in class for many credit card users who value an ensemble of convenient, flexible travel perks packaged alongside debt-cutting features. 


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