Best Barclaycard Credit Cards

Barclaycard has built an impressive array of credit cards suited to a number of cardholder needs, such as travel, cash back, balance transfers, and low APRs. We’ve crunched the numbers on Barclaycard offerings to highlight a handful of our favorites. But keep your credit score in mind before applying as these cards are meant for cardholders with excellent credit.

Best for: Travel card sign-up bonus Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard®

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Our Bottom Line

This card offers one of the largest sign-up bonuses you'll find among competing travel cards with a modest annual fee, plus it offers unlimited miles at a high rate.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard® Review
Credit Rating Requirement: excellent
Highlights
  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee 
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees 
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
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Best for: Premium travel miles and loyalty bonus Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

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Our Bottom Line

This card is geared towards cardholders with big credit budgets and offers them one of the highest rewards rates for all purchases in this category.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • 75,000 MILES EACH YEAR if you spend $25,000 on purchases 
  • After that, keep earning UNLIMITED 2X MILES on every purchase 
  • Global Entry – $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years 
  • Book the best travel deal, no airline, seat or hotel restrictions, and redeem your miles for travel statement credits 
  • Access to over 850 lounges worldwide with Mastercard® Airport Experience provided by LoungeKey, fees apply 
  • No foreign transaction fees 
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world 

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Best for: Low interest rate and $0 balance transfer fee offer Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

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Our Bottom Line

Offers one of the lowest ongoing interest rates we've come across, making it a good option if you've got some debt and want to pay less interest. It's also one of the few remaining cards on the market with a balance transfer fee waiver on transfers made after 45 days.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review
Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.74% APR will apply
  • Low 13.74% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN

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Get our latest tips and uncover more of our top picks to help you conquer your money goals

Barclaycard, a U.K.-based credit card issuer, has been expanding its offerings in the U.S. for a while now. Known for superb customer service and excellent travel rewards programs, the British issuer is now one of the top 10 fastest growing credit card issuers in the United States and offers some of the best credit cards on the market. Here’s everything you need to know about Barclaycard, from increasing your approval chances to deciding on the best credit card for you.

Why you can trust us

We’ve been writing about credit cards for quite some time now -- over 2,300 articles are under our collective belt currently, to be specific. While launching The Ascent, we analyzed thousands of data points and hundreds of credit card offers in order to develop a ranking strategy to come up with the best credit card picks for your wallet. Outside of work, we’re all credit card enthusiasts who have personally used cards like these to pay off debt, save hundreds (sometimes thousands) every year, and go on dream vacations. We want to help you do the same.

How we picked the winners

In order to help you get the maximum benefit out of your credit cards, our ranking system puts preference on cards that provide you with concrete savings at a low cost. These are some of the main factors we considered while comparing different Barclaycard credit cards.

  • Sign-up bonus -- We want to help you collect rewards, and a credit card with a good sign-up bonus is one of the quickest ways to do that.
  • Ongoing rewards -- Even the most generous sign-up bonuses only last so long. We want to make sure you keep getting rewards for years to come.
  • Extra perks -- We know that credit-savvy frequent flyers look for more than just a basic rewards scheme -- bring on the annual bonuses and premium benefits.
  • Fees. Sometimes benefits are worth an annual fee -- But you should always be looking to minimize your costs, so we consider annual fees, balance transfer fees, and more.
  • Introductory offers -- Credit cards can be good financing tools, so we look for introductory APR offers on new purchases and the best balance transfer credit cards to save you money on interest.
  • Ongoing APR -- Our advice is to always pay your balance in full. However, in case you can’t do that one month, it’s nice to have a low APR.

Types of Barclaycard credit cards

Barclaycard, like any other issuer, offers a range of different credit cards. To help you decide which credit card is right for you, here are the three main types offered.

Rewards credit cards

Barclaycard’s rewards credit cards include the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® and the Barclays Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®. These credit cards offer rewards on spending in the form of Arrival miles, which are explained in detail below. Rewards credit cards are best for consumers with no credit card debt who are looking to get some money back on their everyday spending and plan to pay off their balance in full each month.

Non-rewards credit cards

The Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is an example of a Barclaycard credit card that does not offer rewards. Credit cards that don’t offer rewards, such as this one, typically offer benefits in the form of a lower APR, introductory 0% APR offers, and no annual fee. These credit cards are best for people who are using them to pay off debt or build credit. Their lack of an annual fee and lower APR make them a great option for consumers who are new to the world of credit cards and want to practice healthy financial habits before jumping into a rewards card.

Co-branded credit cards

Barclaycard also offers a number of co-branded credit cards, which are offered in conjunction with another company, such as an airline or hotel, that provides the rewards on the credit card. For example, with Barclaycard’s AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, you earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles, and rewards bonuses are offered on American Airlines purchases. Barclaycard also offers credit cards that are co-branded with Carnival Cruises, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Apple, and more.

How to get approved for a Barclaycard credit card

Most Barclaycard credit cards require a good credit score, which is a FICO® Score of 670 or above. Some cards, such as the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, may require an even higher credit score. If you have an excellent score, (740 or above), you will presumably receive approval in most cases.

It’s worth noting that Barclaycard likely considers how many new accounts you have, and opening too many recent accounts (within the past 24 months) may affect your approval chances, even with an excellent credit score. A number of data points indicate that Barclaycard typically pulls your TransUnion credit report.

What are Barclaycard Arrival miles worth?

Barclaycard Arrival miles can be redeemed for travel cash at a flat-rate of $0.01. While there are a few other redemption options, such as statement credits and gift cards, the option to redeem for travel cash is highly flexible and worth significantly more, so these low-value options aren’t considered when determining the value of Arrival miles.

How Barclaycard Arrival miles work

Barclaycard refers to rewards points “miles,” but they don’t really function like traditional airline miles. In fact, they aren’t even transferable to other airline loyalty programs. Instead, Arrival miles are more similar to cash-back rewards, but only for travel purchases.

Pros:

  • Highly flexible redemption options
  • No blackout dates
  • Cover incidental fees and surcharges
  • Use them for purchases not covered by traditional travel rewards

Cons:

  • Not transferable
  • Fixed value makes them impossible to redeem for more than $0.01 each
  • High minimum redemption threshold

If you want to redeem your Arrival miles, you can select any charges coded as “travel” that have been made in the last 120 days and “erase” them by applying your miles to the purchase at a rate of $0.01 per mile. So, if you have 20,000 miles in your account and purchased a flight for $500 last month, you could apply the 20,000 miles to the purchase, and $200 of the charge would be reimbursed to you. On top of that, you receive a 5% rebate on all miles you redeem, so you’d get 1,000 miles deposited back into your account.

Why should I collect Arrival miles?

While it’s possible to squeeze more than $0.01 per point out of other rewards programs, the lack of flexibility and low award availability of many programs often results in low-value redemptions. Sometimes the points or miles go to waste altogether.

The beauty of the Barclaycard Arrival miles is that they’re always worth $0.01 each, and they’re nearly impossible to waste because they can be applied to such a wide range of purchases. You can cover things like train rides or stays at small bed and breakfast hotels that you normally wouldn’t be able to purchase using rewards. Additionally, by essentially “erasing” travel purchases, these miles can even apply toward hotel incidentals and airline surcharges, which is valuable when airline award redemptions often still cost $100+ in taxes and fees.

What counts as a travel purchase?

Luckily, this category is pretty open-ended. Your typical travel purchases such as flights and hotel stays will count, along with rental car purchases, Airbnb purchases, and some transportation (Lyft and NYC Metrocard purchases tend to code as travel). Anything purchased through a travel booking website, such as Hotwire or Expedia, should code as travel.

What are the minimum redemption requirements?

Barclaycard cards have different redemption minimums. If you have the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, you have to redeem at least 10,000 miles ($100) at a time. This is a drawback for low spenders who may take a while to accumulate 10,000 miles ($5,000 in spending).

How to maximize earning Barclaycard Arrival miles

There are a number of things you can do to earn travel rewards at a faster rate. Here are a few tips to help you pile on the Barclaycard Arrival miles.

Qualify for the sign-up bonus -- If you plan to apply for a Barclaycard credit card with a sign-up bonus, make sure you can hit the minimum spending required to qualify. You can time your application before a big purchase or high spending month to help you get there.

Spend loyally… and spend big -- Barclaycard’s travel credit cards are increasingly rewarding loyalty spending over short-term spending bursts for quick bonuses. The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, for example, doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus at all but instead rewards you annually for spending a lot over the course of each calendar year. This requires you to spend more on one credit card, but if you can do it, you’ll get a higher ongoing rewards rate instead of just a one-time bonus offered by other issuers.

Look for targeted offers -- While most credit cards send out targeted offers to acquire new cardholders, Barclaycard tends to send out targeted spending offers to current cardholders to encourage them to spend more, often in certain spending categories. Check your email and regular mail for these.

How to maximize redeeming Barclaycard Arrival miles

Barclaycard Arrival miles are pretty straightforward given their flat-rate travel cash redemption option. However, although unpopular, there are a couple other ways to redeem your Arrival miles. Follow these tips to make sure you get the most value from your rewards.

Use them to “erase” travel purchases -- This is the only redemption option that maximizes the value of your Arrival miles. When you use your miles to “erase” purchases coded as travel, they’re redeemed at a rate of $0.01 each. Given the flexibility of this option, there’s little reason to redeem your miles any other way.

Don’t redeem for gift cards -- You will get the option to redeem your miles for gift cards to various restaurants, stores, and hotel chains. However, you’ll only get $0.005 per mile with this option, so it’s not advised.

Avoid redeeming for statement credits -- Additionally, if you don’t have any recent travel purchases, you can redeem Arrival miles for “cash back” on any purchase. Again, you’ll only get $0.005 per mile with this option, so it’s best to save your miles until you have a travel purchase you can redeem them for.

Comparing Barclaycard credit cards

Choosing a Barclaycard credit card depends on your personal financial goals and spending habits. Someone who’s paying off credit card debt will want to apply for a different card than someone who is debt-free and looking to travel more. To help guide you, the chart below explains the best card for various situations.

You want to... You plan to... You should get...
Save $750+ on travel every year Make at least $25,000 in purchases per year Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
Earn a one-time sign-up bonus for free travel Make $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard®
Get a credit card for regular purchases with no annual fee Pay off your balance in full whenever possible, but may carry a balance occasionally Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
Pay off your debt faster and at a lower interest rate Transfer a balance from a non-Barclaycard account within 45 days Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
Earn flexible travel rewards that can be redeemed easily Spend less than $15,000 per year but more than $5,000 Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard®
Get premium travel perks like Global Entry and airport lounge access Spend at least $15,000 per year Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

Which Barclaycard credit card is right for you?

The answer to this question is a personal one that only you can give yourself. Here are a few questions you should consider when deciding which Barclaycard credit card is right for you.

What kind of benefits would serve me best?

When it comes to credit card benefits, you typically have to decide between three options.

  • Cash back credit cards -- Best for people who travel infrequently or want a simple, straight-forward rewards system

  • Travel rewards credit cards -- Best for people who want to save money on travel because they travel often or want to travel more

  • Low-interest or 0% APR credit cards -- Best for people who are currently paying off debt, looking to finance a purchase, or have a tendency to carry a balance occasionally

Because of the way that Barclaycard Arrival miles work, these rewards cards function like a combination of cash back and travel rewards. The chart below highlights the main benefit of each card on our list.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
Cash back on travel purchases Cash back on travel purchases Low interest and 0% introductory APR
Am I willing to pay an annual fee?

There are great credit cards with no annual fee. But it’s important to remember that while annual fees might turn you off from applying for a credit card, they can be worth it if the card’s rewards system is in line with your spending habits and rewards goals. That being said, you never want to pay an annual fee for a credit card with rewards and benefits you aren’t going to use. The chart below shows the annual fee for each card on our list.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
$89 annual fee $150 annual fee, waived the first year $0 annual fee
What are my chances of approval?

Credit card applications result in a hard pull on your credit report, which can affect your credit score. While any drop is small and temporary, you shouldn’t apply for a new credit card without making sure you have a chance at being approved first. The chart below shows the general credit score requirements for each card on our list. Keep in mind that these are not hard requirements, so it is still possible to be approved with a lower score or rejected with a higher score.

Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
Excellent credit Good or excellent credit Good or excellent credit

Above all, make sure that the credit card you choose is working for you, and not the other way around. If you’re paying more in interest and annual fees than you’re getting in rewards and benefits, you should close your account and look for a card that better suits your needs.

To recap, here are the best Barclaycard credit cards

Card Rating Best For…
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard® Graphic of Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite MasterCard®
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4.0 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Best
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Excellent
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Good
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Fair
Star Review Icon = Poor
Best For:

Travel card sign-up bonus

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Graphic of Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon
4.0 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Best
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Excellent
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Good
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Fair
Star Review Icon = Poor
Best For:

Premium travel miles and loyalty bonus

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Graphic of Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
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3.5 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Best
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Excellent
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Good
Star Review Icon Star Review Icon = Fair
Star Review Icon = Poor
Best For:

Low interest rate and $0 balance transfer fee offer