Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review: A Travel Credit Card Fit for Big Spenders
This premium travel rewards card offers a high rewards rate for cardholders who can max out its loyalty bonus, but a relatively high annual fee and restrictions on reward redemptions ($100 minimum for travel) make it a tough pitch for everyday cardholders who may not have big credit spending budgets.
Best for: Premium travel miles and loyalty bonus Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
- 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
What I like about Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
Unlimited 2 miles per $1 -- Cardholders enjoy a straightforward base rewards program that offers unlimited 2 miles per $1.
Loyalty bonus -- Cardholders earn 15,000 bonus miles after spending $15,000 on purchases in each card membership year, plus 10,000 bonus miles after spending an additional $10,000 during each card membership year (totaling 25,000 loyalty bonus miles earned). Note, these purchases still earn 2 miles per $1 for a total haul of 75,000 miles!
Statement credit travel redemptions -- Miles can be redeemed for travel-related statement credits starting at 10,000 miles ($100 of travel). Statement credits are a very flexible redemption option, allowing cardholders to pick their preferred method to book a trip. Other travel cards restrict redemptions to the issuer’s own travel portal.
No foreign transaction fees -- Foreign transaction fees can add up quickly when using a card for purchases overseas. A typical foreign transaction fee of 3% can set you back $60 on $2,000 worth of international spending. Cardholders won’t have to worry about where they use this card.
Global Entry travel credit -- Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® reimburses cardholders for Global Entry application fees ($100) once every five years, a valuable feature for frequent flyers who would otherwise pay for Global Entry out of pocket.
What could be improved
Annual fee -- The $150 annual fee is on the higher end for competing cards, although it is waived the first year.
High minimum redemptions -- Cardholders can redeem for travel statement credits starting at 10,000 miles ($100 of travel value). Miles can also be turned into $25 of cash or gift card value starting at 5,000 miles. Many other cards offer lower redemption thresholds, or feature no-minimum redemptions.
New cardholder bonus -- High-end travel cards with annual fees typically offer a large new cardholder bonus.
Not for low spenders -- Much of the card’s rewards value rests in the loyalty bonuses, which are earned when cardholders spend $15,000 and then another $10,000 thereafter in one year. Therefore, Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® isn’t particularly lucrative for people who spend less than $15,000 or $25,000 per year on a credit card.
How to best use
- Pay off balances on time and in full every month by paying the “statement balance” to avoid paying interest or late charges. With interest rates in the double-digits, interest you pay on balances can quickly exceed the benefit of earning rewards.
- Redeem miles for travel statement credits rather than cash or gift cards. Miles are worth $0.01 each for travel, but redeem at just $0.005 each for cash or gift cards.
- Get the loyalty bonus. Qualifying cardholders receive 15,000 miles after spending $15,000 in each card membership year and 10,000 miles after spending an additional $10,000 thereafter. Cardholders who spend exactly $25,000 each year would earn 75,000 miles worth $750 when redeemed for travel (2 miles per $1 plus 25,000 miles from loyalty bonuses).
- Use the card to pay for Global Entry application fees. Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® offers a statement credit for the $100 application fee once every five years, adding $20 of annual value to this card.
Another travel card to consider
Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers a compelling alternative for travelers with a rewards program that doles out 2 points per $1 on travel and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other spending. Points are worth $0.0125 each when redeemed for travel through the online portal. Points can also be transferred to travel partners where they may have more value at redemption. Qualifying applicants also enjoy a new cardholder bonus of 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening, redeemable for $625 of travel. The card carries an annual fee of $95, which is waived in the first year. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® review to learn more.
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® offers reasonable value for cardholders who spend at least $15,000 per year and will use their miles for travel-related redemptions, but that makes it a card for a very narrow segment of credit card users.
At $15,000 in annual spend, cardholders would earn 45,000 miles (2 miles per $1, plus 15,000 loyalty miles), redeemable for $450 of travel value. After subtracting the $150 annual fee, cardholders would realize $300 of net travel value from rewards, resulting in an effective rewards rate of 2% on $15,000 of spending ($300 of travel/$15,000=2%). This rate is high among its peers.
Rewards peak at $25,000 in annual spending. At that level of spend, cardholders earn 75,000 miles redeemable for $750 in travel value (2 miles per $1, plus 25,000 in loyalty bonuses). After subtracting the $150 annual fee, rewards net out to $600 of travel value for $25,000 of spend, resulting in an adjusted rewards rate of 2.4% ($600 of travel/$25,000=2.4%). This is one of the highest rates for all purchases we've come across and the card warrants consideration for big spenders who can take advantage, even despite the annual fee and high minimum redemption threshold.