Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

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If you’re a wanderer, this card should be in your wallet.

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The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is the rare travel rewards credit card that’s uncomplicated.

You’ll earn 2X miles for every $1 spent on all purchases, which means you don’t have to mess with tracking category spending or scratch your head to remember how much the card will pay back for a nice restaurant meal.

We love the reward redemption flexibility the card champions. You can use your rewards to book travel on any airline, hotel or cruise ship. You can even pay your cab fare.

What’s more, discount travel sites are covered here, as well, letting you book your trip your preferred way.

Review

If you’re a globetrotter, road-tripper or wanderer of any type, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard should be in your wallet. At just $89 annually (and that’s waived the first year) this card offers generous and simple rewards, along with travel protections and no foreign transaction fees — just like the flashier, more expensive travel cards, but without the big price tag for ownership.

For a card without a first-year annual fee, the sign-up bonus is pretty generous. Earn 40,000 bonus miles, worth $400, after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days. The mileage redemption is as easy as it gets. You can book through Barclaycard’s travel portal or just redeem your mileage as a statement credit and book your travel via any method you like.

Who should get this card

Anyone seeking a simple travel rewards plan with easy, breezy redemptions and without a fat annual fee can get behind the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

Advantages
  • Miles can be redeemed directly for travel purchases or as a statement credit.
  • Get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem your miles.
  • The annual fee is waived the first year.
Disadvantages
  • You have to redeem your miles for a statement credit within 120 days of making your travel purchase.
  • Your rewards are worth 2 cents for every $1 spent if you redeem them for travel; but if you opt to take your rewards as a cash-back credit, they’re only worth 1 cent for every $1 spent.
  • The 3% balance transfer fee could add more to your debt load.
  • Other cards have higher rewards for categories like travel and dining, so depending on how you spend, you could potentially earn more back with another card.

Fees and APRs

  • This card charges a variable APR of 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Enjoy an introductory 0% APR offer for 12 billing cycles for each balance transfer made within 45 days of opening the account.
  • The annual fee is $89, waived the first year.
  • There’s a balance transfer fee of 3%.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the United States.
  • Late payments won’t affect your annual percentage rate.

Extras, perks and using points

Miles can be redeemed for statement credits starting at 10,000 miles for $100 worth of credit. You can redeem for all or a portion of your travel charges as long as it’s within 120 days of the purchase. Here’s a nice perk: You’ll get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. So, if you redeem 10,000 miles, you’ll automatically get 500 of those back in your account.

To redeem your miles, log into your card account online. There is no fee to redeem your miles and they never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.

This card comes with Mastercard World Elite concierge and luxury travel benefits, which also includes some travel and auto protections.

You can receive a complimentary FICO score online and get an alert if your score has changed.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal and a generous rewards program make it a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Card Details
  • Earn more on travel purchases - redeem points for meaningful rewards
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Points are redeemable for airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center or for gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 15.49%-24.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee $95, waived for first 12 months*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card comes with a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, and pays 3x points for all travel including gas, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1x on all other spending.

If you spend at least $3,200 annually in the gas and travel category, you’d earn back the cost of card ownership. Plus, with the Premier card, your points will take on 25% more value when booking airfare through the Citi portal. Depending on how you spend, this may work out to be more rewarding for you.

 

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.