The Barclaycard Arrival + has been the British bank’s flagship travel card market for several years. This bank has tried and tested many different credit card products within the last five years. But the Arrival + has been the one constant in the lineup.
The Arrival + is a no-frills, high earning card. It evokes simplicity with its flat earning rate and it can be nice for big spenders. Is the Barclaycard Arrival + card a good one for you?
The Arrival + earns 2x miles on all purchases. Even though Barclaycard refers to their points as miles, you should not confuse them with airline miles. Both currencies are different. Barclay’s miles are more like cash back than transferrable points.
The card also has a sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles. This bonus can be earned after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months. Given the card’s nature as a travel “cash back” card, this bonus could be valued at $700. The bonus can be therefore be seen as a 14% return on your spend.
The Arrival + also has an annual fee of $89 (waived the first year). The first-year annual fee waiver used to make this card a favorite for “churning”. However, banks have tightened the rules and made churning more difficult. Churning this card is not a good idea if you’re concerned with Chase’s 5/24 Rule.
The breakeven point on this card against a no annual fee 2% cash back card is $17,800. This means that you will earn enough rewards to break even with the annual fee if you spend at least $17,800. This applies after the first year when Barclays starts to charge the annual fee. If you spend less than that per year, the Citi Double Cash is a better option.
This Barclaycard has only one good option for redemption: statement credits. Barclaycard lets you “erase” travel purchases at the rate of 1 cent per point (CPP) when you redeem miles. There is a minimum redemption of $100 (or 10,000 miles). This used to be $50 (or 5,000 miles), but Barclaycard raised the threshold a few years ago
You will also receive a 5%-point bonus every time you redeem miles. For example, if you redeem the 70,000-mile sign-up bonus, you will receive a bonus of 3,500 points towards your next redemption. This bonus effectively raises the card’s earning rate to 2.1x miles per dollar.
Fortunately, Barclaycard’s list of travel purchases is very broad. Purchases on this list include travel agencies and websites, hotels, airfare, cruises, train fare, and ridesharing. While this card is not very flexible, there are some travel purchases that cannot be redeemed with transferrable points and miles. That’s where this card comes into play. However, cash back cards have the same function, possibly making the Arrival + redundant for some people.
You can redeem your miles for cash back or gift cards as well. However, I don’t recommend either option because you will receive only 0.5 CPP in value. For example, you can redeem 5,000 miles for $25.
The Barclaycard Arrival + is truly a no-frills card. This is evident by a lack of benefits.
Chip & PIN Capabilities
Those traveling abroad, especially in Europe, will have an easier time using their Barclaycard than other US-based cards. Chip & PIN technology has been used in Europe (and other parts of the world) for many years. Having these technologies makes sense because Barclays is based in the UK.
No Foreign Exchange Fees
This increasingly common benefit saves you 3% on all purchases made outside of the United States.
The Arrival + is certainly not the best card for everyone. If you’re one of those people, check out these alternatives.
Citi Double Cash
This card earns you 2% cash back for every purchase made. You will earn 1% at the time of purchase and another 1% upon paying your will. The Double Cash has no annual fee or travel benefits. Simply put, the Double Cash will net you more rewards if you spend less than $17,800 per year.
This card is a nice one for international travelers who like to redeem points via transfer partners. In this way, Citi Thank You (TY) points are valuable than Barclaycard miles. Citi also gives you more redemption options than Barclaycard, all of which provide good value.
The Premier is the better earner for General Travel. It earns 3x TY points in that category, 3x points at Gas Stations, and 2x points on Dining and Entertainment. It also has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 TY points. This bonus can be earned after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
I would recommend this card over the Arrival + for international travelers who like Citi’s partners.
The Barclaycard Arrival + is a decent option for international travelers with big expenses. It has a high flat rate earning structure, but no perks and limited redemption options.
Most people would be better off with a 2% cash back card, especially those with multiple credit cards. And there are better flat rate “daily drivers” out there if you’re loyal to a transferrable points “ecosystem”.