Barclays Arrival Card Review: 40K Offer Worth It?
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Hilary Stockton
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Barclays Arrival Card Review

 

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard® - Earn 2x on All Purchases offers 40,000 miles as a signup bonus, which is worth ~$440 in travel spend due to its 10% rebate if you redeem for travel. The card isn't new, but, if you've already gotten most of the usual suspects in terms of travel rewards credit cards--is it worth getting? Let's cover the Barclays Arrival Card basics, then get into the analysis:

  • 40,000 miles after spending $3000 within 3 months 
  • Earn 2X miles on ALL purchases 
  • Redeem for travel and get 10% of your miles back (effectively, 2.2% cash back when redeemed for travel)
  • No fee the first year, thereafter $89 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Pros

  • Better Signup Bonus: At 40,000 "miles" or ~$440 if redeemed towards travel, the Barclays Arrival Card offers a better signup bonus than most cash back cards. The Chase Freedom and Capital One Venture only have a 10,000 point signup bonus, for example.
  • Annual Fee Waived First Year: The $89 annual fee is waived the first year, so assuming you redeem your points for travel sometime within the first year, you should get at least $440 in value.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee: This is similar to the Capital One Venture card and the fee-paying Chase rewards cards, but is still worth mentioning, since it can be very handy when redeeming for foreign travel.
  • Free Transunion FICO: Barclays Arrival card holders have free access to their actual Transunion FICO credit score. It's important to monitor what your actual FICO scores, not fake "FAKO" credit scores, so that you can see what banks and other lending institutions see is your credit score. Also see Credit Score: FICO or FAKO?
  • Barclays as Issuer: If you're applying for several credit cards at once, you ideally want to apply for cards from several different issuers, and not for all 5 credit cards from the same bank. This also helps to spread your credit inquiries around: Barclay's typically pulls from Transunion, so it's a good choice if you've had a lot of Experian inquiries from applying for a bunch of Chase cards. Capital One is awful in that they pull from all 3 credit bureaus.

 

Cons

  • Use for Otherwise Non-bonused Spend: This card is mainly about the bonus, and for spend that is not otherwise bonused. Chances are you already have some other valuable travel rewards credit cards that you leverage for their bonus category spend, such as the Ink Bold or Ink Plus for 5X categories (Internet, phone, office supply purchases including gift cards); AMEX Premier Rewards Gold for 3X on airfare; Chase Freedom for rotating 5X categories; etc. The Barclays Arrival Card could be used for otherwise non-bonused spend, including international non-bonused spend, since it doesn't carry a foreign transaction fee.
  • Very Specific Uses for Travel Redemptions: If you're already getting 3X on airfare with the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold and an effective 2.14X on all travel spend with the Sapphire Preferred, where does the Barclays Arrival Card fit in? I'd recommend using it for award ticket taxes and fees and for smaller international travel purchases, such as cheap intra-Europe or intra-Asia flights that you wouldn't put on the AMEX PRG card due to the foreign exchange fee. That said, you could use Barclays Arrival miles for a cheap or free flight to Hawaii!
  • Could Be Approved for the Platinum Version Instead: Barclay's is a bit notorious for reserving the right to approve you for a lower version of a given card. Fortunately, in this case it appears you'll still get the same 40,000 miles bonus, which is probably what you most want anyway. So this isn't actually much of a con.

 

Barlays Arrival Card FAQ

How Hard Is It To Get Approved for the Barclays Arrival Card?

In general with Barclay's, you want to ensure you haven't recently opened a lot of new credit cards (not just Barclay credit cards, but new credit cards in general) or had too many recent credit inquiries. Barclay's also wants to see you using its cards, so be wary of applying if you have another Barclay's credit card that you've scarcely used after earning the sign-up bonus.


What Are Qualifying Travel Expenses?

Barclay's defines travel purchases as "Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies as defined by the merchant category code. Purchases that...use incorrect MasterCard merchant category codes will not qualify. Barclaycard is not responsible for incorrectly coded purchases."

Since TravelSort is a travel agency, TravelSort Clients are able to rebate expenses such as TravelSort's Award Booking Service if they have a Barclay's Arrival Card.

 

How Do I Redeem Miles for a Travel Purchase?

Make sure you redeem your miles for a travel purchase that was made within the last 90 days. Go to the "Manage Rewards" section of your account to redeem miles.

 

How Soon Does the 10% Miles Rebate Post to My Account?

The 10% travel redemption bonus miles will post within 1-2 weeks after the travel redemption is processed per the terms and conditions, and users report seeing them on the next month's statement.


Are the Barclays Arrival Card Miles I Earn Transferable to Airline or Travel Partners?

No--these are Barclay Arrival Card "miles" and should really be thought of as points that you can use to rebate previously incurred travel expenses. Just taking the 40,000 mile bonus, you could use that to get a statement credit against a $400 travel expense. Once you did that, you'd get 4000 miles back in your account (10% of the 40,000) which in turn could be used against a $40 travel expense.

 

Can I Redeem the Barclays Arrival Card Miles for Non-Travel Expenses?

While you can, it's not worth it, since you'll get less than half the value: basically half a cent per mile, and no 10% rebate on miles redeemed. 


Can I Redeem Barclays Arrival Card Miles for a Partial Credit If I Don't Have Enough Miles for the Full Amount?

Yes. Although the Barclays Arrival Card terms don't explicitly address this, at least some users report success with partial credit. Do note that you must be redeeming for at least $25 travel statement credit (so at least 2500 Barclays Arrival Card miles).

 

The Verdict: For a cash back card, the 40,000 Miles Barclays Arrival Card is a good bet for its bonus alone, as long as you have some travel expenses you can use the ~$440 in signup bonus value towards. And in light of the spate of recent devaluations, including the United Award Chart Devaluation, Hyatt Devaluation, Delta DevaluationAA Elimination of Explorer Awards and Stopovers (with no notice!) the Barclays Arrival is an important complementary card to your frequent flyer mile and loyalty points cards. It's especially good for any spend that is not going to meet minimum spend for a new credit card, and doesn't earn you a category bonus.

If you have the Barclays Arrival Card, what's been your experience with the card?

Related Posts

Barclays Arrival Card: Top 10 Tips

Can You Get the Signup Bonus Again for Barclays Credit Cards?

Barclays Arrival Travel Community: Earn Miles to Redeem for Travel

 

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Comments
Picture?type=large Robert S. commented 25 Aug 2013
Hi Hilary! Just wanted to share my experience with this card after signing up. In short, I love it! I used it as my primary card during my last international trip, taking advantage of the 0% FT fees. (I had already met my minimum spend on the card but continued to use it, because the only other cards I had yet to meet my minimum spend all charged a pesky 3% FT fee.) Love the 2x (2.2x considering the bonus) earning power and also love the ease of redemption. With a few clicks you have a credit posted to your account! Just curious on why you say it might not be a good card for everyday spend? After meeting all my min spends I plan on using this one for my everyday spend. (I don't have an AMEX 3x for airfare). I do have a Sapphire Preferred though. Do you feel that say United Miles via the Sapphire Preferred are more valuable than the 2.2 effective rebate from this card? As always, thanks for all the great info and deals!
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