It’s hard to believe the card has been out only a year. Barclaycard clearly pushed out a top notch product, offering one of the highest effective rebates on spending in the market and adding several value-added features. They’re spending more on this card than most any rewards card, and with a year’s worth of learning they have some improvements.
The card already offers:
- A signup bonus of 40,000 points after $3000 spend within the first 90 days is worth $400 as a travel credit, and then redeeming for travel gets you 10% of your points back, so in practice it’s really worth even more.
- The card offers 2 points per dollar on all spending, giving you an effective rebate for travel of 2.2% on all spend. It has a $0 annual fee the first year, $89 thereafter.
- It’s got a shopping portal, gives free TripIt Pro, has no foreign currency transaction fees, awards points for your travel stories, and gives you your true FICO score free. In my view probably the best bank proprietary points card overall.
One Year Anniversary Rebrand and Improvements
When the card first came out I called it the new king of cash back credit cards (even though it is really a travel rebate card).
Now it is being re-launched with a new name and new additional benefits. Henceforth it will be called the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.
It has an EMV chip for easier foreign spending (the card also has no foreign currency transaction fees) and it is moving from being a World MasterCard to a World Elite MasterCard.
Who is this card best for?
You want to use the points to cover expenses that airline miles and hotel points don’t — taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on award tickets; non-chain hotels or flights on non-alliance airlines; tour operators; cruises; cars; airline fees.
You fly coach, not premium cabins. You can buy airline tickets and not worry about award space. You’ll earn miles (and credit towards elite status from flying). Miles are best for premium cabin international award travel, but a proprietary points program can be best for coach — and certainly for domestic coach where the flexibility is great and you won’t do better than a couple of cents per point in value most of the time anyway.
I Fit Into Those Categories — I’d Love Rebates That Help With Those Expenses — But Is This The Best Card?
Generally an effective 2.2% rebate is the best you’ll do, far better than the standard 1% cash back cards for sure especially if you travel.
There are some cards with bonuses that make those cards better for specific categories of purchases, but for general spending a 2.2% rebate is really strong.
The signup bonus is also great at 40,000 points, worth $400 towards travel, plus a 10% rebate when you redeem on travel so an extra $40 on top, and an extra $4 on top of that, and…
The first year there’s a $0 annual fee. After that, though, the question is whether the incremental benefits of this card are enough to justify that fee?
If you use the ancillary benefits of the card — like no foreign transaction fees, free TripIt Pro, etc. then it easily can be.
But if you don’t value those things then you need ot be a big spender on the card for it to make sense on a continuing basis versus a straight 2% cash back into a Fidelity investment account that you can get with the Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express.
(Note that cards in this post offer credit to me if you’re approved using my links. The opinions, analyses, and evaluations here are mine. The content is not provided or commissioned by American Express, by Chase, by Citibank, US Bank, Bank of America, Barclays or any other company. They have not reviewed, approved or endorsed what I have to say.)
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