Barclays Just Launched Transferable Points Program – and New Card Earning Up to 3x on ALL Spend

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The Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard just launched this morning. It’s a fast-earning card and transfer to airline frequent flyer miles. That puts Barclays into the transferable miles game alongside American Express, Chase, and Citibank which is huge. (Offer expired)

This is a $150 annual fee card. (Update 7/6/18: annual fee is now $0 the first year) There is no signup bonus.

  • 2 miles per dollar on all spend
  • In addition every year you earn additional miles for hitting spending thresholds. Spend exactly $25,000 on the card in a year and you’ll earn 75,000 miles or 3 miles per dollar.

    • $15,000 spend earns 15,000 bonus miles
    • $25,000 (i.e. an additional $10,000 spend) spend earns an additional 10,000 bonus miles

Transfer Partners

Who are the transfer partners for the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard? Air France KLM, Aeromexico, Etihad, Qantas, China Eastern, Malaysia, JAL, EVA Air additional transfer partners are expected to follow

Program Name Conversion Ratio
(Premier Points : Points)
Air France and KLM Flying Blue 1.4 : 1
Aeromexico Club Premier 1.4 : 1
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles 1.4 : 1
Etihad Guest 1.4 : 1
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands 1.4 : 1
JAL Mileage Bank 1.7 : 1
Jet Airways JetPrivilege 1.4 : 1
Malaysia Airlines Enrich 1.4 : 1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1.4 : 1

In my view Air France, Etihad, and JAL are the most useful partners here. Crucially additional transfer partners are expected to follow. They’re not done they just don’t have everything in the pipeline available at launch.

Japan Airlines is unique, it’s a partner that Chase doesn’t have, American Express doesn’t have, and Citibank doesn’t have. And they have one of the best award charts out there although they do add fuel surcharges to many awards. For instance in their distance-based chart 155,000 miles is enough for three-cabin first class New York – Dubai – Bangkok roundtrip on Emirates. Alaska Airlines would charge 360,000 miles and Membership Rewards transfer partner Emirates Skywards would charge 285,000 miles plus fuel surcharges.

Global Entry Credit

The Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard comes with a $100 Global Entry application credit every five years. This is not a TSA PreCheck credit, and offering it every 5 years is unfortunate because while Global Entry lasts five years you’ll want to renew before it expires. It adds to the long list of cards with Global Entry credits, you probably already have one.

Airport Lounge Access

Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard also comes with a Lounge Key card which is essentially Priority Pass Select, however without any free visits. Here’s a comparison of other cards offering Priority Pass.

priority pass

Other Benefits of the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard

The Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard has no foreign transaction fees. It’s true chip and pin, not just chip and signature, which is useful at kiosks in Europe. You get Shoprunner membership which provides 2-day shipping and free return shipping with many stores.

Here’s the full benefits guide (.pdf) which details things like rental car collision damage waiver; extended warranty; price protection; and trip delay and cancellation coverage.

Worth It?

Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard is not a card you get for the signup bonus (there isn’t one). It’s not a card you get for the benefits (it has some but they aren’t better than competitor offerings).

It’s a strong earning card and offers transfers to miles and has some unique partners. Unfortunately they don’t transfer miles one-to-one. Still, it’s a good ratio considering the inflated earn.

  • At 2 Barclays miles earned per dollar, and a 1.4 : 1 conversion ratio, you’re earning 1.4 miles per dollar in most of these programs.

  • At 3 barclays miles earned per dollar, if you spend exactly $15,000 or $25,000 in a year, you’re earning 2.1 miles per dollar.

  • With JAL’s less favorable conversion rate you’re earning 1.17 or 1.76 miles per dollar.

And of course you can redeem at a penny apiece towards travel. Bear in mind that you don’t get a 5% rebate on redemptions for travel the way you did with the ‘Arrival+’ card.

I think this is a great card to get and spend $25,000 on and then view it as a 3% rebate on that spend or as transferable currency.

It’s comparable in a sense to the The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express which earns 2 American Express Membership Rewards points on your first $50,000 in purchases per year (though that’s a no annual fee card).

Ultimately it’s great to have another player in the transferable miles space. More competition will be good for consumers. And I understand that the pool of transfer partners will grow, something I expect to happen soon.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. the problem is comparing to other cards with a signup bonus, so until there are no other cards with a signup bonus left, I”m probably not applying. However, I can’t blame Barclays because they don’t have any initial loss that needs to be earned back and the bonus structure encourages high usage.

  2. No signup bonus and $150 annual fee? No 1:1 transfers? What does “Spend exactly $25,000 on the card” mean? If you you spend $25,001 you don’t get the bonus? Or is it spend AT LEAST $25,000? Big difference between spending EXACTLY and spending AT LEAST when it comes to terminology.

    Already have 3 cards that come with Global Entry credit, so unless they come up with airline transfer partners that I can actually use, I’ll be sticking with CSR and CFU for points earning.

  3. $150 for this is same as $450 fee minus $300 travel credit, but without sign-ups benefit. No bonus, no sign-up. Their sensibility isn’t going to get them apps. There is nothing extraordinary to see here. How about a mobile pay tier (3x per $) or perhaps nailing down American before going live.

  4. Barclays is making a huge mistake here imo…this card doesn’t compare to blue cash OR freedom unlimited as the have a sign up AND no af
    The only partner that valuable is jal which has a worse transfer rate then the rest…most people will probably get they’re jal miles they spg with many people already have…I predict this card to be a failure, bigly !

  5. I was actually looking forward to this card but very disappointed now. At 1:1 transfer rate I would have considered getting the card even without a sign up bonus and holding it long term. At 1:1.4 it is not all that interesting especially given the current transfer partners. Essentially if you spend exactly 25k you get just less than 54k miles effectively in programs that transfer at the 1:4 rate. By comparison the Amex Blue for Business would give you 50k miles on same spend which are arguably more valuable (Amex sometimes has transfer bonuses for example) and there is no annual fee. The rest of the benefits are useless to me so since I have other cards that give the same or better benefits.

    That said I am happy to see another bank roll out a transferable currency. I’ll keep and eye on this card and the program and it is possible overtime they might come up with a combination that interests me.

  6. Poor Transfer rates – benefits are a joke. Totally missed an opportunity here to differentiate themselves from the masses (Chase/Citi/AMEX).

  7. I too am disappointed in the card. The initial partner transfer list is small, has unattractive transfer rates and lacks a sign-up bonus. Wondering what their sign-up predictions for the card are? At first glance it seems they may come up quite short…

    One good thing that allows it to compete with Citi – it’s a MasterCard for those who need one.

  8. So, basically, $600 toward travel (taking into account the annual fee) for $25,000 in spend. Not horrible but not worth it to me.

  9. Honestly, why would most serious Miles/Pts enthusiast go after this card when there is NO sign up bonus–which is normally a huge incident for most of us to sign up for a card!! Then the 2X on everything isn’t really a huge attraction as some other cards (eg. Amex Blue Bus.Plus offers 2X on everything, though w/a spending cap, but then again, why would most of us spend $20K+ on a single card–unless after elite status, when spend can be put on other cards for sign up bonuses). The cards other perks isn’t revoluationary either, so witht that said, not too attractive IMO.

  10. The only value is for JAL, but for now SPG is a better deal for earning JAL. Maybe some use after MRR-SPG combine, but for now DOA

  11. The lack of a signup bonus is a huge fail. Add to that the lack of major US transfer partners. I would have considered it for AF/KLM Flying Blue but 1.4:1 just doesn’t compare.

    Until a signup bonus and/or more desirable transfer partners/rates show up, I can’t justify using one of my 5/24 spots for this. Disappointing; I was looking forward to this card!

  12. Chase/Amex/Citi don’t partner with JAL … but SPG does. And if you’re just talking about an every day spend card, SPG costs less per year, transfers to [many] more partners, and in the case of JAL transfers at a more favorable ratio.

  13. I have to believe this card will underperform for the bank and that, eventually, they will have to introduce a sign-up bonus. Until then, I’ll pass.

  14. No sign up bonus? I can spend $25,000 clearing spend on a bunch of cards that do have sign up bonuses and get a whole lot more than 3% value out of it. I just don’t see that this will have a big market.

  15. I’m not as negative about it as some. 2.14 miles/$ or 3% cash back is still decent, especially if you’ve max’ed out $50k on AmEx Blue Business Plus, or don’t have a business. But the transfer partner list isn’t very long, and there’s the $150 annual fee. I use 2.5c as my minimum miles redemption value. So comparing $25k spend on my various cards:
    – On AmEx Blue Business Plus = 25000*2*.025=$1250
    – On the new Barclay card = 25000*2.14*.025=$1337.50 – $150 fee = $1187.50
    – On Chase Freedom Unlimited = 25000*1.5*.025=$937.50
    – On Delta in $25k increments = 25000*1.4*.025=$875 but earns 10,000 MQM
    – On SPG = 25000*1.25*.025=$781, but gets you Marriott/SPG Gold and almost every transfer partner
    – On Alliant 2.5% cash back card (after first year) = 25000*.025=$625

    So even adding the card to your portfolio (making it an extra $150 in fees), it comes out a lot better than the best cash back card, and even better than the points earning cards above. IF you can use the points with those transfer partners and IF you can get 2.5% redemption value, which is mainly possible on international premium cabins. I will keep an eye on it, especially if they add more transfer partners.

  16. There are no other 3% cash back cards on ALL spend out there, even if there is a minimum spend requirement along with a cap. So it has an attractive niche from that perspective, even considering the rarely-used, off-putting transfer ratio partner issues..

    Unfortunately, the extra 1% (to distinguish it from a 2% Citi Double Cash Back card) takes 15,000 in spend to make up for the $150 AF that the DCB doesn’t have. At a base 2%, I would rather use the DCB with no AF.

    For me, a sign-up bonus is not as important if both a card’s accumulation and redemption rates are attractive. Barclays must add AA for this program to be seriously considered.

  17. Definitely not worth it, not too me anyway. Looks like it’s not worth it too a bunch of people.

  18. @Lynn – Haha, I loved the end of the Doctor of Credit article:

    “I feel like a parent that has found out their child is doing drugs. I’m not angry Barclays, I’m just so very disappointed in you.”

  19. This card is a joke, compared to the other signup bonuses and minimum spend and annual fees, I would not waste my time on this one, hope it flops and Barclay gets serious again about offering a card worth applying for.

  20. Not a great card at all. This is an easy pass. Only way this card makes any sense is putting exactly 25K of spend on it and even then, hardly competitive at all.

  21. @qofmiwok: Excellent analysis.
    I had read those who have the Arrival+ are NOT eligible for the Premier card. Is that true?
    I wonder if this card also gives access to the shopping portal.
    Just have a set of circumstances because of which the card does not work for me at the moment.
    Big difference also, the Business Plus card is No Fee, and earns “real” MR.
    Thank you for the “heads up,” Gary.

  22. This is a terrible card, as all the comments noted, and your should call it out Gary. How much compensation do you receive per sign up referral? Must be a lot if you are telling readers to consider this card.

  23. Barclays will also downgrade the benefits just as they did before. The transfer rate is not good. Not competitive. When you launch a new product, you need to be BETTER that what is out there now. Sorry, Barclays. Fail.

  24. This is a Master Card, which means that mortgage payments through Plastiq will process as points earning transactions. 2.14 miles per dollar spent for $25k in spend can justify the Plastiq fee of 2.5%. You’re effectively buying 53,500 miles for $775 ($150 annual fee plus $625 in Plastiq fees) for $0.0145 each. Not great, but not bad for a category of unbonused spend that was previously impossible to generate points on in a cost effective manner outside of meeting a sign up bonus (spend that could be put elsewhere to get the bonus).

  25. Even if I loved this card just for the ability to transfer to JAL, without some kind of sign-up bonus of at least 10 – 25K this isn’t worth the hard pull.

  26. Yeah the $150 annual fee can be a bummer though I’ll still consider getting it. For the value that I’m getting i.e. unlimited 2X miles on every purchase and additional 25k miles bonus if I spend $25,000, which is usually what I spend anyway, I’d gladly use this card and earn those 75k miles. Might not be the card for everyone but works for me. I also like their current range of transfer partners, especially JAL. Do hope they grow their pool of transfer partners.

  27. I think its not as bad as the flack its getting. The average person out there isnt a churner and gamer. I am excited about the redemption options, especially with JAL. Keen to see the further list of other transfer options.

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