Read around, and you’ll see lots of glowing reviews for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
2x miles on everything is enticing, and can be a good value. Here’s when it’s a good choice:
The rub is there is an $89 annual fee after the first year.
And after that, the card becomes a good, but not great value thanks to a new alternative.
For example, the Citi Double Cash card lets you earn double cash on everything you buy with no annual fee.
So after you earn the introductory bonus and the second year fee hits, the Arrival Plus becomes less appealing.
Yes, the Arrival offers a 5% of your miles back whenever you redeem them, so it effectively earns a bit more than 2%, but considering the $89 fee, the no annual fee Citi Double Cash is worth considering.
So who is the Arrival Plus best for?
International travelers who aren’t loyal to an airline.
The Chip + PIN feature makes using the card abroad easier, and very few cards available to U.S. residents offer a PIN feature to use at foreign kiosks.
No foreign transaction fees and 2% rewards mean you can feel good about not sacrificing on rewards either.
While traditional airline miles are usually more useful and valuable for international flight awards, getting 2% cash value for your spending is a good deal, especially considering you don’t have to think or worry about airline programs.
For a $1,200 ticket to Europe, you would need to spend $60,000 on the Arrival Plus to earn the 120,000 points you’d need to fully offset the ticket.
With traditional airline miles you’d need only 60,000 miles to book the ticket, but that’s only if you can travel on the days the airline makes special award seats available. And since most airline cards only earn one mile per dollar, you’d need to spend $60,000 on your card to earn the ticket.
So with the Arrival Plus, you spend the same amount, but get much more flexibility.
Domestic fliers who want no hassle rewards
Regular airline miles don’t give you great value for domestic award travel. Unless you plan ahead, it can be tough to find the seats you want at a reasonable price.
But with the Arrival you don’t worry about any of that. Any flight you can pay for with your card can be offset with the points you’ve earned.
You’re probably just as well off wit the no annual fee Citi Double Cash after the first year, but it’s worth trying out for a year thanks to the big introductory bonus and good earning rate on your spending.
Answers to common questions
How do I redeem my points? Just login to your credit card account, and select any travel purchase you’ve made in the last 120 days. You can redeem for as little as $25 a time (2,500 points), for some or all of the purchase cost.
Can I combine points? You can’t mix and match these points with your airline or hotel program accounts. But there’s no need to. Just use these for any travel expense, including tolls, bus fare, cruises, hotel bar bills, and more.
What is the car rental coverage? There is normal secondary collision damage coverage on rentals you book with the card. That means if you have your own insurance policy, you’ll have to file a claim with that policy before you can collect on damage from the card’s coverage.
Is there a no annual fee version? There is no longer a no annual fee version of the Arrival available for new applicants.
Will I earn miles when I fly on tickets booked with my miles? Yes, you’ll earn miles as if you paid for your ticket in cash, as long as the ticket you buy is eligible to earn miles to begin with.
Are there any blackout dates? No, there are no blackout dates, or restrictions on when or what airline or hotel you can use your miles. You just buy travel with your card, and use your miles to offset the charge up to 120 days after the purchase.
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Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?
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Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.