2018 Barclays Arrival Premier Review
Please note: This card is no longer open to new applications. Information listed here is accurate as of Oct. 5, 2018.
The Verdict: The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® is a solid option for frequent travelers with good or better credit who want one card they can keep for years. But this new offer, which Barclays (a WalletHub partner) calls the “Premier Global Travel Card,” has a lot to offer.
Arrival Premier is making a name for itself by offering a very different value proposition than much of its travel rewards competition. It replaces the big initial bonus common among rewards cards right now with an annual spending bonus. You get 15,000 bonus miles for spending $15,000 in a year, plus another 10,000 points if you spend $25,000. That means you can score $150-$250 in bonus travel each year you use Arrival Premier, as its miles are worth a penny apiece when redeemed for travel statement credits.
You’re going to need that yearly bonus, too, considering Arrival Premier's $150 annual fee (waived for the first year). But even if you’re not a big-spender, you’ll still come out ahead as long as you charge more than $7,500 to your card each year. You can thank Arrival Premier’s double miles on every $1 spent for that.
- 2 Miles per $1 Spent: That’s the equivalent of 2% cash back when you redeem for a travel statement credit. And it’s well above the market average for a rewards card.
- Up to 25,000 Bonus Points Each Year: If you spend $15,000 in a year, dated from your account anniversary, you’ll receive 15,000 bonus miles. And if you spend another $10,000, you’ll get 10,000 more bonus miles. That’s a total of up to 25,000 bonus miles for spending $25,000+ per year. In other words, it’s an annual gift of $150 in free travel for cardholders who charge $1,250 to plastic per month. And if you spend over $2,083 per month, your gift is $250 per year.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee: The average credit card charges 1.51% of any purchase processed abroad. So the lack of a foreign fee will definitely save international travelers and shoppers a lot of dough. But no foreign fee is pretty much par for the course among travel credit cards.
- Access to 850+ Airport Lounges: Barclays Arrival Premier can help you ride out delays in comfort, thanks to its Mastercard Airport Experience benefit provided by LoungeKey. But it alone won’t get you into the more than 800 lounges that are part of the program. You also have to pay $27 per person, per visit. And not all lounges will allow you to bring guests.
- $100 Global Entry Credit: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program allows you to get back into the country faster after traveling abroad. But you have to apply for this privilege every five years, and it costs $100 each time. Fortunately, Arrival Premier has your back, giving you a statement credit if you charge the application fee to your card.
- High APR: Barclays Arrival Premier was not built for carrying a balance from month to month. It doesn’t offer low introductory rates for purchases or balance transfers. And its regular APR has the potential to be well above average for a credit card that requires good or better credit for approval.
- No Initial Bonus: Time is money, and Arrival Premier makes you wait 12 months for your rewards bonus. Plus, if you spend less than $25,000 per year, this bonus won’t do more than cover your annual fee.
Other Things To Consider
- $150 Annual Fee: Thankfully, it’s waived the first year. But starting year two, Barclays Arrival Premier’s $150 annual fee is more than 9.5 times higher than the $15.88 market average. But the comparison isn’t as unfavorable against other premium travel credit cards. And it’s far from the most expensive offer available. A couple dozen cards have higher annual fees, and a handful charge over 4 times more per year than Arrival Premier.
- Complimentary ShopRunner Membership: This service gives you free two-day shipping and free returns on eligible items from hundreds of stores. It usually costs $79 for 12 months or $8.95 per month.
- Ability to Transfer Miles: You can transfer Arrival Premier miles to major hotels’ and airlines’ loyalty rewards programs. This isn’t too big of a deal, considering you can redeem miles for statement credits applicable to any travel expense. But if you already have unused miles in a travel provider’s rewards program, being able to combine them with your Premier miles could come in handy.
- Chip and PIN: You should have no problem using Arrival Premier anywhere in the world that accepts credit cards. That even includes the automated payment terminals that can give chip-and-signature credit cards trouble.
- Travel Insurance: When you pay for travel expenses with Arrival Premier, you’re covered for death or injury caused by a travel provider. You’re also covered for trips that are cancelled or cut short, purchases you have to make due to delayed baggage, and rental car damage.
- More Mastercard Benefits: Arrival Premier cardholders are automatically eligible for Mastercard perks such as price-matching, extra time on purchases’ warranties, and insurance for items that are damaged or stolen soon after you buy them.
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