April 4, 2018
Review: Barclays Arrival Premier Credit Card
The Barclaycard Arrival+ was the first travel credit card I ever applied for. It was a solid card back in the day, offering a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, a flat 2x points per $1 on everything, and 10% of your points back when redeemed. Unfortunately, Barclays made a number of changes that greatly diminished its value. It’s also failed to keep up with increasing competition from Chase and American Express. Barclays is now launching a variation of the Arrival Plus called the Arrival Premier World Elite MasterCard.
The Arrival Premier does not have a sign-up bonus.
Cardholders earn a flat 2x miles per $1 on every purchase. They earn an additional 15,000 miles upon spending $15,000 during the year, and another 10,000 miles upon spending another $10,000 during the year. Cardholders can earn up to 25,000 bonus miles per year by hitting the spending thresholds.
You can maximize the card’s earning structure by spending $25,000 per year. That would get you 50,000 miles (2x miles per $1) plus 25,000 bonus miles (for hitting the $25,000 spending threshold). This would net you 75,000 miles, or effectively 3x miles per $1.
There’s two main ways to redeem Arrival Premier miles. First, you can redeem them for travel statement credits towards qualifying travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per mile. Qualifying travel purchases cover things like airfare, travel agencies, hotels, cruises, trains, rental cars, etc.
You can also transfer miles to the following nine frequent flyer programs at the following ratios:
*Update: Barclays has since added Aeroplan as another airline transfer partner. Cardholders can transfer miles from Barclays to Areoplan at a 1.7:1 ratio.
Global Entry Credit
Cardholders are eligible for one Global Entry fee credit every five year. Global Entry normally costs $100.
LoungeKey membership lets you visit 800+ airport lounges around the world for $27 per visit.
Standard Travel Perks
You’ll get usual perks like baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, etc.
The Arrival Premier has a $150 annual fee and charges no annual fees.
Should You Get It?
First off, there is no sign-up bonus. That’s a huge drawback considering nearly every credit card offers a lucrative sign-up bonus. When it comes to earning points, you’ll essentially earn 3x miles per $1 on the first $25,000 per year, and then 2x miles per $1 after that (assuming you can spend $25,000 a year).
That’s a 2%-3% return when looking at it from a cash back perspective since you can redeem miles for 1 cent each. But you also have to factor in the $150 annual fee. You can get 2% cash back with the Citi Double Cash card without any annual fee. I can’t justify paying $150 for 1% extra cash back on $25,000 of spending.
Now to the transfer partners. While it’s nice to see Barclays finally allow mileage transfers, the ratios aren’t appealing at all. You get better transfer ratios (usually 1:1 or better) with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points, or Starwood Preferred Guest points. Barclays might have a couple unique partners, but any incremental benefit doesn’t appear worth the effort of shifting spending to this card.
Overall, I’d pass on the Arrival Premier. It has no sign-up bonus, it’s points earning structure is decent at best, the redemption options aren’t anything to get excited about, and it doesn’t have any compelling perks. The Global Entry credit is nice, but better cards also offer that perk. LoungeKey isnt appealing either since you still have to pay $27 every time you visit a lounge.