Barclays has introduced a new welcome bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard card good for 70,000 Arrival miles after $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. That’s worth $700 when redeemed for travel — combined with the 2x Arrival miles earned on purchases, you’d have enough for $800 total in travel redemptions after meeting the minimum spending, which is an excellent offer (and the best we’ve ever seen on this card).
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A welcome bonus of 70K Arrival miles is good for $700 worth of travel, and that can really come in handy for all of those ancillary expenses that can’t be covered with airline miles and hotel points and/or when awards are scarce or simply cheap enough that it makes more sense to pay.
As the $89 annual fee is waived for the first year, this is an opportunity to try before you buy — though the card doesn’t offer a compelling long-term value proposition since you can equal your return on a card with no annual fee like the Citi Double Cash or do even better with something like the Alliant Cashback Visa (which offers 3% back the first year and 2.5% in subsequent years with only a $59 annual fee) and not be tied to travel redemptions to get optimal value.
Still, Barclays is offering $700 in travel after making $5,000 in purchases here and that’s not something to ignore. Combined with 2 Arrival miles per dollar on all purchases (which can be redeemed at a value of $0.01 each toward travel), you’ll have enough for a total of $800 worth of travel when you’ve finished the minimum spend.
Furthermore, this card offers a 5% points rebate when you redeem for travel, so after redeeming for $800 worth of travel, you’d get 4,000 Arrival miles back. Of course, if you want to get $0.01 in value out of each of those miles, you’ll need to spend another $3,000 to earn an additional 6K Arrival miles since travel redemptions start at 10K Arrival miles. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with statement credit or gift card redemptions, which start at 5K miles for $25 (in other words, you’ll still have to spend more in order to use those 4K rebated points).
Unfortunately, it seems that Barclays is applying a 5/24 rule to this card similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule. That is to say that if you have opened 5 or more credit cards with any bank in the past 24 months, it is difficult to be approved. Also note that the application terms indicate that you may not be eligible for this offer if you have or have had an Arrival Plus card in the past. The language isn’t firm on that, so YMMV.
Overall, this card is well worth considering. It’s got no foreign transaction fees and had true Chip & PIN capability that comes in handy abroad for things like train kiosks (though Greg has written that Apple Pay / Google Pay can obviate the need for Chip & PIN in many instances). If you like to stay at AirBnB’s now and then or want to use points to cover your cruise, award fees, or flights where awards don’t make sense or aren’t available, a bonus like this can certainly come in handy. I think it’s weak in the face of Capital One’s recent decision to introduce transfer partners for the Venture and Spark Miles cards (and a better welcome offer on the Venture card), but it’s certainly stronger than the previous offer of 60K Arrival miles and will work for those who might not qualify for the new Capital One offers but can for this card or those who prefer a Mastercard.