When Barclaycard first introduced their Arrival Plus card, it was pretty exciting. At the time, it offered 2 points per dollar for all spend plus a 10% rebate on all points redeemed. The card offered an effective return of 2.22% back on all purchases, as long as points were redeemed for travel. Since then, the Arrival Plus has devalued a bit. The 10% rebate has been lowered to 5% and the minimum redemption amount was increased from $25 to $100. It’s not nearly as great as it was (that $100 minimum is particularly galling), but its still a solid card with very few competitors that can meet or beat its earning rate.
So, I was excited to see that Barclaycard was introducing a new card: CashForward. Is it as groundbreaking as the Arrival Plus was? Quick answer: No. Not even close.
- Earn 1.5% cash back for all purchases
- Get a 5% rebate when you redeem rewards. This makes the CashForward effectively a 1.575% cash back card.
- Redemptions start at $50
0% intro APR for the first 12 monthsSee our Best Offers page for details on the current offer.
- $0 Annual Fee
- 3% Foreign transaction fee (ouch!)
Why this card is a loser
Sorry Barclaycard, but consumers who want cash back with no annual fee can do far better.
2% cash back alternatives
Why earn 1.575% cash back when you can earn 2% cash back? Both Citibank and Fidelity offer 2% cash back cards with no annual fee:
- Citi Double Cash Card: 1% cash back when you make a purchase + 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases. No annual fee.
- Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express: Earn 2 points per dollar for all purchases. With an accompanying Fidelity account, redeem points for 1 cent each. No annual fee.
1.5% cash back alternatives that can return much more than 1.5% cash back
There are a couple of noteworthy cards with the same base earning rate as the CashForward card, but each has potential to earn much more (and each has no foreign transaction fees!):
- Discover It Miles: Earn 1.5 “miles” per dollar. Miles are worth 1 cent each, so this is effectively a 1.5% cash back card. Even better, all rewards are doubled in the first year (so, you can think of it as a 3% cash back card for the first year). No foreign transaction fees. Free in-flight wifi (up to $30 per year). No annual fee.
- Bank of America Travel Rewards: Earn 1.5 points per dollar. Points are worth 1 cent each towards travel. Bank of America banking customers can earn a relationship bonus from 10% to 75%, depending upon the size of the relationship. At the high end, the card can earn 2.625% back for all spend. More details can be found here. Pair with the Fidelity Investment Rewards card and a Fidelity account in order to redeem points for cash back. No foreign transaction fees. No annual fee.
Sadly, the new CashForward card isn’t too exciting. It’s not a terrible card, but there are plenty of better options. Keep in mind, though, that the Arrival card comes in two flavors: Arrival and Arrival Plus. It was the Plus version that was exciting. Will Barclaycard introduce a Plus version of the CashForward?