Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
BARCLAYCARD OFFER REFERENCED BELOW IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
A consistent sign-up bonus for at least the last year or so has been the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and its 50,000 bonus miles worth $525 in travel awarded after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Now the terms of the offer state its a limited time offer and can be canceled at any time without notice, but once an offer has hung around for that long, it really starts to feel like a standard offer and not a temporary one.
Regardless, there is currently lots of internet smoke (here, here, here, and more) that this offer will imminently be dropping to a lower level, and I’ve learned that where there is enough smoke about this sort of thing, there is usually the truth. While I have not received any official word on this, I do expect this offer to drop in the first half of next week. So, in case you have been putting off paying attention to or applying for this card just because it was assumed the offer would be around “forever”, here’s a quick recap of how the card works and the current bonus.
The 50,000 bonus miles that you get after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days are worth one cent each towards travel. They aren’t really miles in the traditional sense, but rather they are fixed value points that you can use as a statement credit to offset travel charges of $100 or more on the card within 120 days of making a travel-related purchase. This means that a $175 airline ticket charged to the card would cost you 17,500 points to completely offset the charge.
When you redeem your miles, you get 5% of your miles back. In essence, this means they are really worth about 1.05 cents each when redeemed for travel. In the example above, you would get 875 of those redeemed 17,500 points back, for a total cost of 16,625 points for a $175 airline ticket.
Having points worth about 1.05 cents each towards travel may not sound overly impressive, but since the card earns 2x on all purchases, it is actually really solid for everyday spending. This is especially true if you don’t want to mess with using multiple different cards for different purchases, and you at least sometimes like to redeem your points for things like economy airline tickets or mid-range hotel rooms. This is not the card to focus on if you solely like to use your points for international first class travel or top-end hotel rooms since you would need a ton of points to offset high price tag travel expenses. That said, pretty much everyone could benefit from the $525 in travel available via the sign-up bonus.
One thing I like about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard beyond the 50,000 sign-up bonus points and 2x earnings are that it is a chip and signature + PIN card. This isn’t the same as a true chip and pin card, but the pin feature can still be very, very handy when you are traveling abroad. In my experience, it only defaults to the pin option when the signature option isn’t available at all, such as at kiosks, but has been enough to allow us to buy train tickets at unattended stations in Europe and Canada when our other non-PIN cards wouldn’t work. The card has no foreign transaction fees, so it is a no-brainer card to take along when you travel internationally.
There is also a Barclaycard Travel Community where you can share travel stories and earn free miles, which can be pretty handy. There is an $89 annual fee for the card, but it is waived the first year so really shouldn’t play too heavily into whether or not you go for the card before the bonus is expected to drop.
However, I will add that I have seen some reports that Barclaycard may have gotten a bit tighter on who can get approved for their cards, so if you have had the card recently or have many other cards that you have gotten in the last two years, just don’t get your feelings hurt if you aren’t able to pick up this one.
If you want to go for it, I would do it very soon in case it does as expected and drops its current 50,000 mile bonus to a lower level next week.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.