Barclays Launches New Transferrable Miles Card, Earn Up To 3x Everywhere

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Remember that rumor about a coming new transferrable point credit card from Barclays? Well, this rumor turned out to be a fact and the card has now arrived! There are some good components to this brand new credit card, but don’t get too excited too quickly…

Earn up to 3x miles per dollar with new Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard

The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard earns 2x miles on every purchase. On top of that, you can trigger an up to a 25,000 mile annual loyalty bonus after spending $25,000 on purchases each year. This bonus has is awarded in two tiers, which is good for those who don’t spend enough to trigger the higher tier. If you spend $15,000 on the card in a year you get a 15,000 mile bonus. If you spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in that year you get an additional 10,000 mile bonus, for a total of 25,000 bonus miles for $25,000 in spending.

If you spend exactly $15,000 or $25,000 on the card each year, that essentially means you are earning 3x miles on your purchases, which is a very solid rate of return. I know that sounds like a lot of spending on one card each year, but to trigger the 15,000 miles bonus, that is an achievable average of $1,250 charged to the card each month. The Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard also provides for a $100 credit towards the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years.

Like its predecessor, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus Elite World Mastercard (that’s a mouthful), this card has a chip and PIN capability for use at self-service chip terminals around the world, which really is handy outside the United States. It also does not charge any foreign transaction fees.

Thus far I think that is all good news. Some not so good news is that there is no sign-up bonus and the card has a relatively high $150 annual fee.

Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard airline transfer partners

Now let’s talk about what you really want to know – who are the new airline transfer partners and at what rates will miles transfer? Previously, Barclays has not had any airline transfer partners the way that Chase, Citi, and Amex have had on their rewards cards, but that changes today with the Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard. The airline transfer partners are Air France, KLM, Aeromexico, Etihad, Qantas, China Eastern, Malaysia, JAL, and EVA Air. The transfer rates are sadly not 1:1, but instead are 1.4 Arrival miles = 1 mile with all of the airline transfer partners except Japan Airlines. Japan Airlines requires 1.7 Arrival miles = 1 Japan Airlines mile.

If you spent exactly $15,000 or $25,000 on the card to trigger the annual mileage bonuses, then your 3x miles per dollar earned would transfer to 2.142 miles per $1 spent with all of the transfer partners except JAL.

Having airline transfer partners is a good thing, but the transfer ratios are not 1:1, and I’m betting a very decent percentage of people reading this do not have frequent flyer accounts with any of those programs. So, while having these partners isn’t bad news, it also probably isn’t great news for most people who don’t like combing over lots of new award charts, dealing with fuel surcharges, and more. The glimmer of hope is that Gary Leff has some inside scoop, and says that more transfer partners are coming soon. For Barclay’s sake, I sure do hope at least one of those partners is a solid US-based program at a decent transfer ratio.

Redeem Arrival Miles for travel statement credits

You don’t have to transfer your Arrival miles to frequent flyer programs, you can use them in other ways, such as for travel statement credits starting at 10,000 miles = $100 towards a qualifying travel purchase made within the last 120 days. Eligible travel expenses include those made with airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries and your account annual fee.

Redeeming miles in that manner makes them worth a flat one cent each towards travel, but if you are earning three miles per dollar by spending exactly $15,000 or $25,000 annually, then that is still a three cent per dollar charged return, which is good. Additionally, I love the way that Barclays allows you to book travel how and when you want and then just offset the charge with a statement credit after the fact. This is far preferable to having to book travel through a specific website with more limited options the way that Chase, Citi, and others require.

Overal assessment of the new Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard

I was very excited by what this card may offer, but now that it is here, I’m thus far feeling a bit underwhelmed. This underwhelming feeling is because of the lack of a welcome bonus, the line-up of somewhat obscure airline transfer partners (for most US-based travelers), and the not-so-favorable transfer ratios.

On the plus side, the ability to earn 3x miles everywhere and then use those miles for travel statement credits is good. I’m not sure it is good enough to really get folks excited enough to sign-up for this card in droves, but if they at least tacked on a welcome bonus, it would likely get the attention of travelers like my parents who like to keep their rewards earning strategy pretty simple. They would enjoy the up to 3x earning and the ability to get travel statement credits, but they would not enjoy the $150 annual fee.

Be aware that the terms indicate you may not be eligible for this offer if you currently have or previously had an Arrival, Arrival Plus and/or Arrival Premier account. Your guess is as good as mine in terms of whether or not that term is really going to be enforced.

What are your initial thoughts on the Barclays Arrival Premier World Mastercard?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. No signup bonus and $150 annual fee? No 1:1 transfers? Several bloggers are saying “Spend exactly $25,000 on the card… ” So, if you you spend $25,001 you don’t get the bonus? Or is it spend AT LEAST $25,000? I’m sure all of us assume you are meaning AT LEAST when you say EXACTLY, but there’s a big difference between saying EXACTLY and saying AT LEAST when it comes to terminology.

    Already have 3 cards that come with Global Entry credit, so unless they come up with airline transfer partners that I can actually use, I’ll be sticking with CSR and CFU for points earning

    • No, you can spend $25,001 and trigger the bonus – what spend exactly $25,000 means is that once you spend more than that you are earning less than 3x per dollar spent. That’s fine, of course, but there are no additional incentives other than the built-in 2x above that threshold.

  2. It’s not really UP TO 3x, because those bonus points just get negated by the exorbitant annual fee, with no real benefits provided. And I can get better mileage earning out of SPG, with many more transfer partners.

    I’ll stick to my many 2x cashback cards (or 3x Discover) until they decide to re-polish this turd into something we would find useful.

  3. Let’s assume a conservative value of $0.02 per mile. $25,000 in spend on the card would get you a little over 53,500 miles, with a value of $1,070. Subtract out the $150 annual fee, and your net value is $920.

    But that same unbonused spend on the Chase Freedom Unlimited, and you will get 37,500 miles, worth $750 (no annual fee). So that is a $170 premium for nonbonus spend.

    The margins change if you value the miles more or less, but you will always come out ahead by putting $25,000 of unbonused spend on the Arrival Premier.

    Now, lets bring Plastique into the mix. They charge 2.5%, so on $25,000 of spend your cost would be $625. That’s a net of $295/year for the Arrival Plus, and you can generate points on spend that you otherwise wouldn’t charge. And can set this and forget, for things like mortgage, car payment, insurance, etc. You come out ahead if you value miles at more than $0.015. And of course, you can get much more value than that, depending on how you like to redeem.

    Amex Blue Business gets a better net return than Arrival Plus, But you won’t get Amex points for mortgage payments through Plastiq. So if you have a mortgage that is over $2,100/month, you’re “making money” if you pay that (or $2,100/month, if more) through Plastiq on the Arrival Plus. I think that is where the benefit is at with this card.

    • Why would you assume they are worth 2 cents per mile when they are only worth 1 cent per mile toward a statement credit or would need 1.4 miles to get only 1 airline mile that’s worth 1.5 cents?

      • My scenario assumed the airline miles are worth $0.02, not the Barclays points. If it was the latter, the value after the annual fee would have been $1350, not $1070. I typically won’t redeem points unless I’m getting that value. And as I noted, you break even if you value the airlines miles at $0.015 (they don’t actually have a “worth”–you get a cpp when you redeem, but there are other subjective factors such as whether you’d have paid cash, risk of devaluation, etc.).

        The Barclays card gets you 2.14 miles/dollar at $25k of onbonused spend. There is no other card that can match, regardless of how much you value the points. The Amex Blue Business comes closest at 2 miles/dollar. When you factor in the annual fee, you are better of with the Amex Blue Business.

        I could have been more clear in my point. The Barclays card is a Master Card. That is the only type of card where mortgage payments through Plastiq process as points earning transactions. Historically, there was no cost-effective way to generate points by paying your mortgage. Your options were a Citi card (1 point/dollar) or the “old” Barclaycard Arrival (effectively a $0.02/dollar travel credit). Neither of those came close to justifying the processing fee. So we were paying tens of thousands of dollars a year, but not getting any points on that spend.

        This card creates the ability to earn points on that spend. If you put $25k in Plastiq mortgage payments on the card, you’re effectively buying 53,500 miles for $775 ($150 annual fee + $625 in Plastiq fees), or $0.0145 cents each. Everyone has to decide how much they value those 53,500 miles to see if it makes sense of them. But the card creates an opportunity that did not exist before.

  4. One scenario this could be useful is in tax payments. I have a rather tax bill coming up. Sign up for one card (maybe another for the spouse) and pay 25000 in taxes on the card. That would earn you 75000 in points. Fees triggered are around 465 at 1.87% per transaction and 150 for having the card. That puts you up around 135 bucks calculating 1 cent per point. Just for paying your taxes. If you value miles instead of points at 2 cents a mile, you can be around 250 dollars per card (it really is an ugly tax bill) for paying your taxes.

    Am I missing something? Is it worth it? I’m not so sure.

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