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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. See Rates & Fees
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 Barclays 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 after the first year that offers a $0 introductory annual fee 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 that kicks in after the first year.
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.