Since the airlines began tightening up with their frequent flyer programs, the general travel reward cards have been filling in the gaps. A prime example of such a card is the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. The question of the hour though, is how does it stack up when you consider all of the other cards available on the market today? The hope is that a few things can be cleared up here and help you to make an informed decision before you sign on the dotted line so to speak.
To start with, while you may have seen a fee-based card advertised in the past, the reality is that there are two different versions of the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. One has no fee while the other has an annual fee of $89.00. When you look at the two cards, it’s easy to see why people might become confused since both versions of the card have the same exact name. it’s really unclear why Barclay’s did this. Perhaps the confusion was intentional, perhaps not, but in any case, unless you read the fine print carefully, you don’t really know which card you will end up with. Most card companies will differentiate between the two by adding a preferred or premier tagline to the card’s name but Barclay does not do this.
If you were to compare the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard to one of its competitors, say the Sapphire card, they stack up card for card pretty much the same until you get the section that deals with all other purchases. This is where the differences become important to the average card user, because all other purchases includes the purchases that people regularly make more than any other. In this area, the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard winds hands-down, no questions asked.
Now you have to look at the differences where the points awarded are concerned. You need to realize first that the reward points are not what are considered to be true frequent flyer miles, and the two cards, when considered together are basically the same for the no-fee card. The rewards points in this case are easier to think of as being a cash back reward even though they must be redeemed for travel and statement credits. They are equivalent to one cent per dollar spent.
When you take a look at the fee-based cards however, there are some significant differences between the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCardd and the Sapphire Preferred card besides the $89 and $95 respective annual fees.
- First of all, the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard will award you with 10% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel while the Sapphire card only offers you a 20% discount on travel that you book through their own travel website, Ultimate Rewards.
- Sapphire also offers you the option to convert your points to other frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs offered by Ultimate Rewards participants. This program allows the transfer of points on a one for one basis meaning that you might be able to stretch the value of the points to greater rewards. Since most hotel loyalty programs are primarily worth very little, it’s probably not a good idea of transferring your points to one of those. Which of course, on the surface beats the arrival card until you realize that it’s unlikely that the flyer miles from your airline are going to be worth 2.2 cents each, but you always get 2X miles when you use the Barclay’s Arrival card and when you add that to the 10% that they give you back, it beats the Sapphire card hands-down.
Other features associated with the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard include:
- Concierge service
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
- Roadside assistance (except for payment of the service)
- Secondary collision on eligible car rental
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Price protection
- Travel accident insurance
- Travel assistance service
Don’t forget now, that as with any other card and the services associated with that card, there are certain rules and restrictions that will apply in reference to each benefit so you need to consider each item individually, compare the rules and restrictions involved and decide as to whether or not the card fits your situation. Additionally, just because a card offers a particular benefit, does not mean that will ever actually use that benefit, so all of the bells and whistles that come with a card do not have the same value to everyone.
When it comes to good customer service, the other cards claim that they have it, but Barclay’s delivers, while others may claim that they have fast and friendly services, Barclay’s actually delivers on it though you do not see their advertising plastered with the fact that they do.
Unless you are on the lookout for a card that is a true frequent flyer card, the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is the card that you are looking for and it just comes down to a matter of choosing whether or not you want the non-fee-based card, or the better benefits with the one carrying the annual fee.
At the time of this writing, Barclay’s is offering 40,000 bonus points for users who purchase $1,000 in the first 90 days using the card. At this point, it is unclear how long the program will last since there has been no officially published end date for the promotion.
The added benefits that come with the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard:
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you purchase $1,000 in the first 90 days
- 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months then 14.99 to 18.99% based on creditworthiness
- 2X miles on all purchases
- No milegage caps and no foreign transaction fees when you use it
- 10% miles back when you use your miles for travel
- Use your miles for statement credit when you use the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard toward any airline purchase without worrying about seat restrictions and blackout dates.
- Redeem miles for statement credit toward flights, hotels, car rental, cruises and much more.
- Complimentary FICO scores to card members