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In early April, the new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® (see terms) was introduced. This is a card that many people were excited about, though once it was introduced, some of the details were disappointing.
The card has a $150 (waived first year) annual fee (), and doesn’t offer any sort of public welcome bonus at the moment (though it’s rumored that we will see one soon), and you can’t even upgrade from other Barclays products to this card.
The card does have a fairly rewarding points structure, as it offers 2x miles on all purchases with no caps, and on top of that offers some spend bonuses:
- Spend $15,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 15,000 bonus miles
- Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 10,000 bonus miles
Each point can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, though what makes this card unique is that they also introduced airline mileage transfers with this card. This is where many of us ended up being disappointing. I think we were hoping (perhaps optimistically) for 1:1 transfer ratios, but instead we got the following ratios for their nine airline partners:
|Arrival Premier Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
(Premier Points : Partner Points)
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1.7 : 1|
|Air France / KLM Flying Blue||1.4 : 1|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1.4 : 1|
|China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles||1.4 : 1|
|Etihad Guest||1.4 : 1|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1.4 : 1|
|JAL Mileage Bank||1.7 : 1|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||1.4 : 1|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1.4 : 1|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1.4 : 1|
Well, they’ve just added an additional transfer partner. You can now transfer Barclays Arrival Premier miles to Aeroplan at a 1.7:1 ratio. While it’s cool to see an additional partner added, that’s not a very lucrative transfer ratio at all. Most transfer ratios are 1.4:1, and up until now the only partner that had a worse ratio is JAL Mileage Bank. Unfortunately Aeroplan now matches JAL for having the worst transfer ratio. Earning 0.58 Aeroplan miles per Barclays mile really isn’t very good. Put another way, you’re earning 1.16 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent, based on earning 2x miles per dollar spent. Or you’re earning 1.74 Aeroplan miles per dollar spent for the first $25,000 spent, when you factor in those bonuses.
Given that Amex Membership Rewards is also an Aeroplan partner, and you can earn 1.5-2x points per dollar spent with them in non-bonused categories, it’s had to imagine a circumstance under which this would be a good way to earn Aeroplan miles.
So more options are good, but this doesn’t really change my thoughts on the card.
(Tip of the hat to DansDeals)