Review: The New Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard (With Airline Transfer Partners!)

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Update: This offer for Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


For a while we’ve been hearing rumors about Barclays introducing a new premium credit card, one that will possibly have airline transfer partners as well. The card is being unveiled today, so we now have full details of the new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® (see terms). It’s very interesting, as Barclays is creating their own transferable points currency.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®:

Barclays Arrival Premier annual fee

The Barclays Arrival Premier has a annual fee, .

Barclays Arrival Premier welcome bonus & eligibility

The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® doesn’t have a welcome bonus. That’s in stark contrast to many other premium credit cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Citi Premier℠ Card), which have big sign-up bonuses to lure in new customers. My guess is that they’ll eventually be forced to offer some sort of a bonus, as is the industry standard.

Barclays Arrival Premier return on spend

The card offers 2x miles on all purchases with no caps, much like the Arrival Plus has. On top of that, it 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

In other words, spending $25,000 on the card in a year earns 25,000 bonus miles, for a total of 75,000 miles, or 3x miles per dollar spent. That assumes you hit certain spend thresholds, of course.

Each point can be redeemed for one cent towards a statement credit for a travel purchase, meaning that this card offers the equivalent of 2% cash back towards travel, or for the first $25,000 of spend you’re really earning the equivalent of up to 3% cash back towards travel. The annual fee on the card takes away some of the upside there, though.

Barclays Arrival Premier mileage transfer partners

Here’s the biggest development of this card, in my opinion. The Barclays Arrival Premier will have airline mileage transfer partners, allowing you to transfer points from what’s traditionally a revenue based currency into a fixed mileage program.

To start, the Barclays Arrival Premier will have nine airline transfer partners, though they say that they’ll be adding more soon. Here are the current transfer partners, and the transfer ratios:

Arrival Premier Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
(Premier Points : Partner Points)
Air Canada Aeroplan1.7 : 1
Air France / KLM Flying Blue1.4 : 1
Aeromexico Club Premier 1.4 : 1
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles1.4 : 1
Etihad Guest1.4 : 1
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1.4 : 1
JAL Mileage Bank1.7 : 1
Jet Airways JetPrivilege1.4 : 1
Malaysia Airlines Enrich1.4 : 1
Qantas Frequent Flyer1.4 : 1

Of course I was hoping transfers would be 1:1, though perhaps that was too good to be true. Instead we’re seeing transfer ratios of 1:1.4-1.7. We’re seeing some programs that also partner with other transferable points currencies, like Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Etihad Guest. However, we’re also seeing some unique (and potentially very valuable) partners, like Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Personally I don’t see much value in the other six programs, aside from some niche redemptions.

I’ll share more on my thoughts on the value proposition below.

One interesting thing I should mention is what a representative for the company told me when I asked about the ability to transfer miles to partner airlines:

While miles transfers are a useful benefit of the Arrival Premier card product, they are not one of the core card benefits. Barclays research found that consumers, and the target audience for this card, are looking for a card that makes it easy for them to earn and redeem points on purchases they’re already making. For these cardmembers, the travel statement credits are an ideal way to redeem their Arrival Premier miles. Miles transfer partners are offered as an additional perk and are ideal for those cardmembers who may need to bump their mileage supply with one of our partner airline programs. For these individuals, using Arrival Premier miles as a “top off” might be the best way for them to achieve a specific redemption goal.

While I can appreciate that not everyone wants to convert these Arrival miles into airline miles, I find it interesting that they go so far as to say that this isn’t one of the core perks of the card, and that this option is intended more to top off an account.

Barclays Arrival Premier perks

The Barclays Arrival Premier offers a few perks:

  • A $100 Global Entry fee credit every five years
  • A LoungeKey membership, though you’ll have to pay $27 per person per visit, so I wouldn’t view this as much of a benefit
  • No foreign transaction cards
  • International Chip & PIN
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits, including a concierge, extended warranty, price protection, and travel coverage

What do I make of the Barclays Arrival Premier Card?

This card is intriguing. For me what this boils down to is a card that has a $150 annual fee and offers:

  • Up to 3x “miles” on the first $25,000 spent per cardmember year
  • 2x “miles” on any remaining spend

On the most basic level, each mile is worth a penny towards the cost of a travel purchase, meaning that this card offers the equivalent of 2-3% back. That’s not terribly compelling for me, personally, since the card has a $150 annual fee. That means you’re getting slightly better than a 2% return if you’re a big spender, and I feel like you can do better than that with other cards.

What I’m much more intrigued by is the ability to convert these miles into airline miles. As you can see, for most programs the transfer ratio is 1.4 Arrival miles per airline mile (the except is JAL, which requires 1.7 Arrival miles per mile).

In other words, this card offers:

  • ~2.14 airline miles (with the exception of JAL) per dollar spent, for the first $25,000
  • ~1.43 airline miles (with the exception of JAL) per dollar spent, after the first $25,000

Interesting. I’d say this card has the potential to be compelling, though it’s not anything that’s offering unheard of value. For example:

This new card for Barclays is competitive with those cards, though I can’t say it’s necessarily better, especially given that it has the highest annual fee.

Bottom line

I have to commend Barclays on coming up with a new card that’s compelling and interesting. I love seeing the introduction of a new transferable points currency, and especially one with some unique partners. Of course I had hoped that we’d see a 1:1 transfer ratio, though I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this isn’t the case, given that the card offers at least double miles on all purchase.

Essentially this card offers 2-3% cash back towards travel, or ~1.43-2.14 airline miles per dollar spent (with the exception of JAL). If this card had a sign-up bonus I’d say it’s seriously worth considering, though without a sign-up bonus I think they might need a bit more to get people interested.

Personally I’d probably get this card if they added some more unique and compelling transfer partners. As of now I think Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards have better transfer partners, though if Barclays is able to add some additional partners, I could see myself getting a lot of value out of this card.

What do you make of the new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®?

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. such a joke. Easily the worst premium card on the market. Why would they bother if there is no sign up bonus? Do they really think people are stupid enough to get on-board?

  2. With no signup bonus and transfers that aren’t 1:1, I see absolutely no reason to get this card

  3. They mention the transfer programs to “top off” people’s accounts. How many people based in the US (assuming its US people eligible for this card) need to top off a foreign airline loyalty program. Most people will earn enough via AMEX/Chase/Citi and wouldnt need this to top off. I bet 90%+ of people in the US do not travel enough on those foreign airlines to need a top off.

    Stupid logic. They are trying to get people to redeem for statement credits and tossing them rehashed benefits like lounge access and Global Entry.

    when is someone going to step up with an interesting new premium offering? The new Hilton/AMEX premium card is close with Diamond membership, resort credits, hotel credits, etc. It is at least something a bit more unique.

  4. sorry, but I see nothing at all compelling about this card or program. The perks aren’t great. The transfer rates are poor. And no bonus. What’s the point? Who would bother to get this card when there are so many other players out there with much, much better benefits? You only get the bonus after spending $25K. Who’s spending that kind of money that isn’t already putting it on a card with much better benefits? They need to go back to the drawing board

  5. I agree with everyone else. A lack of a signup bonus would make most people pass (or at least it should).

  6. Lucky stop it …there’s little value in paying $150 for those jal miles, and most people don’t have good knowledge of the miles world to even be able to take advantage of the jal transfer….
    So for the 99 percent this card is an absolute waste of money, and not even worth the name “premier”
    Good luck Barclays …was getting my hopes up

  7. JAL is really the only compelling transfer partner to me. However, the lack of a signup bonus and 3x cap at $25k makes it hard for me to want to switch all my spend from MR/UR products.

  8. “Compelling and interesting”? Don’t know how you can say that with a straight face. I can’t think of a single person to whom I’d recommend this card.

  9. Its a huge miss. Not only would this card not get any spend if it were my wallet over the premiere cards I currently have but I would never even apply for it.

  10. Lucky your review is very charitable, but to me this seems like a grand nothing, and vastly inferior to the Chase Sapphire cards. A 1.4 to 1 transfer ratio also just isn’t competitive, not to mention, it has poor optics, coming across as a downgrade or loss of value when you transfer.
    Also, no US carriers are represented.

  11. I don’t mind the no sign up bonus. The annual bonus is compelling enough for high spenders. BUT, those transfer ratios are a non starter. I can get much better value with other products. This is DoA imo.

  12. Very disappointing offer. Barclays doesn’t even come close to competing with Chase, Citi or Amex. Let me know when they rethink this offer.

  13. Lucky, are you angling for a referral bonus? This card is awful in so many ways: no sign-up bonus, lousy transfer partners, lousy transfer rates, big spend requirements, big annual fee. Wow, listen to your followers on this one.

  14. I disagree with the majority of these comments. While no sign up bonus can be disappointing, sign up bonuses should not be the goal of a card. I don’t apply for cards that I know for a fact I will cancel in a year…what is the point? It’s like taking a job you hate just to make a good salary for 1 year and then quit. Maybe some people find that to be worth the hassle but I am in it for the long run and want to make the most out of my cards. That said, the card still leaves a lot to be desired…maybe if they got rid of the transfer partners and allowed lounge access without paying a fee? 3% back is nothing to complain about, but something about this card doesn’t have me sold. And no, it is not the lack of a sign up bonus.

  15. You call it ‘compelling’ 4 times. It’s not compelling, it’s embarrassing. Stop trying to make ‘compelling’ happen…it’s not going to happen!

  16. im with robert. There are valid criticisms , but lacking a one-time signup bonus is not one of them

  17. I too am terribly disappointed in the card almost line item by line item when reviewing the so-called perks. However, two things that it does bring (a new points xfer program – competition is good) and more importantly for those unable to get a CitiCard, offers another option for Mastercard.

  18. Is there an opportunity for existing Arrivals cardholders to transfer those points to airline partners if they also get the premium card (like Citi does for holders of both prestige/premier and like Chase does with its holders of both Freedom/Sapphire)?

  19. I just think it’s funny that people actually believed that the card might have a 1:1 transfer, as if any card would essentially give 2 miles per dollar on all spending.

  20. How ridiculous. Why would I go through all sorts of shenanigans to get 3X points that can then only be redeemed at 1.4:1? It’s easier just to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited to get 1.5X on everything and then redeem UR (at more partners, and better partners) at 1:1.

    Of course, most people with bank points cards don’t actually transfer points, but use them for statement credits or to purchase travel via the bank’s portal. We tend to forget that points aficionados like us are not the majority. Barclays is not marketing to us, but to people who will appreciate the ability to earn 3% cash back without too much difficulty. If this card doesn’t take off, it will be because of the lack of a sign-up bonus, not the poor transfer rates and opportunities.

  21. Just to follow up on the above: if you know you’ll spend $25k, then paying a $150 annual fee to get a $750 statement credit is a pretty good deal. Getting this card basically puts $600 in your pocket. If you’re someone who just doesn’t care about transferring points to partners, this is VERY compelling.

  22. @lucky: “The Amex Blue Business Plus Card does (up to 50K per year), and has no annual fee.”

    And a limit of $50k per year is not, by definition, all spending.

  23. @ Mike — And neither is this card. It doesn’t offer 2x miles on all spending, as it offers 3x miles on the first $25,000 of spending.

  24. @lucky: “And neither is this card. It doesn’t offer 2x miles on all spending, as it offers 3x miles on the first $25,000 of spending.”

    And after the first $25,000 is spent, then it reverts to 2x for all spending after that, which doesn’t happen with the Amex card either.

    Besides, none of this changes my opinion that asking for unlimited 2x earning with a 1:1 redemption was unrealistic in the first place.

  25. Of no interest at all. I don’t put $25,000 on one card. I put $25,000 (actually it doesn’t take that much) on several cards and get several enrollment bonuses worth a whole lot more.

  26. @snic I don’t think it’s so compelling, when spending a $25K on a Double Cash (or a similar 2% cash back card) puts $500 in your pocket, with considerably fewer strings. With the Arrival Premier, you have to spend $25K in order to net $600 towards travel (and travel only). Sure, that’s $100 more, but if you don’t get to $25K, then you’ve blown $150; and if you go over $25K, your rewards are more restrictive than they would be on a 2% cash back card. What is so compelling about the Arrival Premier when comparable, more flexible products exist?

  27. Oh man I was excited for a few hours there. I could see this being useful for people with somewhat unusual spending patterns that involve a lot of spending in categories other cards don’t bonus. But with the lackluster transfer partners and the bad transfer ratio (especially to JL), I can’t say I find this very interesting at all. Add Miles & More (at 1.4:1) and maaaayyyybe I’d think about it, but even then…. If you spend exactly $15k (or $25k) you’re getting 2.14 miles/dollar spent (1.76 for JL). Considering I am currently getting 3x on the vast majority of my spend with CSR, it seems like a tough sell.

    I have to say I find it bizarre that Barclays didn’t get *any* of their current credit card partners on board. Not only no LH or AA, but not even Hawaiian, Frontier, JetBlue, Choice, or Wyndham?

  28. While I’m as unimpressed with this card as everyone else is, and find Lucky’s soft treatment of it a bit credulous, I can see the thinnest of theoretical use cases, which is trying to accumulate miles as quickly as possible into one of the specific above programs, perhaps when shooting for a bananas premium class redemption. If you stop spending at $25K, then you probably earned more miles than you would have with any other card.

    As for the Blue Business Plus, since 2 points per dollar stops after accumulating 100,000 points (for $50K spent), you could still add the Arrival Premier, spend $25K, and earn another 53,571. Sure, $150 seems like a lot for that privilege, but maybe that’s worth it to take a shower at 35,000 feet or whatever.

    I really, really had to reach to find some kind of conceivable reason to ever use this card.

  29. Lucky, call it out for what this card is: AWFUL CARD. You don’t need the referral bonuses from signups. Actually try to help uninformed readers who read this blog for your advice.

  30. This is a Master Card, which means that mortgage payments through Plastiq will process as points earning transactions. 2.14 miles per dollar spent for $25k in spend can justify the Plastiq fee of 2.5%. You’re effectively buying 53,500 miles for $775 ($150 annual fee plus $625 in Plastiq fees) for $0.0145 each. Not great, but not bad for a category of unbonused spend that was previously impossible to generate points on in a cost effective manner outside of meeting a sign up bonus (spend that could be put elsewhere to get the bonus).

  31. Transfer speed will be interesting. It’s a major defect of Starwood to me. With thes ratios, if transfers are not instant, I see little appeal.

  32. @Hepworth
    That is exactly what I was thinking. I picked up the card and got instant approval.
    Value can be found in transferring those Barclay points to Qantas for redemption on Emirates for example. Business class roundtrip Europe to DXB for 100K miles is not too bad and based on your calculation that translates to $1450 for the ticket. Also, if you can use Plastiq for any business expenses, the fees are fully tax deductible which further sweetens the deal.

  33. Sorry lucky, the only thing “intriguing” about this card and Barclays is that they managed to get you to shill for it….

    Your credibility takes yet another terrible blow with this utter nonsense. What a shame. What’s next, you going to sing the praises of the now gutted IHG program too?

    DoC’s takedown infinitely more honest, perhaps because he doesn’t have to worry about “preserving” a nasty “relationship” with his Barclays handlers.

  34. Agree with others: not compelling. To hit the annual thresholds, I would have to divert spending from categories that are already bonused as much or more on other cards (groceries, gas, travel) only to have the points I earned convert at a lower rate. No point, especially with no sign-up bonus.

    I do see the point that the Barclays rep made about people not wanting to transfer. Remember, those of us reading this blog are in a bit of an echo chamber – we are more passionate and informed about this than the average traveler. We likely not a huge part of the market nor are we the target market. That’s a good thing – if everyone pursued points and miles as doggedly as the audience of this and similar blogs, the benefits of our methods would be reduced eventually by the card companies and travels partners as it would be uneconomical to continue as-is. Let Barclays target and keep happy the average traveling public so we can continue to have our points and miles opportunities!

  35. @Lars

    I’m thinking along both your and Hepworth’s lines. Particularly interested in your instant approval. I’ve had trouble with Barclays denying me on the Arrivals card – “too many recently opened cc accounts in the last year.” My question – will Barclays relax their criteria to approve someone like me with an excellent credit score ~800, despite the recently opened accounts? Any data points about that happening on this or other newly issued Barclays cards?

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