Friday, May 16, 2014

Barclays Arrival World Mastercard - Is it worth it?

Disclaimer: I receive a referral commission for the following link(s) and I greatly appreciate supporting the site: Barclay's Arrival World Mastercard

Update: This card has been renamed the Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

Until recently, The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® had little utility for me.  The card has a great sign up bonus, which is equivalent to $440 towards travel.  Outside of the bonus, I saw no purpose. However, I think the card may be making a big comeback in my book.

Basics of the card

1)  2 points for every $1 you spend.  You can redeem points for travel purchases at the rate of $0.01 per point.  For example, if you have 40,000 points (the sign up bonus) and you spend $400 on travel related purchases, you can request a statement credit of $400.

2) When you redeem the points for travel, you will also get a 10% refund on your points.  In our scenario, you will get 4,000 points added to your account.  This is why the sign up bonus of 40,000 points is equivalent to $440 towards travel, not $400.  This means you are getting 2.2% cashback towards travel for every purchase

3) Redeeming points for non travel will cut your redemption rate by more than half.  Instead of each point being redeemed for $0.01, they will be redeemed for $0.005.  In addition, you will not get the 10% bonus

4) $89 annual fee, which is waved the first year.

Barclays Arrival vs. Fidelity American Express

The Fidelity American Express card is my card of choice when there is no special category.  You get a flat 2% cashback on every purchases, with no limits and no annual fees.

You would need to spend ~$45,000 before the extra 0.2% would pay for the $89 annual fee.  No thanks, I'll stick with Fidelity for everyday purchases!

American Express Gift Cards and Rewards Boost Tips the Scales!

Like most Credit Card companies, Barclays has a shopping portal for get extra points called Rewards Boost.  Rewards Boost associated with the Arrival card has one deal different from the other cards, which changes all the calculations.

If you buy American Express Gift Cards through Rewards Boost associated with an Arrival card, you will get an additional 4 points per dollar.  Top Cashback "only"gives you 3% back.

Top Cashback + Fidelity American Express gives you 5% cashback (fees lower your overall cashback slightly)
Rewards Boost + Arrival gives 6% cashback, which is 6.6% when redeemed for travel.  A difference of over 1.5%.

If you buy 2 orders of American Express Gift Cards at the maximum $5,000 for each, you will receive an additional $160 by using the Barclays Arrival, making the annual fee quite worthwhile.  Do it a few more times and you might be able to retire ;)

Keep in mind that the Rewards Boost may increase or decrease its current payment (more likely to decrease than increase), but it has been steady for some time now so if you don't have the card, now may be the time to think about getting it.

Here is the link for signing up for Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®