Comparing Barclays Credit Card Offers
Barclaycard U.S., part of the U.K.-based Barclays portfolio, offers a range of competitive cards ideal for the world traveler. With PIN security technology, a rarity among major American-issued cards, and an industry-leading no foreign transaction fee offer, these cards can be great for foreign travel. Here, we look at:
- Best Barclays credit cards
- Barclays Arrival Plus vs. Barclays Arrival Premier
- What is Barclays?
- Barclays rewards program and best redemption options
- Other Barclays card benefits
Best Barclays credit cards of 2018
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
This card has an unusual twist in that rather than a sign-up bonus, you can 75,000 miles each year by spending $25,000 on purchases. Keep in mind that this is annual, not just for the first year. The structure is clearly intended to incentivize loyalty from heavy spenders.
Why we like this card – Enough can't be said about this travel card. Although the annual fee is steeper than others ($150, waived the first year), you will more than make up for it if you make the Barclays Arrival Premier your go-to card.
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®
No sign-up bonus, no ongoing rewards, but you'll still love this card for its no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee and 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers made within the first 45 days of opening your account. After that, a variable 13.74% APR will apply.
Why we like this card – The Barclaycard Ring is one of only a few cards with no balance transfer fee, although it's a little squirrely. Here's how it works: There are no balance transfer fees on any balance transfers that post to your account after 45 days of account opening. This can save you hundreds of dollars, depending on your balance. (If you post before, then it's $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.) Although you'll miss out on the 0% offer if you wait 45 days, this card's ongoing variable APR rate of 13.74% is something to appreciate.
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®
The Arrival Plus offers 2X miles on all purchases as well as a boosted 60,000 miles (this card has offered as low as 40,000 miles in the past) after a $5,000 spend within your first 90 days of opening your account and paying the annual fee. You also get 5% miles back toward your next redemption. There's an $89 annual fee.
Why we like this card – With 2X miles across the board, this card is outstanding for the traveler who doesn't want to think about the when, where and how much of spending. Also, with a lower annual fee, there is a lower threshold for when you begin to profit.
Barclays Arrival Plus vs. Barclay Arrival Premier
Here, we compare the Arrival Plus and Arrival Premier during the first and second years of card membership:
Comparison of Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier, first year...
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Ongoing rewards||Annual fee||Total end of first year|
|Arrival Plus||60,000 miles after $5,000 spend in the first 90 days = $600||$25,000 * 2X miles/dollar = $500||$89||$1,011|
|Arrival Premier||N/A||$25,000 * 2X miles/dollar + 25,000 miles loyalty bonus = $750||$150, waived first yr||$750|
Comparison of Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier, second year...
|Card||Ongoing rewards||Annual fee||Total end of second year|
|Arrival Plus||$25,000 * 2X miles/dollar = $500||$89||$411|
|Arrival Premier||$25,000 * 2X miles/dollar + 25,000 miles loyalty bonus = $750||$150||$600|
As you can see, the Arrival Plus fares better the first year, even with the annual fee, in part because you earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee.
Then, in the second year, you'll do better with the Arrival Premier because of the annual loyalty bonus, even with the $150 annual fee, if you spend $25,000 on purchases.
What is Barclays?
Banking giant Barclays is steeped in history with ties to dozens of banks throughout the last 325 years. The bank even has an extensive historical archive, with the oldest artifact dating back to 1567.
The U.K.-based company's cards are known for their travel-friendly features, such as chip and PIN capability, which allows you to use the card at automated travel kiosks, such as at train stations. This is a must for traveling in Europe, because a number of major American cards don't offer the PIN feature.
Barclaycard is also known for its no foreign transaction fees, and the Arrival Premier offers an automatic statement credit for Global Entry, perfect for the world traveler returning home.
Overview of their rewards program and best redemption options
The greatest feature of the Arrival Premier is the 75,000 miles after a $25,000 spend in a year. Here's how it works:
Arrival Premier rewards...
|Type of bonus||Annual spend||Miles earned||Cash value|
|Ongoing rewards||$25,000 (same spend as annual bonuses)||2X$25,000||$500|
|Total||$25,000 spend||75,000 miles||$750|
You can redeem your miles at 1 cent when you trigger a reimbursement through the Arrival Premier travel portal for any travel purchases you've made with the card. There's a 10,000-mile minimum, or $100. So, you can earn 3% cash back when redeeming for travel for your first $25,000 in spend, assuming you'll meet the threshold and trigger the bonus miles, according to TPG.
You can also redeem for cash back, merchandise and gift cards, although the redemption value can be as low as half a cent per mile, half what you get for travel redemption.
Other benefits of having Barclays cards
Even with its $150 annual fee, the Arrival Premier's benefits make it worth your while. Here's what it offers:
- Global Entry – Earn an automatic $100 statement credit for the cost of your Global Entry application. That means every time you renew your Global Entry (every 5 years), you earn back the fee.
- No foreign transaction fees – On purchases made outside the U.S.
- Loyalty programs – Transfer your miles to participating worldwide travel loyalty programs. According to The Points Guy, the transfer ratio for all of these programs is 1.4 Arrival Premier miles to 1 airline mile, with the exception of Japan Airlines, which is 1.7 to 1.
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- China Eastern
- EVA Air
- Japan Airlines (JAL)
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- LoungeKey – Pay-as-you-go access to over 800 airport lounges worldwide.
- Maximum global acceptance – Chip and PIN capability for use at self-service chip terminals around the world.
- Travel protections – Includes baggage delay, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation and interruption and auto rental collision damage waiver.
- Access to the Barclays Travel Community – Rewards members with miles when they share their personal travel stories.