Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review

Updated: May 17, 2022
Updated: May 17, 2022

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As card issuers eagerly compete to lure in new cardholders, loyal customers seem to get the short shrift these days. Credit cards frequently dangle generous sign-up bonuses in front of customers with excellent credit scores, hoping to draw in this most valuable customer segment. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of an incentive for cardholders to stick around in the long term rather than pursuing the next card with a giant sign-up bonus.

Barclays is turning the tide with its latest card release. The new Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard awards 25,000 bonus miles every year to customers who meet a $25,000 spending threshold. Cardholders who prefer a long-term relationship with their credit cards may finally have a card that appreciates them.

Rewards for loyal cardholders

The Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard doesn’t offer any sign-up bonus at all. Instead, it offers up to 25,000 miles at the end of each year – 15,000 miles when you spend $15,000 on the card, and an additional 10,000 miles once you spend an additional $10,000. In the short term, it doesn’t compare to the 50,000-point bonuses that similar cards offer to new customers, but, by the third year, the Arrival Premier card can surpass the value of its competitors. 

2X miles per dollar on every purchase

In addition to a generous relationship bonus, the card offers a very high rate of two miles per dollar on every purchase. If you factor in the 25,000-mile bonus, essentially you earn 3 miles for every dollar that you spend on your first $25,000 in purchases each year, as long you meet the threshold. For a simple, flat-rate travel card, this is an outstanding rewards rate, amounting to $750 in travel each year.

High annual fee

Unfortunately, the Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard features an exceptionally high annual fee – much higher than similar cards in its class. The card charges $150 per year for card membership. For a similar set of features, most of its competitors charge $95 per year. Before you get too dazzled by the rewards on the Arrival Premier card, you’ll need to subtract the fee out of your potential earnings.

At the least, the fee is waived the first year, giving you a chance to try out the card to see if it’s right for you.

Premium credit card perks

The Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard comes with a host of premium travel perks which – though slightly better than similar premium travel cards – aren’t quite enough to justify a higher annual fee. In addition to the usual purchase and travel protections (e.g., car rental, trip cancellation and baggage delay insurance), the card offers a $100 credit every five years for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and discounted lounge access through its Mastercard Airport Experiences program.

On the plus side, Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard is a great option for traveling abroad – it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, and it includes both an EMV chip and a PIN, which is sometimes required for making transactions in European countries.

Limited list of travel partners

The Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard joins the ranks of cards that allow you to transfer miles to outside travel partners. But don’t get too excited by this news – the card has a very modest list of partners, and the transfer ratio is poor (1.4:1 for most partners). Clearly, the Arrival Premier card is designed for cardholders who want simple redemption options rather than travel card enthusiasts who want to maximize the value of their points by transferring them to outside loyalty programs.

However, the feature is a nice-to-have if you happen to be a member of one of the following loyalty programs and need to top off the balance on your account:

Barclays travel partners

Program NameTransfer Ratio
Air France/KLM1.4:1
Aeromexico Club Premier1.4:1
China Eastern Airlines1.4:1
Etihad Guest1.4:1
EVA Air Infinity1.4:1
JAL Mileage Bank1.7:1
Jet Airways1.4:1
Malaysia Airlines1.4:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer1.4:1

Best for big spenders and long-term cardholders

If you’re wondering at this point whether the Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard is the right option for you, we’ll spell it out for you: If you are a cardholder who values simplicity, wants to do all your spending on one card, spends a larger than average amount on credit cards and plans to keep the card over a long period, the Arrival Premier card could be your best option.

That said, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently offering a 75,000-mile sign-up bonus when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months, along with two miles on every dollar that you spend, all for a $95 annual fee. As you can see from the calculations below, even if you meet the $25,000 spending threshold, the Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard falls short of the Capital One Venture card two years on (not accounting for the difference in annual fees):

Miles earned over two years ($25,000 annual spend)

Capital One VentureBarclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard
2 years x (2 miles x $25,000) + 75,000-mile sign-up bonus = 175,000 miles2 years x (2 miles x $25,000 + 25,000 bonus miles) = 150,000 miles

Of course, $25,000 is a pretty lofty threshold to meet each year. By our estimates, the average cardholder spends closer to $15,900 on a single card each year. At a $15,900 annual spend, you would need to stick with the Arrival Premier card for at least four years to match the Capital One Venture card’s value:

Miles earned over four years ($15,900 annual spend)

Capital One VentureBarclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard
4 years x (2 miles x $15,900) + 75,000-mile sign-up bonus = 202,200 miles4 years x (2 miles x $15,900 + 15,000 bonus miles) = 187,200 miles

In other words, if you don’t use the card for at least four years, the Capital One Venture card or a similar flat-rate card with a large sign-up bonus may be the better way to go.

Why get the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard:

  • You want a simple rewards card that earns miles at a very high rate.
  • You’re looking for a card with very flexible redemption options.
  • You tend to stay loyal to one card over the long term rather than switching cards often.
  • You prefer to put all your spending on a single card.
  • You can spend $2,000 per month (around $25,000 per year) on a single card.
  • You want a card that you can use in foreign countries where PINs are required for some credit card transactions. 

How to use the Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard:

  • Stick to redeeming your miles for travel rewards, which are the most valuable redemption option.
  • Use this as your go-to card for every purchase, since it earns a very high rewards rate.
  • Spend at least $25,000 on the card each year to earn the full bonus.

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