2/20/2014 Update: The terms of this offer were changed today. In order to earn the 40,000 bonus points, you must spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card.
Is Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for General Spending?
Over the last couple of months, my family has had a number of major expenses pop up some of which may resonate with you:
- the check engine light came on in my 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid: $5000 repair bill
- ditto for my husbands 2003 Volkswagen Passat: $3800
- my daughter got braces: $4650
- the heat pump finally gave out: $6995
Granted it is unusual to have so many large, chargeable expenses totaling $20,000 in a two month period. But it it is easy to anticipate similar health, home maintenance, and auto repair expenses over the course of a year.
In our case, the car mechanics, the orthodontist, and the HVAC installer all accepted credit cards for payment, but only MasterCard or Visa, not American Express. That mirrors my experience with other small business vendors where we have regular large expenditures, such as the dog kennel or the vet.
None of these household expenses are considered “bonus” categories with any credit card product that I am aware of. Except the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, that is.
(There is a Fidelity credit card that pays 2 times points, but it is an American Express card, which is not accepted everywhere. There is a Capital One Venture card that pays 2 times points; the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® effectively pays out 10 percent more than that — 2.2 percent.)
Earn 2.2 Points on All Charges, if Redeemed for Travel Expenses
It’s a bit redundant, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® — pays 2 times points on everything. There is no limit on the amount of points you can earn.
In my case outlined here, with $20,000 in expenses we could earn 4o,000 points. 40,000 points can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel expenses (the points are worth half that if redeemed for cash). You earn a ten percent bonus on redeemed points, so 4,000 points are redeposited in your account, worth another $40 toward travel expenses, for a total of $440. The ten percent bonus provides an incentive to keep using the card in order to redeem all your points.
How Much Travel Can You Buy for $440?
Exactly $440 dollars worth! Depending on your bargain hunting skill and preferences, you can use this money for budget hotels, rental cars, train tickets and airfare.
You can travel when you want, and where you want, without worrying about limited award availability or blackout dates.
What’s more, you will earn frequent flyer miles and loyalty program points on your purchases!
I was an early adopter of the Barclaycard Arrival — I received a targeted offer and opened the card a year ago. I have written about it on and off, but I wanted to share my experience with the card one year out.
By comparison, with a miles earning credit card, my recent charges would earn 20,000 miles — perhaps enough for a one-way ticket on Southwest Airlines or two roundtrip tickets on Amtrak, but hard to redeem for much else.
Get a Sign-Up Bonus Worth $440 Towards Travel
Some credit cards are good for everyday spend, others provide generous sign-up bonuses.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® does both!
Beyond the 2.2 percent payout rate for general expenses, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® offers an excellent signup bonus.
If you spend $3,000 within three months of opening the card, you get a bonus of 40,000 points, which can be redeemed for $400 worth of travel. Furthermore, you earn 10 percent back on all redemptions for travel expenses, meaning another 4,000 points are awarded, making the initial bonus worth more than $440.