It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard. And yet… I’ve never really put together a comprehensive review of this card. Today, I’ve decided to spend a bit of time rectifying that.
Before we go any further, I should note that there are two versions of this card. The version that I prefer — and carry in my wallet — has an $89 annual fee (waived for the 1st year). The other version has no annual fee. I’ll mention both, of course, but will focus primarily on the former.
Why focus on a card with an annual fee? Well, the additional benefits associated with this card (detailed below) are more than enough to justify the fee once it eventually kicks in. Not only that, but it comes with a huge signup bonus.
In short, I consider the Arrival card to be one of the best general-use cash back credit cards on the market. Yes, I know that it’s technically considered a travel rewards card — in fact, Money Magazine named it the “Best Travel Rewards” card of the year — but it’s really much more useful than that.
I’ll dig into this more below, but first… Let’s talk about the signup bonus.
The signup bonus
When you apply for this card, you’ll get 40k bonus points (20k for the no-fee version). When redeemed against travel, this is the equivalent of $444 cash thanks to a 10% redemption bonus. To get the bonus points, you just have to spend $1k with the card within the first 90 days.
And yes, this offer is legit. I applied for the card myself earlier this year, met the spending requirements, and had no problem getting (and redeeming) the bonus points. Details can be found here if you’re curious.
It’s also worth noting that the signup bonus offsets nearly five years of the annual fee (once the fee kicks in). And if you decide you don’t like the card, you can cancel before the end of the first year and keep the bonus without paying any fees.
Cash back rewards
In addition to the generous signup bonus, this card also provides the equivalent of 2.2% cash back on all purchases. It works like this…
Whenever you use the card, you’ll get 2 points per dollar spent. Then, when you redeem against travel expenditures, you’ll get $0.01/point plus you’ll get 10% of your points back for future use.
The no-fee version also offers cash back rewards, though it only give you the double points on travel-related purchases, with 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Free credit score
I’ve mentioned this previously, but a really nice (and new) feature of this card is that it now offers free access to your real, TransUnion-based FICO credit score.
Alongside your score, you’ll get feedback on the primary factors that are holding it back. And you can also have the system e-mail you whenever your score changes.
Like most credit cards, the Arrival card offers things like rental car insurance, purchase protection, no foreign transaction fees (great for foreign travel), and a rather generous price protection policy.
With respect to the latter, you can get a refund of up to $250 when you see a lower advertised price anytime within the next 120 days after using the card to make a purchase. This is the longest time window for price matching that I’ve seen.
And for the travelers out there, you’ll also get a free TripIt Pro subscription to help manage your itineraries on the go. This service, which is excellent, normally costs $49/year. This benefit is not available with the no-fee version of the card.