The new king of cash back cards is the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard, which offers 2.22% back on all purchases in the form of free travel. Beyond that world-beating rebate percentage on all spending, the sign up bonus is worth $444 in free travel, making this card a must-add to my next app-o-rama.
There are two reasons to get this card: 2.22% back on all purchases and a sign up bonus worth $444 in free travel. Let’s talk about them in turn.
2.22% Back on All Purchases
The rewards of the Arrival World MasterCard are simple. You earn two “miles” per dollar on all purchases. I put “miles” in quotation marks because these aren’t miles in any airline’s frequent flyer program. Each “mile” is worth one cent toward statement credits or 1.11 cents worth of travel.
The way to redeem these miles is to purchase travel–airfare, hotel, cruise, train, car rental, etc–with the card, then request a statement credit as a points redemption.
Example: You have 20,000 miles in your account. You use the credit card to purchase a $150 roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on any airline you want. You request to redeem your miles toward the purchase of that ticket in the form of a statement credit.
Barclay’s redeems 15,000 of your miles, and the $150 charge disappears. You got a free $150 flight for your 15,000 miles. In addition, of course, you will earn miles from flying a paid flight since the airline you are flying to Vegas was paid cash for your ticket!
Because of this redemption method, there are no blackout dates or capacity controls. You can redeem the miles for any seat, any time, on any airlines, to anywhere.
What I’ve described so far is only 2% back, but there’s another perk that takes the deal up to 2.22%. You can redeem your miles for statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per mile. If you redeem them for statement credits for travel, though, you get 10% of the redeemed miles back. Let’s go back to the same example we just looked at.
Example revisited: We redeemed 15,000 miles for a $150 flight. Since the redemption was for travel, we get 10% of the miles back. 1,500 miles will be redeposited into our account.
The net result is 13,500 miles gets a $150 ticket, or 1.11 cents of value per mile. Since we earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, this is like getting 2.22% back on all purchases that can be used for any type of travel.
How does 2.22% back on all purchases compare to other cards?
It is 11% better than any other cash back card I know of. I haven’t seen better than 2% back on all purchases.
It is better than almost all rewards cards. It’s a bit beyond the scope of this post, but the only cards with a better rebate percentage on non-bonus categories in my opinion are the Starwood Preferred Guest from American Express and the United Club Card because I value one SPG point and 1.5 United miles above 2.22 cents.
$444 in Free Travel
The card has recently increased its sign up bonus to 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of card membership.
Those 40,000 miles can be redeemed for $400 in free travel. And doing that will trigger a 10% rebate in points. You can use that 4,000 points for $40 more in free travel. Of course, you’d also get 400 points back, which is $4 more in travel, which means 40 points back, $0.40 in travel, 4 miles back…
The 10% rebate is an interesting lock-in feature from Barclay’s. I think they’re betting it will keep you using the card since you will have a hard time zeroing out your balance with the constant miles rebates. Whatever Barclay’s reasoning, I just love that the 10% rebate on travel redemptions increases the value of a miles from 1 cent to 1.11 cents.
Who Should Not Get This Card
Do not get this card if you want to collect miles to fly international first class exclusively. Paid international first class is exorbitantly expensive–think $10,000. A $10,000 ticket would cost 1,000,000 of these miles, which is far more than the number of traditional miles paid first class costs.
It’s always sad to tell Award Booking Service clients who have accumulate miles on a card like this one and want to fly up front that they don’t have enough miles.
Who Should Get This Card
This card is ideal for people who fly economy, families, domestic flyers, and points omnivores.
- Economy Flyers- If you mainly fly economy class, it’s hard to get even 1.5 cents of value per traditional mile. Most miles cards earn 1 mile per dollar, meaning they get economy flyers 1.5 cents of travel per dollar spent–if that! The Arrival World MasterCard gets economy flyers (and everyone else) 2.22 cents of travel per dollar spent.
- Families- Families have two things working against them. It’s tough to book four capacity-controlled award seats on the same flight, and they usually have little date flexibility since they want to travel over school breaks. The “miles” earned on the Arrival World MasterCard don’t require you to find award seats. They can be redeemed toward any travel purchase. A family can book four tickets to Disneyland and use their miles from this card to make that flight–whatever flight they want–free.
- Domestic Flyers- You’d have to spend $25,000 on a United, American, or Delta credit card AND find award space on the flights you want to get a domestic roundtrip. You’d have to spend far less on the Arrival World MasterCard, and you can book any flight you want.
- Points Omnivores- This is my category. I’ll collect any mile or point I can to get more travel. I collect other types to get into international first class. I’ll collect this type to fly to more mundane places in economy class. A dollar saved is still a dollar saved. Bonus for points omnivores: Barclay’s doesn’t have a ton of great rewards cards, so this the Barclay’s card I’ll be getting on my next app-o-rama.
Other Card Info
Here are the main things to know:
- 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
- 2 miles per dollar on all purchases
- Miles can book any travel any time from any company
- Redemptions for travel have a 10% rebate
- No foreign transaction fee
- Complimentary TripIt Pro membership ($49 annual value, Rookie Alli is a big fan of TripIt)
- No annual fee the first year, $89 thereafter
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is currently offering a sign up bonus worth $444 in free travel, plus the card earns 2.22% back toward travel on all spending!
This card is ideal for economy flyers, domestic flyers, families, and points omnivores. The card is also ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to search for award space. The miles earned from this card can be used on any airline for any flight. (And you’ll even earn miles on that flight!)
Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard