The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® from Barclays – 40k bonus + 2.1%
Bonus Offer: 40,000 points upon spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
Ongoing Points: 2 points for each dollar spent on the card plus a rebate of 5% back on points usage. Net result is a benefit equal to 2.1% of spending.
Fee: $89 Annual Fee (waived first year)
Point Value: Each point is basically worth 1 cent toward any travel charged to the card. It doesn’t have to be booked through their service, so buy that discount airline flight, stay in that B&B, whatever, and then choose to have your points applied to that item on your statement. Note that there is a 90 day window to apply the points.
Card Type: World Mastercard Elite
No foreign transaction fees!
Catches: Barclays sometimes approves you for an inferior card, though in this case, the bonus and key benefits don’t change, only a downgrade from a “World Elite” to a “World” or “Platinum” card.
Comparisons: The most direct competitor to this card is the Capital One Venture Rewards. The benefit of the Barclays card is that it gives an extra 0.1% in the form of a rebate vs. the Venture card that only gives a flat 2 points per dollar. They both have no foreign transaction fees. The key benefits of the Capital One card is that the annual fee is $30 lower, it is a Visa (slightly better global acceptance than MC) and that it also have a business version (the Spark). At $30,000 of spending the 0.1% is worth more than the extra $30 of fee. For travelers, the Barclays card also has Chip + Pin technology making it easy to use at automated vending machines (such as when buying a train ticket) outside of the USA; as of July 2015, Capital One had an inferior chip technology.