After a brief hiatus, the Barclay Arrival Plus Card is back! Barclay removed the card from their line-up a few months ago – probably to give the Barclay Arrival Premier Card more attention. I know some folks weren’t happy with the higher annual fee on the Barclay Arrival Premier card, so the fact that the Barclay Arrival Plus is once again available will be welcome news. Personally? My vote goes to the Barclay Arrival Premier card, due to the higher earning rate on the first $25,000 spent. If you’re trying to decide between these two cards, be sure to read my Barclay Arrival Premier Card review. Or see below for my comparison:
Barclay Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Sign-up Bonus
The primary difference between the Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier is the sign-up bonus. The Arrival Plus card offers 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases. The Arrival Premier, on the other hand, has no sign-up bonus…
Barclay Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Earning Miles
While the Barclay Arrival Premier has no sign-up bonus, it does offer a lucrative spending bonus every year. Cardholders earn 2x miles per $1 spent on everything – just like the Arrival Plus card. In addition, Arrival Premier cardholders also earn up to 25,000 bonus miles for doing the following:
- Spend $15,000 on purchases, get 15,000 miles
- Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases, get an additional 10,000 miles
That’s pretty lucrative if you’re a big spender, since it essentially generates the equivalent of 3% travel cash on the first $25,000 spent. Considering that’s closer to what the average consumer spends every year, it’s a nice way to get rewarded. Every year.
Barclay Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Annual Fee
All of those extra miles from the Barclay Arrival Premier come at a cost. The card has a $150 annual fee, while the Arrival Plus Card’s annual fee is lower at $89. It’s worth nothing, however, that the annual fee on the Arrival Premier card is waived the first year.
Barclay Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Mileage Redemption Discount
One of my favorite features about the Barclay Arrival Plus Card was the 5% travel redemption rebate. Redeem your miles for travel and get 5% of them back. That can add up to a lot if you’re earning and redeeming tons of miles, which you really should be, if you have this card. Back when I had a Barclay Arrival Plus Card, I treated it like my travel piggy bank. Any travel expenses I couldn’t cover with miles, I would use Arrival miles for. There is a $100 redemption minimum, but considering I was using it for airline fees and taxes, to save on hotel bookings, and airline tickets, it worked out pretty well.
There are definitely times when redeeming Arrival Miles makes more sense than redeeming hotel points or airline miles.
Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Travel Perks
Another advantage the Arrival Premier has over the Arrival Plus: A $100 Global Entry fee credit every five years. That makes the $150 annual fee a little more palatable. Cardholders also get access to over 850 airport lounges via Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by Lounge Key. This entitles you to lounge access for a $27 fee. Not ideal, but also not bad considering some lounges charge $50+ for access.
On the redemption front, it’s also worth noting that the Barclay Arrival Premier card allows you to transfer miles to nine transfer partners at a 1.4:1 ratio (1.7:1 for JAL):
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- China Eastern
- EVA Air
- Japan Airlines (JAL)
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
This could be pretty lucrative if you get in on those KLM/Flying Blue promo awards. JAL has some great redemption rates on premium cabin flights, so transferring Arrival Miles to JAL could absolutely be worthwhile.
Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Final Thoughts
If you’re trying to decide between the Arrival Plus and Arrival Premier card, the “best” option is really the one that fits best with your spending/redemption habits. Because $25,000 worth of spending is a breeze for me, I’d go for the Arrival Premier Card. The annual fee is $61 higher, but considering the $100 global entry year and the waived annual fee the first year, I’m ok with the higher cost. Choosing the Arrival Premier over the Arrival Plus does mean giving up the 5% travel redemption bonus. But I think the 25,000 mile spending bonus is a fair trade-off.
If you’d rather save cash and get a card with a sign-up bonus, then I’d recommend the Arrival Plus card. It does have a sign-up bonus that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to earn and a lower recurring annual fee. Regardless, I think both cards provide value if you’re looking for a flexible rewards card with a reasonable annual fee.
Note, I do have an affiliate relationship with Barclay and will get a commission if you sign up for either card with my link. This does not influence my recommendation of either card, as I’ve been writing writing about and recommending both cards long before my affiliate relationship. I appreciate your support, regardless of whether you choose to use my link or not.
Which of these cards do you prefer?