Barclays Credit Cards

Barclay Arrival Plus vs. Arrival Premier: Which Card Should You Get?

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):

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • China Eastern
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airlines (JAL)
  • Jet Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas

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?

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11 Comments

  1. Ariana, I have the Arrival Plus and it has been my goto card way more than any other. However, with a loss of bonus through Yazing and TCB my spending as been down. I plan to go to the Premier card because it will offer an outsized benefit with the airlines that it partners with. While those are not the mainstream airlines I use, they do offer a benefit the Plus card does not have.

    • There are a couple of options for recouping your fees: 1.) Keep buying MC gift cards. Yes, you’re limited in how many you can liquidate these, but every bit of savings helps. 2.) Look for office supply store promos. Sometimes you get as much as $15 off $300 cards with $8.95 fees. 3.) Work in apps like iBotta, which gives you $0.25 – $0.50 back on receipt uploads. Not ideal and probably just a small drop in the bucket, but every bit helps. 4.) Look for promos at grocery stores. They frequently run gas rewards promos, which is another nice way to save on Visa gc’s purchases.

  2. Arrival Plus annual fee is $89 not $95

  3. I don’t know why the blogger world hates on the Arrival Premier so much. Yes, it would be nice to get a bonus, but long term (ESPECIALLY now that there’s no annual fee the first year), MS’ing just became more lucrative.

    I wish I didn’t have to MS so much on my Arrival+ as of lately; I’d love to pick up the Premier. I’ve done about $200k on my Arrival+ since October, and I don’t want eyes on my account…

    • I agree – the no sign-up bonus sucks but you really can’t beat 3x on the first $25k. It’s like getting a sign-up bonus every year. “I wish I didn’t have to ms so much” – there are a lot of people who wish they had this problem. 😉

  4. Can you get this if you have the no-fee version or you have to close all arrivals before applying for either? If yes, what’s the timeframe to wait between closing and applying?

  5. With the $600 sign up bonus it would take into year 4 to make up the difference with the Arrival Premier ($189 difference on first 25K in spend). That doesn’t include the 5% redemption bonus either. I don’t see how the Premier would be the better option for anyone. It it was a bonus every 25K in spend and not only the first 25K I could see it but since it is capped every year it doesn’t make sense to me.

  6. Kimberly Busch

    Any idea if Yazing or Top Cashback is reconsidering the Visa Gift card? Or does this come from Visa/Blackhawk?

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