Tag Archives for arrival.

DTMFA: Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Still a good card?

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So torn. Always kinda have been.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I’ve always wondered what it was, in the sense that it was a bit of an enigma.

In the crosshairs

In the crosshairs

I got this card in May 2013. The annual fee was waived for the 1st year.

I got a retention offer the 2nd year.

I just paid the $89 annual fee about a month ago. I want to cancel this card. But it has 1 good use left in it…

Is is worth it?

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Is the Fidelity Amex the best cashback card in the universe?



Sorry for the hyperbole slash clickbait-y title. I thought I was being on trend.

But seriously, I love this card. I’m close to being obsessed with it:

We all love our points and miles. But I’ve been reading about straight cashback cards for a sec now, and the poor Fidelity Amex always gets swept under the rug.

Well no longer. This card is a gem. It has so much going for it. And it might just be the ace in the back pocket of cashback cards, which by default makes it the best cashback card in the universe.

Let me extoll the ways

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Barclays Rewards Fan Zone: Earn 500+ FREE Arrival+ Miles

Barclays Arrival+

Barclays Arrival+

Note: this may be a targeted offer, but definitely worth it to see if it’s on your account. 

Barclays is now offering the “Rewards Fan Zone” where you can earn extra Arrival+ miles by completing various (easy) “activities”.

Rewards Fan Zone

To see if you’ve been targeted, simply check your Arrival+ card on the Barclays website. Here’s what showed up for me:

Barclays Arrival+ Rewards Fan Zone

Barclays Arrival+ Rewards Fan Zone

After you log in to the Barclays website, navigate over to the “Barclaycard extras” tab to see what shows up for you.

I was on the cusp of 5,000 Arrival+ miles, and the activities chosen for me to complete were enough to put me over the edge for my next $50 award redemption, with absolutely no spend required.

Rewards Fan Zone interface

Rewards Fan Zone interface

A couple of my tasks

A couple of my activities

As you can see, the activities are super easy to complete, and really only take a second or two per task:

My activities

My activities

It’s stuff like connecting your Barclaycard to social media, following them on Twitter, watching a short video, etc. The miles posted instantly, right after I completed each activity.

My Rewards Fan Zone activity

My Rewards Fan Zone activity

Bottom line

Nothing major, but you can get an extra few bucks worth of travel redemptions for clicking a few buttons.

If you’re on the cusp of your next award redemption, it’s totally worth it to check to see if you’re targeted for this.

More than anything, I’m glad Barclays is continuing to offer enhancements on the Arrival+ cards like:

I’m curious to see what else they continue to roll out for this card and for the new Rewards Fan Zone to make it competitive within the rewards card industry. That curiosity has been my biggest driver for keeping this card as long as I have (along with a great retention offer).

Kudos to Barclays for continuing to innovate in a crowded market, even if it is only for a few extra hundred miles. I’m looking forward to seeing what they roll out next.

Was anyone else targeted for this? Are your offers better than mine? Would love to hear if offers differ from what I’ve posted!

Confirmed: CVS accepts credit cards for PayPal My Cash reloads in NYC

I couldn’t wait until February to kick off Manufactured Spend Month: I just got back from CVS, where I successfully purchased two $500 PayPal My Cash reloads with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

New York can be kind of a barren wasteland for manufactured spending, but today it was a gold mine. It was like the Vanilla Reload days all over again.

I walked into a CVS in East Midtown in Manhattan. The gift cards were on an endcap, prominently displayed, near the registers. I immediately saw the bounty.

cvs paypal my cash credit cards

PayPal My Cash cards at CVS

I grabbed two of them and walked to the register – there was no line (the joy of shopping mid-day on a week day). I pulled out my license and credit card. The cashier looked at them and asked to see both. She didn’t say anything like, “Cash only,” or “We don’t accept credit cards,” which I was kinda bracing for. Whew.

She scanned the reload cards, then my license (because with activation fees, the transaction was over $1,000). I was a little worried that Barclays would flag the transaction like they did when I got my temporary REDbird card last month, but the little signature screen popped up, I signed, and all was good to go.

It was SO EASY and took all of a minute. I walked in, checked out, and was done. It was JUST LIKE Vanilla Reloads in every regard, including the loading up (which I will get to in a sec).

Then, in Brooklyn…

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My Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard Retention Offer

Also see: Rom’s Deals take on a retention offera credit card with text and images

Oh man, I have so much to tell you guys about. The trip to Paris, BA lie-flat biz class, and thoughts about Amex, interest charges, and assorted travel fun. But first things first.

The sitch

I think I mentioned that I bought a couple of Amex gift cards via the Barclaycard RewardsBoost portal before. Anyway, I did. I bought two for $1,000 each. The first time, I paid $8.95 in shipping and activation fees, while the second time, I didn’t (I signed up for a 90-day trial of the premium shipping plan). Before buying, I made sure to click through the RewardsBoost portal given by my Arrivalcard. Then I waited for 8 weeks.


I bought other things through the portal too, from J. Crew and Those all posted fine.

I am now well-dressed

I am now well-dressed

But I was still waiting on eight thousand points to post worth over $88 in travel redemptions (4x points x $2,000 of spend).

Then, somewhere along the line, I got hit with the $89 annual fee and was sent a new Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

The “in”

After 8 weeks passed, I gave ol’ Barclays a WTF call. 8,000 points isn’t a ton of points, but it also ain’t nothin’. I gave them my Amex order numbers and the exact amounts of the purchases. They’ve promised to post the missing points in the next 7-10 days.

Then, right after, I mentioned how the annual fee had just hit and asked if there was any way I could continue evaluating the card fee-free due to the recent error and subsequent over-two-month wait in getting points posted.

At that point, I was transferred to a manager.

I explained that I’d been waiting for over 8 weeks on some points, had just received a new World Elite MasterCard, and was still a little on the fence about where to direct the bulk of my spend. I mentioned using the card recently on a trip to Paris, and how I would’ve normally given that spend to Chase instead.

The agent reviewed my account, reviewed my recent spend, and then really impressed me. She waived the $89 annual fee, said she’d personally follow up on the missing 8K points, and gave me an additional 5,000 points for the trouble. I had a moment where I was so impressed with the customer service that all I could say was “Wow.”

Why I think I was offered this

The “in” was the trouble with the portal points posting. BUT, I have been using the Arrivalcard for regular spend. Barclays is a bank that really values engagement with their products. I’ve had a card with them for over 7 years now (the ill-fated Icelandair MasterCard), and made sure to ramp up the spending on the Arrivalcard to demonstrate my willingness to have a banking relationship with them. Their motto is very literally “show me the money.”

Knowing this, I also think they would’ve said they couldn’t waive the fee had I not spent anything on the card in the previous six months. The points trouble was my “in” but the relationship was the kicker.

I really value that. I like knowing that they want my relationship and that they’ll take care of me for giving them my loyalty.

Bottom line

Barclays offered to fix their error, bounced me 5,000 points for the trouble, and waived the $89 annual fee on the new Arrivalcard World Elite MasterCard  – just for making a phone call. They are a bank that looks for relationships with the customers, and in the end, I have to say I really respect them for the way they treated my (very minor) issue.

I’m super impressed by this level of customer service and will definitely be funneling some of my non-bonused spend through this card, especially in conjunction with their super lucrative RewardsBoost portal (and definitely when they offer 4x points on Amex gift cards).

Has anyone else gotten an offer like this? Or had any experiences with Barclays lately?

Taking another look at MasterCard World Elite Benefits

Also see:

a credit card with text and images

A new World Elite

I’d already decided last month to keep the Barclaycard Arrival for another year. This weekend, I logged in to see if some points had posted for the gifts cards I purchased on a recent spree of manufactured spend.

I was asked to verify my address and contact info – no biggie, didn’t think too much of it. And then, I noticed the logo of the Arrival card looked a little different. It was now a Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

Surely enough, the entire blogosphere exploded with this news. I’m not one to parrot news, so I’d recommend reading this post by Million Mile Secrets that outlines all the new changes. I already have a World Elite Mastercard (the Ink Plus from Chase), but having two of a nice product never hurts. Read More

One Year(ish) Later: The Barclaycard Arrival. Keep or toss?

So I’m going through it with my credit cards right now. I think I have about 14, which seems like a big number. I’m comfortable having that many (which took a long time – the comfort factor, I mean) but now I find there are one or two that I got for the signup bonus and never used again. Case in point: the American Express Premier Rewards Gold. It’s not worth having unless you can put $30,000 in spend on it within a year. If you don’t, the annual fee is too high to make it a firm keeper. The one year mark for that one rolls around next month, and I’m hoping I can downgrade it to one of the new Amex EverDay cards that are coming out soon. If I can’t do that, I will simply cancel.

What about the Arrivalcard? I’ve had this card for about a year, too, and have had some time to let my thoughts come together.

You're a keeper!

You’re a keeper!

I’m totally willing to pay the $89 annual fee in a month or so. Why?

  • I actually used TripIt Pro. A LOT
  • I redeemed my miles and earned a ton more both by making purchases and
  • I can get my FICO credit score on demand (which I like)
  • No forex fees
  • It’s a MasterCard (for places Visa or Amex aren’t accepted globally)
  • The rewards roll in fast, and redemption offers immediate gratification
  • The card actually offers around 2.27% travel cash back – one of the highest cash back cards in the industry
  • I’m just plain curious to see what else Barclays is gonna do with this card

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MasterCard: World Vs World Elite Benefits

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When I received my Barclaycard Arrival approval email today, something in the wording caught my attention. I’d been approved for a “World” MasterCard.


What’s “World”?

Then I flashed back to when I received my new Ink Plus card in the mail. I remembered flipping that beautiful baby over and seeing this:

2013-05-12 12.11.39

What’s “World Elite”?

Google searches didn’t really yield anything concrete. I did, however, end up on the MasterCard page and they lay out the benefits really nicely. Here’s what I’ve surmised:

World benefits are pretty limited. It’s like they’re competing with Visa Signature. I’m literally going to copy & paste:


  • Enjoy exclusive, personal assistance with dinner reservations, event tickets, 
locating hard-to-find items, buying and delivering gifts, and coordinating business related arrangements. Knowledgeable experts can assist with whatever you need, whenever you need it – 24 x 7 x 365. This takes “Concierge Service” to the next level with robust, personalized features that will save you time and simplify your day.


  • Should you find a lower price for a new item using your eligible MasterCard card, you may be reimbursed for the price difference.
For more information about the coverage you may be eligible to receive, 
call 1-800-MC-ASSIST (800-622-7747). To file a claim on-line, go to


  • Get emergency assistance virtually anytime, anywhere and in any language. MasterCard Global Service helps you with reporting a Lost or Stolen Card, obtaining an Emergency Card Replacement or Cash Advance, finding an ATM location, and answering questions on your account.


  • Arrange for a personal, dedicated Meet and Greet agent to escort you through the airport on departure, arrival or any connecting flights, 24/7/365 at over 450 destinations worldwide.


  • Make your next travel experience truly priceless. Access our portfolio of some of the finest hotels and resorts the world has to offer – all presenting you with an exceptional lodging experience. Enjoy complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out privileges, exclusive World MasterCard amenities, and more.

For comparison, here are the Visa Signature benefits:

  • Cardholder Inquiry Service
  • Emergency Card Replacement and Emergency Cash Disbursement
  • Lost/Stolen Card Reporting
  • No Pre-Set Spending Limit
  • Purchase Security
  • Warranty Manager Service
  • Year-End Summary Statements
  • Zero Liability
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Roadside Dispatch
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

Now on to the good stuff. I was sort of shocked (in a good way) when I saw the full list of World Elite benefits. They blow both World and Visa Signature out da water!

It includes all the benefits listed for “World” above + a TON more and is obviously the winner.

The basics

The basics

The one that immediately caught my attention was Priceless New York.

It grants access to lots of cool things going on in town like concert VIP packages, culinary experiences, shopping deals, and discounts on services.

I signed up for the email list and will be sure to report if I ever end up using it. Cool idea! I’d love to use it, being based in NYC and all.

But then, I started digging a little deeper and found a lot of other info. What caught my attention the most was the “Air” section of the Travel Benefits page, particularly the offerings on a diverse range of carriers like Swiss, Austrian, Etihad, Lufthansa, LAN, and Virgin Atlantic.



Some of the “upgrades” specifically say you need to’ve purchased a full-fare ticket, which can oftentimes be as much, or more than, business class to begin with. But LAN’s, for example, just says you can upgrade “from an eligible coach ticket.” What’s an eligible coach ticket, LAN? I’m assuming they mean a full-fare ticket, but I would definitely be interested in learning more.

Aer Lingus is very clear about their policy

Aer Lingus is very clear about their policy

LAN is super wishy-washy

LAN is super wishy-washy

Other benefits from a World Elite card include:

  • $1000 off a first class ticket on Etihad
  • 50% off a biz class companion ticket on Etihad
  • 20%-30% off biz class tickets on LAN
  • “Special savings” on Virgin Atlantic
  • Upgrades on these carriers: Aer Lingus, Austrian, Etihad, LAN, Lufhansa, SAS, and Swiss

Pretty awesome!

They also have quite an extensive list of tours, cruises, rental cars, private offers from companies like NorthShore Advisory (consultants), and hotels. I arbitrarily picked New Orleans from the hotel list and turned up a few good options:

Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 10.20.23 PM

World Elite benefits in NOLA

All the options include upgrade, late check-out, and daily breakfast for two. Also, a “guaranteed best rate”. Maybe I’ll test their pricing for an upcoming trip…

All-in-all, I was pretty blown away to find out my new Ink Plus gave me all these benefits. I’ve never read about these totally legit, published benefits on any other blog before – sorry if this is old news!

I probably won’t be booking a private jet or chauffeured car any time soon, but for rental cars, air tickets, and hotels, this could turn out to be a real hidden gem.