Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®: Which is best for travel rewards?

Couple on vacation after having done the math on the BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus Image: Couple on vacation after having done the math on the BankAmericard Travel Rewards vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus

In a Nutshell

When two top travel rewards cards with simple earnings programs and flexible redemption options go head to head, which one comes out on top? We prefer Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® over the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card — here's why.

Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express and Discover. Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. Availability of products, features and discounts may vary by state or territory. Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about our team.
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These offers are no longer available on our site: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is no longer available. For other options, check out our list of best travel credit cards with no annual fee for 2020.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a travel rewards credit card could help you save some serious money.

Both the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® let you redeem the rewards you earn as statement credits. These rewards can offset a variety of travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and taxis.

These two cards also feature appealingly straightforward rewards programs. They offer a flat earning rate on every purchase, so you won’t have to keep track of bonus rewards categories.

In spite of their similarities, the cards do differ in important ways. Before taking a deeper dive into these differences and how they may affect your decision, let’s look at the basic vitals for each card.


  1. The winner: Why we prefer Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
  2. Counterpoint: Why you might want the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card instead
  3. Heads up: What to consider when applying for a travel rewards card
  4. Bottom line: Is Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® right for you?

The winner: Why we prefer Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

The sign-up bonus and earnings rate of Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® make this card a clear winner for most people.

As long as the account is open and you redeem your rewards for travel statement credits, the 5% bonus on redeemed miles results in an effective 2.1% earnings rate. The bonus on redeemed miles also applies to the 70,000 miles you can earn from the sign-up bonus.

Additional cardholder benefits

The rewards potential isn’t the only reason to choose Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. The card’s World Elite Mastercard® benefits include luxury travel perks (such as free spa or dining credits at select hotels), trip cancellation insurance, concierge travel assistance and access to Priceless Cities® experiences and events.

You’ll get the best redemption value when you redeem your miles for travel, so it’s nice that Barclaycard has a broad definition for what counts. Your options include airlines, hotels, motels, time shares, campgrounds, car-rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis, limousines and ferries.

You can redeem your miles to offset expenses from the previous 120 days, but you must have at least 10,000 miles (equal to $100) to start redeeming for travel statement credits.

Counterpoint: Why you might want the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card instead

From our partner

There are several scenarios where the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card could be the better option.

To earn the sign-up bonus of 25,000 bonus points, you must make at least $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, which is a lot easier to meet than the Barclaycard’s $5,000 requirement. If meeting the larger spend requirement would require you to carry a balance or make purchases you weren’t going to otherwise, then you might be better off choosing a card with a lower minimum spend requirement.

And you could earn a 25%, 50% or 75% bonus (giving you an effective 1.88%, 2.25% or 2.63% rewards rate) if you’re part of the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program.

Heads up: What to consider when applying for a travel rewards credit card

Travel rewards cards with flexible redemption options may be best suited for those who have varied or uncertain travel plans.

Otherwise, if you already have a trip in mind, the details of the trip may dictate which card is best. For example, your research could reveal that your largest expense will be the flights. If that’s the case, earning miles from a co-branded airline credit card and redeeming them for a flight might offer you the most value.

In general, you may not want to put travel expenses on a travel rewards credit card if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay your balance in full, because it could have a higher interest rate than a different type of card.

Bottom line: Is Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® right for you?

When you’re deciding whether Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®is right for you, consider how much you’re likely to spend using the card each year, whether the benefits you’ll receive will outweigh the annual fee after the first year and if you’ll make good use of the rewards.

If you feel you can comfortably meet the sign-up bonus requirements for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® and don’t qualify for bonus earnings with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, then the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is likely the more rewarding option of the two.

But these aren’t the only two travel rewards credit cards available. You may want to explore opportunities with co-branded airline or hotel cards and look into general travel cards from other issuers before deciding on a new card.


About the author: Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express and Discover. In addition to being a contributing writer at Credit Karma, you can find his work on Busine… Read more.