JetBlue Plus Vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus: Which Card Should You Apply For?

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Update: This offer for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus(TM) World Elite Mastercard® is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Barclaycard has really raised their game the past few months in terms of their US card offerings.

A few months ago Barclaycard introduced JetBlue Plus Card, which I find to be fantastic, and also recently applied for. Meanwhile this past week they’ve increased the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® by 25%.

With that in mind, I’ve been getting some questions from readers about which card is more compelling. Given that you typically have to wait a while between Barclaycard applications, are you better off applying for JetBlue Plus Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®?

Comparing sign-up bonuses

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days. Those miles can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, and you get a 5% refund on miles every time you redeem. Given that the card’s annual fee is waived the first year, I value the sign-up bonus at $525.

Meanwhile JetBlue Plus Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 TrueBlue points after spending $1,000 within 90 days. Those points can typically be redeemed for ~1.6 cents towards the cost of a JetBlue ticket. That means the 30,000 points are worth $480, though when you factor in the $99 annual fee, I value the sign-up bonus at $381.

Verdict: The Arrival Plus has a better sign-up bonus, and on top of that it’s limited time, so if it’s the bonus you’re after, this card is the better option.

Comparing return on everyday spend

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® offers two miles per dollar spent. Each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase, and you get a 5% refund on points redeemed. That means you’re getting a return of ~2.1% on everyday spend.

Meanwhile JetBlue Plus Card offers double points at restaurants and grocery stories, and one point per dollar spent on other purchases. That being said, you get a refund of 10% every time you redeem points, so really your points are more valuable than that. That means you’re getting a return of ~3.5% on restaurants and grocery stores, and ~1.75% on other purchases.

Verdict: It depends what categories you spend most in, but for the average consumer the Arrival Plus probably offers a better return on everyday spend, at ~2.1%.

Comparing perks

Since the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® isn’t a co-brand card, the emphasis on the card is on the return it offers on everyday spend. The card is Chip & PIN, but otherwise the real value of the card comes with the points you earn. If you want a cashback travel credit card, this one is tough to beat.

However, JetBlue Plus Card offers several perks that make this card worth holding onto long term. When flying JetBlue, you receive a first checked bag free and 50% off eligible inflight purchases. Furthermore you get 5,000 bonus points on your account anniversary each year, which I value at $80+. That nearly covers the annual fee on the card. The other big perk is that you get 10% of your points back every time you redeem your points, and that includes TrueBlue points earned through other means as well. Depending on how much you fly JetBlue, that could prove to be immensely valuable.

Verdict: Personally I think JetBlue Plus Card offers better perks, between the 5,000 point anniversary bonus, 10% refund on all points redeemed, first checked bag free, and 50% off eligible inflight purchases.

Bottom line

There’s a lot of merit to both of these cards. As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently applied for JetBlue Plus Card, and am very happy with it so far.

The way I see it, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard® offers a much better sign-up bonus, and it’s limited time. So if you’re going to pick up both cards eventually, then I’d go with this one first due to the current offer. The card also offers an all around better return on everyday spend.

However, I think JetBlue Plus Card is worth holding onto long term for the perks. It’s a card I picked up recently, and while I don’t plan on putting a ton of spend on it, I’ll find it worthwhile to pay the annual fee on it, given that I’m an occasional JetBlue flyer.

Which card do you find more compelling — the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or JetBlue Plus?

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  1. Neither.

    Waiting to get down to 5/24 for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I really think at the end of all of these credit card posts, you should post a reminder that applying is just going to take you one step further from getting the “best” card (subjective, of course). You have to look at the whole picture…

  2. Isnt this blog about airline premium travel?
    Why the fk do you write up about credit cards consistently mr lucky.
    YOU Obviously make money out of it
    When you going to Israel on ElAl

  3. I am with Miguel—–I’ve been reading about the 50K miles also. Question: Can these
    50K miles go to my AA account, Delta account, United, Lufthansa, SPG, HiltonHonors, etc. HELP !
    Sure would help a lot of us so we could make a decision.
    Surely there is not a Barclays Airline or Barclays Hotel in Britain ???

  4. To me it does not look like 5/24 alone..

    My wife had 4/24 but had more than 20 cards in the last 5 years. She was told NO because she had applied too many cards in the last 5 years. Hang up and called up 3 time. All 3 times I heard the same from everyone. During all those calls, they never spoke about 5 cards in the 24 months rather they kept saying my wife had applied too many cards in the last 5 years.

  5. The JetBlue pretty much only if you live in Boston or New York, or maybe in a non-hub where JetBlue is a competitive transcon option. But their lack or redemption partners means you pretty much have to spend point on their metal, so it’s of limited benefit to people in other hubs. Having any bonus categories does make it better than most airline cards, but their are better dining and grocery cards.

    The Arrival+ doesn’t make any sense to me. It earns the slightest bit more than the Citi Double Cash, but to make up for the fee difference you’d have to spend over 20k in year 1 and 74k a year if you keep it. Other cards with fees offer enough bonuses that it only takes a few grand a year to justify the fee vs something like the Double Cash.

    What I’m interested to see is what Barclay’s does with the AAviator cards once they can do sign-ups in-flight next year. An AA card with benefits like the JetBlue would be great.

  6. Mike beat me to it . . . and I believe that “Disco Papa” *may* be missing the point . . . .

    In order for JetBlue Card to be of any use, one has to fly JetBlue. (D’oh!) Obvious, I know, but that means you have to live in and around Boston or New York. Living, as we do, in the SF Bay area, JetBlue remains largely irrelevant. From OAK, there are only three destinations to which I can fly non-stop: BOS, JFK, and LGB (Long Beach, CA — and who wants to be in Long Beach?!?!?). From SFO, it’s BOS, JFK, LGB, and LAS. For me, Virgin America is a MUCH better option. What’s the point of earning points on an airline I cannot fly?

    As for “Disco Papa’s” contention that CSR (or CSP) is a better option, this ignores two things: 1) being, as I am, over the 5/24 rule, I cannot yet obtain a CSR card, so that is effectively off the table at the moment; 2) there ARE categories where the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and Preferred) only earn ONE point per dollar. I use my Barclaycard Arrival+, earning 2x points per dollar in the process, for purchases on which my CSP and Citi Prestige would only give me 1x. In redeeming the Barclaycard’s points on travel, I get an additional 5% back, making for a 2.1% return per dollar spent.

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