I received a letter in the mail from Barclay telling me that my Barclay Arrival Plus card is renewing soon. So, I expect that the annual fee will post in the next statement cycle or two. The card has some decent benefits, but is it worth the $89 annual fee? Should I renew my Barclay Arrival Plus card?
Barclay Arrival Plus Benefits
The Barclay Arrival Plus benefits are pretty good:
- Good bonus after a reasonable minimum spend
- Annual fee of $89 is waived the first year
- 2x miles on every purchase (equivalent to 2%)
- Get 5% miles back on every redemption (increases cash back to 2.1%)
- No foreign transaction fees
- Complimentary FICO score access
- Earn miles for sharing stories in the Barclaycard Travel Community
- Travel accident and trip cancellation insurance
These benefits might sound impressive, but so many new cards have come out since the Arrival Plus was released. With all of the competition, the bar has been raised and these benefits are no longer that impressive.
And when you add in the fact that the Arrival Plus downgraded the benefits a couple of years ago, the card is not as strong as it used to be:
- Increased minimum redemption from $25 to $100
- Reduced miles rebate from 10% to 5%
- Eliminated TripIt Pro complimentary membership
So, the question remains, should I renew my Barclay Arrival Plus card?
Should I renew my Barclay Arrival Plus card?
Because of the reduced benefits, the benefits that set the Arrival Plus apart are the $500 (50,000 points) in sign-on bonus and the 2.1% cash back (when factoring in the rebate). The problem is that I have a 2% cash back card with no annual fee from Citibank.
So, aside from the sign-on bonus, the difference is 0.1%…. and I’m limited to $100 minimum redemptions on travel spend with the Arrival Plus and an $89 annual fee vs. no minimum redemptions and no annual fee.
Just to break even compared to the no fee 2% cash back card from Citi, I would need to spend $89,000 on the Barclay Arrival Plus and redeem all of the points on travel expenses (hotel, airfare, train, cabs) that I put on the card.
Obviously, $89,000 is a ton of money to spend. And you’d have to also spend money on travel expenses earning 2% that you could redeem the Arrival Plus miles towards.
The problem is that other premium cards offer 3% or more in miles and points for travel expenses. So, you’re also losing out on those extra miles and points, which negates the benefit of the extra 0.1% from the Barclay Arrival Plus.
The Bald Thoughts
When asking yourself should I renew my Barclay Arrival Plus card, consider all of the pros and cons. The card does have some good benefits, but many of those benefits can be found with other cards you may already have in your wallet. A no-fee cash back card may be a better option for most people. Or the extra miles and points earned from other travel cards may provide a better return on your travel spend. You may choose to stick with the Barclay Arrival Card, but I’m pretty sure that I will not be renewing mine unless they provide a valuable retention offer.