Should I renew my Barclaycard Arrival Plus card?

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Barlcay Arrival and me
My old Barclay Arrival back in 2014 before the redesign.

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I received a letter in the mail from Barclays telling me that my Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus card?

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should i renew my barclay arrival plus Barlcay Arrival and me
My old Barclaycard Arrival back in 2014 before the redesign.

 

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Benefits

The Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus card?

should i renew my barclay arrival plus Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

 

Should I renew my Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus and redeem all of the points on travel expenses (hotel, airfare, train, cabs) that I put on the card.

$89,000!

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 Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

 

The Bald Thoughts

When asking yourself should I renew my Barclaycard 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 Barclaycard Arrival Card, but I’m pretty sure that I will not be renewing mine unless they provide a valuable retention offer.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. I too may ditch the card, but after another year. I actually would fee (slightly) guilty if I cancelled after redeeming cashing out my first year. I didn’t think the $100 travel minimum would be a big deal, but in reality it’s more of a pain.

    It’s also the closest thing to a Chip and PIN card that most people will ever see in the US (aside from a handful of credit unions).

    • You make a good point about the chip and pin. More banks should get on the ball with that. However, if I need chip and pin while traveling internationally, I’ll just rely on my Charles Schwab debit card.

  2. Uhh…why don’t you cancel it and reapply in a month or so to get a reset on the year waiver and get another 50k points? Ask my how I know you can do this, please.

    • Getting a new Arrival card is an option in the future. Right now I’m focused on some refinances of loans, so I don’t want any additional inquiries. Plus, I’m getting closer to being under 5/24, so I’m not sure another Arrival is worth missing out there. Definitely a lot to consider. But, for right now, I won’t be renewing there card unless I get a retention offer worthy of the annual fee.

  3. I just cancelled husband’s card last week. He applied for the Jet Blue and has the Lufthansa and AA Barclay cards.
    My experience with Arrival was that I was able to churn for the 40k bonus twice.
    The $100 threshold makes this card less valuable to me.
    In the past, I’ve MSd with this card big time and got shut down, so beware of this. I also met a woman who lost 100,000 points, by a shutdown. She was saving for a big trip.
    The $25 redemption limit and the extra 10% made this card much more valuable.
    My last hurrah was to redeem for a Japan rail pass and a Spain train ticket.
    Might have husband apply again in the future, as this was our chip and PIN card.

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