Will I Lose My Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® Points If I Cancel the Card?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Matt commented on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®:

Once I get the 40,000 points, can I cancel the card and still keep the points?  I ask because I don’t have any travel plans, but don’t want to have to keep the card beyond 1 year and get hit with the annual fee.

What’s the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® ?

Link:  Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

Link:  Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® Review

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® card has a 40,000 point sign up bonus (~$400 in travel) after spending $3,000 in the 1st 90 days of account opening.

You earn 2X miles on all purchases, so you’re effectively getting 2% cash back for each purchase.  But since you get 5% of your miles back when you redeem for travel, this is effectively a 2.1% cash back card when miles are redeemed for travel.

That said, read my post on how you can call to apply for the same card with a potentially lower spending requirement of $1,000 within the 1st 3 months of account opening.  I don’t get a commission for the offer with the lower spending requirement, but it could be useful for you!

40,000 points can be redeemed for up to ~$400 in travel expenses, but Matt doesn’t have any travel plans yet.  If he cancels his card to avoid the $89 annual fee, will he lose his points?

Will I Lose my Miles & Points if I Cancel a Card?

This is a common question with credit cards that have the annual fee waived for the 1st year.  Last year, a reader asked if he’d lose his United miles after cancelling the United credit card.

You WON’T lose points earned on airline and hotel credit cards (like the Chase Southwest cards or the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express) if they are already in your account.

You usually WILL lose your points if you cancel a bank rewards card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® without using or transferring the points first.  Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or The Platinum Card from American Express, let you transfer points to a lot of different airline and hotel programs.

In general, do NOT cancel a bank card without transferring the points first!  Each bank is slightly different, so read this post for the specifics about losing miles and points after you cancel a credit card.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® terms and conditions are very clear.  You WILL lose your points if you cancel the card.

Forfeiture Your miles may be forfeited if any of the following occur:

Your Credit Card Account becomes seriously delinquent, as determined by Barclaycard at its sole discretion.

You or we close your Credit Card Account for any reason.

You engage in fraudulent activity on this Credit Card Account. Call the number on the back of your Card if you want to obtain more information.

So how can Matt cancel the card without losing his ~40,000 points?

1.   Buy Airline or Hotel Gift Cards

Barclays defines travel as:

Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies as defined by the merchant category code.  Purchases made at merchants that do not process transactions under these terms or that use incorrect MasterCard merchant category codes will not qualify.  Barclaycard is not responsible for incorrectly coded purchases.

Matt could buy gift cards DIRECTLY from his favorite airline or hotel to use later, and use his 40,000 miles towards those purchases.  And then close the card.  But they have to be coded under the correct merchant category to qualify as a travel purchase.

Try Buying Gift Cards Directly From the Airline or Hotel!

Try Buying Gift Cards Directly From the Airline or Hotel!

I haven’t done this myself, so I can NOT guarantee that the purchase would be coded correctly for every airline or hotel.  Matt may want to make a test purchase for a small denomination gift card, and see if it works before buying a lot of gift cards.

2.   Try to Downgrade the Card to the No Annual Fee Version

Barclaycard has a no annual fee version of the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® with a sign up bonus of 20,000 points after spending $1,000 within the 1st 90 days of account opening.  Matt could wait until his first year is up, then ask Barclaycard to downgrade his card to the no-fee version.

Because the Barclaycard Arrival has only been available for just over a year, I’m not sure if this strategy will be successful.  Some cardholders have suggested that Barclaycard will allow you to downgrade the card, but I haven’t tried this myself so I can’t guarantee it will work.   Some folks on this Flyertalk thread have had success with downgrading.

I’ve heard from folks that it may take multiple calls and messages over 2 to 3 months to get Barclaycard to downgrade a card!

3.   Book Refundable Airline Tickets 

Some folks buy fully refundable airline tickets and then use their Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® points to claim a statement credit for buying the ticket.  Then they cancel the flight for a refund, and close the card after the refund posts to their statement.

This crosses my personal line and isn’t something which I’d feel comfortable doing.

Another option could be to buy a paid Southwest ticket using the Arrival card and get reimbursed for using your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® points.  Remember that if you cancel any paid Southwest ticket, you don’t pay any change fees and get a credit for travel on Southwest which you have to use within 1 year.

Bottom Line

If you cancel the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, you WILL lose the points in your account.

You could buy airline or hotel gift cards for future travel, as long as they are coded under the correct travel merchant category.  Or you could try to ask Barclaycard to downgrade the card to the no annual fee version, but there are no guarantees that they’ll do it.

Matt’s best bet may be to just plan a trip and use the points that way, before his 1st year is up!

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21 responses to “Will I Lose My Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® Points If I Cancel the Card?

  1. Can’t Matt also just make $400 in regular purchases – use the points to pay off the charges and skip the 20% bonus?

  2. @Randy, you can’t do that with this card. A person who really has no travel expenses over the course of a whole year would have been better advised to get a different cash-back card in the first place, and I’m wondering why such a person would read this blog. How about treating a significant other (or himself) to a great weekend at an area hotel? I do think the gift cards idea should work for future use.

  3. D, thanks for the suggestion to call for a lower spending amount. I called in and was approved right away for just $1000 spending requirement with 40k miles offer!

  4. Could you use the Arrival card to buy US Airways miles (or miles from another airline)? Will Barclays allow you to get reimbursed for that kind of purchase?

  5. ES: That won’t work.

  6. I bought 10,000 Hilton points – needed them for a night at the Grand Wailea. The charge was made on the Arrival card and the charge showed up as travel. Was able to get the charge credited in full using the points 1:1, not .5. I would assume anything tied to a hotel or airline, even if it’s not for an actual flight or hotel stay charge, may show up as “travel”. Even a gift card as Daraius suggested earlier. YMMV as they say.

  7. What type of person isn’t going to have ANY travel expenses for a whole year? I mean, come on, surely you want to visit family or take some vacation somewhere?

    And Randy, surprisingly, the reimbusement rate is much less than you’d expect. Not only do you not get the 20% bonus, the exchange is like half as much for non-travel expenses. So those ~$444 in reimbused travel expenses is more like $200 on regular expense.

  8. I got the Arrival card and spent the $1000 to get the 40K bonus. But now I can’t access my online account due to “security reasons”. I’ve called 3 times and spoken to 7 different people and can’t get beyond a “we’ll look into it” and ” call back in 48 hours if this hasn’t been resolved” response! Worst customer service EVER! Any ideas on how to bump this to a higher level to get this resolved? Can I use the 40K points if I can’t get to my account online?

  9. Need your valuable thoughts…I am going to Las Vegas this month and will use my Barclay Arrival card to pay for the hotel room at Caesars. I know I can redeem my points for the room and take full advantage of the travel statement credit. Now here is the tricky part, if I charge all my meals, gift purchases and cocktails while inside Caesars to my room do you think the final total will all be considered as travel expenses? I am sure they will just bill one lump sum total to Barclay and not itemize each purchase as separate transactions.

  10. @Jack C – I’ve read reports of a family that charged everything at Disney to their room and it showed up as one lump travel purchase on the Arrival statement. So I think your odds are good.

    • @Randy – No, because you’d get only ~$200 back then.

      @JoAnne – I’d call again during a week day. Barcalys could improve their customer service!

      @Jack C – It should appear as a lump some charge on your statement and you should be able to get the statement credit.

  11. cheapblackdad

    Did you do any MSing on the card? Any data point as to why the account would be in “Security Reasons” limbo?

    I have been trying to use my last 3200 points or so on one last Disney expense I have on the card. Barclays has been sitting on their hands for a week since I called. I am actually a big fan of keeping this card for the longhaul, but am getting turned off by the customer service experience.

  12. I’m not sure what ‘MSing’ means? Originally when I called the first time, the person I talked to said the problem might be related to when I set up the account 10 years ago. Since I’ve never had an account with Barclays as far as I know, this didn’t make any sense.

    I’ve now logged onto the Barclay travel site and put out my distress call there. This seems to have gotten some response from the community manager and another person, so hopefully this will now get resolved. I put that out there in case anyone else has a similar problem. The suggestion to call during regular business hours and request a transfer directly to tech support was also recommended there…

  13. I believe you can cash them out for 1/2 cent each. Not nearly as good a value as 1 cent redemption for travel, but better than letting them go bad.

    Another suggestion, if you like IHG points, you can “buy” 10,000 points for $70 using a trick documented many places, pay that $70 with your Barclay’s card and – since it’s a hotel purchase – you should be able to zero it out with 7,000 points.

  14. Hey, I already got this card! Quick question, if I used up all my 40000 points, and cancel the card before hitting 1 year, are there consequences?

  15. Pingback: Barclays Arrival Airline Redemptions | Million Mile Secrets

  16. WARNING! DON’T RELY ON BARCLAYCARD FOR TRAVEL! Recently, I contacted the company for each credit card I planned to bring on an international trip. I even gave Barclaycard an itinerary with dates and countries in Asia I would visit. I was planning to use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® for the majority of spending. In spite of contacting Barclaycard in advance–with a detailed itinerary–they denied my attempts to pay for travel expenses! I have now contacted the company 7 times trying to resolve the issue. Their customer service has been so HORRIBLE, that I finally just told them to close the account. (It is worthless since I can’t use it for my trip.) I am a woman traveling alone in foreign countries where I don’t speak the languages.
    If you want to use this card, be sure to carry an extra Visa or MasterCard with you. Fortunately, I had other credit cards from much better companies so this situation did not put my life in jeopardy–but it has caused me a number of problems. WARNING! BARCLAYCARD ARRIVAL PLUS WORLD ELITE HAS HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE! Do NOT rely on the company! If you ever have a problem, they will NOT resolve it.

  17. I tried to downgrade or work something out with Barclay. I used it a huge amount so I figured they would be reasonable but they weren’t. I am trapped I with tons of points, on one hand I am happy but now I paid the $89 and I just look to cancel. I could keep the year which is what more people do, but I am annoyed so I won’t. I was going to also do a huge transfer balance at 0% but even that I doubt. I take it personal when I shouldn’t.

  18. 6/2015
    I was allowed to downgrade No issues

  19. I asked very nicely but Arrival+ Annual Fee was not waived so I closed the account. Citi DoubleCash MC also give 2% cashback. You’ll have to spend $44,500 annually on the Arrival+ card to match the cash back from Citi DoubleCash. Also in order to get cashback from Arrival+ you have to have travel expenses.