The Barclaycard Arrival Plus Is Back – but It’s NOT as Good a Deal

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I wrote earlier this month that the Barclaycard Arrival Plus was changing.  At the time, Barclaycard temporarily closed the card to new applicants.

You can now apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus again.  But it’s NOT as good as it was before!

That said, it still comes with a 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival mile sign-up bonus after completing minimum spending requirements.  That’s now worth ~$420 (previously $440) in statement credits for travel purchases of $100 or more.

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You Can Still Get Big Travel From the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, but It’s NOT as Good as It Once Was!

Let’s look at the changes and see whether it’s worth applying for (or keeping) the card.

What’s the Deal?

Link:   Bad News for Barclaycard Arrival Plus Cardholders

Link:   Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Here are the key changes to the new Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

  • Instead of receiving 10% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel purchases, you’ll only get 5% back.  This effectively makes the card a 2.1% back card when you redeem miles for travel (previously it was 2.2%).
  • The minimum redemption for travel purchases used to be $25.  Now, it’s $100.
  • The minimum redemption for cash back on other purchases used to be $12.50.  Now, it’s $25.
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Tourist Attractions NO Longer Count as Travel With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival mile sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 90 days of opening your account has NOT changed.  You’ll still earn 2 Barclaycard Arrival miles per $1 you spend on all purchases.

And the $89 annual fee is still waived for the 1st year.

Is the Card Still Worth It?

The sign-up bonus on this card is still very good.  It’s worth $420 in travel (after the 5% rebate), which isn’t a bad deal considering the $89 annual fee is waived for the 1st year.

But the card has become much less flexible.  In the past, you could redeem miles for statement credits on travel purchases of $25 or more, which required a minimum of 2,500 Barclaycard Arrival miles.

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You’ll Only Be Able to Redeem Barclaycard Arrival Miles for Train Tickets at 2.1% Back IF the Tickets Cost More Than $100!

Now, you can’t redeem unless the purchase is at least $100.  That costs 10,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles (10,000 miles x 1 cent per mile).

So if your account balance is below 10,000 miles, you’re limited to redeeming your miles at a much poorer rate (0.5 cents per mile for cash back statement credits, minimum 5,000 mile redemption).  Previously, the minimum redemption for cash back was 2,500 miles.

When Will the Changes Start?

Folks who already have the card will see these changes take effect in November 2015 (if they applied for the card before September 30, 2014) or in August 2016 (if they applied in October 2014 or later).

But the new rules will apply immediately to new cardholders.

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If You’re a Current Cardholder, the New Rules Will Take Effect at Different Times, Depending on When You Applied for the Card

I know lots of folks aren’t happy about these changes, especially since Barclaycard hasn’t added any new perks to the card.  Many of you have said you won’t be keeping the card when your annual fee comes due.

Note:   If you’ve had this card in the past, you might be able to get the sign-up bonus again if it’s been at least 6 months since you cancelled the card.  But Barclaycard is picky about approving folks for lots of cards!

Are There Alternatives?

Folks who are looking for a card that earns similar cash back could consider:

American Express Fidelity Rewards – Earns 2% cash back on all purchases when you deposit your rewards into a Fidelity investment account

Citi Double Cash – Earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and another 1% back when you pay it off

Discover it – Earns 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories, plus new cardholders will have their cash back doubled at the end of the 1st 12 months (effectively 2% back for the 1st year).  And you currently get $50 after your 1st purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

Discover it Miles – Earns 1.5 miles per $1 you spend (worth 1.5% back), and your miles are doubled after the 1st 12 months (effectively 3% back for the 1st year)

NONE of these cards charge an annual fee, so they’re good to keep for a long time to increase the average age of your credit accounts.  And that can improve your credit score so you’re more likely to be approved for more cards.

Bottom Line

You can now apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus again, but it’s not as good a deal.

  • You’ll only get 5% of your miles back (not 10%) when you redeem them for travel
  • The minimum travel redemption amount is increasing to $100 (from $25); for cash back, it goes up to $25 (from $12.50)
  • You’ll no longer get a free TripIt Pro membership
  • Tourist attractions no longer qualify as travel

The sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles (now worth $420 in travel) after completing minimum spending has not changed.  So this card is still a good choice for the sign-up bonus, but not great for keeping beyond the 1st year.

If you have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, will you keep it after your annual fee comes due?

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12 responses to “The Barclaycard Arrival Plus Is Back – but It’s NOT as Good a Deal

  1. Good card to apply for and use for one year, making sure not to wind up with less than 10,000 points before making a final redemption and then canceling. Renewing was always a questionable decision for most, now made even more so. The annual fee is a killer.

  2. As I posted in the comments on one of your other articles this week, this card is good for the signup bonus but is definitely not worth keeping in year 2. Barclays does not waive the AF on this card, and you would have to spend about $89,500 on the card each year to come out ahead compared to a no AF 2% cash back card like the Fidelity Amex.

    Arrival+
    $4500 x .02 = $90
    $90 x .05 = $4.50 (redemption bonus)
    $90 + $4.50 = $94.50
    $94.50 – $89 AF = $5.50

    Fidelity Amex
    $4500 x .02 = $90

    Fidelity Amex is ahead by $84.50

    Arrival+
    $89,500 x .02 = $1790
    $1790 x .05 = $89.50 (redemption bonus)
    $1790 + $89.50 = $1879.50
    $1879.50 – $89 AF = $1790.50

    Fidelity Amex
    $89,500 x .02 = $1790

    Arrival+ is ahead by 50 cents.

  3. There is absolutely no reason to keep this card anymore. Get it and redeem the $400 bonus, but then cancel it at first annual fee. There are zero additional benefits that make up for the annual fee compared to the 2% Fidelity amex or Citi double cash.

  4. Is the Cap1 Venture so poor that it isn’t even discussed in comparison to the Arrival+? Nobody seems to compare these two cards since all this commotion with the Arrival+.

  5. @Joseph

    The Venture is also a 2% cash back travel card, and the signup bonus is only $20 less now. The difference between Cap1 and Barclays though is that it is easy to get the annual fee waived with Cap1.

  6. Would Disney Resorts qualify as “travel expenses”? Or is that covered under Amusement/entertainment as a category. Anyone have a data point?

  7. @Mat

    Before the changes, Disney DID qualify under theme parks and tourist attractions. I actually redeemed points for this several times. But now under the new rules, this will NOT be included. Bummer.

  8. Is the repeat application after 6months verified for the second applicable bonus? That would still be great for redemption after a $100 purchase of WN GCs on the WN website. Especially for frequent WN travelers.

    I cancelled my Arrival Plus around March-April time frame in 2015. I presently have the Red Aviator (sadly remembered as the US MC) which will hit anniversary in the fall, 2015. I also have the Citi AA Gold to fall back on if I did plan to cancel the US MC/Aviator after the first year.

    My intention was to apply for Wyndham MC after some credit bureau inquiries decrease this month, ie, July, 2015. If I do that, a couple of months will pass bringing me closer to the 6 month interval for the cancellation of the prior Arrival Plus (March-April time frame). I could then cancel the Aviator and reapply for the Arrival Plus but ONLY if I can get the min. spend bonus.

    When I cancelled the first Arrival, I was told by the CSR that bonuses would not be repeated in the future. Just want to make sure that the info provided here on a second Arrival bonus is valid not anecdotal (no offense).

    Thanks for ALL you do to help so many! 🙂

  9. I used to have the Capital One Venture Card but with the extra redemption bonus the Barclay is a no brainer…expect for their customer service being terrible compared to Capital One.

    I’m what you call a “digital nomad” so I travel around the world while running my U.S. based dropshipping stores which allows me to spend $20,000+ a month on my cards giving me around $420 a month in travel credit which I use to fly business class to my next destination. This is the easiest card for digital nomads and recommended.

  10. CAN ONE APPLY FOR BOTH THIS BARCLAY ARRIVAL PLUS CARD FOR 50K BONUS AND BARCLAY HAWAIIAN CARD FOR 50K BONUS ON SAME DAY AND BE APPROVED?

    BEST STRATEGY TO APPLY FOR BARCLAY CARDS? ANY RESTRICTIONS?

  11. Dear Mod, please address my question above……………..

  12. @rahul – Only 1 card from Barclays will be automatically approved.