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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.
Let’s look at the changes and see whether it’s worth applying for (or keeping) the card.
What’s the Deal?
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.
- Tourist attractions (like museums and theme parks) are NO longer on the travel redemption list
- You’ll no longer receive a free TripIt Pro membership with the card
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?