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® ?
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 usually WILL lose your points if you cancel a bank rewards card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card 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.
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 card 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.
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!