Buh Bye Barclay’s!

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barclays arrival plus cancel

Saying Goodbye to the Arrival Plus

As many of you know, Barclay’s decided to gut their flagship product the Arrival Plus about a month ago. Some will argue that they only made minor tweaks, but to me, they ripped out the few small details that put this product over the top as an everyday spend card.

We now live in a world of Discover Double Cashback promotions, products that pay up to 2.625% back and amazing retention offers from Citi. There is just no reason for anyone to pay an $89 annual fee for an Arrival Plus card anymore.

No Fee Waiver & A Forced Breakage

The annual fee on my Arrival Plus hit early in July and I did give them a ring to see if they were willing to do anything about it given the recent devaluation. As has been the case for a lot of people lately, I was denied a credit. After one more attempt, I began coming up with a strategy as to how to best liquidate my Arrival points.

The truth is, the redemption system is a weakness of Barclay’s program, especially given the recent changes. It is complicated and designed to force you to leave money on the table (breakage). While I was able to get most of money out under the old rules, once the new minimum redemption guidelines are in effect, it will become much more difficult.

Closing the Card

After making my “travel redemptions” (including a redemption against the annual fee), I called Barclay’s and told the agent that I wanted to close my Arrival Plus card. The agent was more than happy to do that for me and didn’t once attempt to save my business other than a brief mention of a downgrade option. There would be no downgrade of course and she closed my card as requested.

Is This the End

barclays arrival plus cancel

The truth is my title is a little misleading since I do still have an AAdvantage Aviator Red card with Barclay’s, although I think I will be cancelling that when the annual fee comes due as well. With that said, there is one thing I still love about the Arrival Plus card and I don’t think that thing is a secret. I’m sure it will lure me back eventually, you know with that first year waived annual fee and all.

Honestly this is all part of my overall strategy when it comes to Barclay’s. They have tightened up on approvals for a lot of people lately, so it is best to cool my relationship for awhile. Since they don’t have a restriction on getting the same product again, perhaps I’ll look into getting something else around the time my Aviator card comes due.

Related: Barclay’s Application Strategies and Best Practices for Successful Approvals

Conclusion

As a miles & points blogger, I often put my opinions and thoughts out there in a genuine way. When I trashed Barclay’s for the changes to the Arrival Plus, I meant it. Now I have put my money where my mouth is. If you are thinking about paying the annual fee on your Arrival Plus then please back slowly away from the ledge and try to explain why. Why would you do that?


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37 COMMENTS

  1. Shawn,

    I had a similar experience recently. My annual fee posted recently and I asked for a waiver or a downgrade and the representative was not able to offer either, not even to the no annual fee Arrival. I still haven’t canceled it, but I will something this week.

  2. That is strange that they couldn’t downgrade. As far as I know it should be eligible to downgrade to a regular Arrival or their Barclaycard Rewards no annual fee card. Either way, I would rather close the account which makes it more likely in the future for another approval.

    • It surprised me as well. I will wait for a week and then call back again. If I get the same answers as before, I will go ahead and cancel it.

    • I was going to ask you why you didn’t just downgrade the card but I think I understand now. Barclays doesn’t like issuing more than 2-3 cards and you don’t want to fill a slot with a sock drawer no AF card even if it increases AAOA since you’ll be trying to churn the arrival+ in a few years?

  3. Since this is the only Chip and pin card we’re consistently able to use at un-attended POS on our very frequent trips in Europe, such as ticket booths and after- hours gas stations, it is still very valuable to us. Willing to try another if you have a good suggestion!

    • This is a good point and I suspect most people won’t have those issues. In Europe you can use pretty much any chip based credit card just about everywhere with the exception of unattended machines, etc. If you use it a lot for that and it works, then that may be a reason to keep the card.

      The few times I have used the Arrival Plus in Europe, I always have ended up having to sign anyway, which sort of meant the pin feature didn’t matter. Like you said, unattended POS machines or kiosks like at train stations are perhaps the only real place you may have a problem with other cards.

  4. I realize you want to apply for the Arrival Plus in the future, but what’s the specific reason for not downgrading to no-annual-fee Arrival (not Plus)? Can you still use your existing points balance for travel credits?

    • It is very difficult these days to get more than 2 Barclay’s cards plus recent reports I have heard are that they treat the Arrival and the Arrival Plus as the same product and won’t let you have both. I managed to get all but about $6 off of the card, which was good enough for me.

  5. I had an Arrival plus & one 2.625% BoA travel, and my wife had another Arrival Plus to use for all non-category spend.

    Though both Arrival plus AF got waived during March & April within 5 minute phone call ( AF is pretty easy to waived if you have a good amount of annual spending). I am thinking to apply another BoA travel and replace Arrival plus totally. I need at least two non-category cards.

    • I spent well over $50k on that card this year. In the past few months I have heard of almost no one getting the annual fee waived. I’m glad to hear it worked for you as recently as April. How much did you spend on the cards?

        • Finally, I decided to get another 2.625% BoA Travel last evening. I applied both BoA Travel & Alaska Air and got instant approved.

          I am going to reduce charge to two Arrival plus cards and downgraded to no-fee later if I can’t spend all the arrival points and Barclay won’t waive the AFs next spring due to lack of spending.

          • Alaska Air CC has annual fee of $35 to $75. Can you suggest benefit of Alaska Air CC vs others?

          • I don’t know how to describe Alaska Air, somebody might explain it better. All I did is I don’t want to waste the chance to get another BoA credit card with no additional inquiry.

  6. My Barclays Aviator/US Airways Mastercard will assess the annual fee in December. I will be very curious to see if Barclays will be giving all of us one last year to settle in by waiving the fee or giving some other significant retention offer. Those with the 10,000 mile anniversary bonus have a difficult decision to make, as they will most likely never have this card (with that bonus) again. Those without the anniversary bonus, if they are fee-sensitive, will quickly vamoose.

    • Very good assessment. The 10K mile cards are probably worth keeping. My version only pays the 10K miles on the first anniversary, so it will all come down to the annual fee, since I have two Citi AA cards that they waive the fee on which have pretty much all of the same benefits.

      • You wonder if Barclays has ever paid attention to CITI’s waiver of the fee through whatever hoops they set to generate an offsetting statement credit. The one and only time I was ever able to get the fee on my Aviator/US Air Mastercard waived was this past year during the transition. If they’re smart, they’ll give one more year of no fee. If not, they risk the thousands of card holders who will probably cancel. This is a critical time for the banks: the AMEX miscalculation of losing Costco blew up in their face. And, if not for the generous AMEX offers which are costly, AMEX might have been in even more trouble suffering card cancellations than they already are.

      • How can I confirm if I hold an anniversary 10K card or first anniversary 10K only card ? They sent me a notice that my annual fee is going to hit but no mention of 10Kmiles

        • Log onto your Barclays account. From the homepage click View Rewards. Once you get to this page click How My Rewards Work. Scroll down to Earning Aadvantage Miles and you will see if your card has the 10000 annual miles benefit. The only reason I have not cancelled my Red card is because of the 10000 annual miles benefit, which is worth more than the annual fee.

  7. I was able to get my fee waived a few months ago right after it posted. I told them to take a look at how much I was putting on the card. My husband did not get his fee waived about 2 months ago when he called so he promptly closed it. I doubt I will keep it when the annual fee rolls around again because of their changes.

  8. My Arrival Plus card showed annual fee. I called and the rep suggested changing to the no fee Arrival card. I accepted.

  9. I had 2 Aviators and 1 Arrival Plus. A couple of months ago, I had Barclays close one Aviator and roll the credit limit into the other Aviator. A couple of weeks ago, I closed the Arrival Plus and had the rep roll that credit limit into the Aviator, too. Both times, the CSRs were very happy to help me.

    I had the second CSR take the cash advance limit to $0 and put an alert on my card that I would be spending $45K in one transaction. Then I used the Aviator to fund my new Citigold checking with $45K. Thirty thousand annual spend should generate a $100 certificate to use for airfare (more than the $89 annual fee).

    I live in a former USAirways hub (PIT). We haven’t been a hub in ages, but there are still a lot of USAirways/AA flights. So, AA miles are very, very useful to me. Hopefully, I’ll get the 40,000 Citi TYPs, too for the Citigold acct.

    I have the Citi AAdavantage personal and business cards. When the annual fees come due, I’ll evaluate whether to keep them or see if Citi will move some or all of the credit limit into my Prestige.

  10. What will be your alternate plan to replace Arrival+?

    I have not read anybody have AF removed from mid Jun when first news break out about change in Arrival+ reward program. I will wait for 55 days from AF charge to cancel the card.
    I am planning to apply for Spark Cash From Capital One for short term (one year) spend (2%) to replace Arrival+. For long term, I will explore “BankAmericard Travel Rewards” option for long term (2.62%). In between, I may check for Wells Fargo Cash Back Visa Signature Card for 6 months (5%) spend.

    • I’ve had a Capital One Venture card for about 10 years. I don’t want to close it because of the length of time I’ve held it. I really just got the Arrival+ for the sign-up bonus.

      I don’t use it often. But I just bought 2 JR train passes for Japan separately. I’ll manufacture enough spend on it to cover at least one, maybe both.

    • I haven’t decided, but right now I have 3X ThankYou points as a retention offer, so that is where I am focusing. Perhaps by the end of that Barclay’s may welcome me back.

  11. Would love to see a write up on point breakage strategy and some methods for getting the most out of your account before closing it.

  12. Chip and pin is for more than unattended. Last time I was in Utrecht ~4 months ago, I bought tix from the agent (I wanted five daily round trip tix, good any day, which the machine doesn’t do — or possibly I don’t know how). The agent couldn’t take my Amex (chip/sig) but could take the Arrival.

    Given that I go to EU several times a year, having the pin would make the fee worthwhile. However, my renewal is in a few months. When it comes up, I plan to open a new card in my wife’s name with me as secondary card holder, then cancel mine. At her renewal time, I’ll open a new one for me. Unless, of course, someone else comes along with chip/PIN as an option.

    • I wonder if them not accepting the card has something to do with it being Amex. Either way, there is no doubt that the chip & pin on the Arrival Plus is better for Europe than any other card.

  13. From the letter that came with the Aviator Red card (conversion for US airways) it seems that chip+pin is available and setup as default on that card as well. Seems that it is no different than Arrival Plus. I have not tested this yet.

    • I agree. I had the same language with my Aviator Red letter (although I upgraded it to a Silver last week) as well as the same language under the “Manager Your PIN” settings under the “Account Settings” online. I plan to test it out in a few weeks in Europe before I cancel my Arrival Plus.

  14. I got a good credit card offer in the mail today from BOA.

    2% cash back grocery stores (not superstores)
    3% cash back at gas stations
    those categories limited to $1,500 combined each quarter
    1% cash back everything else
    Bonus is $100 cash after spending $500

    If you deposit the cash into a BOA account you get another 10% cash.
    no annual fee, they do charge for foreign transactions

    I may do this one. Anyone else get this?

    • If you can park 100K in BoA, you will get 75% bonus, thus,
      3.5% cash back grocery stores (not superstores)
      5.25% cash back at gas stations
      those categories limited to $1,500 combined each quarter
      1.75% cash back everything else

  15. If I applied for the arrvial+ card in september of last year does that mean I have until november under the old rules?

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