Why the Barclays Arrival Premier Card Will Never be in my Wallet

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Barclays Arrival Premier

Barclays Arrival Premier is a Big Time Flop!

News has been leaking out over the last few weeks about Barclays new premium card.  Well today it officially launched and it is thoroughly disappointing in my opinion.  Barclays has been on a continuous devaluation streak with the once beloved Arrival+ card that has made the card lag behind the competition.  I had hopes some of those wrongs would be corrected with the release of the premium version, but I come away unsatisfied.

Details on the Card

Bethany covered the card’s offerings in more detail earlier but I will give you a brief overview:

  • $150 Annual Fee
  • 2x points per dollar
  • No sign up bonus
  • $100 Global Entry Fee credit (every 5 years)
  • Airline transfer partners at less than 1 to 1 rates
  • $100 minimum travel redemptions
  • Earn 15,000 and 10,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 and $10,000

The airlines that transfer at a rate of 1.4 points = 1 mile

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • China Eastern
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas

The airlines that transfer at a rate of 1.7 points = 1 mile

  • Japan Airlines

Barclays Arrival Premier

Why this Card is Not Worthy of an Application or Upgrade

So this is an Arrival+ with a few bonus miles offers, no 5% rebate, the same maddening minimum redemption amount, and a few airline transfers you will struggle to use.  But if we slap a premium name on the front no one will notice!

I don’t get not offering a sign up bonus or at the very minimum waiving the annual fee the first year.  Why was the Chase Sapphire Reserve so popular?  Because they offered a 100,000 point sign up bonus.  And they have some of the best retention rates out there after year one.  So not offering anything to entice people to sign up for the card makes zero sense.

Maybe if the card had amazing perks I could see forgoing offering new cardholders any incentive.  But this card comes with almost no perks and a $150 annual fee. That amount is very similar to Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee after the travel credit.

But what about the transfer partners – they must have really good ones right?  If they had added American Airlines in there somehow then this card would have something to think about.  But that didn’t happen…not that I was expecting it since Citi can’t even get that done.  They decided to offer obscure airline programs and then did it with terrible transfer rates.

I am forgetting about the spending bonuses right?  Those are good, you can earn 3% cash back!!!  Well that is assuming you spend exactly $15,000 or $25,000.  And that does not include the annual fee cost.  Once you subtract the $150 annual fee you have a earning rate of 2% at $15,000 and a rate of 2.4% at $25,0000.

Don’t get me wrong 2.4% is a solid return but you HAVE to spend $25,000 to get it.  And any dollar you spend beyond that lowers your return.  For example at $50,000 in spend you would have an earning rate of 2.2%.

And all of this doesn’t take into account that they still have an inexplicable $100 minimum redemption rate.  No one else in the credit card business comes close to that level.  You have to spend $5,000 just to be able to use your rewards!

Conclusion

As you can see I do not see this card being successful in any meaningful way.  I am not sure what they were thinking with this card release but I would love to hear where they believe the card’s value is supposed to come from.

And capping the bonuses at $25,000 in spend is counterproductive.  There is no incentive to go a dollar above that level.  It is like Parker Schnabel having to stop at 6,000 ounces of gold so his royalty rates wouldn’t go up. All that did was cost him and Tony Beets money…a terrible set up for both parties included.  Obscure TV reference there…if you get it then we can be friends :).

Barclays had an opportunity here to come out with an enticing card that could compete with American Express, Citi, and Chase in the profitable premium market.  But with this offering it sits in last place way behind US Bank.  If you want a card from Barclays that offers some value then check out their Uber credit card.

Give me your thoughts in the comments.  Are you planning on getting the card?  If yes why, and if no why not?

 

 


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22 COMMENTS

  1. I think it could have potential for paying your mortgage via plastic but for that purpose only. You can’t pay your mortgage with the Amex EDP or BBP for 1.5x or 2x or with the Chase Freedom Unlim bc of it being a visa. You could pay it via this being a MC and earn the 3x with 15k a year spent on your mortgage. I’d take 3 of these points vs one AA mile or one Thank You point that also gave MC’s. Surely you could come out ahead with the transfer partners if you fly first or business class to negate the Plastiq processing charge and card annual fee.

    • Are adding in the $150 annual fee into that calculation? I don’t see it coming out ahead unless you have a lot of fee free dollars stacked up to burn on plastiq.

      • If you are getting let’s say 2.5cents per mile (pretty easy if you are redeeming for first or business) $15k in spend would be worth about $788 in points… subtract the annual fee and 12 months at $30 Plastiq fee per month would be $510 in fees. Now if you are redeeming for strictly first or business class I’m typically getting atleast 5cents per mile at a minimum

  2. No interest in a card like this. I was hopeful for better. Hopefully Barclay’s will learn from this. I wonder if they’ll start incentivizing people to apply for this card if it draws a really low number of applicants (which it should).

  3. It does have one redeeming characteristic though, it is only one of two cards that transfer their points to JAL, albeit not at a great ratio, but almost the same as SPG.

  4. Why will it not be in my wallet? Because I still have a few brain cells left. I can see why Barclay’s might not want to cater to the less-than-profitable travel hacker community, but I can’t think of the specific demographic that this card is targeted for. Those who travel frequently, but have never heard of the numerous other superior travel credit cards, many of which have less or no AF? I fully expect a signup bonus to appear in 6 months or so after a dismal launch, and a few marketing heads to roll.

    • I find your comment really funny because, as far as I’ve noticed, normal people don’t even know what Barclays is… I didn’t even know myself until the long-dead airways card with the sweet sign-up bonus was made aware to me.

    • I do expect a sign up bonus to come in the near future as well. If it is 50K then I would probably get it and put 25K on it. Then I would be done with it!

  5. I agree with the consensus that this card is a turd, but the more I think about it, it starts to make sense from Barclays viewpoint. What did they hear about the A+? Love the 2x points, the flexibility to redeem for any travel charge and not just airlines or hotels, no FTF, etc. What did customers complain about? The lack of transfer partners, the difficulty justifying the annual fee vs 2% CB cards etc. And what did the bank hate most of all? Folks who got the signup bonus and then sock-drawered the card.
    So really, this new card solves all of those things. People who liked 2x everywhere and travel statement credits still get that. People who want transfer partners get that– even if they’re niche and you have to be super-into travel hacking to figure out if you’ll get more value. People who use this as a daily driver should easily reach $15k spend per year and get enough bonus points to offset the AF. And no signup bonus keeps the most unprofitable customers away.

    • True but at 15K you might as well get a Citi DC and not have to worry about $100 min redemptions or having to use your rewards towards travel at all. It really doesn’t make sense for anyone to get the card…it is pretty much only good for Barclays. There is no downside for them besides that it will most likely be a failure.

  6. “Good” critique Mark of a “bad” card deal. Your “independence” is showing. I’m compiling a running list of which bloggers sold their souls to hawk this “dead on arrival” dud…. The only non-compensated blogger I’ve seen praising this card is AA at pointchaser….. on a VERY strained logic that it’s good for (extreme) MS types. Have far, far better places to put 25k spend on — w/o annual fees to boot.

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