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
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- China Eastern
- EVA Air
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
The airlines that transfer at a rate of 1.7 points = 1 mile
- Japan Airlines
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!
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?