Posted by Chuck on January 7, 2020
Credit Cards

Published on January 7th, 2020 | by Chuck

104

Downgrading My Barclay Arrival+ Card

The annual fee on my Barclay Arrival+ card just posted, and since the card hasn’t been getting any use, I called in to downgrade. Two separate front-line reps insisted that there is no option for downgrade available on the account. I pushed to speak to a supervisor, and he was able to find the downgrade option to the no-fee Arrival card.

Using this option, I’ll save the annual fee with my rewards balance remaining intact. The rep told me that there’s even a 1,000 points downgrade bonus to boot for downgrading from the Arrival+ to the no-fee card (requires a purchase of any amount). Presumably, they are trying to encourage downgrade versus cancellation.

It used to be possible to downgrade to the Barclay Rewards card while keeping all points intact. The benefit in choosing that method is that points on that card can be cashed out at 1 cent-per-point without needing a travel charge to offset. However, that card is no longer available for signup, and the rep insisted that it’s not available for downgrade either, so I took the no-fee Arrival as my downgrade option.

Within days, the $89 fee got credited back leaving my balance at $0. (Oddly, it still shows me owing the minimum monthly payment, but SM confirmed with me that since my balance is $0 I don’t owe anything.) In the login it’s still showing as Arrival+. I’ll wait until the downgrade is fully complete – I believe the rep said I’ll be getting a new card – then I’ll make a small $1 purchase to trigger the 1,000 points downgrade bonus.



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A M
A M

I had the very same experience trying to downgrade it about six months ago. HUCA x 3, but no dice

I ended up actually booking some travel and then canceling the card lol

cyno
cyno

I did the same in Nov last year, downgraded to no fee arrival card.

YK3
YK3

The first time I called them I had the same experience you had and was flatly told that I cannot downgrade unless there is an “offer” to do so on my account. I called about a week later and asked them if there were any offers on the account, and this second rep got me downgraded to the fee free arrival and even hit me with a $10 statement credit after the first use of the new card, which is also pretty similar to what you got. So this seems like a case where pushing for a manager or calling multiple times to get a decent rep is the move

Andrew
Andrew

+1 datapoint. Just downgraded the wife’s and everything was exactly the same as yours. “No offer” with initial rep, but a supervisor was able to do it and give a $10 credit on first purchase.

anonymous
anonymous

The nice thing about the no-AF Arrival is that the minimum travel redemption is $25 vs. $100. Unfortunately, you also have to redeem in multiples of $25.

ABC
ABC

I doubt you’ll use the card again. Why not cancel the card?

Blake
Blake

Always downgrade over canceling to keep AAoA and overall credit health up.

Ben
Ben

Not always. True for your oldest accounts, but accounts whose age is less than the average are better off closed.

Dubya
Dubya

I wish this myth would die. Closed accounts stay on your report for 10 years and continues to get counted in AAoA in the FICO algorithm. There is no such thing as “overall credit health”. Closing an account only affects utilization percentage as it reduces your available credit. Since utilization has no member, reducing your posted balances means you can close cards with ZERO impact to your score.

Ben
Ben

I wish the myth that there is only one FICO algorithm would die.

Electroman

Which FICO algorithm uses AAoOA, not AAoA? That’s right, none of them.

Burton

I have a lot of points I wasn’t able to use before the AF hit. I used points to cover the fee for the flexibility of being able to use those points at my convenience. No AF verson would have been better, and I probably would have tried harder if I’d seen this post before paying it, but I won’t dwell on that.

I’ll use up the rest traveling this summer and close next year (or downgrade if they allow it).

joE
joE

ABC

1. You maintain the relationship which may come in handy at a later time e.g. you stay on their radar and you get promotions/marketing offers you wouldn’t otherwise get as a non member.
2. You never know what other cards come along that you may want to product change to.
3. By keeping the card open you help increase the average age of your credit profile, so when you apply for new accounts it won’t impact your credit score as much.

These are just a few high level reasons and apply to any relationship/card. At the end of the day it’s case by case basis as to what is the best thing to do, there is no one right/wrong answer.

Jason
Jason

In addition to what else has been said it supports offline chip+PIN. It still has signature priority at manned terminals, but e.g. will let you buy metro/train fare at offline terminals. Not a lot of US cards support chip+PIN, let alone offline chip+PIN.

Dubya
Dubya

Because if you app for something with a manual review you do not want to look like a churner (even if you are). To the average person it does not matter. If you churn for bonuses you want try your best to look “normal”.

ADistinguishedFella
ADistinguishedFella

But if you have the no-fee Arrival card you won’t be able to get a new Arrival+, right?

Arley
Arley

I just called yesterday as well and the first rep gave me the downgrade option to the no-fee Arrival with the 1,000 points bonus.

Just a Note
Just a Note

I downgraded mine in July and the experience was about the same. Even at the lower amount it took me until last week to find a travel expense to use the last $25 to offset. I’ll probably close it one of these days, or just wait until they close it from not using the account.

anonymous
anonymous

$25 gift card from one of the airlines is an easy option. Or a gift card at Hotels.com.

sam
sam

I’m confused. In a different article you wrote When it comes to Barclaycard, I wouldn’t recommend doing downgrades/product changes”. Here’s the link.
https://www.doctorofcredit.com/best-downgrade-options-rules-for-each-card-issuer-rules/#Barclaycard

Burton

The Arrival+ used to have a great SUB. If getting a no-fee card would preclude you from getting that again that would be reason to just cancel. I’m guessing that post was written before they retired the card.

Gene
Gene

The problem with downgrading/PCing to the Barclay Rewards is it creates a new account on your credit reports.
..Really, this applies to any product change.

The no-fee arrival downgrade probably maintains the same account number/history?

ExploreYourWorld
ExploreYourWorld

PCing/downgrading does not create a new account. You keep the same account, different name/benefits/etc and you keep the average age of accounts

Gene
Gene

I have twice previously PCed to the Barclays Rewards. Both are showing as separate newer accounts on my credit report.

Same with PCs at other banks.
Ex. WF Propel to Cashwise

Ben
Ben

It definitely depends on the bank.

sdsearch
sdsearch

Yes, but do these “separate newer accounts” on your credit report have “opened on” dates corresponding to the PCing date, or corresponding to the original open date of the card you PCed from?

Gene
Gene

PC date. That’s why they’re “newer”.

scott6k
scott6k

I have PC’d a card from a different bank before and it shows up on my report as being opened under the first (older) card’s date. But if downgrading the Arrival+ will create a new card I will cancel; I don’t want to risk taking up a 5/24 slot with that.

Nick
Nick

Everything stays the same, I do believe they issue a new account because arrival plus is World Elite and arrival is world. Otherwise everything else is exactly the same on the credit report.

Gene
Gene

Im taking about the Barclays Rewards

xfr
xfr

Delete this.

Gene
Gene

Nah

churnchurnchurning
churnchurnchurning

I had a much easier time doing this in November. I called in before my Arrival+ AF was going to post and asked to close the card. The CSR on the phone immediately came back with ‘would you like to downgrade’? I said that solves the problem, lets do it. 1 call to Barclays is all it took.

Stan
Stan

i had a similar experience. offered 1000 pts. for 1 purchase.
made my purchase, then they didn’t give me the points.
called and argued for them, finally they gave me basically $10. pretty aggravating experience.

SB
SB

I had a similar offer for 500 points for 1 purchase. It was even written out in the paperwork that came along with my downgraded card. But the points never arrived.

iahphx
iahphx

The problem with Arrival is that it has a very attractive sign-up bonus but is otherwise a very bad travel credit card. I currently have one (my second) for the bonus, but I can’t say I see any real benefit in downgrading. I’m assuming the old trick of making a travel purchase for the full amount of your award points and then cancelling it — and using the account credit to make ordinary purchases — still works?

Deb
Deb

Yes, it worked for me recently.

Mike L
Mike L

Worked for me as well.

Myi

This is like triggering the sign up bonus on a card?
Wonder if it’s comparable or much safer?

Matty
Matty

Im a fan of the card. What don’t you like about it? Am I missing something?

blue-paper
blue-paper

I had this exact same issue last year and at the time, I thought the problem was that their reps were outsourced to a call center abroad (perhaps the lack of proper training?) so I had to demand that I be transferred to a rep in the US, where they finally gave me the option to downgrade. Also, don’t call in to ask about $10 downgrade bonus because the outsourced reps have no idea what you’re talking and even insisted I was making it up or would talk in circles. I was able to finally get a rep in Nevada. They told me the problem was that even though after I downgraded and made a purchase on the converted card, I need to make a physical purchase on the new card for the bonus to post.

Brian C 🐕

I had a similar problem trying to downgrade a $75 fee wyndham card to the no-fee wyndham card. The rep kept insisting there is no option to downgrade. Had to HUCA and ended up speaking to a supervisor who finally took care of it. Major mission though…

Matt
Matt

Damn, after calling 3 times last month I gave up and just cancelled it. Would have preferred downgrading it.

Nun
Nun

I could swear they told me I had to use up my points or lose them in the conversion. Thanks for sharing this.

Andy
Andy

Read this somewhere, so I tried it and it worked. Purchase a refundable hotel, redeem points to cover, then cancel the reservation. You’re left with a cash statement credit.

One
One

I JUST paid my $89 AF! Like many others if I saw this post I would have tried harder because I spoke to 2 reps and a manager and they all said there is no “offer” on my card to downgrade. It drove me nuts because it made zero sense so I just accepted my fate, and the thing is I don’t even have points that are worth anything, maybe 3k points in total. Credit limit is very high though so I didn’t want to close the account totally, or should I next year if I still can’t downgrade?

Kevin
Kevin

I believe you have 60 days with Barclays to cancel/downgrade and get the AF refunded. I know there’s an article here somewhere that covers it.

If you’re still within the timeframe, go ahead and do it. Even though you already paid it, it could still be refunded.

Myi

I’ve had my card for over a year already and in the same boat no need for the card.
Assuming it’s not like the Chase freedom where you wont be able to cash out your points and you need an annual fee card like the reserve or ink?

even with the no annual fee card I’m assuming I’m allowed or will be able to cash out my points?

Thanks doc!

Raylan
Raylan

Any idea if the A+ is ever going to come back for new applicants?

NEW
NEW

The Barclay’s Ring card needs more benefits for me to use it. Barclay’s is getting stale.

Kevin
Kevin

The one and only benefit that card ever had or will have was the introductory 0% interest balance transfer with no transfer fee. I’m shocked they haven’t killed that product yet.

tuphat
tuphat

Thanks for posting this, was in similar situation of having AF charged at end of 2019. Frontline CSR (ESL) with whom I spoke was clueless, but offered to connect me with “account relationship specialist” (not ESL), who quickly understood & offered no AF version with 1k point bonus for first purchase, plus refund of previously charged AF.

Simon
Simon

thank you for that info , because i have a downgraded no fee aviator for a while and i wanted to reapply for the Barclay aviator again to get the bonus, and I am not sure whether to close the no annual fee card first before reapplying for the annual fee version or to apply for the card on top of my no annual aviator card would be grateful for your opinion. like what would you do if you decided to reapply for the arrive plus again would you close your downgraded card first ?

H-Bomb
H-Bomb

>Within days, the $89 fee got credited back leaving my balance at $0.

I would strongly suggest making some kind of payment, even just $1

As old as some financial I/T can be, I wouldn’t want to risk a “late payment” being reported (regardless of the amount being $0).

One of my vendors at a previous job kept sending us bills for $0. Even though we called to try to resolve it, their automated system kept sending us a $0 bill. We eventually had accounts cut them a $0 check, at which point the bills ceased.

Electroman

I’ve been hearing that story since the seventies. I’m glad I finally found the true author! *sly wink*

Jason
Jason

I did this recently. Keep the insert about the 1,000 point offer that comes with the new card until you get the 1,000 points, they said they had no record of it on my account and I had to send them a copy of the insert to get the points. Someone else on /r/churning had the same issue around the same time I did (September/October) as well.

It’s definitely worth having in your pocket while traveling since while it still has chip-and-signature and the preference, it supports offline PIN (you have to make a transaction at a manned terminal first to get the PIN set). It was the entire reason I got the Arrival+, actually, one too many times in Europe having issues buying metro fare.

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