Published on July 7th, 2015 | by William Charles24
Negative Changes Coming To Barclaycard Arrival Cards & Compensation
Earlier last week there was some speculation (first by Travel Codex and then Miles to Memories) regarding negative changes to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card, as it had stopped accepting new sign ups (the apply now button is still replaced with a check back later button). These changes have now been confirmed, so let’s have a look at what is actually changing, when, our analysis of these changes and what we can do to potentially profit from this situation.
- Redemption bonus will be lowered from 10% to 5% (basically making the Plus a 2.105% travel card instead of 2.22%)
- Redemption bonus will be applied to other redemption options (cash, gift cards & merchandise)
- When redeeming against travel expenses, the minimum threshold will be increased to 10,000 points from 5,000
- When redeeming for cash, the minimum threshold will be increased to 5,000 points from 2,500 points
- TripIt Pro will no longer be included on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card
- Tourist attractions will no longer be a travel category
When these changes go into effect depend on when you applied for the card. Here are the rules:
- If you applied for the card before September 30th, 2014 then they will go into effect on November 1st, 2015
- If you applied for the card on or after October 1st, 2014 then they will go into effect on August 1st, 2016
The reason for the different dates is that credit card issuers typically don’t like to make big changes to their rewards structure within the first year of being approved for a card, even though it’s legal for them to do so.
Analysis Of These Changes
For me the biggest change is that the redemption bonus is being lowered to 5%, considering there are so many other cards that earn 2% cash back or higher with no annual fee it really doesn’t make sense to keep this card long term at all. It didn’t really make a lot of sense to keep this card long term before this change either and now it’s even worse.
You’d need to spend almost $90,000 ($84,550 exactly) on this card compared to a 2% cash back card, just to cover the annual fee. If you’re spending $90,000 annually on non bonus categories, then you’d be better off picking up the Discover it Miles card and earning 3% cash back for the first year and pocketing another $900.
Having to redeem in against travel purchases of over $100 is also another big negative, I have a lot of travel changes but usually the Barclaycard Arrival Plus wouldn’t be my first choice (I’d rather earn points or a category bonus if possible) anyway.
Whenever a credit card has it’s benefits or rewards program devalued, you should always ask for compensation for these changes. Credit card issuers are usually desperate to keep cardholders during this period, as they don’t want bad retention numbers after a negative change. With Barclaycard you’ll typically need to speak to a supervisor to receive any sort of compensation/retention on the Arrival Plus card, the normal retention offer is to get the annual fee waived for the following year.
Because these changes haven’t been officially announced by Barclaycard yet, it’s not currently possible to receive compensation. That being said, you should still call now and ask if there are any retention or spending bonuses currently available and that you’re worried about potential negative changes to the card. I was able to get the AF waived for the following year this way, when the changes are officially announced I’ll call again and try to get 10,000 bonus points to compensate for the changes.