DTMFA: Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Still a good card?

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So torn. Always kinda have been.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I’ve always wondered what it was, in the sense that it was a bit of an enigma.

In the crosshairs

In the crosshairs

I got this card in May 2013. The annual fee was waived for the 1st year.

I got a retention offer the 2nd year.

I just paid the $89 annual fee about a month ago. I want to cancel this card. But it has 1 good use left in it…

Is is worth it?

My instinct says, “Dead to me”

“Loyalty” is a funny thing in 2015. The economy is doing well and the airlines/hotels/credit cards don’t care if we’re loyal or not. Chase said eff you. Why not Barclays?

Their card offerings have always been lackluster. Which is why I wanted to see how they would position the Arrival Plus within an already crowded market.

Their answer: don’t compete. Make it harder to use. And strip away a couple of benefits while you’re at it!

A far cry from 2008-20012 where we had points thrown on us at every turn (US Airways Grand Slam, Hyatt BOGO, record-high sign-up bonuses, etc.)

The only reason I’d keep the Barclaycard Arrival Plus at this point is for the chip-and-PIN.

That’s it.

Otherwise, it can go the way of Club Carlson, as far as I’m concerned.

Thoughts on the changes

I don’t really care about the increased award redemption. While it does mean I have to save up more points, I’m not bothered by it.

The free TripIt Pro? 

That stings a little more. I’m grown to like ol’ TripIt Pro via the free subscription. I don’t think it’s worth $49 a year. Maybe $15-$20 a year.

I’ve enjoyed the flight change and gate change alerts… a lot. Especially when I have to run like hell through an airport and don’t have time to scan the screens after a US Airways/”new American” flight is late again.

But I can live without it. There are other apps out there.

I won’t comment on the new “travel” definition because I have zero interest in theme parks.

What gives me a red rump is the decrease of miles back from 10% to 5% (I’m sure there’s a more eloquent wording in there somewhere.)

It’s also the “death by 1000 cuts” factor.

So many little changes. At what point does the frog jump out of the boiling hot water?

Creeping normality is scary. But increased competition usually fixes this, especially in the credit card world.

When I heard the news, I was ready to grab scissors and cut.

But then I thought of the 1 saving grace.

True chip-and-PIN capability

Dammit.

It has PIN capability. So does the Chase British Airways Visa, but I dumped that MF, too.

And the Chase Sapphire Preferred is wishy-washy with its PIN roll-out, although I’ve heard that ANY random 4-digit combo will work at an unattended ticket machine or gas pump in Europe. But that’s not assurance enough for me.

The chip-and-PIN was a lifesaver during Eurotrip 2014.

I was able to buy train tickets to the Vienna metro. There was no ticket window. I would’ve been, as the French say, le screwed.

But…

Is it worth $89?

Let’s be honest. The Arrival Plus is basically a glorified cashback card. And you can only redeem for travel (which is fine). I mean, you could redeem for other stuff, but you’d get a terrible rate.

2.2% is fine. It’s a tad more than the usual 2% cashback cards (.2%, to be precise).

But is .2% more cashback and a chip with PIN capability worth $89 a year? 

No. It’s not. 

I have a balance on the card right now. After I pay it off, I’m going to call and ask for a retention bonus.

I’ll keep it if they refund the annual fee or throw me some Arrival miles.

And if they don’t… I’m going to DTMFA!

Oh, and I got BANNED from the Barclaycard Travel Community. So there’s that.

F U 2!

F U 2!

Guess they didn’t like me seeking kindreds. But now I’d need a lot of kindreds anyhow, to build up to an award redemption.

Bottom line

Get the Fidelity Amex and call it a day. It’s a better card and has plenty of uses. And it has no annual fee.

I’m also going to sign up for the Discover It card in late July. Also better cash back.

$89 for this card, even with its chip-and-PIN considered, is no longer worth it. 

Plus, I can get TripIt Pro free for another year, anyway.

Instead of using a PIN, for now at least, I’ll get some Euros and/or deal.

Are you gonna DTMFA? Or am I being dramatic again?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Comments

  1. The changes definitely do suck, but I’m actually considering keeping it due to the Travel Community opportunity. Basically it allows you to “manufacture” points just by writing stories (and not spending ). I travel enough to continue writing stories to get points. I guess in your shoes without this, then i would drop it in favor of another option (do any 2% cash back cards have no FTFs?). My biggest issue is the higher redemption level. Still on the fence but I may hold on to it…

    • I feel you about being on the fence. I heard they were starting to crack down on people who write a lot of stories. But ride that train as long as you can!

  2. If you just paid the $89 a month ago but value the chip+pin, what’s the advantage of calling and canceling now versus waiting 10 months? I ask because I find myself in the same predicament and plan to cancel at some point (unless some sort of retention offer is extended). I paid my fee on 5/20 and was planning on holding onto it until next year due to multiple trips to europe coming up and the convenience of chip+pin. Want to make sure I’m not missing something…

    • If you cancel within 60-90 days after you pay the annual fee, you have a much better chance of getting it refunded. That’s all.

      If you have multiple trips to Europe coming up, I’d say hang on to it until another, better card offers chip-and-PIN. It came in handy a few times for me in Vienna and Budapest, for getting on the metro mostly. Would be a handy card to have for that reason alone.

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