The Barclay Arrival Premier had to be one of the biggest disappointments for a rewards credit card in a long time! After some hype and anticipation, the launch of the card this year was more like a lead balloon as it had mostly weak transfer partners and ridiculous transfer ratios to those partners. They had said they would be introducing more transfer partners and now they have added another one.
The Barclay Arrival Premier Adds Aeroplan as a Transfer Partner
What to Like About Aeroplan
The Barclay Arrival Premier now has Aeroplan as a transfer partner. Aeroplan is (for now – until June of 2020) the frequent flyer program of Air Canada in the Star Alliance. There are many good things about Aeroplan that I have come to appreciate. These include things like
- generous stopover policies
- first class to Europe from the US for 70,000 or 80,000 miles (for more western European destinations)
- no close-in booking fees – even on United flights (which does charge close-in booking fees of $75)
- low infant in lap fees (other airlines either do not allow a lap child on an award ticket or charge 10% of the revenue fare)
We used them for just this reason a couple of years ago as everyone else charged way too much for a lap infant – in a big business class seat with his mother and not eating any food.
Anyway, there is value to be had with Aeroplan and I use them over Aegean when I want to fly a partner that has fuel surcharges with Aegean but not Aeroplan (like Swiss and Turkish) or I have more than one connection.
The Details About the Aeroplan Transfers from the Barclay Arrival Premier
The problem with this addition to the Barclay Arrival Premier partner family is the transfer ratio. Here is their current lineup of partners and the transfer ratios:
- Aeromexico – 1.4:1
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue – 1.4:1
- China Eastern – 1.4:1
- Etihad – 1.4:1
- EVA Air – 1.4:1
- Japan Airlines (JAL) – 1.7:1
- Jet Airways – 1.4:1
- Malaysia Airlines – 1.4:1
- Qantas – 1.4:1
Unfortunately, Aeroplan joins the Barclay Arrival Premier transfer partners as a 1.7:1 partner. This makes it as bad as JAL for transfers and is worse than JAL since Aeroplan has a 1:1 transfer agreement with American Express Membership Rewards (which JAL does not).
The sweet spot with the Barclay Arrival Premier is to spend $25,000 in a year. That is because when you hit that threshold, you get a 25,000 point bonus. This is on top of the 2X points for every dollar spent with the card. So, let’s see how many Aeroplan miles you would have if you spend $25,000 in a year on the Barclay Arrival Premier:
- $25,000 in spending = 75,000 Premier points = 44,000 Aeroplan miles
Yeah, that’s pretty bad, especially from a card that has a $150 annual fee!
There is a Better Alternative – the American Express Blue Business Plus Card
Let’s see what a better alternative is. The American Express Blue Business Plus card has $0 annual fee and also earns 2 Membership Reward points per dollar up to $50,000 in a year. And those points transfer to Aeroplan at 1:1. So, if you put the same $25,000 of spending on the Amex card, here is what you would have:
- $25,000 in spending = 50,000 Membership Reward points = 50,000 Aeroplan miles
Yep, a no-fee (business) card totally beats out this new transfer agreement with the Barclay Arrival Premier. So, at the end of the day, the Barclay Arrival Premier is still not worth much at all for 98% of customers out there (the 2% would be people interested in the JAL transfers for Emirates premium cabins).
Nice try, Barclay. Reduce that ratio to 1.4 and then we can talk some more!
HT: Dans Deals