Disclaimer: I receive a commission for the Barclay cards. Thank you for your consideration!
A little over a year ago, Barclay really changed the way many people approached travel awards. That is thanks to the Barclaycard Arrival cards. The Barclaycary Arrival Plus Elite (as it is now named) gives 2 miles on every dollar spent. These miles can be redeemed on a host of travel categories as a statement rebate after the purchase. This way, you are not tied to a specific airline or hotel. The sign-up bonus was a not a bad thing either – 40,000 miles after meeting the minimum spend (worth $400 towards travel).
Should You Keep The Barclay Arrival Plus?
The problem with the Barclay Arrival Plus card is that the annual fee of $89 is only waived for the first year. That means a whole lot of people are finding the annual fee facing them as the Barclay Arrival turns one. This a good time to figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you and, if not, what your options are.
Is It Worth Keeping?
There are two Barclay Arrival cards – the Plus and regular version. The regular version (formerly called the 1x card) does not come with an annual fee but only awards one mile per dollar. The Plus version awards the 2 miles on every dollar but does have the $89 annual fee. What kind of spending is required to make the Plus version worth it?
It is very easy to figure what you have to spend since these points are worth a fixed rate. The cards offer a 10% rebate on points that are used so that makes each point worth 1.1 cents towards redemptions. To make it worth paying the $89 annual fee, you will need to spend at least $8,100 in a year and that is to get the points to cover the annual fee. If you are only spending $10,000 per year on the card, it may not be worth paying the annual fee. But, if this is your go-to card for non bonus categories, you could very easily be spending quite a bit more than $10,000 per year.
Options For The Fee
- Many people have reported that you can simply call and ask for the fee to be waived and it has been waived. That is definitely the nicest, easiest route to go!
- Another option is to use your points to pay the annual fee. It takes 8,900 points to take care of the $89 annual fee, so you are not losing any value in the points. If they do not waive the fee and you want to keep the card, this is the best option as it does not take anything out of pocket.
- Another option is to downgrade the card to the version with no annual fee. This will allow you to retain your points and still accrue more miles for future travel.
- A different card for everyday use! There is another card that gets a lot of love as it gives 2% in straight cashback and has no annual fee. It is the Fidelity Investment Rewards from American Express. If you want to, you could use this as your everyday card and just forget about the Arrival cards (or downgrade to the no-fee version so you can still earn). Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this link)
Things To Remember
With the refreshed card design/branding, the Arrival Plus card will now come with Chip and Pin which is great for international travel. The plain Arrival card does not offer that.
If you cancel your card outright, you will lose all Arrival miles you currently have in your account. Whatever you do, do not cancel the card without applying those points to some travel purchases first!
What is your plan of attack for your annual fee?