Time to cancel my @Barclaycard Arrival Plus Mastercard (latest cuts are too much)!

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today i cut up my barclaycard arrival plus card delta points blog

Barclays is a very strange bank. Outside the USA they are very well known but inside the USA they are much less so. In fact I was talking to an AMEX phone rep about Barclays once and they had never even heard about the bank.

Barclays was one of the first banks EVER to give us a result in a turn down for a credit card card (for my wife). No amount of calling or letters or attempts for a final approval worked. We had to wait for 6 months and apply again to finally get an approval for the card for her (there was an even nastier back story to this that I can not print, but ask me sometime if you see me in the air or at say the Chicago Seminars in October)!

I had some time to chat with Barclay’s reps at BoardingArea’s last BAcon conference in Las Vegas last year (a.k.a. Viva Las BAcon). I shared with them just one simple suggestion regarding the Arrival Plus card and said:

“Don’t mess it up. It is a great card just as-is”

Well, we all should know by now that they did not listen to my advice and are truly whacking the perks of the card and DRAMATICALLY!

bad new rules for arrival plus mastercard

Now the $89 fee was always an ouch but since you could cover it with points and you could very simply manufacture 8,900 points to pay for it that was not a total deal breaker. But, that came along with the rewards of the OLD card, that is 10% back on redemptions as well as redemption rates starting at 2,500 points or $25 charge.

Now, as you can see, when your new annual fee hits (or sooner) you will only get 5% points back for redemptions and you had better have 10k points for a redemption. Ouch big time!

So I decided to call and try for a retention due to all these very negative changes. Most banks, when you spend a bunch per year on the card and really use it for day to day purchases, are willing to work with you to keep you as a card member. Barclay’s, yeah, maybe not so much.

The first rep I spoke with quickly shifted me off to a specialist. That rep, offered to downgrade me to the no fee Arrival card but I have no interest in that card. Getting credit for the annual fee was just not possible I was told. Good for them they got my money last year. I was then, after pressing, passed to a “manager” who I asked to give me 8,900 points to offset the annual fee since getting money back simply was not an option for anyone. I was told NO but think, just maybe, had my fee just hit there may have been some more room for points but just not at this time.

So what to do next. I am not a fan of devaluations. Delta has been crushing us with devaluations over the past year. I have at long last stopped collecting $kyRubles (other than what I need for my annual MQD exempt spend & MQM bonus). I have now also decided to move on from Barclay’s bank.

When the cuts are too deep you move on despite the unique perks you can get (are you listening Delta). I will miss having a card that is true “chip and pin” that does work at automated machines outside the USA but I have to think other banks are getting close to offering this. If not, I will put up with this loss vs. supporting a bank that devalues a card this badly.

So I am shifting my spending as I talked about in THIS post. I will reward AMEX and CHASE for their solid products. Have the Arrival Plus cuts caused you to rethink your spending or keeping the card? – René


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  1. They gave me the same song an dance with a different tune when I asked for an annual fee credit: if only I had called before the fee posted, they might have been able to do something, but now it was just too late. Sayonara Barclaycard!

  2. Dump them Rene, better for you to use a well known American bank. The UK banks have had quite a shake-up after the recent financial crisis with lots of job losses so perhaps your issue isn’t of much importance to them.

    The US will eventually join the chip and pin system we in Australia and other countries use.

    Incidentally, on my forthcoming trip to the US I’ll be flying with American instead of Delta – basically as I can use the status credits to retain my Qantas FF Gold Membership.

    It’d be nice if the Airlines removed all that and simply allowed you to retain the level to which you have attained, but they don’t seem to want to do so.

    Nothing against Delta, but I wish to concentrate on one FF scheme as I’m retired and can’t fly enough to build points or miles on several.

  3. I’m emptying my points on a trip to Honduras next month and then the card will be cancelled.

  4. I think Barclay does pay attention to the annual spending. Both my wife ‘s & mine annual fee easily got waived within 5 minutes phone call at March & April. The specialist just asked what I wanted and waived the annual fee in 30 second without asking any question. Both cards spent at least 80K a year.

  5. Just canceled my Arrival Plus as well…would not waive annual fee even before it was billed; the only offering was to downgrade to the no annual fee product.

  6. Was waiting for this article! I’m actually considering picking up the Chase Freedom next time there’s a good welcome offer to help supplement the collection of my UR account. Was also considering the AMEX Preferred Everyday too, as I wanted another strong earning MR card. I’m going to figure out a fun trip to take on the Arrivals+ point balance and then cut it from the portfolio.

  7. The tune has changed since you got those fees waived in April. No one seems to grt it waived since July. It’s been told they no longer want card in the portfolio. They are more than happy for you to cancel.

  8. My World Arrival Elite Master Card is up for renewal in November. I’ve already stopped using it and am planning to dump the card very soon. For two years it was my daily spend card; I used it all the time and LOVED it. Now it isn’t worth squat to me. I’ve put my SPG AMEX into the workhorse role instead. Dumb move Barclay, really, really dumb.

  9. @Jonathan – #5 – We put easily $80k a month in biz spending on the card to redeem for high travel charges.
    No AF waived when asked, about two months ago.
    However, we are definitely keeping this card.

  10. It was always a slightly more rewarding version of a standard cash-back card. Now it has nothing on cards like the Citi Double Cash.

    On the chip and pin front, the Aviator Red card also has that capability. Until chip and pin is more widely adopted, the Aviator is the best card in the US that has that feature.

  11. I have always felt renewing this card is only for extreme high spenderslike Jonathan or those who enjoy writing lots of articles for Barclay Travel Community. Using points to cover the anual fee was always a false logic. The money spent to get those points in the first place could have been spent elsewhere to get $89 worth of rewards instead.

  12. Yep I will be doing the same and cancelling this as my AF is due this month. I will ask for a waiver but if its not coming will shift my CL to the Aviator Red (might as well keep the CL) and ditch the Arrival +. Again agree with others that this was shaping up to be a nice card but with all the cuts (including Tripit Pro which I liked using) this is too much now

  13. Interesting how many people people will be cancelling around this summer likely in response to your rousing articles to apply end of spring last year. Either I have been drinking the DeltaPoints-aid or have similar values for cards. But I dumped back in May. Called before, day of, and after the fee hit, nothing offered but downgrades. I called to complain about the lack of redemption and you offer me a card with worse value for redemption. Grabbed the Citi DC MC for the wife in May to supplement and AMEX BC pref Everyday in the USPS somewhere. With how I feel about Delta right now and Virgin America leaving me hanging in ATL. Just give me cash. UR are almost useless now as well given everytime i look they only offer E class Delta fares….not gonna happen! And they have no means of seller higher fares to my knowledge. Definitely a hot summer from all this burning.

  14. Cancelled my card as well. Was initially pushed on to the free card and then cancelled that a month or so after. Thanks for the great articles!

  15. I called and requested retention miles from amex and was told I would be given some miles in the next day or so. It’s been two weeks and no miles have appeared in my account. Thankfully, the agent gave me his name and his identification number so when I get home from my latest travels, I will be calling and re-requesting miles. Really perturbs me that he did not follow through.

  16. I called retention for Amex and it took 3 months to get reception miles. Takes a long time to grt them as they manually process hundreds of them. I’d call and confirm the request is put in and sit back and wait

  17. Thanks, Jason, good to know. The only other time I made such a request, the miles showed up in less than 24 hours so I thought they were done virtually as you were speaking to the rep.

  18. I got a letter in the mail describing the upcoming changes to the card, the last paragraph said:
    “To accept these changes, just keep using your card as you do today. If you prefer to transfer to another product or close your account, contact us on or before November 3, 2015. We’ll refund the unused portion of your annual fee, on a prorated basis, within 4-6 weeks of your request.”
    This is my plan, as all devaluations and no positive changes isn’t something I’m going to sit and accept. I have too many other cards earning my business!

  19. Being new to all this, the timing of this post couldn’t be better, because I was gong to ask: What is the appropriate strategy for canceling cards without it having a negative impact on your credit rating, or ability to open other cards in the future?

    Great post, will be staying away from this card.

  20. @Reed – Both applying and canceling have short term impact. I tend to HOLD cards as long as I can including some no-fee cards and just use once a year for long term credit stability and to boost credit score as high as I can.

  21. I just called and downgraded to Arrival (to keep credit limit), got annual fee pro-rated, and 1,000 bonus miles on first purchase. You just have to be polite and explain what happened; my customer relationship person said “It’s the right thing to do.”

  22. Closed out today, was surprised that it seemed like no issue to Barclays at all, weren’t even interested as to why, no offer nothing even in spite of being very polite. Clearly Barclays not concerned about customer retention or in keeping this product going.

  23. Thanks. Yeah sounds like they don’t care about this product anymore. Would they let you downgrade even or move the limit? I have 25k limit so I want to try to retain it

  24. Jason, yes I transferred my CL to another product I had no issue and made sure they would not charge me the AF on the Arrival +

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