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!
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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