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For a number of years Barclays’ primary travel card has been its Arrival credit card but, while that card started life off quite promisingly, Barclays didn’t wait too long before devaluing its earning power to a point where it’s nothing more than a also-ran in the miles and points world. Now Barclays has introduced the Barclays Arrival Premier Credit Card to the world and, after having been teased about the card’s potential benefits and features for a few weeks, the end result can only be described as a monumental disappointment.
Barclays Arrival Premier Credit Card – Headline Features
- $150 annual fee
- No sign-up bonus
- Earn 2 Arrival Miles per dollar on all purchases
- Bonus 15,000 Miles after spending $15,000 in a cardmembership year
- Bonus 10,000 Miles after spending $25,000 (in total) in a cardmembership year
- Redeem Miles for statement credit
- Convert Arrival Miles to partner loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1 x $100 Global Entry credit every 5 years
- Lounge Key membership
- Chip and PIN enabled
- Complimentary online FICO score
So What’s Wrong With the Barclays Arrival Premier Credit Card?
Using Miles For Statement Credits
Arrival Miles can be used for statement credits at a rate of 1.0 cents/Arrival mile so, essentially, this card earns a 2% rebate on all purchases.
Considering you can sign up for no annual fee credit cards that offer 2% cashback (check the link in the menu bar at the top of the page) I have to wonder why anyone would be interested in paying a $150 annual fee for the same benefit?
Converting Miles To Other Loyalty Programs
We’ve known that the new Arrival card would offer the ability to convert points to other loyalty programs for a while and it’s the feature that most of us have been looking forward to finding out about….but it’s turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Here are the loyalty programs Arrival Miles can be converted into together with their transfer ratios:
Two things are immediately obvious:
- The transfer partners aren’t exactly inspiring
- The conversion ratios are poor
When competitors like Amex, Chase and Citi all offer transferable currencies which, generally speaking, transfer to partners in a ratio of 1:1, I’m not sure how Barclays thinks it’s going to entice anybody with considerably worse transfer ratios.
Unless you’re prepared to put $15,000 or even $25,000 of spend on the Arrival Premier credit card the earnings you’ll get from this card are, at best, 1.43 miles/dollar spent (1.18 miles/dollar in the case of JAL).
Between Amex, Chase, Citi and Starwood all of the Arrival Premier’s transfer partners are covered and each of these offers cards that will earn you more miles per dollar than the Barclays Arrival Premier card. Between them they also offer a lot more transfer partners and transfer partners that are likely to be considerably more use to the average miles & points collector.
So, the new Arrival Premier card has disappointing earning rates and poor transfer partners….but can it make things better with a good set of benefits?
In a word, no.
- There’s no sign-up bonus
- The card offers Lounge Key membership which inferior to Priority Pass (offered by a host of other cards)
- The Arrival premier card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees but you can also sign up for cards that don’t charge an annual fee which don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
- The Arrival premier card offers a Global Entry fee rebate…..but if you’re a miles & points collector you’ll almost certainly have at least one card that already offers a Global Entry rebate (I have three such cards
- The card offers a “complimentary FICO score”…but then so do most of the credit cards most of us hold
There is one benefit that’s going to be useful and that’s the Chip and Pin functionality that comes with the card. If you’re visiting Europe where the banking systems have been in the 21st century for a while (and where chip and pin has been in use for well over a decade) this is a good feature to have….but it’s not worth a $150 annual fee.
It looks as if the Arrival premier credit card has taken the place of the original Arrival card (the original card no longer seems to appear on the Barclays website) and what Barclays has done in increase the annual fee while providing little or no useful benefits to make up for the increase.
If you manufacture spend and have run out of other options then this may be a card you can get a little bit of use out of but, for most of us, this is a card that I just can’t see the point of having.
The old Arrival card wasn’t much use after Barclays gutted its earnings and now the bank is trying to sell us a card that’s not much better that what was offered before but with an increased annual fee – you’d have to be seriously out of other options to apply for this colossal disappointment.