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For a while there have been rumors of Barclays introducing a new card in the US. One of their most popular cards up until now has been the Arrival Plus, which offers 2x miles per dollar spent, and each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards a travel purchase (so they’re not really traditional miles, but that’s how they’ve marketed them). This is essentially a 2% cash back travel card. However, Barclays recently stopped accepting applications for this card, so it seems like it’s being discontinued, at least for new cardmembers.
At the same time there have been rumors of Barclays introducing a new card this month, and Doctor Of Credit has been on top of the details. Specifically, rumor has it that the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® (see terms) will be introduced in April. In this post I wanted to look at what the rumored benefits of this card are.
Barclays Arrival Premier annual fee (rumored)
When introduced, the Barclays Arrival Premier is rumored to have a $150 (waived first year) annual fee,.
Barclays Arrival Premier sign-up bonus & eligibility (rumored)
The card won’t have any sign-up bonus, won’t be available to existing Arrival cardmembers, and won’t allow conversions from existing Arrival accounts. It’s fair enough if they want to try not offering a sign-up bonus, though I’m surprised they’re making existing cardmembers of other products ineligible, and not allowing product changes. I guess they’re trying to see if they can go after a completely new market witht his card.
Barclays Arrival Premier return on spend (rumored)
The card will offer 2x miles on all purchases with no caps, much like the Arrival Plus has. On top of that, it will offer some spend bonuses:
- Spend $15,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 15,000 bonus miles
- Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 10,000 bonus miles
In other words, spending $25,000 on the card in a year will earn 25,000 bonus miles, for a total of 75,000 miles, or 3x miles per dollar spent.
Barclays Arrival Premier perks (rumored)
The only significant non-miles perk that this card will offer is a Global Entry fee credit every five years. That’s better than nothing, though not huge. Personally I have so many cards with those credits that it’s not something I value.
The HUGE benefit of this card (rumored)
With the Arrival Plus, you can only redeem miles for one cent each towards the cost of a travel purchase. The Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® will allow you to “transfer your miles to participating travel loyalty programs.” This means that for the first time, they may be introducing a true transferable points currency.
As of now we don’t yet know how many partners they’ll have. Barclays currently has co-brand travel cards with American, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Choice, and Wyndham. That’s not necessarily to say that all of those companies would be onboard with joining a Barclays transferable points currency. For example, American also has co-brand credit cards issued with Citi, and I know in the past they failed to reach a deal with Citi for allowing points to be transferred from ThankYou to AAdvantage.
On one hand I’m skeptical of AAdvantage partnering with Barclays for this, though at the same time American isn’t reaching their credit card goals solely with their co-brand cards, so it seems like maybe they’re desperate enough to do it at this point?
This of course is the big question with this card. Will the transfer partners just be Frontier, Hawaiian, and Choice (or something), or will we see them add some great partners?
Beyond cards that they have co-brand cards with, there are also some currencies that seem to be happy to partner with just about anyone. For example, Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Singapore KrisFlyer are transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies, and I’m sure they’d be up for a fifth.
Crunching the numbers on this card
Let me once again emphasize that the above is all rumored, though let’s do some basic number crunching based on this. Personally I won’t place a value on the Global Entry fee credit, since I have so many of those already.
What this boils down to is a $150 (waived first year) annual fee card that earns:
- Up to 3x miles on the first $25,000 spent per cardmember year
- 2x miles on any remaining spend
Currently miles can be redeemed for a penny each, so assuming we maintain that value, you’d be earning a return of 3% on the first $25,000 of spend, and 2% on any remaining spend. But then there’s a $150 (waived first year) annual fee, which would be the equivalent of “paying” 15,000 points per year. If you spend at least $25,000 per year and want to distribute that cost over the first $25,000 of spend then it’s like earning 3x points on $10,000 of spend, and 2x points on any remaining spend. Meh, that’s only marginally worth it.
But what if they add airline partners? Of course it would depend what partners they manage to add. Assuming they were able to get American AAdvantage onboard, I value those miles at ~1.3 cents each, so that’s like a return of ~3.9% on the first $25,000 spent, and ~2.6% on any remaining spend.
If you want to subtract the annual fee, I value ~11,000 American miles at ~$150, so that’s like earning 3x miles on $16,000 of spend, and 2x miles on all other spend. I’d say that’s pretty compelling, and if they can add even more partners that are useful, all the better.
As of now, all we can do is speculate about the Barclays Arrival Premier. It seems like it’s coming soon. While the above is subject to change, the biggest question I have is what travel partners they’ll have. If they’re able to get some interesting programs onboard, this might just be a new era of transferable points currencies, where you can earn 2-3x points on everyday spend, without a bonus category.
I don’t think that’s unrealistic or unsustainable, especially if they’re not spending big money on a sign-up bonus upfront.
What would it take for you to sign-up for the Barclays Arrival Premier? What transfer partners would you want to see?