The much-rumored card is now live! Take a look and tell us what you think.
I am underwhelmed. No sign up bonus, a weak transfer rate (1.4 arrival miles = 1 mile for all currently listed partners except JAL, which transfers at 1.7 arrival miles per JAL mile). I also don't find the current transfer partners that enticing, though it is said that Barclays intends to add more. There's also no 5% rebate on redeemed miles, as there is with the Arrival Plus.
It stinks that there is no 5% bonus even with the higher fee. It also looks like any miles that we earned on the Arrival/Arrival Plus can't be transferred?
I also wished they just modified the earning rate on the card instead of making a confusing transfer ratio instead. Simpler is better.
Yeah, it looks like you are right that we can't bring our current Arrival miles balance over to the Premier card in order to make our existing miles transferable, assuming that Barclays will allow us to upgrade to the card at all. Bummer.
Regarding the lack of the 5% rebate on the Premier, I too don't understand why Barclays would leave its mid-range product, the Arrival Plus, with a valuable feature that the new "premium" card doesn't have. Hopefully this is not forshadowing the end of the rebate on the Arrival Plus!
It's cool that it's a 3% back card ... kind of, if you hit those cliffs of $15k or $25k. And the Global Entry credit could make it a bit more attractive for someone who hasn't gone for any of the super-pricey cards that tend to offer that.
I think the lack of sign up bonus is a bold statement that they don't want customers that chase (pun intended) one-time boosts, but rather those that seek long-term simplicity of a single, strong card in their wallet.
Dropping the 5% rebate is surprising, that seems like a nice little push to keep you coming back for more.
Thanks to Stormtroopin2 for getting this discussion started. I am currently weighing the pros and cons of upgrading from the Arrival Plus to the Arrival Premier. A few random thoughts of mine:
1. Transfering points is not really a big deal for me. I prefer to shop around for good deals on rental cars, hotel rooms, etc and then use my miles regardless of brand loyalty. I tend to travel in the "off season" anyway so I prefer to strech my miles by shopping around instead of by transfering to another loyalty program. Thus, the partners for the Arrival Premier are neither a plus or minus for me at this time. If Barclays allowed me to transfer to Wyndham, that would be a benefit. Wyndham has lots of hotels in the rural areas of the USA where I travel regularly. Thus, I have even considered the Wyndham Card from Barclays.
2. The Premier card retains many of the benefits that drew me to the Plus. (World Elite Platform, Supplemental Rental Car Insurance, No Foreign ATM Fees, Redemption Flexibility). No complaints here.
3. This card might be good for someone who wants to pay rent with a credit card. Most landlords charge roughly a 3% fee which eats up any benefit you get from paying your rent with plastic. Thus, almost nobody benefits from paying rent with a credit card. But, depending on your rental situation and fees/travel style, you might benefit from hitting the 15K and 25K benchmarks. The Arrival Premier could be a game changer for some in this regard due to the fact that (as others have mentioned) it essentially gives you 3 percent back if you hit the 15K and 25K benchmarks. If you merge this 3 percent back with good deals on off season travel, you might score yourself some good trip rewards. Your mileage may vary - pun intended.
4. If you regularly owe taxes on Tax Day, instead of getting a refund, the Premier might be a good choice for you. You will probably have to pay a fee for the convenience of paying your taxes with a credit card, but with a potential 3% cash back, you might come out ahead. (Who doesn't want to score a travel credit on Uncle Sam). Again, your mileage may vary.
5. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the lack of a 5% redemption. Depending on your spending habits, this can be a bigger hit than the increased fee. This fact make me lean towards keeping the Arrival Plus - which has been a great card for me and my travel style. If the Premier retained the 5% redemption, I would be more likely to upgrade - especially if I could transfer my miles from my Arrival Plus.
Thanks for that great reply. You make a lot of good points. As a big fan of traditional airline miles and hotel points, I am guilty of fixating on them, forgetting that a lot of the market is fed up with them. With a bunch of recent devaluations, I am beginning to see the beauty of straight cash back or statement credits, too. Looking at this new card's rewards without regard to transfer partners, here's what I see:
1. Hit 15k in annual spend, get 15k bonus points:
Hitting this tier gives you a credit worth $150, which is the same amount as the annual fee. Backing out the annual fee, it could therefore be stated that once you hit 15k in spend, you essentially now have a no fee 2% cash back card. There are already such cards on the market and they don't require you to redeem for travel credits, and they don't have a $100 redemption threshold.
2. Hit 25k in spend, get another 10k miles bonus:
Here's where we actually break north of 2% awards earning, if we credit the first 15k spend bonus to offset the annual fee. At 25k spend, backing out the first bonus to offset the annual fee, we would end up with 50k base miles plus the 10k bonus for 60k miles total. Divide that by 25k in spend, and we are at 2.4 miles per dollar spent. I view this as the highest return possible, as each additional dollar spent above this amount diminishes the mile per dollar spent return until bottoming out back near 2%. Now 2.4% return is quite good if you can get it, but it's a pretty high bar to hit the necessary spend to get there.
Overall the card just seems very "niche." I think a lot of folks were hoping for Barclays to come out swinging by offering something intended to compete with the premium travel cards offered by other big banks like Chase and Amex, and that's not the tack Barclays took. Your point is well taken that this situationally could be a good card for some.
Good points all around. I agree about the niche aspect of the card. Unless you can pay rent with it, pay taxes with it, and ensure that you are putting exactly 25K on the card every year, I think that you are probably better off with the Arrival Plus. I think that I will keep my Arrival Plus - unless Barclays offers a good upgrade deal.
A couple more thoughts:
1. The Lounge Access is not really a big deal for me. Unless I have a really long layover (3+hours or so), I probably won't spend much time in a lounge anyway. For quick layovers, I am more interested in getting off the plane, finding the men's room (yeah, okay, we went there), grabbing a quick snack/coffee, and getting to my new gate in plenty of time. I am not going to pay a premium of $27 just to sit in the lounge for 20 minutes even if it is nice and quiet in there.
2. The Global Entry perk is not that critical for me either. As an occasional flyer, I probably would not use Global Entry enought to bother with it, or pay for it. If I start flying internationally more often, then I might reconsider.
3. Frequent flyers might be more interested in Lounge Access and Global Entry redemptions then I would be. That being said, frequent flyers who are putting 25K per year on a single credit card will have plenty of card options available to them. Will the Arrival Premier be able to compete with other premium cards?
4. Sorry Professional Churners, this is not the card for you. Your $150 fee is not waived the first year, and you are not going to get a sign-up bonus. Of course, if you have been looking for a loyalty bonus, this card might be for you.
As for me, I am not planning on upgrading to the premier at this time. That being said, I can think of a few improvements that would make the premier an absolute no-brainer (as in I would probably get on the computer and apply tomorrow).
1. Annual fee of $100 or even $120 vs $150. This reduced fee would lower the break-even point every year. It would very quickly increase the value of hitting that magical 15K benchmark. Furthermore, it would also allow Barclays to claim the lowest annual fee of any premier travel card.
2. Bring back the 5% miles rebate. For those who want to put 15K or 25K on the card, this 5% rebate will really add up after the redemption.
3. Pray that landlords start lowering or eliminating fees for paying rent with a credit card. Granted, this factor is out of Barclays control, but if landlords did start reducing fees then I can guarantee that thousands of renters would be lining up to apply for this card. Most renters would get very close to the 15K benchmark just by paying rent. Does Barclays think that this type of deal might be coming down the pike?
4. Sign up bonus. You know what they say, everybody's doing it. Almost every travel rewards card has a nice sign up bonus.
5. Sign up bonus and no hard pull for current Barclays card holders.
If at least two or three of these factors come to pass, then this card could really be in high demand. Yes, Barclays might make a little bit less money on each individual card, but they would likely issue far more cards. This could have the potential to be very profitable for Barclays This could have the potential to be very profitable for Barclays if they can capture and hold the millennial generation.