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[UPDATED MARCH 2019]
The Benefits Of The Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card (AKA “Why we made it in the first place”)
Back in 2017, before my girlfriend and I traveled Asia for 4 months, we were looking into credit cards with the most international benefits and settled on the Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card.
The perks sounded really nice:
- 2x miles for every $1 spent on travel and dining
- 1x miles for every $1 spent on everything else
- 50,000 bonus miles if we spent $3,000 in the first 3 months.
- Online concierge service if we needed help booking fancy hotels or flights around the world
- The best one: No foreign transaction fees!
We’d both traveled abroad before and noticed how our regular debit cards and credit cards would charge “foreign transaction fees” on every single purchase.
We didn’t want to lose money dealing with that again.
We made a Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card and timed it so that once the card arrived, we quickly booked all of our flights for those 4 months, along with the hotels and Airbnb’s.
In a few days, we had reached the $3,000 threshold and got the 50,000 bonus miles.
We then redeemed the bonus miles to pay for bookings and saved a ton of “free” money.
[Barclay is now offering 70,000 bonus miles as of early 2019. Here’s a screenshot taken from their website.]
The One Drawback of The Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card
All those perks weren’t without some drawbacks.
The $89 Annual Fee
That $89 annual fee was basically for their fancy “concierge service” which we never used.
It was waived for the first year so that was good.
I was charged the $89 for the second year only because I didn’t realize you could downgrade it to a no-fee version.
The Benefits Of Downgrading Your Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card
After speaking with Patricia, a Barclay card representative, on the phone, here are all of the benefits if you downgrade to a regular Barclay arrival card.
(I will miss saying the “plus” at the end of the name though lol)
Save $89 A Year
The “Not-Plus” version offered literally the exact same benefits.
You just save the $89 annual fee.
You Can Get Credited Back The $89 Annual Fee
If you request the downgrade within the first 60 days of being charged the $89 annual fee, they told me that fee will be credited back to your account within 24-48 hours.
Luckily it had only been 48 days since I’d been charged so yay!
You Get To Keep The Miles You Currently Have
I have 22,000 miles on my Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card and they will transfer over to the downgraded Arrival card.
You Still Get 2x Miles On Travel And Dining
You still get the same 2x miles for every $1 spent on travel and dining.
And 1x miles for every $1 spent on everything else.
Credit Limit Stays The Same
My credit limit stays the same for the new downgraded Barclay Arrival Credit Card.
Doesn’t Hurt Credit Score
I thought that if I asked them to downgrade my card, it would result in a pull on my credit score.
Turns out, not the case.
It is not a hard pull nor does it affect your credit score if you downgrade.
You Can Still Use It While Waiting For Your New Card
They told me that I can still use my current Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card while waiting for the new downgraded card.
All I have to do is activate the new card when I receive it.
I wasn’t sure if the old card would deactivate or if I should shred it up so I’m going with the shred option.
The Miles Accrued While Waiting For Your New Card Counts!
They said starting the next business day after I called for the downgrade, any miles I accrue between when I made the phone call and when I receive my new card will count toward the new card.
Ultimate Benefit: Still No Foreign Transaction Fees!
This is the ultimate icing on the cake.
Still no foreign transaction fees!
We still get the safety and security of paying with credit and don’t have to deal with those annoying foreign transaction fees.
The Downside of Downgrading Your Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card
Okay, so downgrading your Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card to escape the annual fee sounds amazing (especially if you already got your bonus miles).
But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, right?
What’s the catch?
Is there even a catch?
Here are some they told me about.
You Lose Miles In Your Current Cycle
Between the last statement and your next statement, however many miles you accrued during this time will be lost.
This means I lost the 1,000 points that was in this cycle.
A small price to pay for never having to pay the $89 annual fee again.
You’ll Have To Set Up Automatic Bill Pays Again
The Barclay rep also told me if I had automatic bill pays set up with other companies, to make sure to set them again once I get the new downgraded card.
This should be simple enough because I’ve been slowly transferring all of my monthly payments to my debt card to roughly follow the guidelines of what Rachel Cruz (Dave Ramsey’s daughter) would suggest:
“Pay with cash.”
“Steer clear of debt.”
“Be okay moving at the speed of cash.”
While moving at the speed of credit and debt would be faster, I’m learning to take the slower path and save up the cash to buy things outright instead of using credit cards.
This also means saving up the cash money to buy an apartment or a house.
And if I don’t have the money yet, to be content with renting until I do.
Last year I paid off over $12,000 of credit card debt that my girlfriend and I accrued while traveling through Asia for 4 months.
Suggestions + Learn From My Mistakes
Our initial goal was to travel Asia and pay off the balance on our Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card as we went along with the cash we had saved up.
And if we missed paying off the balance, we wouldn’t be paying interest on whatever was left because there was a one year grace period of no interest.
But somewhere along the line, we let the balance get bigger and I got too attached to the growth in my stocks to sell them out and use that money to pay off the card.
For a whole year, I was paying over 20% APR on a balance of $12,000.
That’s over $2,000 in interest a year.
Don’t Be Afraid To Sell Out Of Your Investments To Pay The Barclay
I understand there’s the whole thing with paying capital gains tax on your investments if you have profit.
But for the most part, think about how much money you’re losing annually at around 22% APR.
If the stock market averages 6-7% growth annual, you’re still losing money from the credit card debt.
I was anxious every time I saw the balance on my Barclay Arrival Plus card but after biting the bullet, cashing out of my Vanguard, and paying it all in one go, I was able to breathe easier.
Can You Pay Every Week?
Instead of waiting till you receive the credit card statement, are you able to pay off the balance every week instead?
Like instead of scheduling your automatic bill pay for once a month, what if you paid off the balance every week?
That way, in case emergencies arise, you’re not stuck trying to pay back one whole month’s worth of expenses with money you already spent.
Also, that way you’re not stuck with a balance that’s accruing interest.
This is what I suggested my dad to start doing instead of the once a month he normally does.
The Barclay Arrival Plus MasterCard Credit Card is amazing!
But if you already got the bonus miles after reaching the spending threshold (70,000 bonus miles as of this writing), it might behoove you to downgrade to the regular Barclay Arrival card.
That way, you can skip the $89 annual fee, keep your miles, and still retain the same benefits.
Only keep the Barclay Arrival Plus card if you’re really into their over-the-phone concierge service which is able to help you with booking flights, hotels, get you into lounges, fancy deals, etc.
What are you waiting for?
Call the number on the back of your Barclay card right now and ask to downgrade to a regular Barclay Arrival card.
I hope this was able to help you somewhat if you’re a Barclay Arrival Plus Card Holder and looking to downgrade.
Let me know in the comment section below if you’ve downgraded already or are on the fence!
- The awesome Storybrand Podcast Interview with Rachel Cruz, hosted by Donald Miller. Highly recommend this episode.
- The Barclay Arrival Plus Credit Card Wesbite
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