According to a report from View from the Wing, Barclays is discontinuing the Arrival + Card on June 7, 2019. This news comes after View from the Wing’s Gary spoke with a Vice President from Barclays. The Vice President said that Barclays was rebranding their cards which means discontinuing their current lineup. Hopefully, we will see a replacement product from Barclays soon.
Arrival + Overview
The Arrival + has been a great card for many years, especially for those who love “travel cash back”. Its best use was to “erase” travel expenses in the form of a statement credit. Cardholders also received a 5% rebate on miles redeemed. This rebate increased the overall earning rate, which was high to begin with.
The Arrival + was a flat rate card that earned 2x miles on all purchases. That rate increased to 2.1x miles with the 5% rebate. However, there are straight 2% cash back cards like the Citi Double Cash. These cards have the same earning rate as the Arrival + but with no annual fee. Conversely, the Arrival + had an $89 annual fee (waived the first year).
One of the best parts about the Arrival + was its sign-up bonus. The bonus was worth 70,000 miles and it could be earned by spending $5,000 in the first three months. This bonus was known for being one of the more churnable cards in the past. But Barclays, like many of its competitors, has tightened restrictions.
Furthermore, the card’s sign-up bonus has steadily increased from 50,000 to 70,000 miles over time. Barclays has also toggled whether the annual fee is waived the first year. It was NOT waived at first. But the Barclays waived the fee hoping that more people would apply. Such was not the case and the result is the card being discontinued again.
The Arrival + card was also known for being a true chip and PIN card. Chip and PIN technology is commonplace in Europe, which made the card easier to use overseas. Regular chip cards can also be used overseas, but they are not as secure. The Arrival + was a pioneering card because of this feature. Hopefully, Barclays will keep this technology for future cards.
The Arrival + was briefly discontinued in 2018 in favor of the Barclays Arrival Premier. The latter card was only open for applications for a few months. However, it lost money for Barclays and lacked the popularity of the Arrival +. The main reason for this was its unique bonus structure. The Arrival Premier offered annual spend bonuses instead of a normal sign-up bonus. It also had a higher annual fee at $149 (NOT waived the first year).
This time around, it appears that Barclays is improving their main card lineup. Lately, their main lineup has consisted of only the Arrival +. But the no annual fee Arrival card is an alternative that you can only downgrade to. There is no direct application for the regular Arrival card.
The most similar alternative to the Arrival + is the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card. It has a $95 annual fee and you can “erase” travel purchases in a similar fashion to the Arrival +. And there’s extra incentive for those with Bank of America accounts because of the bank’s Preferred Rewards Program.
As of June 6, 2019, there is no timeline for a new card lineup release.