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A reader recently emailed me asking what would happen to their Arrival miles if they cancel their Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®. See Rates & Fees here for more information on the Arrival Plus. In case you’ve been wondering the same thing, I thought I’d answer here:
Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.
If you didn’t already know, the card comes with a nice sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 in 90 days. 60,000 Arrival miles is worth $600 in travel! In addition to the sign-up bonus, you will earn 2x miles on ALL purchases, a 5% rebate on all travel redemptions, no foreign transaction fees, chip and signature technology, and your free monthly FICO credit score.
As you can see, it’s a card that packs a lot of perks, and one you can rack up miles with pretty easily. However, like most bank rewards cards, you will lose your precious miles/points if you cancel your card. This is different from airline and hotel cards, where the miles are stored in your loyalty program and will not be lost if you cancel your co-branded travel card. For example, if you cancel your British Airways card, you won’t lose your Avios miles. They will remain in your British Airways Avios account.
Ok, so you will lose your Arrival miles if you cancel your Arrival Plus card. What to do?
1. Pay the Annual Fee
Well, if you use your Arrival Plus card enough, it’s worth the $89 annual fee that is waived the first year. Since you earn 2x miles per $1, if you spend just $4,500 in 12 months (to earn 9,000 miles, equal to $90 in travel), that basically makes the $89 annual fee a wash. That’s not even taking into consideration the 5% rebate on redemptions.
2. Downgrade to No Annual Fee Arrival
This may not work, but you can always try to downgrade the Arrival Plus to the no annual fee Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard, or another no annual fee Barclays. I always look into downgrading certain cards before canceling. This helps me retain my credit limit, which keeps my credit utilization the same. Once I have a no annual fee card, I will keep it forever, swiping it every once and a while to show activity. Downgrading to the no annual fee Arrival is a good option to keep your Arrival miles safe.
3. Retention Bonus
It’s possible that when you call to cancel your Arrival Plus, Barclays will want to keep you as a customer and will offer you a retention bonus that justifies the annual fee, or a statement credit for the annual fee. Never hurts to ask!
3. Use Your Arrival Points
Of course, you can always use your Arrival miles for travel. Arrival Plus miles are great for travel purchases that transferrable points, airline miles, or hotel points don’t cover. Examples would be B&Bs, taxes on award tickets, car rentals, trains, and cruises. Arrival miles are also great for domestic travel since in most cases you will want to save your other rewards points for international travel.
If you haven’t recently traveled or don’t have upcoming travel plans to redeem your points for, then you can redeem your Arrival miles for travel certificates. You would need to buy the airline or hotel certificate straight from the airline or hotel’s website. However, there’s no guarantee that these will be coded as “travel” purchases and eligible for the travel rebate. I would test this with a small increment first to see how the merchant is coded on your bill.
You wouldn’t want to use your Arrival miles for cash back or regular statement credits because non-travel redemptions get half the value. That’s right, 40,000 Arrival miles is only good for $200 cash back.
The Arrival Plus is a great card offer with a sign-up bonus that’s worth at least $600. Unfortunately, you will lose your points if you cancel your card before redeeming your miles. I wouldn’t apply for this card offer if you don’t have travel plans in the following 12 months, so you’re not stuck with a situation before the year is up.
Remember, the Arrival Plus can be worth the annual fee (that’s waived the first year) if you use it regularly. And don’t forget about the possibility of downgrading it to the no annual fee version.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.