Why I Downgraded my Barclay Arrival Plus

I signed up for the Barclay Arrival Plus back in March 2016. The annual fee was waived for the first year, but was $89 for the second year. I hardly used this card. There were plenty of other credit cards that were at the front of my wallet before the Barclay Arrival Plus for a variety of different reasons. Therefore, I didn’t really have a need for it.

This card pretty much sat in my sock drawer after meeting the minimum spend. The one feature that I did like however was the chip + pin functionality when traveling abroad. It helped us pay at automated kiosks like train or metro stations.

Anyway when the second year rolled around and my annual fee of $89 posted I had a couple of different options.

Pay $89

This option seemed pointless. Why pay $89 for a card I hardly use? I quickly ruled out this option.

Get a Retention Offer and Pay $89

I called Barclay to see if they would offer me any spending bonuses or promotions. The only offer I received was $50 statement credit for spending $1,000 each month for the next three months. That basically would bring the net annual fee down to $39, but it also meant I had to put $1,000 of spending on the card for the next three months. This didn’t seem worth it considering I didn’t even feel like the card is worth $39.

Cancel the Card

Another option would be to cancel the card. Many people think that cancelling credit cards effects your credit score, but if you have multiple credit cards like me it actually doesn’t have a real effect until 10 years later.

Downgrade to Barclay Rewards MasterCard

This was the option I ended up choosing. Here are the reasons why I chose this option:

  • Barclay Rewards MasterCard has no annual fee
  • Barclay Rewards MasterCard keeps my arrival points active
  • Barclay offered me 1,000 points (i.e. $10) after my first purchase
  • Downgrading/Product Changing doesn’t affect your average age of accounts and since it’s a no annual fee card I’ll keep this card open for the foreseeable future
  • Can now apply for Barclay Arrival Plus again and receive the signup bonus because I no longer have that card

I should also mention that I could downgrade to the Barclay Arrival (no-annual fee version), but I don’t think it’s possible to sign up for the Barclay Arrival Plus if you have the Barclay Arrival.

Know Your Options

All this to say, it’s important to know your options when you’re annual fee hits. This research takes time, but it’s definitely worth it.