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In April we saw Barclays introduce a new card, the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® (see terms). This was an intriguing card, given that it’s Barclays first US card that offers airline mileage transfers (however, not at a 1:1 ratio).

The card has a $150 annual fee (waived the first year), and offers 2x miles per dollar spent with no caps, in addition to the following spend bonuses:

  • Spend $15,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 15,000 bonus miles
  • Spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in a cardmember year, earn 10,000 bonus miles

That means spending $25,000 on the card per year would earn you 75,000 miles. Miles earned on the card could be redeemed for a penny each towards a travel purchase, or could be transferred to partners at the following ratios:

Arrival Premier Transfer Partner Transfer Ratio
(Premier Points : Partner Points)
Air Canada Aeroplan 1.7 : 1
Air France / KLM Flying Blue 1.4 : 1
Aeromexico Club Premier 1.4 : 1
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles 1.4 : 1
Etihad Guest 1.4 : 1
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands 1.4 : 1
JAL Mileage Bank 1.7 : 1
Jet Airways JetPrivilege 1.4 : 1
Malaysia Airlines Enrich 1.4 : 1
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1.4 : 1

What’s odd about the card is that it doesn’t offer any sort of a welcome bonus. It’s a surprising strategy for a credit card company to take given that we live in a time where big credit card welcome bonuses are the norm, and are often required to get people interested in a card, no matter how lucrative the card otherwise is.

View from the Wing is reporting that this strategy hasn’t worked out for Barclays, and that they’re going to stop accepting new applications for the Barclays Arrival Premier Card shortly.

Barclays says that not offering a welcome bonus was a test, and they didn’t see great demand, so they’re going to regroup. In the meantime, the card will continue to maintain the current benefits for those who already have the card.

I’ll be curious to see if they end up reintroducing the card with the same benefits and a welcome bonus, or what happens. Presumably they haven’t budgeted for a big bonus, so I guess we’ll see.

Interestingly Barclays is taking the opposite strategy with the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® (see terms), which now has its best welcome bonus ever. The card is offering 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days, and the $89 annual fee is even waived for first 12 months. So if there’s a Barclays product to get now, this is it, as the welcome bonus is worth $600 of travel (or more).

Are you surprised Barclays couldn’t make the Premier work without a welcome bonus?



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