I’ve held the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard for a year now, so that means my annual fee of $89 was charged to my credit card. Paying the annual fee and not doing anything about it is something an infrequent credit card user might do. However, I always either call to have my annual fee waived, get extra bonus points, downgrade my card to a fee-free version, or just cancel the credit card. Therefore, I called the number on the back of my card to see what my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard retention offer would be.
Before calling, I always decide if the credit card is actually worth keeping. Some basic questions I ask are, “Do I use this credit card often and do I use the points often?” or “Can I cancel the credit card and churn it again? or “Can I downgrade to a fee free version?”
I do use the credit card often and I definitely use the points often because I always have miscellaneous travel expenses that I can’t use traditional miles on. For example, I used my Barclaycard Arrival on an expensive $440 flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora and a stay at a traditional Japanese Ryokan. It takes a while to get that many Barclaycard Arrival points after the initial bonus, but I use the card often for manufactured spending and almost all my non-category bonus spending. You can’t beat 2.22% cash back on non-category bonus spending!
I thought I might want to cancel the credit card and reapply in the future, but there would be a hassle of losing my points and there is no guarantee that the sign up offer will be available then or would I be approved for it again. Barclaycard has gotten quite strict on multiple approvals for the same card lately.
I did think about downgrading the Barclaycard Arrival to the fee free version of the credit card, but it doesn’t earn 2X on purchases other than travel and restaurants. I already use my Chase Sapphire for those expenses, and 2X Ultimate Rewards is more valuable than 2X Barclaycard points. However, this option would keep my average length of credit higher.
My conclusion was that I wanted to keep the credit card. I called the number on the back of the credit card and told the lady I was thinking about cancelling the credit card. Their answer is always “Why do you want to cancel the credit card?” and my answer is always “Because of the annual fee”. Sometimes the initial representative can offer you an incentive to keep the card, but sometimes they have to transfer you to a specialist, which was in this case. I asked the specialist what she could offer me to keep the credit card. Surprisingly, she offered to credit the full $89 annual fee back to my account! I gladly took the offer.
My annual spending included lots of manufactured spending such as buying American Express gift cards at Bigcrumbs and liquidating them, using Amazon Payments, buying tons of Vanilla Reload cards and daily spending. I spent around $30K in a year on the credit card and more than 75% was probably manufactured spending.
I’m quite pleased to have the annual fee completely waived because I use this credit card as one of my main credit cards in order to help us travel for free. I spent a total of 8 minutes on the phone to save $89, which was great investment on my time. Be sure to call for a retention offer on the Barclaycard Arrival card! If you don’t have the card yet, I would say it is a must have on the journey of traveling for nearly free.