Barclays Arrival Premier details: Not 1:1 transfers, but great for Japan Airlines miles

As reported by The Points Guy, Barclays is out with the details of the much anticipated Barclays Arrival Premier card. Greg was right that transfer ratios are not 1:1 (See: More about Arrival Premier transfer partners (from my source), and why the card might not be all that), but it’s still not necessarily bad. There is no signup bonus and the transfer partners are more niche than we may have expected, but this card could still be pretty interesting. We have a link to the landing page / application in our Barclays Arrival Premier Complete Guide.

Barclays Arrival Premier

Key Card Details

As expected, many of the key card details we previously reported here and here were correct:

  • Card Name: Barclays Arrival Premier
  • Annual fee: $150 (waived the first year)
  • Signup Bonus: None
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Point earning rate: 2 Arrival miles per dollar
  • Bonus for big spend: 15,000 Arrival miles after $15K spend per card membership year. Another 10,000 Arrival miles for a total of $25K spend per membership year.
  • Best use of Arrival miles: Redeem for travel credits at a rate of 1 cent per Arrival mile, or transfer to airline partners
  • Transfer rate to airline partners is one to one — instead the ratios will be 1.4 to 1, or 1.7 to 1. See below.

Other benefits include:

  • $100 Global Entry credit once every 5 years
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Extended warranty, purchase assurance, price protection and satisfaction guarantee
  • Complimentary concierge service (though as I noted in yesterday’s post, these services aren’t always worth much)
  • Ability to earn extra Arrival miles through the Barclays Travel Community

The Transfer Partners

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • China Eastern
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas

The transfer ratio is 1.4 Arrival miles to 1 airline mile for all of the above airlines except Japan Airlines. Since the card earns 2x everywhere, that’s an effective 1.42 miles per dollar in 8 of the 9 programs above (1.18 Japan Airlines miles). If you spend exactly $15,000 or $25,000 annually, you receive a bonus that equals an effective 3x Arrival miles — which would bump those ratios up to 2.14 miles per dollar in most of those programs or 1.76 miles per dollar for Japan Airlines. Those rates are awesome. Unfortunately, most of the transfer partners don’t have very interesting award charts — but at the very least, those earning rates for Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Etihad, and Japan Airlines are still very interesting.

Statement credits also

According to the official press releasein addition to transfer partners, you will have the ability to redeem Arrival miles for statement credits. As with the previous Arrival Plus, Arrival Premier miles are worth $0.01 each when redeemed for travel. That makes this card essentially like a 2% cash back card, or 3% cash back if you spend exactly $15K or $25k. That’s not a deal in comparison to other cash back cards considering the Arrival Premier’s $150 annual fee, but it’s a decent backup plan if you’re in need of a redemption that doesn’t fit with the transfer partners.

Quick Analysis

The intention here by Barclays is apparently to reward ongoing card use rather than attracting customers who will pump-and-dump the card. That’s an interesting strategy. And the truth is, the ratios being offered do make this card interesting even without a signup bonus.

The most interesting transfer partner is Japan Airlines, as they do have some awesome award chart sweet spots. Until now, the best option for earning JAL miles has been the SPG card. That card earns 1 point per dollar and points are transferable to JAL at 1:1 (or 20K Starpoints get you 25K JAL miles for an effective earning rate of 1.25 miles per dollar if you spend exactly $20K on the SPG card).

However, the Arrival Premier now beats that out at 1.18 Japan Airlines miles per dollar even for small transfers or better ratios if you reach the spend thresholds. For example, if you spend exactly $15K on the Arrival Premier, you’ll earn a total of 45,000 Arrival miles. That should transfer to 26,470 Japan Airlines miles — meaning $5K less spend will get you more miles than the traditional SPG sweet spot of 20K:25K. Of course, that comes with a higher annual fee of $150 on the Arrival Premier vs $95 for the SPG card.

There is also the fact that there are additional ways to earn SPG points (from stays, spending bonuses, transfers from Marriott, etc), whereas options for earning additional Arrival miles  will be very limited. You will not be able to combine Arrival Miles with those from an Arrival Plus card. However, the press release notes that you will be able to earn miles through the Barclays Travel Community, which could be interesting. See this post from The Deal Mommy for more on how that has worked with the Arrival Plus.

Transfers to the other partners are less compelling since you can earn 2x on the first $50K annually (then 1x) with no annual fee on the Amex Blue Business Plus and transfer 1:1 to Flying Blue or Etihad. Sure, the ratio is a little better with the Arrival Premier if you spend exactly $15K or $25K, but the additional earnings do not mitigate the annual fee. This card is definitely best for transfers to Japan Airlines or if you are someone who maxes out the $50K spend on the Blue Business Plus and you are looking to continue earning more Flying Blue / Etihad miles.

Finally, having the option to redeem Arrival miles for 1 cent each towards travel is a nice little backup plan. This card wouldn’t be better than a no-fee 2% back card if your main goal is cash back due to the $150 fee, but it’s a strong plan B when awards don’t work out the way you expect.

For more on this card and a link to the landing page / application, see our Barclays Arrival Premier Complete Guide.

H/T: The Points Guy

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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YuriWas I crazy in saying that the Arrival Premier can be interesting? - Frequent MilerByronA.LamJohn Recent comment authors
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atxtravel
Guest
atxtravel

Ok…please, I was really hoping you wouldn’t be like the others on BA…sugarcoating an obvious turd. The spend bonuses do nothing but negate the rapacious annual fee, with zero additional useful benefits.

If this were 1.42 miles per $ for JAL, I could sort of see it being worthwhile, but the other programs are all duds. These transfer partners would only appeal to some serious travel hackers looking for obscure redemptions and MSing their way to high spend. Not exactly the crowd Barclays is after. Sadly, a bunch of people got paid to come up with this dud.

Pan
Guest
Pan

Come on….

projectx
Guest
projectx

All the bloggers (outside of DoC) loving on this one. Barclays must be doling out some hefty commissions.

atxtravel
Guest
atxtravel

Indeed, even this blog is walking a tight rope between selling out and keeping credibility. Sad how this business works.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

We do not get ANY commission for this card. Nor did Nick write anything here to indicate that he loves this card. He simply spelled out where it’s strong and where it’s not.

I am sick of people assuming that we only write about cards for the commissions. Come on people, credit cards are where the miles are. Every new card, especially one with transferable points, deserves considerable air time and a balanced review.

cavedweller
Guest
cavedweller

You folks here Do Work To Hard to B getting a hard time .Not ever card is going to appeal to a Free loader like most of us are .
I want that Chase 100K card I missed it .

CHEERs

Nun
Guest
Nun

Why only Global Entry and not TSA Precheck? Yes GE is better but more hassle and not everyone needs it.

Sorry but with no signup bonus this is crap. Offering a bonus at tiered spending is something the BA/IB cards offer, but even they have a signup bonus.

cavedweller
Guest
cavedweller

When I got my GE was $100 and Precheck came with it .No bonus and $150 Next Please .

philco1941
Guest
philco1941

Honestly I had reasonable hopes for this card. I would have likely signed up with a 1:1 transfer ratio or perhaps some more interesting partners. While I a happy to see another transferable currency program at this point it is just not that interesting I think the current offer is junk and it is funny to see the bloggers tripping over themselves to try to put a positive spin on it. I’ll wait this one out and see where Barclays takes the program.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Gotta agree with the sentiment in the comments so far. Blah. As I alluded to over on DoC, and putting myself in a “regular” credit card spender’s shoes, who is the target market for this card? It has fairly obscure/niche transfer partners (at least from a domestic perspective) with convoluted transfer ratios, an up-front $150 annual fee, and no sign-up bonus. Who do they attract with this?

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

So outlook seems like the uber card won’t be able to utilize these transfer points for now?

Jerry
Guest
Jerry

So a card that you have to pay $150 fee, and if you spend exactly 15K or 25K you can earn 1.18 JAL miles per dollar, beats a card that has $95 fee and if you spend exactly 20K you can earn 1.25 JAL miles per dollar?

Am I wrong here, or you just simply like this new card without reason?

Jonathan Sawyer
Guest
Jonathan Sawyer

Let’s assume you are really into JAL miles, you have exactly $25,000 to spend, and you are thinking about getting the SPG card (but are no longer eligible for the signup bonus).

The result:
SPG card: 30,000 JAL miles with a $95 annual fee
BAP card: 44,118 JAL miles with a $150 annual fee

So you get an extra 14,118 JAL miles for $55 more, which seems like a decent deal.

The reason why I won’t be getting this card?
1. I don’t want this to delay resetting my 5/24 status
2. No signup bonus
3. I don’t value the transferable points partners

Let’s take this further

Let’s assume you are really into JAL miles, you spend an extra $5,000 to make it $30,000, and you are thinking about getting the SPG card (but are no longer eligible for the signup bonus).

The result:
SPG card: 35,000 JAL miles + SPG Gold Status with a $95 annual fee
BAP card: 50,000 JAL miles with a $150 annual fee

So you get an extra 15,000 JAL for $55 more, but you are giving up SPG Gold status. That seems like a bad deal.

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

SPG is free for the first year.

Jonathan Sawyer
Guest
Jonathan Sawyer

I intentionally emphasized if one isn’t eligible for the SPG bonus in the comparisons. My understanding is that one isn’t eligible for the AF first year waived if they’ve had the bonus before, but I could easily be wrong.

Hunter
Guest
Hunter

Maybe it’s just me, but, if you go the Visa gift card route for MSing route, you still get a $100 bonus on the first $25k relative to just the Arrival+ (actually, taking into account the difference in annual fee, it’s actually a $161 bonus). You can still use it for travel credits at 1 cent per mile route, so, IMO, it might be worth to have both this card AND the Arrival+.

It’s also important to remember that Barclays is more MS friendly than your Amex/Chase/etc. This suggests that this could be profitable to put into your average MS techniques repertoire.

Those are just my thoughts, take them for what you will.

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

Complete garbage.

trackback

[…] and 10,000 point bonuses, respectively. Running all the math, which people over at Frequent Miler are doing, you can make a case compared to the SPG card if you have that much money you want to spend, […]

Pan
Guest
Pan

If any card needs you to think very hard to come up with a pro or lots of calculation to prove it might make sense to get the card,then you shouldnt get it.

ed k
Guest
ed k

DOA: Dead on Arrival. I’m glad Barclays came up with this so that other banks will see it’s failure and never repeat such a dull marketing entrance. Thank you.

ScottP
Guest
ScottP

It also is very useful for exposing which bloggers who are shameless shills for the credit card companies. Guess who I’m looking at here?

king
Guest
king

Before praising JAL transfer-ability option of this card . Compare Jal award chart with others. Even for a big MSers like me , spg -> marriott air + hotel pkg gives extra miles to AA which will save you on one world chart. Emirates surcharges makes it even bad for the JAL miles. So just think of what is the use for this JAL miles ?

This is even worst than Arrival + , bcoz of no 5% rebate and higher fees. I worked out my math for high ms spend , still arrival beats it considering the fees.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

JAL has a very very good distance based chart:

For example you can do US-Asia-Australia-US on one award:

lax-nrt-tpe-hkg-mnl-bne-syd-lax

for <20,000 total flown distance with 7 stopovers and this only costs 120k in Business and 170k in First Class. Other programs (other than ANA) costs at least 200k in business for the same itinerary. It's even better that you can change your itinerary for cheap, so if you are in a region with a lot of oneworld airlines you can easily plan an entire year of trips (let's say 3 trips) on one award with stopovers and open jaw, and not worry about change fees. that's the true use of distance based charts.

king
Guest
king

lax-nrt-tpe-hkg-mnl-bne-syd-lax – tell me the probability of people taking this itinerary . Only crazy bloggers will do it. Not even big msers

5150
Guest
5150

Why would you use comparison to 2% cash back card when Alliant Credit Union offers 3% cash back year one and 2 1/2% thereafter……

Robert
Guest
Robert

I think Barclays tried to design a card that was unappealing to gamers but attractive to a decent population of long-term customers. They succeeded at the first but failed at the latter. I expect a modest sign up bonus to be added in 3-6 months as their expected #s are missed.

Dale R
Guest
Dale R

I don’t know why several people are griping about this review. I personally disagree that it’s “great” for JAL, but Nick makes a decent and detailed case for it. Otherwise, I found the review to be balanced and informative. This card is a hard pass for me, but this article made it easier for me to decide!

Cliff
Guest
Cliff

The verdict is:

1) No sign up offer (this is at least $500 value missing)
2) $150 Annual Fee, first year not waived
3) A lot of things to remember in terms of spending thresholds
4) Lackluster transfer partners with exception of JAL
5) Earning ratio is ok but not great, Chase Freedom Unlimited or AMEX Blue Business Plus easily exceeds it, and both of those cards come with Sign up offer of ~20k and NO ANNUAL FEE

Truthfully, even with a 20k sign up bonus this card isn’t even that strong.

ScottP
Guest
ScottP

You shameless shill. Bloggers are dishonest, self-serving liars. Disgusting.

MSer
Guest
MSer

This card is a huge fail. Shame on anyone trying to pimp this thing. Nick, you need to look hard at yourself in the mirror – it’s a sad day when you hat tip TPG!

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Read the post. Nick gave the card an honest balanced review. We have a strict editorial policy against writing articles or biasing articles for the purpose of earning affiliate revenue. In fact, when this was published we didn’t have affiliate links for the card nor did we expect to get them (it turned out that we did get an affiliate link later, after publication). Also, Nick’s pay is in no way influenced by our affiliate revenue. Plus, keep in mind that we often don’t earn any revenue for cards that we do have affiliate links for because we always publish the best offer which is usually not our affiliate link. For example, in the recent round of posts about the last chance to get the $49 IHG card, we could have linked through to creditcards dot com to earn affiliate revenue, but there is a better offer that includes a $50 credit that we linked to instead.

TPG is where we learned about the card’s release (and I believe was also the only publication at the time with the transfer rates) so Nick did the right thing with a hat tip.

Byron
Guest
Byron

I can earn those Barclay points 10x easier than any Amex or Chase card. I am all over this card. I have the Arrival Plus and love it.

Pam
Guest
Pam

TPG says that Barclays says this card is geared more for folks wanting a higher cash statement credit than actually using the points towards travel. More like just offering airline partners as a perk & not for the hard-core travel/points/miles set.

Assumimg this is true & CB seekers are indeed the main demographic, 25,000 points at .03 = $750. Less the card’s $150 fee is $600. If I used the highest CB card available today for ALL spend (Citi Double Cash with no AF), the same $25k of spend only makes me $500 (at .02). The $100 difference should be worth it for a person to apply for the BAP.

I have read, & seen, some rather convuluted schemes from bloggers, readers, & other consumers in the past for $100. This deal isn’t for me, but I certainly would not put it past Barclays’ demographic CB audience to pursue it, either. By the same token I wouldn’t purchase, maintain, manage, & transact caches of gift cards to raise the same $100, so…different strokes.

John
Guest
John

The AF is definitely a bummer but the list of transfer options are really interesting. I think with a $ 25 K spend the return value is great, since I get to transfer my points to Qantas.

A.Lam
Guest
A.Lam

Hmm…I wish they had offered annual fee waiver, as the option to transfer to JAL does appeal to me, with a potentially better conversion rate than SPG’s. Would also be good to get a Mastercard given the current collection of cards in my wallet LOL

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[…] the new Barclays Arrival Premier launched last week, I took some heat from readers who thought I wasn’t negative enough about […]

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

You need to redo your arithmetic, since SPG is turning into pumpkin on August 1st.