Arrival Premier is dead at 6 months

As was reported by View from the Wing, Barclays has completely pulled the Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard for new applications. The card apparently never caught on and Barclays decided to cut their losses. I’m not surprised to hear that the card wasn’t a massive success (I’d be more surprised that someone at Barclays expected it would be), but I am surprised to see them quit just 6 months after launch (and 3 months after adding new partners) rather than re-structure the card to offer some sort of up-front bonus to attract more customers. I guess this outcome avoids making early adopters feel like they missed out, though it doesn’t bode well for their long-term prospects of keeping the card.

As you’ll recall, the Arrival Premier earns 2 “Arrival miles” per dollar, with a bonus at exactly $15K spend or $25K spend that makes for an even 3x if you spend exactly either of those amounts. Those “Arrival Miles” were then good as either 1 cent each when redeemed towards travel or they could be transferred to partners at convoluted ratios that would only appeal to someone doing the kind of math that leads to them buying large piles of Visa Gift Cards. Further, they only partnered with foreign airline programs, many of whom were less familiar to US-based consumers. I argued that the card was interesting, though my argument was based on the premise that the Arrival Premier earned Japan Airlines miles at a better rate than the old earn rate on SPG cards (before the Marriott merger). While that was/is true (and JAL miles can be quite valuable), the fact that SPG/Marriott are the only other source of JAL miles for most US-based consumers dictates that the pool of people interested in collecting them, and then in opening a credit card where they have to spend exactly $15K or exactly $25K per year to get a decent return, was likely quite small. I never argued that this card would appeal much to anyone other than dedicated manufactured spenders, and I can’t imagine it did.

As Gary notes in his post, Barclays has obviously built the IT infrastructure and airline relationships necessary to offer a transferable points system. The set-up on that can’t be cheap, nor can the maintenance. Barclays says that existing cardholders will continue to be serviced as-is without any plans to change them to another card. While that sounds good, I can’t imagine Barclays continuing to buy miles in small chunks and maintaining the IT system forever unless they retool and take another dip in the transferable currency pool. Let’s hope they do.

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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NinjaX
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NinjaX

just have to make an obligatory comment of how stupid barclays is to give up after building this product out. instead of pivoting and improving the cc, they “dont have any plans to alter the card”? wow. total idiots. all the money they spent is being thrown in the trash. so damn simple to waive the AF and add a sign up bonus.

Blue
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Blue

I’d be a fair amount of money A+ points will become transferable to the Premier partners in the next six months.

glen
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glen

I have 75K points on this card! Better use them fairly soon!

ed k
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ed k

When any company like this does not offer an initial bonus of which must be enticing, the majority of us will ignore it because we have better offers from competitors. Bottom line… competition is tough for our business. We’re picky. I still have my CSR because the initial bonus was 100,000 UR plus all the other benefits outweighed me getting rid of it. Chase made a substantial investment and it will pay off.

Chucks
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Chucks

Is this the shortest lifespan of any card offered by a major provider?

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