Should You Downgrade or Product Change the Barclaycard Arrival Plus?

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is now offering a 50,000 miles bonus for spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of card opening. This totals to about $560 worth of travel credit once the minimum spend is meant. I personally love the Barclaycard Arrival Plus for covering things like fuel surcharges, hotels, and other random expenses. If you’re not familiar with the card, read my review here.This article will focus on whether or not you should downgrade or product change the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and give you some tips for doing so.

Options

If you just want to avoid the annual fee on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus then an easy solution is to downgrade the card to the standard Arrival card. However, if you have plans of getting another Barclaycard Arrival Plus or if you have a small amount of miles left over from your rebate on your Arrival Plus, then you might want to consider a product change to the standard Barclaycard Rewards Master Card.

The Barclaycard Rewards Master Card is a standard cash back card that comes with no annual fee. It offers 2X points on gas, utility & grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) and 1X on all other purchases. There are better options for a straight cash back card, such as the Citi Double Cash offering 2% back on all purchases, but there are two reasons why you’d want to product change to the Barclaycard Rewards Master Card.

Converting unusable miles from the Arrival Plus 

Let’s say you had the Arrival Plus when it had its 40,000 points bonus and you redeemed 46,000 miles for travel. With the 5% rebate you were left with about 2,300 points. Since it takes at least 10,000 points to redeem on the Arrival Plus Card, you probably have about $23 worth of points just sitting in your account going to waste. 

If you product change to the Barclaycard Rewards Master Card your points should be converted over into the new rewards currency for the Barclaycard Rewards Master Card. This means that you’ll be able to redeem amounts starting as low as 1,000 points (or $10). So you can finally put those points to use! 

In addition, when you product change, the reps often have promos that they will offer your. Sometimes they might give you X amount of points after your first purchase, or X amount of statement credit after spending a certain amount, and they even thrown in additional promos like 0% APRs when you change. Finally, it’s also a way to get a credit limit increase without incurring a hard pull (you should always confirm no hard pull of course). So by product changing to the Rewards Master Card, you can squeeze out more value and potentially help decrease your utilization if that’s an issue for you. 

Getting another Arrival Plus 

Another reason why you might want to product change the card is that you want to sign up for a second Arrival Plus card. If you simply downgrade an Arrival Plus to an Arrival card you will not be able to get a sign-up bonus for the Arrival Plus, you need to completely change the product to a card with a different rewards system like the Rewards Master Card in order to be eligible to receive another bonus. 

How long to wait to product change the Arrival Plus? 

Generally, you probably want to wait about 6 to 12 months until you product change your Arrival Plus. Once you’re ready to initiate the change, simply call in to the number on the back of your card and tell them that you want to product change the card. Sometimes reps will deny you the ability to product change even though you’ve waited over 6 months. If that happens, then hang up and try to get a hold of someone else; they should be able to process the change even if you’ve had your card for less than one year. I’m not sure if there’s a strict minimum time limit for product changing but 6 months does seem to be a reasonable time frame. 

How long to wait to get another Arrival Plus? 

This is a tricky question. After you product change or cancel your Arrival Plus, it’s not clear exactly how long you need to wait. I would try to wait 6 months. However, others have had luck with merely waiting as short as 6 weeks. Always remember that just because you can get approved for the card, that doesn’t mean that you’ll receive the bonus. If it were me, I’d wait 6 months and during that time I’d also try to put some spend on my Barclaycard as well since that seems to help with approval odds. However, if you had travel plans coming up and you really wanted to use your card to cover them, I don’t think it’s that risky of a gamble to apply for a 2nd card in a little as 6 weeks based on current data points. You’ve at least got a shot at it.  

Final Word 

For just getting around the annual fee of the Arrival Plus a downgrade to the Arrival is a good option. However, if you want to possibly cash-in on a smaller balance of left over miles and/or apply for another Barclaycard while continuing to age your credit history, then initiating a product change to the Barclaycard Rewards Master Card is the better option. 

5 comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I just talked to Barclaycard and downgraded to the no-annual fee Arrival card. Not sure if it was in your article, but the minimum redemption is only 25,000 miles with the Arrival card. Win!

    1. In the vast majority of cases a downgrade will not affect your credit score. The only thing to watch out for is if a bank rep is mistaken about what they are processing. Make sure they aren’t trying to open up an entirely new credit line and there should be no effect on you credit score.

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