We're now just over a month away from the November 17, 2015, Barclaycard Arrival+ devaluation. The devaluation has two key components:
- statement credits against travel purchases will only be available for purchases of $100 or more, up from $25;
- only 5% of Arrival+ miles redeemed against travel purchases will be redeposited in your account after each redemption, down from 10%.
Personally, I will still find the card worth keeping as long as Barclaycard continues to waive my annual fees. But the changes are big and real, and worth preparing for.
What's your date?
There are two potential dates your card will undergo the devaluation:
- November 17, 2015, if your account was opened before September 30, 2014, or
- August, 2016, if your account was opened after September 30, 2014.
If you're subject to the November 17, 2015, devaluation date you should have received an e-mail from "email@offers.BarclaycardUS.com" on or around October 1, 2015, with the details of the devaluation. If you opened your account after September 30, 2014, you should have received a different e-mail or physical letter with the August, 2016, devaluation date.
Since I opened my account in April, 2014, I'm subject to the November 17, 2015, devaluation date.
Make your sub-$100 travel purchases now
If you purchase Uber credit in redeemable "chunks," you'll want to buy as many $25 chunks as you plan you redeem before November 17. You'll still be able to buy Uber credit after that date, but it'll be more expensive: you'll only get a free redemption every 20 times you redeem, instead of every 10 times, and you'll have to buy $100 in Uber credit at a time to be eligible for redemptions.
If you have the ability to make free changes to award flights (due to status or because you're flying on Alaska Airlines), and are planning an award redemption with taxes and fees between $25 and $100, you might also want to make those redemptions before the devaluation.
Make your tourist attraction purchases now
There's a popular nearby tourist attraction which sells annual memberships for around $70. This is a double whammy for me, since it's both less than $100 and a tourist attraction, and according to Barclaycard:
"Purchases classified as Tourist Attractions (including expositions, botanical gardens, craft shows, museums and wineries) will no longer count toward qualifying travel statement credit redemptions."
That being the case, I'll purchase an annual membership before November 17 rolls around.
If you live in a city with expensive museums, or in an area with wineries that are currently coded as eligible transactions, consider locking in the ability to redeem your miles by buying a membership sooner, rather than later.
Will eligible purchases remain eligible for redemption after the devaluation?
I have a request in to Barclaycard's Twitter team asking whether $25-to-$99 purchases made before November 17 will remain eligible for redemption after November 17. My gut says they probably will, but to be on the safe side I'll be redeeming as many of my Arrival+ miles before the big day rolls around, if for no other reason than to secure the extra 5% redemption rebate while I can.
Refundable reservations should remain available
Before the comments section fills up with snark, let me say yes, I know you can redeem Arrival+ miles against refunded travel purchases. I've written about it before. And if you typically redeem your Arrival+ miles by making refundable airline reservations or prepaid hotel reservations, and then canceling them, you can probably ignore all the foregoing (although you should still make sure to redeem as many Arrival+ miles as possible before the devaluation).
On the other hand, if that technique makes you uncomfortable (or just sounds like a lot of work), then you should consider the tips above to get the most value out of your Arrival+ card before November 17, 2015.