Barclaycard Arrival Hype – Beware Ruining Your Best Shot at Barclaycard

Many voices are hyping now, now, now as the time to act on a Barclaycard Arrival before it’s minimum spend to earn a 40,000 point sign-up bonus increases from $1,000 to $3,000 at some quickly looming doomsday.

In mid-2012 I got my first US Airways card, and in December 2013 I got 4 cards at once, penning Barclays Credit Cards 101, and How Many Can You Get at Once, 4, 5 or More? Many had similar experiences.

Then in 2013 Barclaycard drastically tightened their credit card approval practices and show no signs of letting up. I have tried twice for Arrival, twice for Lufthansa, once for US Airways Business, are 3-6 month intervals, the most recent today as part of pre-planned applications. Always denied. Reconsideration, from analyst to supervisor always the same story:

  1. Too many applications with Barclaycard;
  2. Too many new accounts with other banks;
  3. More than enough credit already extended on existing cards;
  4. Not long enough history with existing Barclaycard cards.
  5. Not enough usage of existing Barclaycard cards. Even though I have consistently put about $500/month on each card these have been cited as insufficient because of not enough everyday spend. They expect to see primary card-level usage of all types of transactions.

Closing accounts or offers to move credit rarely makes a difference.

Anecdotal reports from friends and on the forums are remarkably consistent. About the only people getting multiple cards are first-time Barclaycard applicants. And even just one card approval are mainly people with Barclaycard accounts aged several years with high usage.

So here’s my recommendation:

If you are new to Barlcaycard and new to credit card churning overall: try for several cards at once, assuming you won’t get any new cards for a year or more. Make them count. Perhaps hold off until Lufthansa 50k is back. The Hawaiian cards are now with Barclaycard. US Airways still has good offers. Plan on using any new cards a lot and hold off Barclaycard applications for at least 6 months, maybe 12. Think this through and go for a score when you are ready.

If you recently (2 years or less) got Barclaycardcards, plus of a lot of other credit cards: if you give Arrival a try, expect to be disappointed and maybe be surprised. Make sure it is the #1 Barclaycard card you want for this year.

If you are a longtime Barclaycard cardholder and have not been churning credit cards: then you probably are not reading this. If you are, and try for it, let me know your results.

If you do decide to apply, yes, I have a referral link that pays me commission, consider using it: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.

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  1. […] Interesting idea. Since getting 5 Barclays cards in 2012 (US Air 1 in June 2012, US Air 2, Virgin America, Priceline and Choice in December 2012) I have been totally shut out on each attempt since with 3 or 6 month gaps in apps. I closed Virgin America in December 2013 ahead of conversion to Arrival. Among the usual reasons recon says I have enough credit with them. Laid out my experience more fully in a post:…-arrival-hype/ […]

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  • Carl P

    I had the US Air since August 2012 and NFL card for a lesser period. I was turned down for 2nd US Air card about 6 months ago (reason was enough credit with them). I made it less credit by cancelling the NFL card. I was approved for Arrival about 3 months ago (instant approval).

    Hard to predict.

  • Jordan L

    Refreshing take on the Barclays scene. Thanks for the post.

  • I have the opposite experience. I’ve had one US Airways card a few years ago. Got the bonus and never used it again.

    Had no problem getting another US Airways card a year ago as part of my ~ 8 card AOR. Got the bonus but havent used it much either, definitely bot for every day spend.

    Applied for biz version in November and was denied (business less than two years old). Got another half a dozen cards.

    In December applied for 50k Lufty offer and approved on the spot.

    Another half a dozen apps (none Barclays) in January, some denials due to too much credit, too many recent inquires, etc. No automatic approvals, had to call in and talk to credit analysts.

    Two weeks ago, applied for Arrival just for kicks and giggles, fully expecting to be denied since I just opened Lufty AND was getting denied left and right by other banks. Instead, I was automatically approved on the spot.

    Go figure…

  • Conway

    I have a Barclay’s USAirways card with a balance that is currently at 0%, had the card for less than a year.

    Once the promotional 0% is done was planning to pay the balance and then close the account and wait a few months (3? 6?) and apply again…

    Does this sound feasible? I don’t have any other Barclay cards and I’m not really a card churner….

  • Sil

    My 3rd U.S. Airways card was approved in July 2013. Applied for Barclay Arrival yesterday and was instantly approved. Then minutes later applied for the U.S. Airways and was denied with the reason I already own one. Perhaps, it it was cancelled, I would have been approved.

  • Jamie

    Data point from a non-churner, my dad… I got him signed up for the US Airways card about a year ago. He used that for a while to meet the minimum spend, but it is not his primary card and I don’t think he has used it for everyday spend, they have a BP card I am talking them out of using. He did put most of the charges for a recent trip on it (plane tickets, car rental). Just applied for Arrival this weekend, instant approval. I’d say he has a total of 3 credit cards, and has done no churning whatsoever. So, I would echo that Barclay’s cards are better for non-churners or people who are slowly getting into the game.

  • mct

    I believe your comments are pretty spot on. Some lessons from the field: In last 18 months I got a USAir approved right away, ~90 days later was rejected for a USAir Biz and then held off for roughly 6 months and was approved for the Arrival automatically. My wife (fewer cards opened during period) got both the USAir and Arrival automatically probably 1 year apart. Lesson learned — tough to get multiples of the same card and space at least 6 months. This is my plan to get one more USAir card before end of year. Reconsideration is NOT an option for vast majority of us.

  • Don

    Pretty much agree with your post. I would only add that the only thing consistent with Barclay seems to be their inconsistency. They are *not* like other, more familiar (and predictable) credit card issuers. They definitely are tighter when it comes to handing out cards like candy, but what works for one person will not work for another. They’re just hard to figure out.

  • Kelly

    I was just denied for the Arrival card about 5 minutes ago on the reconsideration line. First they said my income was too low then that I wasn’t using my existing US Airways card enough. Denied. Wow. 🙁

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  • Sean M.

    After much correspondence and being escalated through 3 supervisors, I managed to convince Barclays to switch my US Airways Mastercard to an Arrival card with the 40000 bonus offer last week. No hard pulls and same credit line. Still waiting on the new card in the mail, but the online account has been updated to show it as an Arrival card.

  • @Sean M – that is quite impressive, I struck out on multiple calls getting my Virgin America converted to anything but Arrival with no bonus, so I canceled it before the conversion. Interesting that it is possible with other cards. I have a Choice Privileges that I don’t use.

  • Sean M.

    It took me 2 months of back-and-forth secure messages (and multiple phonecalls too) before they agreed – the offer they gave me doesn’t waive the annual fee though.

    I basically maintained that unless they switched me to the Arrival offer, I would just cancel my Barclays card completely since I had no use for a US Airways card once they left Star Alliance.

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  • andreas

    this post pretty much guarantees that if I sign up for any barclays cards you will get my click..

    I have mostly stopped reading bloggers who come up with lame reasons to talk about arrival card

  • @andreas – thank you, I have not reported much on credit cards lately but will try to do more since so few are addressing the realities of the issuers and cards.

  • Decided to do my apps today, used your link, was approved immediately and of course now wish I had done it yesterday since it was only $1000 spend and is now indeed up to $3000. But, I do appreciate your attitude on this so glad to give you the click.

  • @smittytabb – congrats on the approval, I am envious, and thank you for using my link.

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  • medellinfein

    Applied using your link. Denied, as expected. Just a TU pull by me, so no biggie.

    Is it worth it to even call back and try to talk to them?

  • @medellinfein – I have not personally had success with calling using any of the typical strategies like offering to move credit or close existing accounts, nor have heard reports of successful recon. If you don’t mind the 10-15 minutes it might be worth a try but I put the likelihood of success very low. The one benefit then would be that you would know more clearly what concerns they have in your case. If it is just low usage of existing cards with them, that is a relatively easy fix. The most frustrating thing is they often lead you along like they are going to approve, then check with a supervisor and suddenly it is rejected.

  • medellinfein


    Actually had success with them in call. The system had auto-rejected my app due to failed Arrival + app in early Feb, so analyst had to do hard pull. I chatted him up and mentioned that when i got rejected last time, they had told me to reapply in 4 months. Well, he asked me about all my recent cards (free baggage with each airline i fly was my explanation) and analyst approved me.

    Only 2500 in new credit (shifted 2500 from US Airways) so my smallest limit in quite a while, but i’m not complaining 🙂

  • @medellinfein – that is great and encouraging to finally hear a recon success!

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  • Ruth

    Barclay also makes a HARD INQUIRY each time you open a new account with them causing a major drop in your credit score….