An update on August 13th: The card is once again in affiliate channels and pays me commission.
I will save you the suspense and say that it’s due to the fact that the card is no longer in affiliate channels. I’ve actually discussed this topic to the ground before, but I’ve picked up some new readers who may not know the quirks of our parallel universe. I believe in transparency and treating fellow hobbyists with respect, which is why I’m upfront on this issue. No need to pretend the big elephant in the room doesn’t exist.
Image courtesy of TAW4 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The big eye represents the first time an affiliate blogger finds out how much certain cards pay. And it never looks normal afterwards!
Miles and points industry is a very tough space to be in, on so many levels. That goes for readers as well as bloggers. There is no such thing as free lunch. Credit card sales is where the money is. For small bloggers like myself, it’s our main source of profit. When information is free, you make money on product sales. In the miles and points hobby, the product is credit cards.
Naturally, if the card doesn’t pay referral, there is no incentive to sell it. Simple as that. In a way, affiliate bloggers (including myself) are marketers for big banks. We promote their product, and in return, they pay us “finder’s fee.” Does it mean all affiliate bloggers are only in it to line their own pockets? Not at all. Many of us truly want to help our readers get the best deal. At times, the stars align and the best deal happens to pay us. That’s when it lands on my “Best credit card deals for family” page, along with other non-affiliate aka “deadbeat” offers.
I honestly believe that this arrangement can be mutually beneficial as long as blogger and readers maintain reasonable expectations. Emphasis on “reasonable.” What you have to realize is that while some cards pay very well, most small bloggers only “sell” a few of them per month. And sometimes none at all.
That said, if I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t attribute bad motives, but Do take everything you read with a grain of salt. It is no coincidence that when the card stops paying referral, the blog coverage on it drops by 90% the very next day.
Anyway, once upon a time, Arrival was the best thing since sliced bread. Now, you hardly see any mention of this card. But the truth is, it’s a very good deal for most middle-class families. It was on my list of “Best credit card deals for family” back when it paid me commission, and it still happily lives there now.
This card has undergone some negative changes as of late. You now get 5% rebate on points instead of 10%. Also, the minimum redemption level is now 10,000 points. But the part that has not changed and the one you should mostly care about is this:
“Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit.”
That’s $400 plus 5% rebate, the total of $420 instead of $440 it used to be in the past. No that big of a loss, if you ask me. This is a very flexible bonus and you can redeem it for a number of things: Cruises, flights, hotels, car rentals, and even Disney tickets (when purchased through a site like Orbitz). You can follow this thread to see the whole list of eligible charges.
Should you renew Arrival after the first year?
The annual fee is $89, but it’s waived for the first year. Thanks to my reader BB for reminding me that military members get a fee waiver on this card. Honestly, even when the rebate was 10%, it only made sense to do it if you were a super duper high spender. Needless to say, that’s not my target audience.
There are currently two 2% cash back cards that come with no annual fee. They are Fidelity Amex and Citi Double Cash. Those would be a better fit for 99% of US population. Fidelity Amex is superior since you can use it for lucrative Amex offers, but isn’t accepted everywhere.
If you decide to renew Arrival, you would have to spend around $89,000 per year just to break even. Update: Please, see comments section for clarification. For some in The Hobby, it’s a piece of cake, and they can do it in a few days. No joke! That certainly doesn’t describe majority of middle-class families.
Why you may want to skip Arrival offer
To me, there are only two other compelling Barclay’s offers at the moment. Neither one pays me referral. They are:
1. Wyndham Signature Visa. I’ve written about it in this post, so won’t repeat myself. This is the card I personally applied for because I have an immediate plan for Wyndham points. If you decide to go with this offer, I strongly suggest you do as well.
I think it’s a niche bonus, and may not be the right fit for everyone. My reasoning is this: Wyndham will most likely devalue within the next few years, so I want to strike while the iron is hot. I regret not jumping on US Bank Club Carlson bandwagon sooner while the BOGO benefit was alive. When the program is too good to be true, eventually it will be gutted. It’s only a matter of time.
2. Barclaycard Miles and More MasterCard
You get 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in 3 months. Here is a non-affiliate link, offer expires August 31st. The annual fee of $79 is not waived. While Lufthansa imposes fuel surcharges on its own flights, you can redeem miles on United domestic flights with no extra fees. Routes within Continental US run at 12,000 miles one-way, including Alaska. It costs 20,000 miles to fly one-way to Hawaii.
While this is a decent offer, there are other ways of getting flexible points redeemable on United flights. Citi Prestige and Citi Thank You Premier card both earn currency that transfers to Singapore Airlines. The prices are comparable to Lufthansa if you want to redeem on United for domestic flights. Amex Premier Rewards Gold earns Membership Rewards points that transfer to Aeroplan (Air Canada program) and Singapore, both members of Star Alliance.
All of the above mentioned offers come with lower minimum spending requirements than Miles and More card. You can read about all three in my page “Best credit card deals for family.” Wait, I forgot to mention Chase Sapphire Preferred! The points do transfer to United and Singapore 1:1. Of course, the biggest advantage to United miles is the ability to redeem on Star partners without fuel surcharges.Those are all decent options.
All things being equal, I recommend you always go with flexible points. That said, if you are tapped out with Citi, Amex and Chase, and live near United hub, Lufthansa offer is certainly worth considering.
What Barclaycard you decide to go for (if any) is up to you. As I’ve mentioned many times, everyone’s goals are different. If you don’t have any specific plans for United flights or Wyndham stays, just go with Arrival. It will help you offset your travel costs and conserve savings. You’ll know upfront what your bonus is worth: $420. And that, my fellow hobbyists, is nothing to sneeze at!
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.