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Following days of speculation, both Chase and Barclays lifted the lid on much-anticipated rewards cards in April 2018, announcing details such as bonuses, earning levels, transfer partners, and more. While neither card is a keystone release, the new cards replace/augment two much-loved rewards cards that held treasured places in the wallets of many a points and miles fan.
Unfortunately, the new Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® has received a relatively lukewarm reception, and it falls flat on a number of fronts. Chase’s new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, on the other hand, appears well thought out, offering a solid combination of benefits vs. a higher annual fee than it’s predecessor. And that’s taking into account Chase recently taking an ax to the IHG cards’ signature perk, the unrestricted anniversary free night certificate.
IHG's newest co-brand card features a high-value signup bonus, an anniversary free night certificate, and receives a couple of exciting new perks; 4th night free on award bookings of four or more nights, and 20% off purchased IHG points. Highlights include:
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening
- Enjoy a Free Night after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights
- Earn 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Fee Credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
- IHG Rewards Club Bonus points are redeemable at hotels such as InterContinental®, Crowne Plaza®, Kimpton®, EVEN® Hotels, Indigo® Hotels & Holiday Inn®
With Chase upping the annual fee on the card to $89 (Up from the $49 seen with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card) and restricting the value of the annual free night certificate, it’s easy to see why many folks are a little wary of the new IHG card. However, when you take the card at face value, focusing on the value of benefits vs. the $89 annual fee, it starts to look more attractive.
For starters, 20% on points purchases, if used in conjunction with the 4th award night free, provides the ability to purchase points well under their redeemable value. And if you can stack these perks with that of the previous IHG card (still to be seen if this is possible), which offers 10% back on points redemptions, you would receive a ridiculous amount of value. How much exactly?
In the past, we’ve documented how to buy IHG points for as little as 0.46¢ per point, and as there is nothing in the new card T&C’s to indicate you won’t receive the additional 20% off as a cardholder, you could drop your acquisition cost as low as 0.37¢ per point. Combine that the new 4th-night free feature, and you could lower the cost of your stay by a further 25%!
Another question that, seems to be already answered; is the card subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy? Recent data points indicate that this card is now subject to the 5/24 Rule. The previous IHG Rewards Card was one of the few cards that were exempt from the rule, but it appears the IHG Rewards Premier Card doesn't get the same treatment.
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
Barclays latest addition to the rewards credit card market is the Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®. The card is marketed as a premium rewards credit card, but without the high-value benefits of a premium card such as complimentary lounge access or elite status, falls somewhat short of expectations. The card is Barclays' first foray into transferable points, although points don’t transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Highlights of the card include:
- 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases
- After that, keep earning unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
- Global Entry - $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years
Barclays Arrival Premier Transfer Partners
|Barclays Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Air France / KLM Flying Blue||1.4:1|
|Aeroplan / Air Canada||1.7:1|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1.4:1|
|China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles||1.4:1|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1.4:1|
|JAL Mileage Bank||1.7:1|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||1.4:1|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1.4:1|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1.4:1|
It’s disappointing the card doesn’t offer any welcome bonus, particularly when the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® scored a fantastic bonus, and has an annual fee of $150 (waived first year). It’s also hard to see what Barclays thought when they put together the transfer partners. It’s not that the transfer partners are no good, to the contrary, JAL offers some of the best value of any program in the world. But the 1.7:1 transfer ratio is rough, and until we know the transfer times and in what increments we can transfer, it’s hard to quantify the value.
So, when does it make sense to have the Arrival Premier? If you put exactly $25,000 in non-bonus spend on the card, items such as insurance or tax bills, you'll qualify for the extra 25K bonus points. As the card already earns 2x points for every dollar spent, you’ll earn 75K Arrival Miles on the first $25K spent on the card, redeemable at 1¢ per point ($600 value when accounting for the annual fee of $150 (waived first year)). Keep in mind, the Arrival Premier is not subject to Chase’s 5/24 policy, or Amex’s once per lifetime bonus offer language.
Outside of IHG placing restrictions on the value of the free night certificate offered with the card, the new IHG Rewards Premier Card offers a ton of value, particularly the new path to buying points at such a steep discount. Also, we're not seeing any language that would preclude a cardmember of the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card from also obtaining the IHG Rewards Premier Card; it is something we're seriously considering especially when you stack the benefits (and combine free nights). The Arrival Premier may not have quite the same attraction as the Arrival Plus, but if you plan on spending exactly $25K in non-bonus spend, you can take home the additional 25K Arrival Miles for your troubles.
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