Barclays shuts down my wife’s account and my 3 accounts



What’s that saying?  You’re not hitting it hard enough until you’ve been shut down.  Well, it’s been no surprise that I hit my wife’s Arrival card HARD in 2015.  To the tune of nearly 600,000 Arrival points aka $300K of spend, which averages $25K of monthly spend on a $15K CL.


How my wife got shut down

Well it’s clear that me running nearly 2X of CL every month caused the shut down.  I’m just surprised it took this long.  Almost all of the $25K each month was on NWB and USB loads (may they rest in peace) – maybe there was $500 – $1K worth of ‘real’ spend every month.  I had a recurring $3K charge to Plastiq the last couple of months too.

What triggered this in January?  I honestly don’t know.  I know for the past 3 months, I had been carrying an $8-$9K balance by accident.  So maybe the high balances were the trigger?  I know my wife tried to use her card  earlier this year, and it got declined.  She called and they said they were sending her a new card because the card was used at a retailer that was compromised.  Sure enough, they sent her a new card, which is now worthless.

As for payments, I paid via my checking account lately.  No CFP or any funny payments to them.


I was shut down too

I did very little MS on my 3 cards – Aviator Red, Arrival, and Hawaiian.  When they wiped out my wife, they decided to kill my 3 cards too.  I never added my SSN as an AU on her account; I’m sure they matched me by name and address.  I honestly think her shutdown caused my 3 cards’ shutdowns; kind of like collateral damage.


What about my points

My wife has about 30K points.  My A+ has about 20K points.  I tried to redeem the points online, but could not due to the shutdown.  The only thing I could do was schedule my last payment.

I plan on filing a CFPB to get my points and possibly my annual fee refunded.  I read some people will get their pts valued at $.01, which is better than nothing.


Lessons Learned

The funny thing is that my MS has ground to a halt due to the new NWB limits.  I was ready to call them to cancel my wife’s card to get her AF prorated refund.  I will miss out on 20K AA points due to the retention and spending offers I had on my Aviator Red, but oh well.

If you hit them as hard as me, I don’t know what advice to give you – keep hitting them hard until they eventually shut you down too or you can stop using the card.  I read that people who have been banned haven’t been able to get another card, so you may even consider proactively cancelling your abused card and starting over with a new card down the road.

If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t have changed my MS spend on the card.  It would have been nice to get some sign-on bonuses for future Barclays cards, but I would have never MS’ed on their cards again just because I’ve mostly stopped MS’ing.

  • Serge

    7 months later after shutdown and I’m still banned from barclays. I wonder how long is their ‘memory’?

    • Miles per Day

      I haven’t heard of anyone getting back in. Someone tried, got the card, then got booted shortly after. Let me know if you ever get in. Maybe your wife has a better chance to get back in?

      • Serge

        unfortunately, my wife’s accounts were shutdown on the same day as mine. She tried to apply again after 2-3 months after shutdown and was automatically denied (letter came with the reason – something like bad history with barclays). no HP – at least no waste on credit pull. I’ll wait until 1 year mark and try to apply again.

    • Julien Pierre

      Their memory is forever . I got banned from Barclay in 2008 after using 0% BT checks to earn interest in bank accounts. They closed all my cards then, even one I was using for day to day spending. Found out at a store when my card got denied. They hadn’t notified me yet – letter was in the mail.

      When I applied for the Arrival + 2 weeks ago, Barclay didn’t even pull my credit – it was an automatic denial. However, I was able to get the card after calling reconsideration, and them actually pulling my credit and seeing 800+ FICO score. Might not work in your case, though.

      • Miles per Day

        Thanks for data point Julien. Another reader who was banned from Barclays was banned and got a card approved later. However, they axed him shortly after he got his card, so let us know if that happens to you too.

        • Julien Pierre

          I sure hope not ! I have not done any M.S. with the card and not planning on it.

          I just did a few travel bookings with it for a 3 week round the world trip, and plan on carrying the card on that trip. I don’t think I will have any trouble meeting the $3k minimum spend.

          It seems like a pretty good card overall. A lot of options on Rewardsboost, too, and one is not forced to book travel through Barclay, unlike with Chase with the Sapphire Preferred/Reserve.

        • Julien Pierre

          Still hasn’t happen, and I have 3 cards with Barclay now. Had to split my initial credit limit from the first card into 3 though, since I don’t use them much.

          • Miles per Day

            Hmm maybe there is a set jail time for Barclays. It only took you 8 years to get out… that’s a long time.

          • Julien Pierre

            I’m still in Barclays jail. The 2nd and 3rd card were also automatically denied without a credit check. I had to call the reconsideration line each time in order to get them to review credit and get approved.

  • Serge

    Just was shutdown 3 days ago. Both mine and wife’s accounts. I only cycled my CL twice for 2 months back in September. The most disappointed thing that I read your post when it was published and immediately thought I have to cancel my Arrival+ (since it was for renewal in February), but decided to wait. Stupid of me. I filed a complain with CFBP for my wife’s account (about $180 in rewards are lost), and it seems that lady from Barclays called and asked to call her back. My wife didn’t call back. Should she? Honestly, I didn’t tell her that her account was closed – I filed a complain for her.

    • Miles per Day

      Barclays took care of my account and wife’s account. Since you didn’t file for both in your claim, you’ll probably need your wife to call in and talk to them. Should be a quick phone call though.

  • HG

    Hi, I had a similar situation happen and pursued it all the way through the bank and regulators to no avail. I then initiated a class action which is still progressing. How can I get in touch with you to see if it makes sense to talk about whether you would willing to serve as a class representative (the lawyers take all the risk and do all the work, but happy to discuss further).

    • Miles per Day

      Shoot me an email and let’s talk. I have a buddy who also got shut down and is doing CFPB. I’m waiting to see what happens to him first.

      • HG

        What is your email address?

  • glngarryglnross

    I dont think it was the 25k a mo you were doing. I know lots doing more than that and not shut down. But I know at least 5 ppl shutdown by the Arrival/All CCs thingy

    • Miles per Day

      We don’t know their algorithms, but I’ve read that doing 2X is skating on thin ice. I’m sure some ppl do more, but they’ll eventually get shut down too. It took them 16 months to get to me, so it’s inevitable for your other ppl will get the axe too.

  • Bruce Wayne

    vinh, you said: No CFP or any funny payments to them.

    what does CFP mean here?!

    • Miles per Day


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  • Josh

    I got shutdown on my Travelocity Amex and a dormant Aviator. Collateral damage was my wife’s Aviator and brand new Hawaiian Visa (days before the 50,000 bonus posted). Also hit my parents who were AUs on the Travelocity Amex.

    I was using the Travelocity Amex to load 7-8 serve cards monthly. It was running close to or above my CL every month.

    This is my second go-round with the Travelocity Amex. Back when it was a MC I used it pretty heavily to fund Citi savings accounts and got hit pretty much the same way. Back then I think they only closed the offending account though. So maybe permanent bans will be in place now.

    I don’t think its a coincidence that the NW Buxx/Serve/Barclaycard shutdowns all hit at the same time. Not sure what that means, but I think there’s something going on behind the scenes.

    • Miles per Day

      Was this near the same time as mine or a while back?

      • Josh

        My letters are dated 1/8/16 too. Bluebird Death Day.

        • Miles per Day

          Well mine are dated the same, so it looks like it could have been a massive wave on 1/8 vs random ppl getting picked off here and there.

    • glngarryglnross

      good news ( or should i say bad)is that the travelocity amex is ending April 27th 2016 so you would have been shut down with everyone else then too.

      • Josh

        True, but I would’ve had the chance to cash out my $1600 in points.

        I also hit the RewardsBoost portal pretty hard since Travelocity points are worth .02 each. I’m still waiting on several hundred in confirmed portal points from buying J.Crew gift cards with last month’s Amex offer. I’m still getting confirmation emails even after account closure. I may have to fight for those.

        • Miles per Day

          wow $1600. okay you win. I only have $450 b/w wife and I.

  • Amit D

    I got Shutdown too on Arrival and Aviator. What sucks is I was grandfathered into Aviator earning 10,000 bonus miles each anniversary year plus they would waive of my fees on a phone call. I plan to write to Barclay as a friend recommended and also request them to show that I closed the accounts coz it may otherwise look bad on the credit report

    • Miles per Day

      I haven’t heard of any success stories doing that, but if it works for you, please let me know. I think CFPB is the best option unfortunately.

  • tacos aren’t filling

    Great blog, Vinh. This is one of the best.
    Curious to hear your thoughts on my Arrival, which is still active. 25K CL, 85K spend in 2015 (applied 10/2014), I’ve let it close with high balances near the CL a couple of times but paid them off quickly. My spend in 2015 was about two thirds MS (20K+24K Citigold plus Buxx, etc), one third real spend including some large medical bills. So, not hit as hard as you but still not really how a normal person would use the account. Do you think I’m exposed to a shutdown?

    • Miles per Day

      I honestly don’t know. If you aren’t going to be MS’ing this year on it, then keep it open and risk it. You just have to ask yourself – if they ban me, am I going to cry? If the answer is cry, then you may want to stop using the card and/or close the card and ‘reset’ with a new Barclays card down the road. If you won’t be hurt at all (like me right now), then keep pounding it. It’s really up to you to answer.

  • sbbi97

    sorry for that
    how did you load that much to nwb each month? how did you unload?
    and how to add AU without ssn?

    also how does it work for charging over CL? where is the pratical limit? 2x?

    • Miles per Day

      1. uhh lots of teens. 2. doesn’t matter how i unloaded but it’s a debit card, so not hard to unload.
      3. you could add AUs w/o ssn in the past
      4. i don’t know what the practical limit is; i’m guessing not close to 1X, like a normal person would use it.