Friday, January 17, 2014

Redeeming Barclaycard Arrival miles

One of my most used credit cards lately is my Barclaycard Arrival Plus(TM) World Elite Mastercard® I’ve written my review of the card here.  

This card has a hefty 40,000 miles sign up bonus.  40,000 bonus miles are awarded after only spending $1,000 (now $3,000) within the first 90 days of account opening.  Anyone can easily attain this bonus.  The Arrival card has a very unique way of earning and redeeming miles, which has caused potential card members some confusion.

The Barclaycard Arrival credit card earns 2 miles on every single purchase.  There are no bonus point earning categories.  You can redeem these miles for free travel related expenses such as airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, or train rides.  This allows you to earn miles with all credit card purchases, and then redeem the miles for statement credits on travel purchases. 

Despite rewarding purchases with what Barclaycard calls miles, I prefer to think of this card as one that earns 2.2% cash back on all purchases in the form of free travel

Your miles can be redeemed for statement credits on your travel related expenses at 1 mile = 1 cent, and you get 10% miles back.  I value each Arrival mile at 1.11 cents.  Barclaycard Arrival miles earned can be used on any airline, for any flight, in any seating category without restriction. 

On this site, I don’t just write about great credit cards, I sign up and use the same credit cards myself.  

With my father in law’s birthday coming up in March, I thought it would be great to redeem some of our Arrival miles for yet another free flight to Portland, Oregon.  

First I logged into the Barclaycard website and noticed that we had 55,800 miles (40,000 from the sign up bonus and 15,800 from regular and manufactured spending).  
55,800 miles converts to $558 worth of free travel.

After looking at flight prices on Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Kayak, we found the cheapest flight on The price for each round trip ticket was $228 after taxes. 
First, we paid for our flights with our Barclaycard Arrival credit card.  Unlike other mile-earning rewards credit cards where you redeem your miles for free travel, with the Arrival card you redeem your Arrival miles after you make a travel purchase.  

Since we made the purchase on Kayak through Alaska Airlines, we will earn Alaska Airlines miles for the trip.

Once the credit card charges cleared, I went to manage rewards.
Barclaycard gives you several options for redeeming your miles including: pay yourself back for travel, cash back, gift cards & gift certificates, and merchandise.  

I was curious to see how redeeming miles for cash back worked.
I was shocked to find out that each mile was worth only 50 cents when redeemed into cash directly!  Only a chump would convert 55,800 Arrival miles into only $279.00 worth of cash back Please never do this.  There are plenty of cash back cards that are way better than the Barclaycard Arrival.

Next, I checked on “paying yourself back for travel” and found that there were currently 2 travel related purchases made with the card.  
Each individual round trip flight cost us $228 and so now we could redeem 22,800 miles towards each $228 ticket

After redeeming 45,600 miles to get $456 worth of statement credits, Barclaycard gives us a 10% bonus on the redemption, or 4,560 miles back into our reward miles account.  Here's our order confirmation: 

One day later, I checked the account and saw 2 separate statement credits of $228. 
And this is how redeeming Arrival miles works.  Any questions?

You can apply for your own Barclaycard Arrival Mastercard here

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