Update 2/21/14: The minimum spending requirement is now $3,000 in the first 90 days to unlock the 40,000 bonus miles. Full offer details:
- 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
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
- No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, currently 16.24% or 20.24%, depending on your creditworthiness.
- Complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
The combination of a solid sign up bonus with a top notch earnings rate is pretty much unheard of for a fixed-value rewards card, so a lot of people got the card who didn’t understand exactly how to redeem the sign up bonus.
I’ve done a little digging to clear up the best ways to redeem the card’s miles.
What are the best ways to redeem the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard’s miles? Is the card right for you? Should you get a fixed-value card?
The main questions I get are:
1) What qualifies as a travel redemption?
The 10% rebate on redemptions only applies to travel redemptions. So what qualifies as a travel redemption? I reached out to Barclay’s and heard that the following count as travel redemptions:
- Charges from airlines
- Charges from hotels, hostels, motels, etc
- Charges from cruises
- Charges from train travel
- Charges from car rentals
- Charges from online travel agencies including the major ones like Priceline, Hotwire, etc
2) What is the redemption process?
- Use your Arrival card to purchase the travel that you want to get for free with your rewards miles.
- Log in to your online account with Barclay’s.
- Click on the Manage Rewards button.
- Select the charge that you want to eliminate with miles.
Note that you will redeem miles at a rate of 1 cent per mile. You must redeem a minimum of 2,500 miles. And you must have enough miles to completely eliminate the charge. For instance, if a flight cost $500 and you have 47,000 miles, you cannot eliminate $470 of the charge.
Also note what the redemption process leaves out. You don’t have to search for award space or talk to a phone agent. You just book the ticket like a normal cash ticket through any channel you like. Rewards have no blackout dates or capacity controls.
3) What are the best ways to redeem the miles?
All redemptions equal one cent per mile, so I think the key is to find redemptions that are impossible or poor value with traditional miles.
For instance, if you have to take a $40 United flight between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, redeeming 12,500 United miles would be a horrible idea. But why pay $40? Just redeem 4k miles.
Or if you redeem a Singapore Suites award with $300 out of pocket, make that zero out of pocket by redeeming 30k miles.
Fixed-Value Rewards Primer
A fixed-value rewards card earns miles that are redeemed for a fixed value, in this case 1 cent per mile. This differs from traditional frequent-flyer miles where the value of your mile depends on how you use it.
For instance, a United mile could be worth one third of a cent if you redeem 12,500 for a one way flight to Las Vegas that costs $40, or a United mile could be worth 10 cents if you redeem 67,500 for one First Class flight on Lufthansa that would cost $7,000.
But a mile earned on the Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard will always be worth exactly one cent toward travel. A $40 flight costs 4k miles and a $6,750 flight costs 675k miles.
There are three reasons I am going to get the Arrival World MasterCard–the sign up bonus, the ongoing rewards, and the fact that it diversifies my miles strategy.
First, the card has a $444 sign up bonus.
The card has recently increased its sign up bonus to 40,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of card membership.
Those 40,000 miles can be redeemed for $400 in free travel. And doing that will trigger a 10% rebate in points. You can use that 4,000 points for $40 more in free travel. Of course, you’d also get 400 points back, which is $4 more in travel, which means 40 points back, $0.40 in travel, 4 miles back… These iterations make the total value of the 40,000 miles sign up bonus $444.
Second, the card earns 2.22% back toward travel on all purchases. The rewards of the Arrival World MasterCard are simple. You earn two miles per dollar on all purchases. Each mile is worth 1.11 cents worth of travel because of the 10% rebate on travel redemptions I’ve mentioned.
And 2.22% back on all purchases compares very favorably to other cards.
It is 11% better than any other cash back card I know of. I haven’t seen better than 2% back on all purchases.
Third, there are certain types of travel that are impossible with traditional miles or wildly inefficient with traditional miles.
For instance, it is impossible to get a flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora with traditional miles, but many of my clients need to make that flight to get to their resort on Bora Bora.
And it’s wildly inefficient to redeem 40k United miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu, but many people do that because they have the miles and want to take the trip.
If a trip gets you less than one cent per mile with traditional miles or the redemption is impossible with traditional miles, a fixed-value program is right for you.
Even if most of your travel is better served with traditional miles, it’s a great idea to diversify to fixed-value miles.
I occasionally take flights in domestic economy or intra-island in Hawaii or I stay at a non-chain hotel. I can’t or wouldn’t use traditional miles to avoid these costs, but the miles earned on the Arrival card are perfect for theses costs.
Who Should Not Get This Card
Do not get this card if you want to collect miles to fly international first class exclusively. Paid international first class is exorbitantly expensive–think $10,000. A $10,000 ticket would cost 1,000,000 of these miles, which is far more than the number of traditional miles paid first class costs.
It’s always sad to tell Award Booking Service clients who have accumulated miles on a card like this one and want to fly up front that they don’t have enough miles.
Who Should Get This Card
This card is ideal for people who fly economy, families, domestic flyers, and points omnivores.
- Economy Flyers– If you mainly fly economy class, it’s hard to get even 1.5 cents of value per traditional mile. Most miles cards earn 1 mile per dollar, meaning they get economy flyers 1.5 cents of travel per dollar spent–if that! The Arrival World MasterCard gets economy flyers (and everyone else) 2.22 cents of travel per dollar spent.
- Families– Families have two things working against them. It’s tough to book four capacity-controlled award seats on the same flight, and they usually have little date flexibility since they want to travel over school breaks. The “miles” earned on the Arrival World MasterCard don’t require you to find award seats. They can be redeemed toward any travel purchase. A family can book four tickets to Disneyland and use their miles from this card to make that flight–whatever flight they want–free.
- Domestic Flyers- You’d have to spend $25,000 on a United, American, or Delta credit card AND find award space on the flights you want to get a domestic roundtrip. You’d have to spend far less on the Arrival World MasterCard, and you can book any flight you want.
- Points Omnivores- This is my category. I’ll collect any mile or point I can to get more travel. I collect other types to get into international first class. I’ll collect this type to fly to more mundane places in economy class. A dollar saved is still a dollar saved. Bonus for points omnivores: Barclay’s doesn’t have a ton of great rewards cards, so this the Barclay’s card I’ll be getting on my next app-o-rama.
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is currently offering a sign up bonus worth $400 in free travel, plus the card earns 2.22% back toward travel on all spending!
This card is ideal for economy flyers, domestic flyers, families, and points omnivores. The card is also ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to search for award space. The miles earned from this card can be used on any airline for any flight. (And you’ll even earn miles on that flight!)
Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®