When Do Arrival Miles Expire?

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Arrival miles never expire as long as you hold your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®. They do disappear the second you cancel the card though.

Other than canceling the card, the only time constraint on using Arrival miles is that you have 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles for an offsetting statement credit. To redeem Arrival miles on a charge it must be at great than $100.

If you forget to use your Arrival miles to offset a travel purchase within 120 days though, it’s usually not a big deal, since all travel redemptions get the same value per Arrival mile. You can just use your Arrival miles to offset the next travel purchase.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

These are great redemption rules for us:

  1. Since Arrival miles never expire, you don’t need to earn Arrival miles with a specific redemption in mind. Once you earn Arrival miles, they stay in your account until you’re ready to use them.
  2. With 120 days after any travel purchase to redeem miles, you have the ability to take a trip, then earn miles, then redeem the miles to make the trip free retroactively.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is the king of cash back cards without even being a cash back card. I got one myself in February 2014 and have included it as one of the top ten credit card offers for travel. The Arrival Plus earns 2x miles back toward travel on all purchases, offers flexible redemption options, and just clearing the sign up bonus is worth $460 in free travel!

Since I got the card, Barclaycard has expanded its definition of a travel purchase, which increases redemption options, and now offers Chip & PIN technology, which means it can be used abroad more easily where it has no foreign transaction fees.

  • What are the best uses of Arrival miles?
  • How do you earn and redeem Arrival miles?
  • Who is the Arrival Plus card best for?

Best Uses of Arrival Miles

There are a lot of fantastic uses for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® and Arrival miles. They include:

  • Paying for any flight on any airline. This is a great use of Arrival miles if you’re flying economy and the flight you are looking at would be a low value redemption with traditional airline miles or if you are looking at flying during periods or no/low Saver award ticket availability. Pay for the ticket with your Arrival Plus card without any need to search for award space and within the next 120 days, log into your account and use your Arrival miles to offset the cost.
  • Paying for travel expenses that you can’t use traditional miles for. These include taxes and fees on airline award tickets, hotel expenses at non-chain hotels, taxis, ferries, campgrounds, etc. This flexibility makes Arrival miles a great complementary program to other programs.
  • Paying for travel expenses while you are still earning enough Arrival miles to cover the purchase. The unique redemption scheme of Arrival miles, where you have 120 days from the date of your travel purchase to log into your account and offset the expense with your miles, means that you can make purchases as soon as you get the card and then offset their expenses once you have cleared the sign up bonus, for example.

Earning Arrival Miles

Barclaycard offers two cards that earn Arrival miles.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, which I call the Arrival Plus:

  • Earns 2x miles on all purchases
  • Gives you 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
  • Has an annual fee of $89, which is waived for the first year

The Barclaycard Arrival™ World Mastercard®, which I call the “no-annual-fee-Arrival” card:

  • Earns 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x on all other purchases
  • Gives you 20,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Has no annual fee

Both cards’ miles can be redeemed for a statement credit to offset travel purchases in the same way and both offer an instant 5% rebate on redeemed miles. Additionally, both cards have no foreign transaction fees and offer cardholders access to their FICO credit scores for free.

I recommend the Arrival Plus card for most people because of its larger sign up bonus, better earning rate, and the fact that the annual fee is waived for the first year.

Redeeming Arrival Miles

Redeeming Arrival Miles is easy too. All the travel purchases you make are put together in one place in your online Barclaycard account, and you can use miles to remove any those charges equal to or greater than $100 from your bill any time in the 120 days after making the purchases.

After signing into your Barclaycard account, you’ll see Manage Rewards where your Arrival miles balance is shown. If you’ve met the minimum spending requirement, your balance should be 46,000+ Arrival miles. Read more about the specifics of redeeming Arrival miles

Since the travel expense must be greater than $100 in order to redeem Arrival miles on it, and Arrival miles expire once you cancel the card, be careful with exactly how much spending you put on the card. You wouldn’t wan’t orphan miles sitting in your Arrival Plus account to evaporate in vain if you decide to cancel the card at any point. Read about what Sarah Page did to remedy this problem.

Who Should Get the Arrival Plus Card?

This card is ideal for people who fly economy, families, domestic flyers, high spenders, 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 Plus gets economy flyers (and everyone else) 2.28 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. Arrival miles 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 Plus, and you can book any flight you want.
  • Big Spenders- While most of us are best served using our monthly spending to clear minimum spending amounts to earn credit card bonuses, big spenders will have monthly spending left over that they need to put on a card. The Arrival Plus card is a great card for big spenders because of the great return it earns at 2.28% on all purchases. Unless you have a large purchase that you can earn a category bonus on with another card, consider putting it on the Arrival Plus card.
  • 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.

Bottom Line

Arrival miles are a great, flexible mileage program that is an important part of a diversified mileage earning strategy. Arrival miles never expire, and you have 120 days after any travel purchase to use your miles to offset its cost.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Is it possible to also get approved for the no annual fee version of the card? If so or if I downgrade the Arrival Plus card, will my miles remain in the no annual fee card? I might want to cancel the Arrival Plus card but don’t want to lose the miles.

    Thanks.

    • If you downgrade, you will keep the points. I do not know if you can get approved for the no-annual-fee card for that 20k miles.

  2. Scott,
    Why wouldn’t you want to redeem within one billing cycle? If you wait longer than that wouldn’t you incure interest charges on the unpaid balance? Am I missing something?

    • I pay in one billing cycle always. But you can still get a credit for past travel 119 days later and then have a negative balance on the account.

  3. Jeff,
    You pay your bill monthly, regularly, always. But you choose which travel purchases you want to cancel out with points. It isn’t automatic; you need to act. I think logically most people would just do that as the charges come along, but you don’t have to. For example, you need to have a 2,500 point minimum redemption, but let’s suppose you have a redeemable charge, but you don’t have 2,500 points on hand at the moment. You can let your account build to 2,500, then retroactively use them for statement credit against any charge that occurred in the last 120 days.

  4. I emailed them for a EMV card and they stated we’re doing them in cycles so I’m on the list for 2015 Thanks for Nothing !!!!!

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