Can You Use Arrival Miles for Free Airbnb Stays?

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The offer for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is no longer available. Check out the Top Ten Consumer Travel Credit Cards List or the Top Ten Business Travel Credit Card List for current lucrative offers.

Can you use Arrival miles to get free lodging from airbnb, the easiest way to rent someone else’s apartment while you travel?

I talked my brother into getting the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® a couple years ago for the same reasons that I got one, the big sign up bonus and the two miles per dollar on all purchases. He quickly spent $3,000 in the first 90 days to unlock 40,000 bonus miles.

Now the sign up offer for the Arrival Plus card is even better than before. You’ll get 50,000 bonus Arrival miles for spending $3,000 in the first three months. That 56,000 miles–50,000 bonus plus 6,000 from spending–is worth over $560 in travel expenses.

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Rewind to two years ago, not long after my brother signed up for the Arrival Plus and more than met his minimum spending requirement, and we are in Hong Kong as part of a two week trip through Asia. We’re using my cheapskate lodging techniques, avoiding hotels altogether with nights in airbnb, a hostel, and a Chinese farmer’s house.

He booked us five nights in Seoul through airbnb for $571. I told him to make sure that he booked the stay with his Arrival Plus, so we could test whether he could redeem Arrival miles (link) for an offsetting statement credit.

Note that as the example below is from two years ago, a few things about the way Arrival miles work have changed:

  • Now, the minimum amount of Arrival miles you can redeem at once is 10,000, or $100 worth
  • The automatic rebate on all redemptions is now 5%

Were we able to redeem Arrival miles for a free airbnb stay?

My brother got the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® and Sapphire Preferred on the same day. I told him that after he met the minimum spending requirement, he should put his travel and dining purchases on the Sapphire Preferred for 2x Ultimate Rewards and the rest of his spending on the Arrival Plus for 2x Arrival miles.

When we logged into his account, he had 58,912 Arrival miles, implying he had spent about $9,500 on the card (19,000 miles) in addition to scooping the 40,000 bonus miles.

We went through the steps to Redeem Arrival Miles, and his only three travel purchases in the last 120 days were listed.

One of the listed travel purchases was our airbnb stay in Seoul!

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.55.48 PM

We selected the airbnb purchase and were given options to redeem in $25 increments like $550 off for 55,000 miles or the option to redeem for the whole purchase of $571 for 57,100 Arrival miles.

We chose to redeem for a statement credit equivalent to the entire purchase price of the award, but it’s good to remember that you don’t have to have enough Arrival miles to get a free flight or stay. You can use your balance for a discounted flight or stay too.

The final checkout screen lists your old balance, how many miles you’re using, and your incorrect new balance, since the “new balance” listed ignores the 10% rebate on all redemptions.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.56.21 PMThe next screen–the order confirmation–correctly displays your instant 10% rebate. My brother was left with 7,500 Arrival miles, which is good for over $83 in redemptions (because of infinite 10% rebates.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.57.15 PM

The $571 statement credit did not appear instantly in his Arrival account. That’s been my experience too. The $571 credit should appear in the next day or two, meaning that his next credit card payment will be $571 smaller than it otherwise would be. That’s $571 extra spending money in his pocket for our two weeks in East Asia.

Bottom Line

You can use Arrival miles for free stays with airbnb, one of my favorite ways to book lodging when I’m traveling. The screenshots above are from two years ago, but they still apply today. And now the bonus from the Arrival Plus is 10,000 Arrival miles more than it was before, worth over $560 in travel expenses.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-3-20-46-pm
A beautiful airbnb property Sarah Page rented recently in Florianoplis, Brazil and later redeemed Arrival miles on.

The versatility and simplicity of Arrival miles is unmatched. You can redeem for any travel expense at an initial rate of 1 cent per mile. I actually value Arrival miles at 1.075 cents each because of the instant 5% rebate on all redemptions and the fact that you earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases including purchases you later redeem Arrival miles to offset.

Here are all the things considered travel for the purposes of redeeming Arrival miles:

  • airfare on any flight on any airline with NO blackouts whether purchased from the airline or an online travel agency like Expedia
  • taxes and fees on award tickets
  • buying TACA/Avianca LifeMiles
  • any hotel charges including meals and services on your bill
  • motels
  • hostels
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • car rentals
  • cruises
  • trains
  • buses
  • taxis
  • ferries


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21 COMMENTS

  1. I use VBRO.com more and have not been able to find any information about weather that can be used as travel credit with the arrival plus. Do you know?

  2. Does Uber count as taxis? Also, how long did it take for the travel transactions to show up? I made an Airbnb purchase last night and am curious how long before it let’s me redeem my points for it.

    • Uber doesn’t work with Arrival Plus according to a FlyerTalk thread. Your airbnb transaction should show up in a day or two.

  3. Scott, I know this post hasn’t had a comment in a while. Just wondering if the Arrivals card is the only one that offers travel credit? We are taking our 4 kids + 1 for a total of 7 to Europe next summer and are finding that Airbnb suits our needs (and frankly, we don’t have time to accrue the number of hotel points required for 24 rooms!) so, this card would be great to help offset those costs 🙂 Thanks!

    • The only card for free Airbnb is Arrival Plus. Try the ThankYou Premier for free flights.

      milevalue.com/TYPremier

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