Video SRQ: Maximizing Barclaycard Arrival Miles

by on May 5, 2013 · 17 comments

in Barclays, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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This question comes from my mom, Suzanne, who recently applied for the Barclaycard Arrival:

What is the best way to you use your 40,000 miles that come with the Barclaycard Arrival after you reach the $1,000 in spend after 3 months?”

One thing many people don’t realize is that Barclaycard Arrival miles are basically cash. When you redeem those miles for travel you’re going to get 1 cent per miles and then a 10% refund on top of that, meaning that after you redeem those points, you get 10% of them put back into your account.

As an example, let’s say my mom was going to buy a $400 flight to visit me in Miami – you would go to the airline website of your choice whether it be American, Delta, United etc. and book the flight using your Barclaycard Arrival. The charge will go through as $400 and then you would go into your Barclay online statement and indicate that you want to use 40,000 miles to cover the $400 airfare charge. That charge will then be taken off your statement and you don’t ever actually have to pay it.

What makes this card so great?


One of the biggest benefits is that you’re still earning award and elite miles while using your miles since using fixed-value points like Arrival miles is just like using cash, and if you have elite status you can still enjoy your elite benefits such as possibly getting upgraded. Also when you redeem your points for travel, Barclaycard will give you 10% of those points back. Using the same example as above, on that 40,000 point redemption to cover your $400 airfare you would get 4,000 points put back into your account for a future trip, which is equivalent to $40 in value.

Another great aspect of the version of this card with the $89 annual fee waived the first year is that you earn double miles on every dollar you spend and with the 10% bonus you’re earning 2.2% cash back to redeem for travel rewards.

I know my mom has a lot of American Airlines miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards points saved up, so the beauty here is that you can redeem those points for flights and hotels and then use your BarclayCcrd Arrival miles for other expenses that you may not be able to use other miles for. It’s a great card to use and take advantage of when you booking rental cars where it might not make sense to use your Ultimate Rewards points. Instead you can transfer your hard-earned Ultimate Rewards points to a partner like United or Hyatt where you’ll get a lot more value out of them.

A downside to Barclaycard Arrival miles is that you won’t be able to transfer them to airline partners for expensive premium redemptions – their value is fixed at 1 cent apiece, so I wouldn’t recommend using them to book any first class or international tickets that are on the expensive side because you can get more value from using them for domestic airfare and covering all those in-between travel expenses that you may not be able to use your airline miles or hotel points on.

Did you get in on the 40,000 point offer for the Barclaycard Arrival? How do  you plan to use your points?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Grant Thomas

    Good morning Brian, is there any travel charge that Barclays would count as a travel purchase that the Chase Sapphire Preferred would not? I’m trying to figure out the best purchase to redeem the points for.

  • Mike Naypauer

    We are planning to go to Hawaii and do European cruise next year. My challenge in miles is that for whatever trip we do I need to X’s it by 4 to cover my family so my focus has always been more on Coach than 1st class. We have enough miles to cover all flights (Hawaii and Barcelona) including inter-island flights in Hawaii via the Bank of Hawaii Cards. We have our hotels covered in Hawaii – Hilton on the Big Island and the Westin in Kauai. I will also have the Westin covered in Barcelona as we plan to spend 3 to 4 days there before our cruise. The one expense I haven’t covered yet is the Cruise itself. This is where I plan to use the Barclay cards. I opened one for my wife and I as I usually do so we can both get the rewards. The 800 bonus won’t cover the whole cruise but it’s a good start!

  • rglidew77

    TPG–what about online sites other than the Airline…such as Travelocity, where we can go through the UR Mall and double dip, can we credit the Barkley “points” to a purchase like that? Thanks

  • Acker

    Don’t forget one of the Arrival benefits is free Tripit Pro.

  • josh

    The problem I have with cards like this one and also Citi’s Thank You Premier, is that when I want to spend their “as-good-as-money” to buy a ticket, I have to buy it through their site, and that can create problems.

    For example, I just bought tickets on Alaska from Portland to Boston. Of course, I have a couple of companion certificates on Alaska. But there is no way to use my Citi points (and I assume it would be the same problem with Barklay’s) to buy an Alaska ticket that could utilize the companion certificate. That’s because Alaska makes you go through their site and choose companion before you start booking, and there’s no way to do that booking through the Citi site.

    Often, when I pay cash (or “cash”) for tickets, there is some special deal like that I’m trying to utilize, and the as-good-as-cash cards won’t let me do it.

    Any advice?

  • acek

    I’m sorry, this card does not appeal to me at all. For 40,000 points I can buy one $400 ticket? That barely gets me from Oakland to LAX or PHX on Southwest, or maybe a transcon if there’s a fare sale. By contrast, for the same amount of UA miles earned (for example) on the Chase Sapphire, I could get TWO roundtrip domestic coach saver awards. That’s at least twice the benefit. And Barclay’s disadvantage increases at higher redemption levels. For 100,000 points, I could buy a $1000 ticket. Maybe that gets me to Europe in coach. Or, with UA miles earned I can get a roundtrip business saver award to Europe for 100,000 miles. That’s a $3,000-6,000 ticket – 3-5x the benefit of the Barclaycard.

  • jmw2323

    based on the article, doesn’t appear to be the case that you have to book through the CC’s travel site

  • Carrie

    Huge value for our family. We will use the $800 to pay in part for a high-end resort on Oahu this summer. Both hubby and I were denied for this card due to many recent inquiries. I called reconsideration line last week and got approved. Hubby will call recon tomorrow to get approved. In our personal points and awards world, to us, this $800 is like free spending money.

  • thepointsguy

    The Sapphire Preferred’s travel categories seem broader than the Arrival’s, which I cover in this post:

  • thepointsguy

    That’s correct – you can buy the travel through an online agency like Travelocity and then use your points to get a statement credit for the travel.

  • thepointsguy

    Some people prefer fixed-value points because they can book the ticket they want when they want it with no blackout dates and they still earn mileage/elite credit.

  • Scott

    TPG, do you know if this card will allow partial credits? For example, if I have 40,000 points and I purchase a $500 airfare, will they allow a deduction of $400 off the statement and I just pay the difference of $100? Living in Hawaii, its difficult to find airfares under $400…

  • jmw2323

    diversify. I just booked spring break 2014. I need some of these cards or I’d be paying double miles to fly during peak periods. did 2 in J with Avios. Other 2 will be in Y with a combo of AA gift cards from Amex Plat airfare credit, TY points, and quite possibly this card

  • Chris

    Can you use the card for Southwest? If you have companion pass, this could be worth it as 440 in travel turns into 880!

  • MYRflyer

    TPG, would it be possible to charge 400+ of anything, then go to Barclays Account Tool and request the credit for that purchase, like we do with the NFL card currently? That would eliminate the need to purchase an actual airline ticket to receive the credit. If this discussion would violate your agreement with Barclays, or referral company then I understand you not replying.

  • Adam

    If you travel for work, this is also worth a free $462 in cash. 42,000 miles after hitting the bonus (earning 2x miles per $1), book a $420 flight, and get reimbursed by Barclay’s and your company. Then you get 4200 miles back, worth $42 to repeat the process next time. Not bad at all.

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