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Top 10 Ways To Maximize Barclaycard Arrival Miles

by on February 18, 2014 · 93 comments

in Barclays, Top 10

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The Barclaycard Arrival‘s minimum spending requirement to earn the 40,000-mile sign-up bonus is tripling from $1,000 in 90 days to $3,000 in 90 days very, very soon. I thought I would re-run this post which ran in June 2013 to help those new to the BarclayCard Arrival understand the ins and outs of the programs and how to use the points for expenses that you normally can’t cover with traditional airline miles and hotel points.

Part of having a smart miles and points strategy is diversification- you never want to put all of your miles and points in one basket, because then you can’t leverage different programs for their strengths and weaknesses. For example, I love my Chase points (transferred usually to Hyatt or United), but they don’t run transfer bonuses. I love my Amex points because they often run transfer bonuses, but their hotel transfer partners are not great.

For years I’ve focused mainly on these transferable points and airline miles/hotel points because they can unlock truly incredible experiences for a relatively low amount of points. However, with the proliferation of fees and surcharges “free” trips are anything but. Ever travel to a place with no chain hotels? Be prepared to cough up. Wanna catch that train in Europe? Good luck using your airline miles. How about that $75 close-in booking fee for awards booked within 21 days on many airlines? Cough up the cash. However, there are several overlooked credit card currencies that can cover these costs to drastically reduce your out of pocket cash expenses when traveling on miles and points.

The New Kid on the Block: Barclaycard Arrival
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard version with the $89 annual fee (waived for the first year) is one of the best travel credit cards on the market right now because you can use the miles to cover many expenses that traditional miles won’t cover. Plus, the sign-up bonus right now for a limited time is 40,000 bonus miles if you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening – which equates to over $440 when you use them for travel expenses. The card earns 2X miles on all purchases, and you can redeem those miles at a rate of 1 cent each towards travel. But you also get a 10% mileage refund on travel redemptions, bringing the return on your spending to around 2.2%. Plus, when you redeem Arrival Miles for airfare and hotels, you generally earn miles and points on those flights since you are paying for them with a credit card (and then getting reimbursed using points after the fact).

The Barclaycard Arrival was a popular choice thanks to a historically high bonus and other card perks.

The Barclaycard Arrival comes with a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus and 2X miles on all purchases.

Check out this video with details on just what makes the Barclaycard Arrival such a great product and then read on below for details on how to maximize your Barclaycard Arrival miles and the top travel expenses to use them for.

How to Use Arrival Miles
With the Barclaycard Arrival card, you log into your account on barclaycardus.com.

Barclaycard homepage

Then click on “Manage Rewards.”

Arrival homepage

That will take you to a screen with a few different options, but the one you want is: “Redeem Now” line that says “Pay yourself back for travel.”

Arrival redeem

That will send you to the next step which explains that starting at 2,500 miles you can redeem your miles to pay yourself back for travel purchases from within the last 90 days. This also means that even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full expense of a charge, you can still cover a portion of it in 2,500-point ($25) increments. The statement will also show you how many days you have left to redeem points for each charge.

Travel expenses

Below that will be listed all the “Purchases Available For Redemption” from your statements within the last 90 days along with how many points each one will require. These purchases will fall under the travel merchant category code Barclaycard assigns merchants. Although whether a merchant is included in the travel category will vary depending on the specific vendor, in general, these categories include:

Airlines
Travel Agencies and Tour Operators (including online agencies such as Expedia and Priceline)
Hotels, Motels and Resorts
Cruise Lines
Passenger Railways
Car Rental Agencies

You then add the charge to your “cart,” confirm your order and then the final screen will show you what your 10% points refund will be.

Redemption 10 percentCredits take 1-2 weeks to post after you redeem and the 10% mileage refund on travel redemptions also takes about 1-2 weeks to post and be credited back into your account.

So now that you know how to actually make a redemption, it’s time to consider what kinds of redemptions Barclaycard Arrival miles are best for, and here’s my list of the top ones.

1. Online Travel Agencies: One drawback to traditional frequent flyer miles and hotel points is that redeeming them is dependent on award availability for the flights and/or nights you want. But with fixed-value points, you basically get to redeem for any seat that’s available, just like you would as if you were paying for it with cash, only you’re paying for it using points instead. Where this comes in handy in terms of flight redemptions is for inexpensive economy tickets – the kind we all use online travel agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz – to search for since if there’s a seat on the plane available for purchase and you want it, you can use your Arrival card to buy it and then redeem your points for the value of the ticket. This can also come in handy for those itineraries that sites like these pull in that include multiple airlines where you might not have all the kinds of miles you’d need to redeem for an award ticket. You can also use your Arrival miles for hotel purchases, car rentals, and pretty much anything you can buy through these sites since they’re classified as travel merchants, which really opens up a lot of possibilities to put your miles to use.

booking-travel-online-agents

2. Incidental Airline Fees: A lot of travelers tend to forget that airline charges can include a lot more than just the airfare, and that’s where Arrival miles can also be a big boon. For example, let’s say you need to check a bag for $25, have to change your ticket and pay a (now higher!) change fee, or you want to buy some food onboard. That’s all money you have to spend out-of-pocket, but if you use your Arrival card to pay for it, you can then redeem your miles for those fees once they hit your statement. Not only that, but let’s say you redeem airline miles for an award ticket. You might still have to pay a ticketing fee, taxes and fuel surcharges on that ticket, which can all run you in the hundreds of dollars. Just using airline miles, you’d have to pay those fees. However, since these are airline charges, if you used your Arrival card to pay for them, they’d count as travel expenses and you could redeem miles for them, reducing your out-of pocket costs. One thing to consider is that many airline co-branded cards offer category spending bonuses on purchases made on the airline, but remember, you earn 2X miles per $1 with the Arrival, which could outweigh those bonuses.

3. Incidental Hotel Charges: Just like with airline travel, hotel charges can include a lot more than your room rate, such as taxes, room service, restaurant bills, spa tabs and more. Using just hotel points, you’d get your award nights for free, but you’d still be on the hook for these charges. Or if you use your points for a cash & points award like at Starwood, you’re still stuck paying that cash co-pay. But if you used your Arrival card to pay your bill, you could then redeem your miles to pay for these incidental charges. As with airline cards, many hotel co-branded cards offer category spending bonuses when you use them at their hotels – such as 2 SPG points per $1 at Starwood – but do the math for yourself and see if it makes more sense to use your Arrival card so that you can use those miles to cover the extra costs.

Still use an old-school travel agent? Arrival miles should cover that.

Still use an old-school travel agent? Arrival miles should cover that.

4. Regular Travel Agencies: Although most of us seem to be using online travel sites and booking directly with airlines and hotels these days in order to get the most competitive fares and rates as well as racking up bonus miles and points, a lot of folks still use traditional travel agents not only to book their day-to-day travel, but also to book special trips like luxury packages, cruises and more. One of the great things about Arrival miles is that when you pay for these charges through a travel agent that is coded as in the travel merchant category, you can redeem your points for these expenses as well, which you can’t use your airline miles or hotel points for.

5. Cruises: Although there are cruise line co-branded credit cards out there, if you’re just an occasional cruiser, or you don’t give one particular line your loyalty, or you take cruises on lines that don’t have loyalty programs, another great way to put your Arrival miles to use is redeeming them for your cruise packages and/or expenses onboard like bar or restaurant tabs, spa treatments, onshore excursions, etc.

Use miles to cut the cost of your next cruise.

Use miles to cut the cost of your next cruise.

6. Bed & Breakfast or Non-Chain Stays: Although hotel loyalty is part of any successful points and miles travel strategy and sticking to a brand makes good sense, you won’t always find a Westin wherever you’re going, and Hyatt, for instance, doesn’t have any properties in Spain, where I love to travel. Whether it’s just in a city you don’t often visit, an idyllic retreat to a beach our country destination, or you just want a change of pace, at one time or another, all of use have to (or get to!) stay in great little one-off boutique hotels. While you can’t redeem your hotel points for these stay, you can use your Arrival miles on them as long as the lodging is classified in the travel merchant category, so this is a great way to put your miles to use while getting to experience something new and different hotel-wise.

7. Car Rentals: Although most of the major car rental agencies have loyalty programs where you can earn free rental days, if you’re just an occasional renter who hasn’t racked up enough rentals for a free day, if you rent from all different agencies without much of a plan, or if you hope to use points for free rentals in foreign countries where earning and redeeming opportunities don’t always match up to US programs even within the same company (for example even if you have Hertz free rental days, it can be impossible to redeem them in other countries), you might just have to end up paying for your car rental as usual. That’s where fixed-value points like Arrival miles come in since the charge should be listed as a travel expense on your statement, and thus redeemable using miles.

Training through Europe this summer? You can use miles for that.

Training through Europe this summer? You can use miles for that.

8. Train Tickets: Those of us with Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards can transfer our Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak and use them for award tickets, but that won’t help you much if you’re trying to catch a train from Milan to Florence, I like I just did last week. That’s why it’s great that the Arrival card lets you redeem your miles for passenger rail tickets, so if you’re training around in another part of the world, you can still use your miles to save some cash.

9. Tours: Want to take a tour of Tuscany’s farmer’s markets or a wine-tasting trip in Bordeaux this summer? You’re not going to be able to use your airline miles or hotel points to book those, but if the tour operator is categorized under “Travel” with Barclaycard’s code system, you can redeem your miles towards the cost of your tour package and save some of your cash to buy more wine.

Save some money taking your family to a theme park resort this summer by using miles.

Save some money taking your family to a theme park resort this summer by using miles.

10. Theme Parks: A lot of people use summer vacation as an opportunity to take their families to theme parks all over the country, and while your actual ticket to a park like Disneyland or Universal Studios might not be classed in the “Travel” category, if you buy a Disney package, for example, which includes flight and/or hotel, or you are staying at the Universal Studios resort in Florida and your charges were billed to your hotel room, these should qualify in the travel category and would be redeemable for miles – so you’d have more money left over for souvenirs and family fun during your trip.

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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  • PV

    Can you use the redemption to pay for reimbursed business travel, to get a cash redemption on your business travel?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes.

  • Samantha

    I’m leaving for a family trip to WDW tomorrow. Tickets and WDW Resort room are taken care of, but I’m planning to charge our meals and expenses in the parks to our room (Disney Resort) and then use the card to pay those charges at the front desk. I’m hoping this will cause those expenses to fall into the “travel” category. Personally, I consider them travel expenses anyway. This should also let me lump all the little charges (like Mickey Ice Cream Bars) into one or two large sums that are over $25, so they’re eligible for the reward.

    I’m also using it for our rental car, so I hope the rental car insurance coverage on the card is decent. How would you say it compares to others?

  • Mark D.

    If I cancel this card, I assume I lose any points I have accrued?

    I am hoping to at some point use a card like this to pay for flights from Tahiti to Bora-Bora. I hope the offer is still as good.

  • AJ

    Are these points transferable to my frequent flyer program (i.e. United MilagePlus) or do I have to purchase the ticket through the Barclay website?

  • thepointsguy

    They are not transferable.

    You purchase the ticket through whatever website you’d like- for example united.com or expedia.com and then once the post hits your statement you can use points to essentially erase the charge. That way you earn miles for the reservation and have no out of pocket cost. Pretty nifty

  • DenverFlyer

    Great post on a great new card! A great way to double/triple dip is using eBates before booking via Marriott, Orbitz, or Amex travel (Or even Office Depot/Staples). You usually get 1% – 6% cash back. Sign up here..http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=i%2BMzfvG%2FCe3u6bWusAJZDg%3D%3D

  • Nick

    Any idea if these points are combinable with the points earned from the Barclay’s Priceline card?

  • Daw4888

    Just a heads up. I used my Card to book a room using Priceline bidding, and it wasn’t classified as travel, and i was NOT able to redeem my points for it(at the 1 point = 1 cent rate).

  • Dee

    Been doing this for years with my capitol one venture cards. My credit appears in a day or so. And I can transfer points from my husband’s account into mine. Those transfers take minutes. The sign up bonus isn’t as good for cap1 right now as the Barclay card. Hubby and I both max out bluebird every month using cap1. I just reimbursed the last of my travel balance yesterday and will now start to save toward shinkonsen train tickets for Japan next spring.

  • thepointsguy

    Interesting..what did you purchase through Priceline? I’d call and ask them to reclassify it..never hurts to ask

  • thepointsguy

    I asked Barclaycard and the answer is No, unfortunately

  • anon

    why is this card better than the chase sapphire preferred that gives you 2x on travel expenses?

  • Roger

    I am planning to buy theme park tickets on Expedia, using the Barclay card…can I use points for statement credit, even though purchase is not exactly “travel”…thanks

  • Federico

    The address is Ebates.com, similar to topcashback, fatwallet etc… but PLEASE, DO NOT POST REFERRALS here, or if you do, ask Brian first or let the people know about it!!!

  • dj

    Any idea how long this offer will be available? Did it just come out? (I’d like to apply after I meet the min spend for another card I just applied for. )

    Also, does Barclay ever waive annual fees after the 1st year?

  • dj

    Regarding my last comment about the annual fee in after the 1st year…

    I see that there is also a no annual fee Arrival card. Perhaps it would be worth it to downgrade to that one after the 1st year?

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  • Samantha

    This worked, by the way. In case it helps anyone else doing Disney this summer.

  • Samantha

    It would also work for park tickets, which can be charged to your room if you are staying at a Disney resort.

    However, it will not work on Disney gift cards–you can’t charge those to your room. I did give it a try.

  • duffman

    sorry, I don’t quite see what the fuss is about.. am I correct in saying that this card basically gives you 2% cash-back? And then you have to bother with categorizing a purchase as a ‘Travel category’ and what not?
    Why/How is this better than Amex (or any other) 5% cash back card? Besides I suppose the 6k limit on Amex Blue.

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  • amy

    thanks for info. much appreciated

  • tp

    I love earning 2x for ALL purchases, not just travel purchases, and points add up very quickly. This card is best used for redeeming for travel expenses, since the rate for cash back is reduced. Be sure to read the fine print. I’m still happy with this card, but also carry cash-back cards.

  • Chris

    The article says you may get an award ticket, but you still may have to pay ticketing charges or fuel and tax surcharges, do the award miles not cover these charges? Or is the article saying hypothetically if you dont have enough mileage to cover these additional charges?

  • thepointsguy

    The article says you can use your Arrival miles to pay for taxes/fees when you redeem regular frequent flyer miles. When redeeming Arrival miles for flights, you can cover the entire cost, assuming you have enough miles.

  • thepointsguy

    That card only gets 2x on travel and dining vs 2x on everything with the annual fee card

  • thepointsguy

    Should be around for a while, but you never know!

  • thepointsguy

    2.2% back across the board, which is pretty good compared to most other cash back. Of course it still makes sense to maximize other card bonuses/benefits.

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  • KUinKC

    Do earned points have an expiration date? I know venture card miles never expire and am hoping for the same here.

  • Megan

    My train tickets in Italy did not get categorized as travel. Just an FYI. I was quite disappointed.

  • thepointsguy

    Interesting- id call and ask them to count it as travel

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  • Ian

    I had a question, i just signed up for this card, and added my fiance as an additional cardholder. Will she be generating points under my account for purchases she makes?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- you get the points from her purchases

  • Ian

    ok great. also i was curious if this card is eligible for use in the barclaycard reward boost mall?

  • brooklyn688

    I am new to this and just got approved for the barclay arrival card. I want to make sure I am understanding this correctly.. are you saying that we can make a purchase (for example a cruise for $700) and when the points post to our statement, use those points for the fees on our bill? “.. if you use your Arrival card to pay for it, you can then redeem your miles for those fees once they hit your statement.

  • Gimli777

    Is there a way to transfer these points to an airline’s frequent flier program in order to get greater value from each point?

  • Annie

    Yes, the rewards boost mall is part of this card.

  • Annie

    From the T&C: “Miles Expiration: As long as your account remains open and in good standing, your miles (including Carry-on Miles) will not expire.”

  • Guest

    Comment retracted. Misread something

  • Guest

    Do you get to keep the points from the purchase you later redeem points to get a statement credit from? Also, regarding point value, if you do get to keep the points from a purchase you later redeem for a statement credit, plus you get 10% of your points back when you redeem, plus, the 10% bonus points can be used and receive a 10% bonus, wouldn’t points actually be worth more like 2.2422%? or at least 2.2222% assuming you don’t get to keep the points you originally earned on the purchase you redeem them on. I think the Barclay Arrival points are worth more than some people seem to give them credit for once you consider you don’t usually get points back on items you redeem your points for in other reward systems.

  • Kristofer Hoadley

    Let me just make sure my understanding of these points are correct. Do you get to keep the points from the purchase you later redeem points to get a statement credit from? If you do get to keep the points from a purchase you later redeem for a statement credit, plus you get 10% of your points back when you redeem, in addition, the 10% bonus points can be used toward another redemption and receive a 10% bonus, wouldn’t points actually be worth more like 2.2422%? or at least 2.2222% assuming you don’t get to keep the points you originally earned on the purchase you redeem them on. I think the Barclay Arrival points are worth more than some people seem to give them credit for once you consider you don’t usually get points back on items you redeem your points for in other reward systems.

  • mzhu

    does anyone know if car services like uber and lift count as travel vendors?

  • helonewman8

    I think one of the biggest benefits is being able to utilize priceline, hotwire, etc for greatly reduced rates or “name your own price” situations. Booking a hotel could cost you 40-50K points when booking through Hilton, but you could get a discounted room via priceline and end up “paying” half of that amount. PLUS, depending on the hotel reward program, you could still get credit for the stay AND the reward points.

  • JerseygirlMom

    I received my card and have been using it a lot! I received the 40,000 points then earned another 22,874. When I looked to redeem the points for cash, it is only worth $314.00. You stated that the 40000 was worth $440.00. I was expecting at least $650.00. I am very disappointed.

  • Oliver

    Any sense in saving points for larger redemptions? It seems that there is no benefit for saving points no matter what amount you redeem, am I wrong?

  • Larry

    Thanks for the info on disney world. I’m going to use my points towards it.

  • ASiddhu

    My Credit score is about 650. which is really not great and oldest account is about 20 months. Current credit card limit is 7500 (3 cards) and a 3 month old Auto loan of 23k With Payment history ‘A’ . Not a single late payment in the total history and total number of credit inquiry is 7 at present.
    Do you think it would be advisable to apply for this card? as I am not sure whats the min credit rating required for this. Also, with this kind of score and history what could be the possible limit one can expect?
    I really dont wanna go for a lower limit card as that has a kinda negative impact on the rating.
    If not this card, what other card I should go for?
    Please advise
    Thank you

  • Danny

    I saw this as well. Cash back has a very different rate than redeeming for travel.

    If you redeem for travel, the 40000 points will still be worth $400. If you try to get cash back, the redemption rate is even less.

  • jryka

    Got this card, spent 1k (440+ on travel) and the pts were immediately posted. Used the pts to pay for travel charges. 10% bonus pts were immediately posted, used them to pay travel charges. All in a 1 month billing cycle. Don’t know if I (we, wife got one too) will continue to use the card, but it’s kind of a no brainer for the bonus if you are able to get more or less unlimited number of cc’s. If not, I suppose, there are better choices.

  • samhradh

    I booked a private shuttle from the airport to a ski resort and the merchant category is taxicab/limo. Barclaycard will not let me redeem miles for it as a travel expense. I called to dispute with no luck. I elevated my question to a manager and Barclaycard still would not do anything for me. Bummed about it but lesson learned.

  • MasterRothschild

    How do you know out which merchant will be classified as “travel” on the Barclay card? It would be nice if there was a phone app with a list or something?

  • MustGoFast

    Thanks points guy. Decided to pick this up today. Clicked on your referral link.

  • freediverx

    You get “miles” (points, really) for everything you charge on the card. Generally it’s 2X points for every dollar you charge.

    Later you can redeem those points as a statement credit against travel related charges. Despite being limited to travel-related charges, the credits are far more generous than taking a cash back.

    As an example, let’s say you have earned 5000 miles (points). On their website you can go to the Rewards section and check for travel-related charges to your account in the last 90 days. Let’s say there’s a $100 charge for a car rental. You can redeem your 5000 miles as a $50 statement credit against that $100 car rental purchase. Then you also get 10% of the miles back so you’re left with a $50 savings plus 50 miles back in your account.

  • Huntly Mayo-Malasky

    You can also use Barclays Arrival Miles to cover Airbnb- that can be an excellent value, especially in places like Hawaii where hotels can be pretty expensive in terms of dollars or point redemptions.

  • mpeterson78

    How far back can you redeem for travel expenses? 60 days? 90 days? If I get this card and want to use it for the first time on Europe travels this summer, will I be able to meet the spend using my travel purchases and then redeem the points to cancel out the same travel purchases? Essentially, I am asking can you use the points to cancel out the minimum spend.

  • AnthonyOrner

    TPG,

    I have been reading your blog for a few years now and have learned a tremendous amount from doing so. In fact, I have contemplated starting my own blog for beginners, specifically east coast travelers. They will see a big change in the way to redeem miles with the new US-AA merger. Anyways, I have seen a major shift in the way you view fixed travel redemption cards at 1 cent per mile. i.e. Arrival card & Cap One Venture. Previously, you did not think very highly of these card’s value and now you seem to did a full turn-around. What is the reason for changing your thoughts on these? For myself, I am currently completing spend on the venture card. I got this card bc i simply have almost ran out of cards to apply for and I have plans to use the points for an upcoming trip to Costa Rica to cover the cost of tours, hostels, car rentals, etc.

  • MJ

    I have applied for this card yesterday using your link.
    I am sorry if I am asking this question again.
    Can I close the card before the
    anniversary comes up and the annual fee kicks in, without utilizing
    40,000 points?
    Will I be able to use the 40,000 points after 365 days (with card closed)?

  • the truth

    Only better because TPG makes money whenyou apply.

  • the truth

    Here’s a better strategy – get the INK BOLD card for 50,000 bonus and redeem for CASH

  • doubleheader

    Is this a repost? The comments are quite old and I can’t find the 35% avios transfer you mentioned in the second paragraph.

  • steven hanson

    think you will lose all your points if you close the card. You may be able to downgrade the card to the one without the fee and keep the points. Anyone know?

  • steven hanson

    It’s 90 days. You can meet the spend using travel purchases and then redeem.

  • Will

    Do you get in trouble for using the card only for the miles and then canceling it when you redeem them?

  • swpell

    In the second paragraph you reference the current BA 35% Amex transfer bonus. Is this targeted? I have the PRG and just logged in to my account and can’t find anything about the bonus. I also didn’t see anything on FT about it either. Do you have some inside info about one coming soon, or is it targeted? Thanks!

  • thepointsguy

    No, sorry about that – this post was a repost as the opening paragraph says, so the transfer bonus was from the original posting date.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, as the italicized first paragraph says, this is a repost that I ran again because of the changing sign-up spending requirement on the card – a reminder of all the things you can do with Arrival miles.

  • Robert

    That’s exactly what I thought about. Rather than bother with Barclays after having received some 12 or so plastics since last year one can most likely receive either of Inks or Sapphire with 50K bonus (with private banker only) points that can be posted as a payment or cash sent.

  • scotty

    Don’t forget Barclays also has a no-fee Arrival card– same 2% cash back rate, but (I recall) you only accumulate points for travel expenses — not just any expense like the annual fee Arrival card offers. My card comes up for renewal this Spring, and I’m going to try down-converting my card to the free one and see how that works.

  • sharona

    Or for those who have already gotten the Sapphire bonus and are looking for something new.

  • the truth

    Yay to go TPG – keep pumping the Barclaycard. You must be getting quite a large referral fee for this card.

  • Trish

    Quick question please… I wanted to get this card to use to buy alaska airline ticket + companion ticket [I ordered Aalaska Air Visa]. Do I have to spend $1k before I can buy the tickets or will the ticket purhase qualify me [ticket + comp will cost about $1100]. And do I still keep my Alaska miles [30k earned for credit card]. Thanks so much.

  • jimmy

    Sorry if this has been mentioned but it important to note that you only get one shot at redeeming a travel purchase(unlike BOA travel card that lets you keep crediting a travel purchase multiple times)…I did not notice this until trying to credit a $1000 travel purchase a screen pop up and tells you this is the only time you can apply points to this transaction

    also do you know the deal is with the Venture card?

  • Scott

    The Barclay signup bonus is great. I’m still having a hard time justifying the $89 annual fee after the first year. Other travel cards like Chase Marriott/ Delta Plat Amex give you something in return for renewing the card each year. The Chase Marriott gives me a free category 5 cert and Delta Plat Amex gives me a free companion ticket each year. The only annual perk I see with Barclay is the Tripit Pro which is not something I would subscribe to otherwise. If Barclay would throw in some extra miles each year with renewal then it would be a no brainer. Otherwise you would have to spend over 5k each year to justify the annual fee. If Barclay allows it perhaps switching to the no annual fee card after the first year is the way to go.

  • Mar

    I have recently gotten this card. I wanted to add some specific examples of what has and hasn’t counted as “travel” for me according to their guidelines. So far, I have had air tickets, an Orbitz booking fee, and WashDC metrocard fare top up all appear as transactions available for redemption. A taxi service in the UK called AddisonLee did not qualify. Also, the Orbitz ticketing fee did not originally show up as a qualifying “travel” purchase, even though it was in the Travel Agent merchant category. They were pretty helpful in fixing that when I pointed it out.

    Also, they have a “travel community” you can sign up for and link to your credit card. When you sign up and complete your profile, you get 500 points, when you write your first (50 word+) story with a photo, you get 200 points, and every time someone gives your stories a “kudo” you get 10 points. They transfer 1:1 into your BarclayArrival card rewards each month. 50 words and a photo is pretty painless, so it’s potentially another way to earn some, albeit limited, points. Especially if you, say, have a blog with some stories already written that you could just plop into the Barclay community.

  • Hankster

    I got approved and filed bankruptcy 4 years ago. My score is about 660 with debt to income <10%. Got approved for 4000.00. Hope it helps. :|

  • Holly Greer

    Would expenses like a car ride with Uber to the airport or airbnb expenses be covered under travel expenses?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes

  • Jenny

    Thanks for the tip about the airline/hotel fees! I think I will get this card, hit the spending to get 40,000 points, then lower it down to the non-preferred version, and just gradually use the points to reimburse all my fees.

  • anon

    This card gets you 2x on ALL purchases. I have this card and Sapphire and this is the better card.

  • http://www.stevehoge.com/ Steve Hoge

    No. The points – misleadingly labeled “miles” – are redeemable only for statement credits or gift credits.

  • http://www.stevehoge.com/ Steve Hoge

    It’s still around, but the minimum spend to get the 40k points bonus is now $3000 in the first 90 days.

  • http://www.stevehoge.com/ Steve Hoge

    I had the Sapphire card but cancelled it before having to pay this year’s annual fee. The Sapphire points are true “miles” that you can apply to your FF program – a better deal for some airline itineraries than the Barclaycard’s penny-per-point travel “statement credit”.

  • http://www.stevehoge.com/ Steve Hoge

    That seems like a major blind spot in this program – according to their T&C only purchases that fall into the categories of Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies are going to meet the “travel expense” category requirement. I wonder what category AirBnB falls into?

  • http://www.stevehoge.com/ Steve Hoge

    And the redemption must be within 90 days of the travel purchase you’re trying to credit, correct?

  • Passive Aggressive

    Can you only redeem in 2,500-point ($25) increments? Or is that the minimum you can redeem at a time? In other words, if I have 3000 points, can I redeem that for a $30 credit?

  • Megan

    I’m hoping to use my points for a Disney package. Has anyone actually had success doing this? I know this article says that it “Should” work, but I’d really like to know if it has actually worked for someone, Thanks!

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  • Vic

    This really seems complicated. Are they partnered with anyone so I can use points as I would with SPG..any hotels at which I can spend points directly

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